Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

First off, thanks to all the men and women who are serving and have served our country. We appreciate all you do and the sacrifices you make everyday. I hope that one day soon you all will be able to return home safely to your family and friends.

We have had a busy couple of days. I'm going to break up the weekend into a couple of posts because if I didn't you would be reading for hours. Let me tell you, I'm exhausted and outdoor-ed out. We've been outside practically all weekend and can't take anymore of it, especially with the heat. Ben on the other hand could live outside and I'm not even kidding. He goes and stands by the door or says ball, rock, go, go, go. He's even learned a very clever little trick. He'll say car and act like he wants to go on a car ride and the minute you open the door, he is off to run and play. Since he is so fair skinned we spray him up with sun screen, but since he's outside so much he's got quite a nice little tan going on from his elbows and his knees down.

On Saturday, we went up to J's hometown about an hour from our house to visit his family and have a picnic. J's aunt and cousin and his little boy were in town from Arkansas and it was the first time they were meeting Ben. The last time we saw his Aunt was at one of my baby showers so it was so nice to catch up. Ben decided he needed to rest up on the way there so he could play hard.

We ate lunch under a little shelter and then let the kids play on the playground. I know I keep talking about how hot it is, but at 95 degrees it was so freaking hot. The rocks at the playground were hot, the slides were hot, the swings were hot, everything was burning up. Ben loves swinging and the park had the coolest swing. We think it was for adults? It had a lap bar you pull over you and everything. Both J and I took turns in the swing with Ben and made the other one push.
Doesn't that just look like fun? I kind of felt like I was on a roller coaster. Of course I didn't manage to get any pics of Ben with J's aunt, great grandparents, or his uncle Wally, who is expecting a baby in November! 
Playing with his grandma(J's mom) and daddy

Ben with his cousin Jonah who was such a sweetheart! 

BTW: Don't mind me in the background, I think I was trying to make sure there wasn't food in my teeth for the pictures, ha ha. I love pics like these when you catch someone when they don't expect it.

One thing that did make the heat a little more bearable was this:
An old fashioned ice cream truck! Everyone got so excited when we heard the trucks music. We didn't have these where I grew up, but J said there was always an ice cream truck that drove by his house when he was little. 
J and I both got a Popsicle and we were going to share with Ben but Ben wasn't having it which mean J lost his Popsicle. Then Ben decided he wanted mine so Ben-2, Parents-0. He was a sticky mess by the time we left, but he had a blast and I have to admit, it was fun to watch him try to juggle the two Popsicle while they melted. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tell Me Tuesday: Wicked

Yes, I know, it's finally here. I'm sure many of you have been anxiously waiting over your computer to learn another random fact about me, well here it is:)

Random fact:

I am obsessed with:

I have seen this musical more times than I can count. I have the soundtrack and know just about every word. It's embarrassing. Except that I'm not even embarrassed because I LOVE it so much! I don't know what it is about it, but the music, costumes, characters, it's all so great and creative. Try watching Wizard of Oz after you've seen it. You won't think of Elphaba, the green witch, ever the same again.

Last fall J and I took a trip to NYC and of course Wicked was on our must-do list. I wish I had gotten to see it on Broadway when Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth were still in it, but the new cast members was equally as amazing. And although J would never admit it, he really enjoyed it as well. And that's coming from someone who hates musicals.
Wicked on Broadway in New York~September 2009

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Parents As Teachers Carnival

These last couple of days have been busy, busy, busy. Last night we took Ben to the Spring Carnival, an event put on by our local Parents as Teachers(PAT). For those of you that don't know what PAT is, here is a little description from their website.

Our Mission

To provide the information, support and encouragement parents need to help their children develop optimally during the crucial early years of life.

Why Join
As a parent, you are your child’s first teacher and your home is your child’s first classroom.
Your baby begins learning at birth.  Brain growth and development happens more rapidly during the first five years of life then at any other time.  Parents as Teachers can help you lay a strong foundation for your child’s future success in school and life.
PAT is offered at no cost to all interested parents within the Columbia Public School District.  PAT is available throughout the state.  Interested parents need to contact their “local” school district for information.
Isn't this awesome? Once a month our PAT educator comes to our house and offers us new ideas as far as games, activities, and things we can do to promote Ben's learning. PAT also offers classes like infant massage, group meetings, fun events like the carnival, farm nights, park play dates, etc. and they do free vision and hearing screenings as well. The parent educator also does a brief assessment every six months to let you know where your child is at developmentally. The best part is everything is FREE!!! Even though I have a degree in Human Development and I do assessments on children all the time through my job, it is still nice to get a refresher on the different stages of development and ideas of things I can do at home. It also makes me feel really great as a mom when our educator tells us how advanced Ben is:) 
Does your community have a PAT program? If so, sign up! There is a pretty long wait-list in our town since almost every family participates. In fact, we ran into Ben's pediatrician and his little girls at the carnival last night and boy are his girls ca-ute!
Unfortunately our state just cut A TON of funding for the program so they will be doing some downsizing and making a lot changes, but hopefully the program will bounce back! 
Here are some pics of all the fun we had, enjoy!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lunch With My Ladies

Earlier today I went and had lunch with two of my favorite friends, Ali and Sarah who also happen to be twins.  I have known them since high school and I always have such a great time with them no matter what we're doing. We always seem to laugh and laugh and laugh. Ben also lovingly refers to them as his Aunt's:) We ate a local bakery that is owned by our other friend's brother. It was the same bakery that made Ben's 1 year old birthday cake, which I'll have to show you in a later post. It was adorable!  Everyone's food looked so good and I actually tried a new sandwich. This is huge for me because when I find something I like I usually stick with it.

Ali is getting married in just a few short months so we did a lot of catching up on wedding plans. Her fiance is an amazing guy. He is so sweet to her and to all of her friends. I think you can tell a lot about a guy by how he treats his woman's friends. I cannot wait to see them tie the knot-and for the bachelorette party:) Ali graduated this year as well and it was so neat we were in the same ceremony together. I am so proud of her and all her hard work. She is so talented and will make a great interior designer!

Sarah lives out of town about an hour and a half away so I don't get to see her nearly as much as I'd like:( Sarah is finishing up school and she is going to be the most AMAZING nurse ever. She has moved to a couple of places over the last couple years and I am so jealous of all the things she has gotten to experience. There is nothing I can't talk to Sarah about.

I am so lucky to have such amazing friends who not only want the best for me, but for my family. I love you girls!
Sarah, me, Ali
And yes, I can tell them apart.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tonight...

J and I are having a date.

We are going to eat this:



And watch this:

                                              
and I can't wait. It is very much overdue. 

Friday, May 14, 2010

Graduation & The Funk

Today was supposed to be one of the greatest days. I was finally graduating with my Master's degree, yippiee!!!! Graduation was at 2:00pm and the School of Social Work was hosting a desert reception for the graduating students and their family and friends from 11-1. If you know me, I LOVE to be organized although I'm not always as organized as I'd like to be and I HATE being late-it stresses me out way too much. It's funny how my time management skills are not as good as they used to be before having a baby. With everything going on that day I didn't want to be rushed or late to the ceremony. The plan was that my parents would meet us at our house and then they would follow us over to the campus for pictures, then go to the desert reception. J was going to drop Ben off at preschool before the ceremony because we figured a 1 1/2 year hold and hours of a graduation ceremony don't mix. My in laws unfortunately couldn't make the ceremony because my father in law was having minor surgery(which went great!) Then J would meet my parents at the arena and all eyes on me!

Well, do you ever have one of those days where you're just in a funk? That was today. I don't know what my problem was. I even worked out that morning hoping that would lift my spirits.  At pictures Ben wanted nothing to do with posing, smiling, or looking at the camera. He wanted to run, run, run. And, with all the other people taking pictures too, who knows what random family's pictures I will be in. So, after about 15min I decided we had had enough and went to the desert reception.  I was so excited for people to meet J and to show off Ben.  At the reception, everyone thought he was adorable, of course:) The best part, they had table after table of deserts and cakes, and cookies yum yum! I'm gaining five pounds just thinking about it. I wish I had gotten a picture of them all. After we got done eating and talking with everyone, J decided to run Ben home and feed him some lunch before dropping him off at school. Bye, love you, I said without really confirming where everyone was going to meet inside. About 20 min later when I realized this I sent him a text letting him know the details and to just call my mom to find out where they were sitting. I rode with my parents over to the arena, gave my phone to my dad, not thinking I would need it, and went off to wait for the ceremony to start.

As I walked into the arena, I couldn't believe the day had finally arrived. I turned the corner and walked towards the lines of chairs and saw my parents sitting in A23, but no J. I was crushed. I immediately wanted to cry, but tried to remain calm. You see, J has a little tendency to be late, okay he's normally always late-still love ya babe:) I thought to myself, ok he's just running late; after all he did have to feed Ben, drop him off, and come all the way back across town.  My parents weren't sitting that far from the floor so like the best mime you have ever seen I used my awesome charade skills and asked my mom if she had talked to him or if he had called. She shock her head no and that's when I started to panic. Let me tell you, I was not going to be a happy camper if he missed my graduation! The sweet girl next to me let me use her phone and I called him over and over.  At this point I'm thinking something terrible must have happened like a car accident or Ben chocked on something and then I thought, what if he and Ben feel asleep on the couch together watching Yo Gaba Gaba. 

Long story short, J showed up in time to see me walk across the stage and proudly except my diploma. He could tell I was still not happy with him for not being there on time and I asked him why he wasn't there when it started. He told me how I had said that morning that the ceremony would be a few hours and that social work is the last group to walk. He also reminded how I had non-chlantly said that if he didn't want to sit through the whole thing he could just come a little late. W_H_A_T?!!?? Of my gosh, he was right. After all my pouting and worrying, I was to blame.

Moral of the story, men can't read our minds, and women, we need to say what we mean. When I said he didn't have to sit through the whole thing what I really meant was, I want you to be there the whole time, but I feel bad it is so long. Kinda confusing? Think how he feels. To me, the important part was the entire thing and for him the important part was seeing me walk across the stage. In the end, we both learned a lesson. I learned I need to be straight forward and tell J what I want like, I want you to sit and suffer through the whole ceremony with me. And J, he learned that anytime a woman says you don't have to do something-you do it anyways.

In the end, everything was fine. After we put Ben to bed we got the most delicious BBQ take out food and watched a movie.  As we climbed onto the sofa I told him how much my back was hurting and he asked if I wanted him to rub my back. I told him he didn't have to. It was the best 20 min back rub of my life:)

Enjoy the pics of the day. Sorry for all the squintiness, we didn't realize how bright it was.
Our little family

My mom and I. Isn't she so adorable?


My parents

My friends Ali and Sarah who I have known since high school. Ali(on the left) graduated that day too!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Happy mother's day to all the wonderful moms, grandmas, great-grandmas, and many other women who fill the role of a mother everyday. I always loved mother's day growing up. I loved being able to show my mom how special she was to me and to just spend time with her. Growing up, my mom would tell us that she never needed a gift, our gift could be just spending time with her. I always got my mom a gift but one year I decided to get her an EXTRA special gift. What was it?....

A trip to Hawaii!
The pool at our hotel


My mom!

I wish I was able to do things like this for my mom more often and I'm sure she does too:) It's funny how mother's day takes on a whole new meaning when you become a mom. Last year was my first mother's day and it was fun, but it definitely wasn't as great as this year. Ben was just a couple months old last mother's day so this year it was so much better because we were actually able to do stuff with him. At preschool, Ben even made me a flower out of tissue paper-it was sooo cute! Of course, I forgot to snap a pic of it and now he's carried it off to who knows where.

For this mother's day we went out to lunch with my mom and dad and then went back to their house for cake and to open presents. I swear my mom confuses all holidays with Christmas! After presents, J and I took Ben up to the park right next to my parent's house to play. Speaking of J, he got me beautiful white roses and the new Super Mario Brother's Wii game, which I have been wanting FOREVER! Now, if only he'd play with me. Ben also got me a really sweet card that he had even colored in.

That night, my in-laws and brother in law came over and I cooked everyone dinner. I know I'm not supposed to cook on mother's day, so all I did was put a roast in the crockpot with some potatoes and carrots and I didn't have to think about it all day. Technically it was cooking but without all the hard work. I love crockpots! Here are some pics of the day. I forgot to get a picture of me and my mom or mother in law can you believe it?!?!

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! Now go sit and relax and have all your loved ones wait on you, I know that's what I'm going to do:)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Lock Your Daughters Up!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, there is a bandit on the loose:

Everywhere we go, people always stop and tell me how cute Ben is. The minute someone starts looking and talking to him he gives a little smirk and buries his head into me as if he's shy. He's not shy by any means and of course when he does this people think he's even cuter. 

Here he is at the supermarket. I put a hat on him hoping people wouldn't be able to see through his disguise, but boy was I wrong. I could just eat him up couldn't you...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hot & Cold

It has been so hot here lately! Living in the midwest, you never know what to expect with the whether.  One day it will be beautiful and the next day it could be snowing or 90 degrees. I think mother nature gets a lil confused sometimes. It's days like these when I wish it was like this again....
Here is Ben out in his first snow, he loved it at first...

Of course since it was his first snow he needed a little taste.

Can you tell by the look on my face I was over the snow?

Ben was over it too, so we went inside, changed clothes, and snuggled up on the couch!

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Bittersweet Ending

Finally after years of being in school I am finishing my Masters degree in Social Work.  It seems like I've been in school forever, but I'm actually one of those people who doesn't mind school. I'm kind of a geek in the sense that I really do like learning, but I could do without the test and papers. I graduated in 2008 with two bachelor's degrees, one in Human Development and Family Studies and the other in Social Work. Social Work was my main focus, but I figured having a degree in HDFS would be a nice complement.

After graduating I knew that I would get my Masters in Social Work since it's pretty much a necessity in the field. On a side note, whatever happened to the good old days where graduating high school was a big deal, then it was college, now it seems like every degree requires a masters.

When I began applying to different grad schools little did J and I know that God had a little surprise in store for us. I found out just before moving to Chicago for grad school at Loyola that I was pregnant. Long story short, we didn't move, I enrolled at MU and then took some time off once I had Ben. And even though it was hard, I went back to complete my full time, 40 hour a week unpaid practicum this past January, which is now coming to an end on Thursday. I'll talk more about that experience in an upcoming post, but for now enjoy the pics of me from a couple of years ago at my undergrad graduation.
Although we didn't know it, Ben was already growing in my tummy:)