Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hide and Seek

What else is there to do on a Sunday afternoon?

And here is one of Josh's hiding spots. Can you find him?

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Wisdom is Gone

I FINALLY got my wisdom teeth out today. It wasn't anywhere near as bad as it sounds, thankfully. I only had them on top, and they had both come through about 6 years ago so really it was just pulling teeth. I didn't have to be knocked out so I was able to drive myself to and from my appointment, and actually be functional the rest of the day.

On my way to my appointment I was driving down Guadalupe Road, paying more attention to my music than to my speed, when I noticed a Tempe police officer lurking in the Marcos De Niza parking lot. I noticed my speed, albeit to late, and slowed down anyway, but of course, here he came behind me, lights flashing. When he came up to me he asked if I knew why he had pulled me over and I told him that I hadn't noticed that the speed limit had changed at the high school, and that I wasn't familiar with the area (I never go to Tempe). He took my information and I was sure I was going to get a ticket. Speeding through a school zone, even accidentally, is usually not something that is easily overlooked. He asked me where I was going, and when I told him the oral surgeon, I think he took pity on me. I got off with a warning! That's awesome. I've never gotten a warning. The few times I've been lucky enough to get pulled over I've ended up with a "driving award." So I was very thankful.

My doctor appointment took all of 10 minutes. I got some topical numbing gel, 4 shots of Novocaine (which was by far the worst part of the experience) and then the teeth were yanked out without my having any idea. I thought she was just fiddling with them getting ready to let me have it, but then they stuffed my mouth with gauze and sent me on my way. So now I'll have a few days of a soft food diet and hopefully I'll be good as new. Just hoping I don't join the ranks of the people with horror stories of dry sockets! I think I'll go have some ice cream.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Good Deals

We are headed to San Diego in October for Andrew's Step-Brother's wedding and while we are there we decided to take the family to Sea World. The kids are at such fun ages to enjoy a place such as Sea World, and it's not everyday we get to spend the weekend in San Diego. We showed Joshua a YouTube video of the Shamu show, and he couldn't take his eyes off of it. Yes, this will be fun! So the other night we decided we were going to start getting our trip booked.

First up, hotel room. If we learned anything on our midwestern adventure it was that 2 grownups + 2 little kids +1 standard hotel room = nervous breakdown. So we decided the only way to travel was if we got a one bedroom suite like we had in Peoria and Chicago. We stuck with what we knew and found a Marriott Residence Inn in San Diego, about 10 minutes away from everything we plan to do at a reasonable rate. We'll get a seprate bedroom, a full kitchen including a full sized refridgerator, and just more room in general to move around. Always the deal seeker, Andrew checked the rewards points (which we have never used) on our credit card and found out that we could get $300 in Marriott gift cards of we cashed in our points. That's almost 2 of our 3 nights FREE! Score!

Next up, Sea World! Andrew found a great website ( - there is a link to non-Disney Themeparks and Attractions) with all sorts of discounts, and found that a child gets in free with one paid adult admission. That's a savings of $55! Another deal offered was save $10 on one adult admission. Of course you couldn't combine offers, and Ben gets in free anyway, so we purchased our tickets separately and saved a total of $65. Now that's a deal!

If anyone is interested in the Sea World deal, the tickets must be purchased by September 30th and used by December 31st. I just wanted to share this awesome deal. Now, come on, October!

2 Year Checkup

I just realized I never posted Ben's "Stats" from his 2 year checkup! I made his appointment for last week when the kids were off of school anyway, and made it for one the of the days that I was home because, well, I'm a mommy and that's my thing! :) Taking both kids to the doctor is always an adventure, but thankfully our doctor's office usually gets us in and out without much waiting, so it's usually doable. Anyway, Ben (who got to use the big boy scale now!) weighed in at 25 lbs (25%) and 33 inches (25%). His head circumphrence was in the 75-90%, so he's totally proportionate, except for the noggin. He's just got his daddy's head, and I'm thankful I had a c-section! Ha! But he wouldn't be our Benny without that big ol' head. We just love it! The doctor said that, although they usually don't call it until 3 years old, since Ben has stayed right on the 25% in height for the last year, she said that's probably going to be where he's going to stay. So apparently we have one giant and one shorty. The doctor even looked at them both and commented about how totally differently they are built. Ben's short and meaty (but nowhere near chunky.. c'mon, he's only 25 lbs!) and Josh is tall, skinny and all leg. How fun to have a family variety!

As far as developmental milestones, he's hitting every one. The doctor was impressed at how well he is talking (that's what having a very articulate big brother will do for you) and that he is putting together up to 6 word sentences. He's eating with a fork and spoon, can run and jump, stack, do puzzles and is starting to show interest in the potty.

Ben is the picture of health, which is SO nice to be able to say about him. This was actually our first time with him in his pediatrician's office since the end of April so this summer has been awesome!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

7 Years

Today is a special day for us. 7 years ago today, Andrew and I officially became parents. On August 19, 2002, just one week after moving back to Arizona from California, Andrew and I brought home our cute and sweet little beagle, Copper. The story of how she came to be part of our family is not one we've shared on this site before, so I thought we could commemorate the occasion with the story of Copper.

When we lived in Santa Barbara, we were never able to find an apartment that would allow pets. Andrew and I both love dogs and really wanted to get one. Not to mention that I have always had a thing for beagles. They were definitely my breed of choice. So much that the thought of our one day having a beagle was part of Andrew's wedding vows to me! So when we decided to move back to Arizona shortly after our wedding, we decided that the first order of business was to find a dog. Our apartment allowed pets, for a nominal fee, as long as they fit certain criteria. They had to be over 1 year old, and could not weigh more than 30 pounds or else the rent would increase.

So we set out to find our 1+ year old small to medium sized puppy. Obviously the best choice was at one of the various animal shelters around town. Every day that first week we were at the pound, the animal welfare league, the humane society, and just couldn't find the right fit for us. You'd think out of all those dogs there would have been one that would have worked. But we kept looking.

Then one day, about mid-week we spotted this adorable and terrified little pure blooded beagle. She was marked as a stray and had obviously belonged to someone since she had a collar on, but she was without any identification so there she sat, covered in ticks and scared to death. I fell in love with her immediately. She was timid and didn't want to come too close to me, but I stuck my fingers through the chain link and my fingertips barely touched her ear. That was all it took. As soon as she had the loving contact her head was smooshed up against the fence wanting more love from me. We had to have her! We asked the pound workers when she would be up for adoption. They told us she would be available that coming Saturday, but that the people who had brought her in had expressed interest, so they would get first dibs. So for the rest of the week we kept looking, but would always stop at her kennel for a visit. Each time she was quicker to come see us and let us pet her.

Then, Saturday came and we called to see if the people who brought her in had gotten her. We were told she was still there and that she would be available for adoption the first thing in the morning. So the next morning we got to the pound about 15-20 minutes before it opened, ready to request the dog in kennel 19. There were a few other people there with the same idea, but for different dogs from what we could gather. Before they officially opened the doors, someone came out with a coffee can, and asked what animal each of us was there for. Turns out one of the other people was also there for Copper. No! They can't have her! She's ours! So they wrote each of our names on a ticket and put it in the coffee can to do a lottery style drawing. When the man pulled the ticket out and called out Maple, we were so excited! We ran in and got our little beagle girl.

She couldn't come home until the next day because she had to be fixed before she could leave the pound (or at least they thought. Turns out she had already been fixed). All day we worked on getting ready for her. We discussed names, and of course decided it should be something Disney, but never in a million years would Andrew agree to a Disney princess name, so we decided on Copper from the Fox and the Hound. Perfect fit! So the next afternoon Andrew went down to pick her up. When I got home from my first day of work at my new job, Copper was waiting there for me and as soon as she saw me, ran over to greet me as if we've known each other forever.

Those first few weeks were an adjustment. Copper was really sick with kennel cough when we brought her home, so she had to be on some pretty heavy duty medications. We also discovered her separation anxiety and her tendency to bolt when the door opened. One of the worst things was the ticks. Oh, the ticks were terrible! It took so long to finally be rid of them, but finally they were gone and we thankfully haven't seen one since. *knocking on wood*

So there you have it. The story of our first "child". Despite the early morning puking wake up calls we sometimes get, and the beagle barking, and the fact that she is always... ALWAYS under our feet, Copper has been such a blessed addition to our family. We love her and know that despite her age (she's probably about 11 years old) she's ornery enough to still have some good years left in her! Happy birthday, Copper!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tell Us a Story, Ben

Ben has definitely discovered his love for reading. At the library we found a book called Happy Birthday, Cookie Monster. Ben loves this book so much, he has pretty much memorized it!

First Day of School

The boys started their new school year on Monday. Joshua has officially gone from one end of the hallway to the other in his tenure at North Phoenix Baptist Church Preschool. He is now in Pre-K, which sounds so old! His new classroom is pretty darn awesome. There are tons of art supplies, a sand table (with blue sand!), a fish (just like Soosy except different colors) and so many cool toys. They will be learning so much this year,and I know he is so excited. All of his best buddies are back for another school year with him, so that always makes the transition to a new room and a new teacher lots easier.

Ben has moved up to the 2 year old classroom. It seems like only yesterday Joshua was in this room! His teacher is the sister of his teacher from last year, so they already know each other well, and Ben really like her. On the first day, in true Ben style, he walked in and jumped right into the toys without missing a beat.

I can't wait to see what they learn this year. We have absolutely loved and been blessed by the teachers and directors of this preschool. We're looking forward to another great year!

(Non)Pottytraining Update

We were home all week last week, and we were pretty diligent about staying on the potty training whenever we could. Ben's just not ready yet. He sat on the potty tons throughout the week, but didn't actually USE it again after the first day. We tried underpants and also tried running around naked. He loved doing both, and in fact, it became pretty difficult to even get a diaper on him. Whenever we tried he would yell "NAKED!!!" As I said before, it was never our intention to have him potty trained last week, and we're totally not discouraged because it pretty much turned out the way we expected. But he is definitely more interested in the potty than he was before last week, and is still frequently asking to sit on the potty. When he was running around naked, he would usually pee where he was standing, and immediately tell us that he had peed, so he's starting to make the connection. The rest will come when he's ready. I know better than to push it if he's not ready to do it. One of these days we will buy our last diaper, but until then keep your stock in Huggies!

Joshua Maple

Joshua is such a rock star! He is learning his letters, sounds, and even some words quicker than I ever imagined. He can now identify ALL of his upper and lowercase letters. A few of them still give him some trouble, but if he thinks about it he can get them. He's also been super interested in writing his name. Here is his first attempt at writing his full name.

This was his first time trying to write a lowercase "a". He did such a great job! We are so proud of him.

Joshua blew me away last week when we were doing our letters. We decided to play a new game with our letter flash cards. We called it "What's it Say?" I placed a few letters on the ground and asked him which one says "Buh", and without hesitation he pointed to the B. He could identify the majority of the letter sounds!

The other night I decided to label the things in his room so that he can start to become familiar with what some of the words look like. When I showed him the card for "Bed" I asked him what he thought it said, and without hesitation he said "BED!" When I asked him how he knew that, he said "because it says B-E-D." Wow!

I hope his enthusiasm for learning and reading continues. If he keeps it up he'll be reading on his own before we know it!

Come on, Ladies!

I've got a house full of men, and now I've got a GARDEN full of men! I am trying to be patient, but I'm hoping to get some girls here to join the party! It seems every time I get a female pumpkin blossom it shrivels up and dies before it even gets very big. A few days ago I found this lovely lady.

She is by far the biggest female we've had. But I've noticed over the last day or two she is starting to turn from green to slightly yellow, so I'm concerned that she's also never going to get to meet her gentleman caller and make a little pumpkin baby. I'm sure it will happen and I just need to continue to be patient. In the meantime the vines are growing like crazy, looping in and out of the garden, and up over and around the barrier. I have no idea where one ends and another begins!

On the other side of the garden I was totally excited to see a little lady butternut squash flower growing. Look how cute she is.

If you look closely, you can see that shape of an itty bitty butternut squash right behind the flower. Hopefully I'll get to play matchmaker with her soon!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Selah Selah!

Just like his brother, Ben's musical tastes extend past your normal preschool, nursery rhyme fare. Here's a short clip of Ben singing "Selah Selah" by Mike Farris.

For those who don't know who Mike Farris is (and that is probably most of you), here is a link to a video of the song Ben is singing (the song starts at about 1:30). Ben has some good taste in music =)

Monday, August 10, 2009


Since the boys will be out of school all week, it seems like now is a good time to try to start giving Ben the idea of going potty on the potty. I'm totally not expecting to have him potty trained this week because I don't think he's anywhere near ready for that, but we're giving him a chance to try. We're starting out with the same method we used with Joshua, because that worked like a charm with him! So yesterday we went and got Ben his very own underpants! He looks so stinkin' cute!

Yesterday was a fairly successful day. After his nap I told him to go in and go potty (as if that is what we have always done) and he actually did it! I was shocked! He went in and sat right down on his little potty and peed away! He was so proud of himself and excited that he got to flush his pee pee. He went again later that evening. We were so proud of him! He did have 2 accidents, but that's to be expected. Today wasn't as successful. He had a #2 accident, during breakfast no less (yummy!)but realized it right away. He got a very concerned look on his face and screamed "Potty!" but by then it was too late. He saw it go into the big potty and he got to flush it down, so I think he sorta understands what is supposed to happen. He never actually went on the potty today but did spend a bit of time catching up on his reading...

Also, I let him cruise around the house naked for a good part of the afternoon and he didn't water the carpet, so we'll take that too! =) If we can have him potty-trained sometime before his next birthday, I'll be happy, but if it's sooner I'll be happier! We'll just keep plugging away at it when we're home, and I know his teachers will also work with him at school. If we tag team it, we may just get him out of diapers one of these days. Wish us luck!!!

Official 2 Year Old

Benny officially turned 2 today. My, what a difference a year makes. This time last year he couldn't walk or talk, and now he is running and is totally conversational! It has been so amazing to see him grow this last year. He got to experience his first plane ride, his first real trick or treat and see his first snow. This year we have learned all too well how to treat respiratory attacks and ear infections. Through it all, Ben has remained the sweetest, most mischievous little guy, and we can't even put into words how much we adore this kid. I mean, how can you not love this little crooked smile?

Even though we had his real birthday celebration on Saturday, I couldn't let today slip by without having some fun to commemorate the occasion. Since daycare is closed this week for their summer break, I stayed home with the boys today and took them to the splash pad/park close to our house. My best friend, Gabrielle, and her kids joined us and we all had a great time. Josh and Aaron have grown up together (they were born 12 days apart and have known each other their whole lives) and were inseparable the whole time we were there. Ben and Jack are only 3 months apart, and though they aren't really at an age where they will play together, I'm sure they will be great buddies one day. It was a really fun morning.

The boys must have sufficiently worn themselves out because they each took a 3 hour nap today!

As is our family tradition, we took the boys to McDonalds for dinner tonight. Going out to eat is always a treat for them, since we don't do it oftenand at this age we go with cheap and quick!

Ben wanted to go in the Playplace SO badly. I kept having to pull him by the ankles out of it because every time I blinked he would be climbing in! Eventually Daddy decided to just climb in there with him and let him have some fun (with much hand sanitizer to follow!).

Of course we had to come home and have some birthday ice cream to finish off our day.

I know he probably won't remember it for long, but I hope that Ben enjoyed all of the birthday festivities! Happy birthday, Benny Boo. You are such a fun and special little guy, and we are blessed to know you and call you our own. We can't wait to see what you do this year!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Blooms Galore

Wow is the garden going nuts! Our butternut squash has started to bloom like crazy. The first one opened this past Thursday, and it hasn't stopped since. The flowers are a light orange color, and kind of resemble hibiscus flowers. Here's a picture of our inaugural bloom.

This morning we woke to find 10 new flowers between the butternut squash and pumpkins. It was so pretty!

I had read on another blog a few days ago that you can stuff squash blossoms with cheese and chilis and fry them, so I decided to give it a try. I picked a few of the blooms (how pretty is this?)

I mixed up some shredded cheese and green chilis, stuffed them in the flowers and dredged them in a simple batter of flower, water, salt and pepper and fried them up in some vegetable oil.

They were actually pretty tasty. It was kinda fun to do something with the squash blooms since they're not making any fruit yet!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Chugga Chugga Choo Choo, Benny's Turning 2!

Ben officially turns 2 on Monday, so we decided to have his birthday party today. Actually he got to start celebrating his birthday on Thursday with his friends at school (school is closed next week and they already had an ice cream party planned for Friday). So we brought in some cookies for him to share with his friends. We weren't able to be there for the cookie party, but we left our camera with his teacher, who loves to take pictures of the kids, so she got some really cute pictures for us.

Open those cookies faster, Mr. Tom!

Benny's Posse

Classic Ben: Cheeks full of food, asking for more.

Ben with his teacher, Ms. Melissa

Since Ben loves trains, planes and automobiles, we decided to have a choo choo train themed party for him this year. Mommy went a little nutso on the cakes... yes, Ben had 2 birthday cakes for his party. One was a cake made up of 9 individual train cars, each hand decorated. My dad brought some railroad crossing signs, and I made a track out of licorice, and even made a steaming locomotive with cotton candy. It turned out so cute!

The second cake was a trained shaped sheet cake, which I decorated by hand. It was a lot of fun to make!

Ben, Josh and their cousins enjoyed playing outside with the pool and slip n slide, and we all munched on cold cut sandwiches, fruit salad, my mom's famous baked beans and chips. Ben was so cute when it was time to sing Happy Birthday.

It was such a wonderful day, and we were so blessed to share it with so many people that we love. Happy birthday, Buddy. You're such an amazing blessing in our lives!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Pumpkins in Bloom

We finally are getting some flowers blooming on our pumpkins. They are very pretty brightly colored flowers. We found our first flowers on Saturday, and have had 2-3 new flowers open every day since. Check them out!

We still only have the male flowers going strong. The girls didn't make it, as I suspected might happen. I trimmed the garden back this weekend, so I'm hoping that will stimulate some new growth, and some female flowers so we can get some pumpkins going. If we can get even one, I'll be happy. No flowers open yet on the butternut squash, but there are a few that look like they're getting close. Hopefully we'll see some flowers opening there in the next week or two. You can bet there will be pictures as soon as we have one!

Wii Are Having So Much Fun

Joshua has discovered the Wii and he is having so much fun. We decided to try him out with bowling last week and see how he did. He did so awesome! We were pretty impressed. He has mastered how to press the trigger, throw the ball and release the trigger all at the precise moments. After a couple games he became a fierce competitor!

Plus, watching him bowl is pretty much the cutest thing ever. If he does a good job, he is so genuinely excited, jumping up and down with his arms waving in the air. And if he misses, he falls on the floor saying "Awe!", but in a good sported way. So cute! Since becoming a professional bowler, Josh has also tried his hand at boxing, baseball, scarecrow ramming cow riding, fishing and running. Since it's so hot outside, we feel like playing the Wii is a good way to keep him active instead of turning into a slug watching TV. Plus, its something we can all do and have fun together. Doesn't get much better than that!