Wednesday, July 29, 2009

a grand time!

My parents were visiting this past weekend, while Tyler was on a manventure in Montana with his best buds, and got some fun shots of our time together.

Chowing down on some yogurt and tilapia spears
(sounds classier than "fish sticks" huh?).
"You mind Gma? I'm trying to eat here..."

And showing off his molars after bathtime
"That's it lady, I'm going to snatch that camera!"

Lost in thought during a pre-breakfast snack at his table.
"It's like I don't even notice the flash anymore."

Last swimming lessons of the season
"I can kick my legs, reach my arms, and just about pull myself out of the pool. I'm supposed to blow bubbles and enjoy getting dunked, but I'll save that for next year!"

Playing on the dinosaur in his new dino outfit!
"Did you get this pic, Grandma? It's a keeper!"
Swinging so high


Besides his usual lovefest with Grandma and Grandpa, the icing on the cake was his birthday present from Aunt Jess and Uncle Michael, who thoughtfully saved delivery until Ben was old enough to use it. A cozy coupe for Ben!

He really loves it. I mean, sits in it like a chair, won't let anyone (including Zoe) near it, opens and shuts the door relentlessly, loves it. Thanks Isle family! I'm sure he'll let you take him for a spin when you come down in just a few weeks! We love you!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Eighteen months old!

At 18 months old, Ben is large and in charge! Well, he's not quite 26 pounds, so although his belly may be large, the rest is pretty average. And we're working out who's in charge...apparently Tyler and I are supposed to be, but Ben sees it differently. It's most evident when examining the recent highchair revolt. Yes, he's hungry. Yes he wants a "nack" (snack or cracker). Sit in the highchair? No way! Bucking and screaming ensue. So we offer a seat at the new-to-us picnic table. This works for a couple of spoonfuls of ketchup, and then he yanks off his bib, declaring himself "all done". Well, alright, guess he's not hungry, we think. So we sit down to our own dinner at the table, when suddenly there is a munchkin at our (ususally Tyler's) legs begging to be picked up. Once he positions himself comfortably on a lap, he then hijacks the fork and goes to town on whatever he sees! I mean things he wouldn't touch with a 10-ft pole, like salad with balsamic dressing, must look and taste like candy to him the way he eats. So 10 minutes later, one of us (usually me) is done eating, while the other (guess who) is acting as a human booster seat while Ben eats all, or at least drools on, the whole plate of food! There goes dinner...

So the other night, Tyler (probably hungry) decided that something had to give. And after being removed from the table and bursting into an inconsolable mess, Ben was placed in his room and told he could come out when he stopped crying. I know! I'm standing in the kitchen, in tears myself, b/c I can hear "mama, mama" from behind the door. Finally he stops, probably to breathe, and Tyler quickly opened the door so we could celebrate his victory and herd him to the table. We did this a couple of times before it took. But that third time, he walked out of his room, straight to his table, climbed up on the bench and filled up those tear-stained cheeks with some yogurt! It was amazing. And a couple of minutes later, he was still there, munching and babbling away. "He loves discipline!" Tyler shouts triumphantly. Well, I wouldn't go that far....

But the stage is set. Ben has proved to us that he does understand cause/effect, so as we hit this 18-month milestone, we also enter into a new realm of this parenting world...child rearing. As I told Anna yesterday, I know that we can keep him alive. I know we can cuddle, snuggle and play with him all day long. But can I raise him well? Can I give him the freedom to be himself, while at the same time keeping him safe and pleasant to be around? I don't have those questions about Tyler; I whole-heartedly know that he will do everything in his power to raise fun loving, yet behaved and responsible children. I'm just hoping that he sees that same ability that, maybe in my uncertainty, I am not quite as quick to see in myself. Above all, I know that we're not alone in raising him and that God will make up for our shortcomings and give us grace and a sense of humor when we need it. And don't we all need it, toddler-rearing or not!
Thanks again to Ann Wade Parrish for capturing sweet moments with our Ben. Here's the bossman himself, always willing to point things out that we might otherwise miss!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

au natural

being one with nature... just seems to make him feel alive!
practicing his...fireman moves...right?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

It's about quality not quantity!

Since I don't stay at home with Ben, our weekends together are pretty sacred. Today however, Tyler and I had the opportunity to serve in a community-outreach project with our church, which was so fun to be a part of. However, it did mean leaving Ben with a babysitter for 6.5 hours. Be that as it may, we managed to cram in a lot of family time on either side!

Day started bright and early with an impressive case of bed head.
"Don't worry Mom! It will wash out in the pool."
The boy had a point there, as it was on to swimming lessons! The water was a bit cooler than usual today, and daddy getting to come, might have thrown his independance off a bit.

"Um, I may just sit this out if it's all the same to you."

We finally convinced him that he enjoyed the pool, and he had some marginal fun!

Ben had a great day with Ms. Erica. I am now taking his short weekend naps personally as he slept for 2.5 hours this afternoon! Once we returned, we stocked up at the grocery store, and Ben was a big help putting the plastic bags away.
Apparently, my organization wasn't satisfactory, so he had to take them all out and start over.

After chowing down on some grub, we hit the back deck for some sandbox fun.

"Yay me! I rule this box!"

Still hoping to burn off a little energy, we went for a family walk down the street.

What? You don't take your lawnmowers on family walks?

"Uh oh. Outta gas."
We then powerwalked...
...all the way home.

Whew. G'night!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Full House!

We had a wonderful time with Tyler's parents last week. It was so nice to give them and Ben a chance to get reacquainted here in his own environment and get to see the little personality, routine, and quirks that make grandchild #9 something special. I know they enjoyed their time together, and Tyler and I were so thankful for the extra help!

"No way! That is very interesting, Nana!"

Craft time with Nana meant homemade playdoh, bowling for water bottles, and coloring!

Too excited about his new sandbox to wait for the sand!

"Ah, thanks Papa!"

Ben gets busy in the box

We've been trying to get Ben to eat apples for months, and he staunchly refuses. Papa teaches him to pick unripe, very green apples from our neighbors' tree, and he goes to town. Go figure! (Maybe I should try hanging some green beans and carrots from trees too.)

More memories to come...

Monday, July 13, 2009

I've hired help

I have hundreds of pictures to sort through from the last week in order to get a post up. It's a daunting task. So in the meantime, here is a sampling of pictures someone else took! A very talented someone else, I might add. Miss Ann Wade Parrish met us at Aldridge Gardens on a very muggy Friday morning and managed to get some wonderful pictures of our family and Mr. Ben (who was not at the top of his game). Hard to pick a favorite so far, but see if you can guess the favorite in the Christmas card running...

Ann Wade will be sending us a CD this week from our photo shoot last Friday (yet more pics to upload), but here is a preview of what's to come!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

h2o is the way to go!

whether it be in G&G's pool...
or showing off his new fake grin in the tub,
(but as long as we're grinning in the tub, you'll hear no complaints from me!)
or even ordering bottles in a perfect formation in case the need for hydration sets in,
(note the crossed dino-clad legs)

Ben is into water this summer.

Sometimes the hydration takes other forms though,
like a banana popiscle shared with Zoe.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Beautiful Day

Few things make me as happy as the start of a long weekend. But today, a few other factors made it even more fun:

  1. Tyler's parents' visit
  2. Bright blue sky
  3. Warm sun and cool shade
  4. A happy Ben

Our day started out with a trip to Jemison, AL, to pick blueberries and peaches. Before you ask, I'm not getting paid to say this, but I honestly felt like I was wandering around the Garden of Eden, pulling fruit straight off the branches and into our baskets during our visit to Petals of the Past nursery. It was that pretty!

After a nice lunch out, we headed back for a mid-day siesta (add that to my list at the top) and then spent the rest of the afternoon and evening out back for some bubbles, pool time and eventually steaks and cake. Ben made sure to stay hydrated throughout, with some encouragement from Nana...

And Daddy...

Wishing everyone a great Fourth tomorrow, and a beautiful day of your own!