Thursday, December 31, 2009

One Big Happy Family

I wanted to post some of the gorgeous pictures my brother and sister-in-law captured with their nice camera while they were here.

The WHOLE family :)
We had so much fun with them while they were here. Lots of yummy dinners (cooked by my mom, of course), browsing in the East Village, games, movies (one great, one not so great!) and good conversation. It was so fun watching them get reacquainted with the kids and it was especially sad seeing them go this time. I think because Bennett had so much fun with them and I know it will most likely be a year before we see them again (although I hope not!) and he won't remember them by then. Hopefully someday they'll live closer...until then, I cherish the time while they're here and look forward to next Christmas!

Snow Day

Jon was finally able to take Bennett out to play in the snow, the day after Christmas. There's a great hill, practically in our backyard that's perfect for little kids so they went down a few times. I was shocked to see Bennett still smiling despite the fact that his mittens kept coming off and he had snow caked around his wrists. Jon and I hate the cold and the snow but it looks like we're going to have to get over that for the next several years!!
This is the view from our backyard- our neighbors are all so nice and we get to use those swingsets whenever we want. The hill is behind them, up to that fence.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Week

I'm way behind on blogging due to all the busyness of Christmas, followed by my brother and sister-in-law arriving the day after Christmas, and on top of all that, I'm reading a really good book right now so my few spare moments have to be split between blogging, reading and cleaning the house. Guess which one hasn't been done at all???
Anyway, I'll try to be brief since a lot has happened. Here's a shot of Jon and Bennett after our Christmas service. Jon had to wear this bear suit in the play and he was hilarious.
Christmas eve ended up being the Colyer Christmas since the family has expanded even more and there are more in-laws to work around! So we did presents and ate lots of yummy food that night at John and Judie's (aka: Nana and Poppy). This is one huge reason why I love my mother-in-law; this was the tablescape for the Christmas eve food:
I don't know if the picture will do it justice but it was gorgeous and it was just for us kids!! She makes any occasion look like something out of a magazine. Hopefully some day I can do that too. I can't even keep the salt and pepper on the table with my 2 year old around, let alone anything else! Nana and Poppy got Bennett this fire station (its like a dollhouse for boys) that came with all the furniture, 2 trucks and 3 firemen. He absolutely loves it. (notice the hedgehog, meerkat and elephant watching TV from the couch)
Bennett "helping" Daddy build it:

Finished Product:

The Colyer cousins (with one more to be added in February):

Nana and Little D:

When we got home that night, we had a huge event at our house. Bennett quit his paci habit cold turkey. He put them in his stocking so that they'd "turn into toys" by morning. He was super excited but by the time he got to bed and realized he had to fall asleep without them, he was definitely distraught. He cried hard for a while, asking for them. Then he started repeating over and over, "Its not Christmas yet! They didn't turn into toys!" between sobs. So finally, I told Jon we should just switch them out for his toys right away. So he got to open his stocking that night. He was so thrilled with all of the toys, but of course cried a lot more when he went back to bed. I had to do that SuperNanny method where I sat on the floor of his room and inched closer to the door every 10 minutes or so. That worked pretty well and I did it for his nap the next day too. He's been pretty fine since those first two bedtimes. He still gets up a few times but he's not crying anymore.
So Christmas morning we went to my parents new house! Its so gorgeous and they have a beautiful backyard that was picturesque with all of the snow covered trees. One of the highlights of Christmas for me is my mom's breakfast we eat every year. (No surprise there- the highlight of any event for me is the food!). This year she made two different egg frittatas, pumpkin cranberry bread pudding and lots of bacon. We also had mimosas and coffee with egg nog. It was delicious as always.

Another tradition- my dad always reads the Christmas story before we dig into presents:
Opening gifts--of course Bennett and Piper got to help everyone else open theirs too:
This was Bennett and Dawson's gift from my parents:
I tried unsuccessfully to get a good picture of Bennett and Dawson in their matching jammies:
After Christmas morning was over, we headed home for Bennett's nap and then went back to John and Judie's where my parents joined us for the big Christmas dinner that the mom's always collaborate on.
Another tradition in the Colyer house-- Christmas crackers!
And the family picture we dutifully pose for each year in our "cracker crowns":
Okay, all for now. Back to my parents to enjoy another dinner with my brother and sister-in-law. Its been great for Bennett to get to know them again. Its always sad when they leave, knowing it will most likely be another year until we see them again!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Just saw this in my drafts and realized I never posted it. Don't bother reading this unless you want to learn a new game...

Okay, two people have asked already what fishbowl is so I'll just post it for convenience sake. Its definitely my favorite game although that opinion can change dramatically based on the group. I'll explain later...
First, everyone in the room writes down a person, a place, and a thing. Think creatively, otherwise its a bit boring. Each item gets written down on its own little piece of paper and thrown in a bowl. Grab a second empty bowl.
Then, choose a partner and put everyone in order around the room, so that you're spaced evenly. (this can be confusing. Number the teams and then split up and sit in numbered order)
Round 1. Each person gets 1 minute and you explain each word in the bowl (without saying any part of the word) to have your partner guess what it is--think Catch Phrase. Once you've counted up all the words guessed, put the papers in the second bowl. If someone chooses to pass on a difficult word, that's 1 point deducted from their total. Each person around the room takes a turn until all the words are emptied from the first bowl.
Round 2. Continue around the room but this time you get your partner to guess the words by doing charades. Sometimes round 2 starts in the middle of someone's turn. As soon as the first bowl is empty, the person starts drawing from the second bowl and doing charades.
Round 3. As soon as all the words have been emptied from the second bowl, start round 3 and this time you get to say one word to have your partner guess. Only one word! Remember, these are the same words you've heard 2 other times so you have to pay attention the whole game or you'll forget easily.
The game is over once the first bowl has been emptied again. This is a great game for a big group because then you get some good variety. If you have little kids playing along, you can divide yourselves into two teams, rather than partners, and sit every other person (again, that's like catch phrase).
One important point- make sure the things written down are things everyone in the room would know. One particular game we played with my extended family, a certain uncle of ours kept writing down the most obscure things from the Civil War, or something like that. The first round it was some aircraft carrier. So we all explained clearly that it needed to be something we would have all heard of. So the second round, we find in the pile "ADM Nimitz". First of all, none of the girls even knew that ADM stood for Admiral, let alone who the heck Admiral Nimitz was!! We were just baffled. When Bethany drew that one, she said "Adel, DeSoto, Minburn". (Thats the name of a highschool around here) to represent the "ADM". Anyway...this is probably one of those "Guess-you-had-to-be-there" stories :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Random Ramblings

I regret that its been 6 days since my last post so I'm just going to throw some stuff out there! Here's a random picture for a random post.

Dawson's reaching for the toys dangling from his bouncy seat and playmat. You know, I kind of thought his milestones wouldn't seem as amazing and thrilling as all of Bennett's did but I'm surprised already how untrue that is. I was overcome with delight seeing his little arm reaching purposefully towards the plastic elephant instead of just flailing about. That makes me happy that each child's journey is just as unbelievable and note-worthy as the other's. He's still the best baby ever. It kind of amazes me sometimes.
Bennett's as rambunctious and emotional and sweet as ever these days. Today he tripped over me and said, "Oh, sorry Mom." And then grabbed my cheeks in his hands and kissed me. Those moments send me over the moon. He growls at me now when I say something he disproves of. And he whispers all the time when he's saying something he thinks I might disprove of.
My brother-in-law gets home less than 2 days from now for his Christmas break from Guard Duty. My parents move into their new house this weekend. My brother and sister-in-law are coming the day after Christmas for our once-a-year visit with them. I can't wait to play fishbowl with our whole family :) We're all healthy and happy in our house. And with each passing month during tough financial times, I'm becoming more and more grateful for what I have. Life is Good.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Snow Day

For any of you outside of Iowa, yesterday we had a snowstorm of "epic proportions". We had over a foot of snow plus 50 mph winds which led to drifts several feet deep. Jon's cousin, Matt and Great Aunt Lucy were still here from the wedding weekend. It was kind of exciting for them since they're from Georgia. And it was definitely great for Jon to have another guy to shovel us out through the wall of snow. Snow days really don't mean anything to our family, other than an inconvenience and a lot of extra work for Jon. He works from home so we have plenty of family time on a regular basis. My sister Claire is living with us til my parents house is done (only about a week left) so of course she was the one who was thrilled to death with not one but two snow days from school!
Auntie Claire watching a movie with her nephews:

Bennett was eager to watch all the snowblowing and shoveling action outside (notice the two big scrapes on his face. Its a miracle we made it through the wedding week without any! Injuries are a consistent part of our daily routine):

Matt getting a full fledged Iowa winter experience:

Later on we went to John and Judie's for dinner since it was the last night with our relatives in town. It was great to be together for a delicious meal on a very cold day. This is Aunt Lucy (Judie's mom's sister). She truly deserves a post all her own. She is the most kind-hearted, genuine, loving and absolutely beautiful older woman I've ever met in my entire life. Even her wrinkles are gorgeous! She has an adorable British accent still and is that family member that everyone looks forward to seeing and can't get enough of when she's around. You just feel warm all over when you're with her. She's in her mid 80's but still has great hearing and sight and dresses so cute. She loves the Lord and loves serving Him and is just the ultimate grandmother! If there was a grandmother of the year award, I know she'd be nominated 100 times over.

Judie went to check on Bennett and Caleb upstairs and found them under the covers and Caleb "reading" a book to Bennett. So adorable!:

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Wedding Day

This weekend Jon's youngest brother, Aaron, got married to Bria. Jon and I were both in the wedding and it was Bennett's first wedding too! Overall I think it went well. But man, that's the biggest challenge I've faced as a parent in a while--trying to force a 2 1/2 year old to stand in a certain spot, smile for the camera and walk here or there for 2 days straight. I think it would be easier to pull a stubborn donkey over a mountain. Let's just say there was a lot of bribing with jelly beans. He's a really good boy, but man, I was in a panic moments before walking down the aisle when he was laying flat on the floor in his mini tuxedo, crying, "I don't want to go, Mommy. I don't want to do it". All I could do was get in place at the last minute, walk down the aisle with a smile and hope and pray for the best. I totally teared up when he walked through the doors, holding hands with his cousins, the other ring bearer and flower girl, with an adorable smile on his face. I realized later, the tears were more from relief than anything else. The wedding was flowing along nicely until Bennett escaped from the second row where he was sitting with my parents and walked up on stage. I was eyeing everyone, to see who was going to grab him but everyone was frozen, not knowing what to do. When he walked behind the Unity candle table and started trying to blow it out and whispering, "I'm blowing out the candles!", I quickly left my spot in line and as discreetly as an elephant in the room, whisked him off the stage back to my Dad. Oh well. Those are the funny moments that everyone remembers and laughs about later.
My only regret of the day is that I didn't take any good pictures of us! Honestly, at the time, I couldn't bear making Bennett do a single other thing he didn't want to do, so I just gave up trying to get any of my own pictures of him. These are the only ones I came away with. Maybe we'll be able to get some from the photographer later.
I used to think toddlers in tuxedos were so goofy. That all changed when I saw my own child in one! Now I get it...when its your own, they're just the cutest thing in the world.
Ringbearer and flower girl, coloring between photos:
Brotherly love:

Bennett's "cheese" face: