Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It was inevitable...

I've joked since Bennett started walking that that boy would walk a mile on his own without looking back to see if I was anywhere in sight. I've always been just slightly envious of the moms with kiddos who stay glued to their leg and wouldn't even let go if there was a piece of candy laying 2 feet from them. Ok, that's not really true. I love having brave boys who will go anywhere and try anything, but it sure would make parenting a lot more...relaxing. Not having to chase a child down or keep your eyes glued on them whenever you're in an area that's not fenced in!

So yesterday, Bethany and I, and the 4 kiddos went to the zoo on a gorgeous 75 degree day. And so did a whole lot of other people. It was packed. There's a petting zoo area with a HUGE playground in the middle that's kind of walled in and maze-like (ie: zero visibility). I was with Dawson showing him how to feed the goats with the food other kids dropped (yes, I'm that cheap. Why spend $.50 when its all over the ground? :) and he was cracking up and loving it. I seriously wasn't even keeping my eye on Bennett. I just assumed he was on the playground. So after about 20 minutes had passed without having seen Bennett, I mentioned it to Bethany. So we both were casually looking for him. After about 5 minutes of casually looking, we really started to search. He was nowhere to be found. I even left the petting zoo and wandered through part of the zoo but couldn't imagine where he would be. I finally alerted a staff member and they sent out the call on the walkie talkies. I wasn't that worried until a good 10 minutes went by with all the zoo staff looking for him. We ran into a couple friends of ours who were all looking for him too. By then I erupted into tears when staff kept asking me what he looked like and what he was wearing and hearing their walkie's signaling no one had found him. My mind didn't really go the whole kidnapping route (well, it did, but I pushed it away quick). I just knew he'd wandered off somewhere. But still, it was scary nonetheless. So about 15 minutes after the staff started searching they found him...playing in the gift shop. If you've been to the Des Moines zoo, you'll know how far away that is from the petting zoo. And if you haven't...well...its pretty far.

When they brought him back he said, "I forgot you were in the petting zoo!" and when I told him he should not have left without me, he slapped his forehead and said, "What was I thinking?". The good thing- we all survived although I was definitely shaken up. The bad thing- Bennett wasn't scared at all. I realized we've been to that zoo so many times and he's so familiar with it, it just wasn't a big deal for him to wander away and find the gift shop.

I remember a mom a little older than me who asked a strange man at the mall to grab her son and pretend to take him when he wandered off again. Just for a minute or two to scare him. A lot of people thought that was a little extreme. I'm starting to think that's not such a bad idea!!

I can't even imagine now how my mom felt when she lost Bethany at the beach when she was 2 or 3. The beach! No staff members everywhere with walkie talkies...and the ocean on one side. reason I should be glad we don't live by the ocean. (Ok, the only reason).

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

For the foodies...

I came across this quote in Real Simple mag today and it made me laugh out loud. Thought the foodies in my life would equally appreciate it...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

This past week...

Two weekends and two parades. We've never really taken the boys to a parade before so Bennett didn't know what it was all about. Lucky for him its all about people throwing candy. Before it started last weekend, Bennett saw a man selling cotton candy and yells, "Mom! Can I get some candy cotty??" Then, as the "floats" (just cars and trucks) started coming our way and they started throwing all kinds of candy, he says, "this is the best day of my life!" After it was over, he grabbed my water bottle, takes a swig and says, "Phew! I sure was thirsty from that parade!"

Free ice cream afterwards:

After the parade last weekend, we rescued a little lost duckling! It was the cutest animal I've ever held. He stayed overnight at our house (and half the night in my arms. I know, I'm a sucker but whenever I put him down, he'd cheap cheap cheap until I picked him up again and then he'd snuggle in and fall asleep!)

On the hunt for Momma Duck. We didn't find her until the next morning and their reunion was the cutest thing ever!

Patio construction is under way! Several weeks back I casually mentioned to my hubby, "someday I'd love a patio out back..." And that amazing man was on it. The main reasons for this are A) our deck is pretty small. Only room for our grill and a small table and chairs. B) Our backyard isn't level so we wanted a nice space for our big kiddie pool. Last year Jon ended up building a plywood platform just so we had a level spot to set it on. I'm super excited and can picture myself on a nice chaise, relaxing while the kids swim (and getting splashed relentlessly).

Playing in the sprinkler the other day turned into playing in the mud pit:

And on a sad and serious note, my mom's mom, our Nana, died on Wednesday. We spent a lot of time with her in Florida when were little, swimming in her pool, catching lizards, many many trips to Disney and trips to the beach for picnic dinners. She always told us the best stories about when she was little and I would listen as long as she would talk. One time she even took us to Toys R Us and told us we could pick anything we wanted. Bethany got a Cabbage Patch Doll. I picked a book :) Unfortunately as the years progressed, we spent less and less time together and I know she wanted to see her great-grandchildren one more time. As painful as that is to think about, we can all focus on the fact that we'll all be together in heaven one day and she'll have unlimited time with all of her family. I have a feeling God will arrange things so we're not a 24 drive from each other ;)

And last but not least, my very best friend, Candy, is visiting (kidless!) from Cali in a few weeks. I can't wait to hang out for a long weekend and catch up and watch movies and eat our favorite Ben&Jerry's together. I miss this girl like crazy all the time and it sucks we only get to see each other once a year but I'm just thankful we've been able to make a yearly visit for the last 10 years.

(PS. Please forgive my spacing issues. I don't know why I can't correct that anymore and it drives me nuts. If anyone has a tip, let me know! I'm thinking maybe I need to change layouts??)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A day in the life...

[Way off to the] Side note: when we were little and were getting ready for a long road trip from, oh...Canada to Florida (I know, craziness. And not an electronic device to be seen) dad would stock up on a bunch of library books for us and would always get some from a series called A Day in the Life. They were these huge books with giant glossy pictures of some other culture from sun up to sun down and we loved them. Of course, part of the reason is because inevitably there'd be some picture of a tribal woman feeding a baby with her boobs exposed and we'd always flip through to those pages and gawk. But they were really great books. Admit stared at those pictures a little longer in a National Geographic too, didn't you?? Thought so.

Sorry...onto the real post. This is not a day in the life of a half-naked tribal woman. Its a day in the life of my oldest son turning 4!! Four years of life with this sweet, sensitive, fearless and gifted boy. This year, more than ever, I have noticed how much this boy has my personality. He's definitely an introvert and is quite wary in new situations. Lately any time we do anything new he'll ask me a couple times if I'm staying with him. "The whole time?? You're not leaving?" he'll say. He's usually pretty quiet as he's taking everything in around him. Even his preschool teachers would say they didn't know if he was ever listening, let alone retaining anything but then they'd hear him later reciting an entire book they read to the class...once. The most precious moments in life right now are when he engages Dawson. He's always spoken to him as if they were on the exact same level (which was quite hilarious when Dawson was a newborn) but now its so cute, as Dawson babbles back to him. They're going to be great buddies (when Dawson's not beating him up). So on to his big day...

Breakfast smoothies for everyone:

Then off to the library to sign up for his first Summer Reading Program:

The self-checkout:

Next up-- first swimming lessons (he can already swim pretty well. these are more for my peace of mind so that when he decides to jump off a diving board when no one's watching, he can swim to the side):
Then off to lunch with Daddy. I asked Bennett what he wanted for his birthday dinner. He said, "Swordfish". Hmmm...ok. A close second- popcorn shrimp at Joe's Crap...ah hem...I mean Crab Shack.

Gilligan's first mate:

Home for Dawson's naptime and then testing out his new sprinkler in the backyard:

Can't get enough of this face right now:

No more pictures after that, because, let's face it, things usually go downhill between the hours of 5 and 8pm.

I still remember the night we left our house when I was in labor, just the two of us, to go the hospital (No mom ever forgets those moments). I remember sitting in the hospital room around 5:00am when we'd checked in and I'd changed into my gown. It was dark outside and still so quiet and calm. My husband blew me away that morning with his support and encouragement. And delivering that baby with him at my side forged us together like nothing before. Bennett came out not breathing. But God completely protected me from that moment. I couldn't see him on the little warming table...I didn't know anything was wrong. I couldn't see the nurses frantically pumping oxygen into his lungs. I laid there on the bed completely at peace that he was fine. Almost 2 full minutes they worked on him. But he was fine. Completely healthy after that. God's hand was on him in that moment. I looked into his chocolate colored eyes and I was in love. An instant overwhelming love for this baby whom I couldn't believe was mine!

And then the days after we brought him home...the hardest 8 weeks of my life. Post-partum depression (that I didn't recognize at the time) and a very, very difficult time nursing (I had the was everything else that wasn't working. And mixed with a s l o w eater (did I mention he has my personality?? :) it took 7 weeks until it felt painless and natural. I didn't think I'd emerge from the loneliness and pain and all around unsettledness (probably just made up that word-yep. spellcheck confirmed).

But boom - 8 weeks hit and everything turned around. He was happy and content and I was happy and content...(ok...probably everything turned around because he started sleeping 8 hours in a row!!). I settled into Motherhood and started soaking in all the amazing moments with my gorgeous little boy. He was the happiest baby- nothing would phase him, and still not much does. I'm so unbelievably proud God chose me to raise this amazing little boy.

So much life in 4 short years.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Dino-Mite Party

We had Bennett's 4th birthday party yesterday. It was really fun and he had a great time. We kept it pretty simple and low-key and it was a nice, relaxing day getting ready for it. I had fun with few cute little details that I copied from blogs.
The invitations (copied from The Shabby Nest):

Dino tracks leading up our sidewalk that Jon drew:

Banner (also copied from The Shabby Nest). If anyone else is doing a dino party for a 4yr old, let me know if you want this and I'll mail it to you!:

Dino chandelier:

Goodie bags, inspired by these, although once you look at the inspiration, it'll totally put mine to shame. I seriously need to get some graphic design skills as I obviously have NONE. If I can't do it in Microsoft Word, I don't know how to do it :( I still thought they were pretty cute though. I followed her advice and just got some Easter candy when it went on sale.

"Dino juice" with T-Rex bones for ice (kinda pointless since they started melting immediately. Piper asked for a head and I was like, "here's a green lump. Use your imagination"):

The adorable cake my mom made:

And some dino feet for the kids to wear, copied from here. The kids were running around wild the whole time (appopriate for a dino party) so I had to use Landon as my model since he was the most mellow kid there:

We had a collaborative meal of pulled pork sandwiches, homemade mac 'n cheese, Greek salad and watermelon. It was really yummy.

A little dino sticker craft for the kids with a big bucket of foam stickers from Michael's. They loved it (Mommy bonus- zero effort):

And storytime (again zero effort and they loved it. My dad's a great storyteller and would interject their names instead of what was written at different parts and they thought it was hilarious):

Present time lasted all of about 30 seconds with a couple of the kids opening the gift they brought for Bennett :) Its supposed to be a group effort at that age, isn't? He loved all of the gifts.

This was his expression the entire time we sang "Happy Birthday":

It was a ROAR-ing success ;)