Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fall Fun 2014

Fall is my favorite time of year!  Sweaters, crunchy leaves, and pumpkin spice lattes.  What's not to love?  I think we did a pretty good job of taking full advantage of all the season had to offer :)

First, we had fun with Stevie, Lindy, Ella, and Luke..

First ever face painting.  He picked a dolphin.
balloon animals!
Wagon rides.
Carriage rides too.

A few weeks later, we went on the annual fall camping trip.  Benny continues to get anxious about sleeping away from home.  The first day, he asked me about a billion times if he could go home.  However, by day 2, he seemed to settle in and slept better.

Someday we'll have to tell him that camping doesn't typically involve cabins with hot tubs...

Or lodges with swimming pools....

I might be slightly biased, but she is just a beauty!

Next on the fall agenda was Halloween.  Nana and Papa left for Florida a week or so before Halloween, so we gave them a sneak preview of the costumes...
Nana's favorite elephant.

 Papa's favorite duck!
The Saturday before Halloween we always go to Aron and Annie's Halloween party.  We spent the morning at my parent's house.  Benny made sure the chickens were well fed that day. 
 Lots of  kids at the party!
 A herd of running trick or treaters.

On Oct. 31, we went to Lucas' house for dinner and for trick-or-treating.  (Lucas is Benny's friend.  We do BSF together and periodically have playdates together.)  It was a great evening!  That morning, we met Grammie and Grampie at McDonald's for breakfast.  This video is a testimony that Claire had a happy 1st Halloween :)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Oh the memories...

Since there really isn't too time left in 2014, I'm starting to think about new year's resolutions.  2015: blog about things more promptly.  Alas.  Better late than never...

This past June, we went on a Disney cruise and to Disney World for a day with Kevin's parents and all of Kevin's siblings and their families.  Some pics which highlight the week:

Vacationing with two little ones?  Well, it certainly changes the traditional concept of 'vacation' and has its challenges including missed naps and a stomach bug.  That being said, I think of this vacation with gratitude.  What a wonderful family I have married into.  They love me and my children unconditionally.  They pray for us and set such a good example for us.  We are richly blessed.  We embarked upon this cruise to celebrate Grammie's retirement and Grammie and Grampie's 39th wedding anniversary.  Quite joyous indeed!  Benny continues to be a big fan of Mickey Mouse.  After all, who doesn't love a little Mickey Mouse Clubhouse?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Benny Sweets and Benny Funnies

We were reading a book the other day that mentioned about one of the characters having a best friend.  I asked him, "Do you have a best friend?"  I was curious to see if he would talk about some of the neighborhood children he sees frequently.  He quickly responded "Mommy!"   I said, "I'm your best friend?"  He said "Yes!  I love my Mommy!"  I hope he always does :)

This pic seemed most suitable for the Benny Funny edition :)  Here was our conversation:

Benny:  I need to go potty.  (I help him up onto the potty.  He has a few 'toots' as we call them.)
Me:  Do you need to go poo poo?
Benny: No.
Me:  Oh.  Maybe you just have a little gas.
Benny: Mommy!  That's silly!  I don't have any gas.  The gas is outside in the shed for the lawn mower!

I just about died laughing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mystery Talker

Over this past weekend, Claire said her first words.  Or at least I think she said her first word...  I was feeding her breakfast.  When she was finished I signed and said 'all done' as I typically do.  Then, clear as day, she said it back---'all done.'  I was so excited!  Grammie was standing nearby and heard it too.  I wiped her face, and she said it again!  Nana heard that one.  I sat her on the floor and said that I couldn't believe she said 'all done.'  She looked at me and said it for the 3rd time.  Don't get too excited.  She hasn't done it since.  I sign and say 'all done' after each meal in expectation, and all I get is that sweet little face looking back at me.  I would say that I'm a crazy lady, but I do have 2 witnesses.  About a week before this, I swore she said 'hi' when I walked in the room.  Don't worry.  She hasn't done that again either.  However, she more recently loves to play patty-cake and looks at you with those pretty blue eyes when you say her name.  Oh yes, and she has 1 tooth :)

Still oozing with cuteness!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

God is So Good

When I watch this video in 16 years, I will burst into tears for sure.  I will long for these sweet years when he throws his arms around my neck, asks for snuggles, and says "I love you Mommy!"--and I know he truly does.  In the meantime, I will enjoy him singing this song over and over again and pray that he always knows the words he sings are so very true.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Drum Roll Please....

Set off the fireworks, light the sparkler, pour your beer, blow your noise-maker, pull out your best dance moves, bust out the champagne.  Whatever you do to celebrate---do that, cause Kevin graduated with his MBA!  Over 2 years of papers, journals, projects, books, and presentations have ceased.  Hallelujah!  Do I hear an Amen?  Seriously, I'm excited.

Musing about the past 2+ years and why I'm glad it has ended:

1) No more kids-by-myself from sun-up to sun-down.  This is okay on a once-in-awhile basis.  But, days and weeks on end get old.  It gets downright lonely.  It gets downright exhausting.
2) No more group meetings on Sunday afternoons and evenings.  I would get home from church, and Kevin would leave for the weekly 'group meeting.'  Blah.
3) No more Saturday mornings where I pretend to Benny that Daddy is not home.  (But, really Daddy is in the basement doing school work.)

Things I'm looking forward to:

1) Family dinners!
2) Family fun!
3) Going grocery shopping by myself.  Both of the kids are super-good at the store.  But, loading both of them into the car, putting Benny in the cart, putting Claire in my Infantino carrier, getting all the items, putting items and children in the car, putting items and children in the house---and all before the ice cream melts.  Its a workout!  And, if you are lucky, you get out the door early enough in the morning so that Claire doesn't fall asleep in the car and mess up the nap schedule.

We had a celebration dinner about a week ago.  Our good friend David from New York was even able to make it.  Benny crafted Daddy a diploma, complete with pictures of race cars.  Yes, University.  You can keep your fancy piece of paper.  Benny's is better :)

This past weekend was Labor Day weekend.  Kevin didn't have to work at his job.  Kevin didn't have to do school work.  And I took Sunday morning off from church.  We went on bike rides, went to a birthday party, got some projects done around the house, and went to a fair.  Surreal.

Metamorphasis, It is Amazing!

Several weeks ago a dear friend's mother passed away.  Kevin and I had only met her a few times, but she seemed like quite a lovely person.  I didn't know before her passing, but she was a great lover of nature and monarch butterflies.  (Now it makes perfect sense that she gave Benny and Claire the book "The Lorax" and this neat ladybug that shines stars and the moon in the dark.)  Each year, she liked to order caterpillars and watch them become butterflies.  Turns out she ordered the caterpillars before her passing.  Our friend was kind enough to give Benny a few caterpillars and a few milkweed plants to plant in our backyard.

3 very hungry caterpillars munching on their milkweed...

Benny the butterfly farmer

When the caterpillars are reading to make their chrysalis, they hang upside down in this "J" shape

Making its chrysalis

The chrysalis stayed green until day 10.  Then, it became a purplish/black color.

A butterfly emerges!  This happens fast.  I was keeping a close eye on it all morning.  I went to put Claire down for her nap.  When I came back downstairs, we had a butterfly!

Getting ready to release our butterfly a day later.


So sweet.

We had so much fun watching our caterpillar turn into a butterfly.  Benny already loves the book "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" so he was thrilled to feed our caterpillars new leaves everyday.  The transformation from egg, to caterpillar, to butterfly really is amazing.  A testament to the beauty of God's creation and the intricacy in which He made all things.

For the beauty of the earth
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Down on the Farm

A trip to my parent's house is always an adventure and an event which Benny loves.  All the outdoor, animal- loving fun he can have in a day.  These pics are from a visit in July, and we plan to go again this weekend.  He's already telling me about how he wants to hold the chickens :)

My parents most recently acquired a goat.  It is ridiculously tame and affection.  The goat and Benny seemed to be good friends.

Feeding the goat some corn...

Future goat herder. 

Cute chicks :)

Benny and his beloved Stevie checking out the Oliver tractor

Of all the animals, the chickens are his favorite.  He checks every 3 minutes to make sure there are no knew eggs he needs to gather.

Gator rides.

Just cause she's beautiful

Just cause I couldn't decide which pose I liked best.