Monday, September 29, 2008

Turn out the lights...the party's over

If you know good country music, you're probably humming that little song right now. If not, you're probaby rolling your eyes. Either way, we came, we partied, we left and have fully recovered! Benjamin's birthday party was Friday night at Wazoo's (the inflatable place we love). We had a great time with friends from church, preschool, David's youngest brother Sam and his wife Arly and my mom and dad. I am hoping it is safe to say...a good time was had by all. We certainly wore some kiddos out with all the jumping fun!
Here are some highlights from our night! Thanks for making it so fun, everyone!

Sam and Arly were able to hang out with us all weekend and we had such a fun time! I know the boys enjoyed it. When we pulled in the driveway last night, Benjamin asked "Where's Sam & Arly? Did they come back?" He is already missing them!

Now its back to normal. We are heading to Camp Hope today. The rest of the week is preschool personal favorite...the big consignment sale in Austin on Friday night! I can't wait, I worked on my clothes all evening! Hope all of you have a great week!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

One Fun Day

Although his actual birthday party isn't until Friday night, Benjamin had a great day yesterday ringing in his fourth! He woke up to our little tradition of birthday cake breakfast...something his brother also enjoyed the benefits of! And then we hung around the house for awhile until Grandma & Grandpa Marble Falls (my parents) stopped by to go to lunch with us. Although you may think I had something to do with the decision, the boy wanted to go to Luby's. He loves their Jell-O. And loves the fact that he can pick which color of Jell-O he can have. So we had a fun time over in Temple at Luby's. They even brought out cake and made a little "to do" over him. It is probably rare to get someone so young celebrating their birthday there!
We had an afternoon at home, properly "breaking in" his new Leapster Grandma & Grandpa brought him. And after Daddy arrived, there was pizza, more cake and a few more gifts, too.
It was definitely a Leap Frog kind of year for Benjamin...between the Leapster from my parents, the Wordwhammer from Grandma & Grandpa Pecos and the Tag system from Great Grandma & Grandpa Dominguez...the boy is ready to read! He was super excited about all of it! He was also excited to get some money to add to his savings from Aunt Helen and Uncle Dan and Aunt Syndi and their kiddos...thanks you guys! He loves to go to the bank and watch the little container shoot into the roof and come out "at the lady in the window". He likes it even more when it is returned to our car with a sucker.
A few pics from yesterday and with his class today at preschool (I sent cookies that they celebrated with...not in the shape of 4 as originally planned! Long story.)
Can't wait to party with you even more on Friday, kiddo!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Big FOUR!

Tomorrow our little Benjamin (AKA..."Bubba", "Benjamin Bunny", "Bennigans") will turn four. On this special occassion, we would love to share a few fun memories with you and him...
Four years ago tonight, we drove from Muleshoe to Lubbock, knowing we would be meeting you soon. It was raining and mommy thought daddy was driving a little fast! But, daddy could tell that mommy meant business when she had said earlier..."I think this little guy is coming soon!"
We checked into Covenant Medical Center close to midnight and they put us in a room right away. We spent that night trying to "rest up". The next morning, we were ready to welcome you into the world. But, you wanted to wait until after lunch to be born. That is just like you to take your time!
When we met you, we immediately fell in love. What a beautiful baby. You had a head full of dark hair and eyes that were very inquisitive. You sucked your pacifier like it was your job-- and didn't let go of it until nine months later! You were such a good baby. At the hospital, you hardly cried. You were adorable in your little carrier as we loaded you up for the drive home to Muleshoe two days after you were born.
You were such a sweet baby. It took awhile for you to figure out the whole "sleeping thing", but once you got got it! You still love to sleep...especially in the morning when you could snooze half the day away if we let you.
The last four years have been such a blessing as we have watched you grow into the little boy you are now. You have so many interests: cars, vacuums, building blocks, legos, learning about words and how things are spelled, and just being a silly boy sometimes! You love to run, and lately you've gotten into climbing...pretty high on your swingset! You love your little brother...most of the time. You are such a meat eater and will often beg off of other people's plates after you have finished your own. You can be very quiet and perhaps a little shy around others. But once you warm up, you are quite the conversationalist one-on-one. In a group, though, you would rather not be the center of attention. You love to sing Bible songs. Your favorites are "Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho" and "Days of Elijah" (you always light up when we sing that one in worship service!). You love Jesus and love to pray at night...thanking God for your family, friends and various objects around your room. You're one of the greatest kids we know and we are so proud to be your mommy and daddy. We love you, Benjamin. Happy Fourth Birthday. Can't wait to celebrate...all week long!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Anyone know of a good lizard wrangler?

May 2008:

September 2008:

This little creature that I featured on the 365 back in May seems to be tormenting me. Not only has he doubled in size, but apparently in his boldness, too. He waits for me on this line of bricks in front of the garden, just taunting me when I pull in the driveway. I know, I know...they're good for...something. But, I just don't like him and would like for him to go away. Forever. I am in no way a creepy-crawly person and this little four-month ordeal has solidified that times ten. If he keeps growing the way he has been, he'll be alligator-ish by Christmas. He is now causing me to delay the planting of the mums for fear of a close-encounter. Will the madness ever end? If any of you are looking for a pet, please come take my lizard! He is driving me crazy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Up from the grave [it] arose...

Perhaps I was a little hasty. I have resurrected the Project 365. Thanks for the comments and emails! I am glad to know others enjoy the crazy pics of my kids. And I am okay with a big 13-day hole in September. Kind of. But, it's back up and in full force!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

243 Days in Review

I give up. My camera has been tucked away in its case for two whole weeks without a photo taken on it. So, instead of "faking my way" through my Project 365, I've decided to go ahead and end it here. I know, I know. A big flashing "quitter" sign is stuck in my head right now. But, this project was all about "keeping it real" and the daily things we do. And throwing up two weeks of random photos really wouldn't be "keeping it real."
I will try to at least post more photos here on the blog, since this is my only form of a scrapbook. But I will leave you with a few of my favorite memories from the last 243 days on the "project": (feel free to click the links to be taken to that day)

- Benjamin Rocks!
- Jonathan: A Man of Leisure
- Roly-Poly Legs
- Little Man's First Haircut
- Me & the Boys
- Jammin' on an iPod
- The Marker Incident
- Two Cool Dudes
- Melissa's Jon-Jon Pic
- Beach Baby
- Just Being Three

Friday, September 12, 2008

Crunching the Munch

Call it what you want..."Monkey Munch", "People Puppy Chow", or "Muddy Buddies" is just plain good. If this little treat has never crossed your lips, then you're in for a little bit of yum.
Benjamin and I had some time after his therapist, Miss Robin, left this afternoon to whip up a batch of our favorite snack. I had been searching for the Kate Gosslin version of this, and found it! Yeah! The recipe is basically the same no matter what you call it. When my mom made this when I was a kid, she was a die-hard Chex user. My sister-in-law, Lisa, always used Crispix. And when my college roomie, Lori would bring it back from Topeka, I am pretty sure she always used the Crispix version, too (is this right, L?) No matter which "crunch" you prefer, this is a great recipe to make with kids. Around here, we call it "Monkey Munch", and like my mother, I stick to Chex....the original.

Monkey Munch
courtesy of Jon & Kate (+8) Gosselin's web site:
9 cups Chex cereal (any variety)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Put Chex in a large bowl and set aside.
Place chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter into a quart-sized
microwavable bowl.
Stir the ingredients together.
Microwave the mixture uncovered for a minute on "high." Stir the mix again and continue to zap in thirty second intervals until it mixes smoothly.
Add the vanilla and stir.
Pour chocolate mixture over Chex and gently mix.
Put combination into a 2-gallon, Ziploc freezer bag.
Add powdered sugar, seal the bag and shake until distributed.
Spread Monkey Munch out on wax paper to cool and dry.
Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for storage.

His favorite part:

And, it is kid brother approved, too:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

All I ever (or never?) needed to know...

...I learned the past two weeks. Pardon my blog absence while I continue (struggle) to get it together and learn what I am doing. The two days a week I am at preschool are tiring and after the boys are in bed, I pretty much crash. Monday and Wednesday have turned into all-day prep-a-thons getting ready for preschool (something that will change!). And Friday is catch-up city. But there are a few things that I have been enlightened with that I know you are just on the edge of your seat waiting to know...

- A house stays a lot cleaner when lived in two days less a week. A car, on the other hand, can turn into a junk-mobile in a matter of moments with back packs, cereal baggies, lunch containers and teaching supplies. Seriously, I cringe when I open either of the back doors. This was especially true on Tuesday when the morning's milk sippie inadvertently rolled under the seat and was not found until Wednesday evening before leaving for church. That solidified masterpiece went straight to the dumpster. Gag.

- My "Susie-Homemaker" meal plan this week consisted of Big Red Drive-In, McAllister's Deli and an Archer Farms boxed meal that was surprisingly tasty and ready in less than thirty minutes. I did manage to throw together spaghetti one night but it turned into a disappointing stomach-ache. Apparently, I have forgotten how to cook.

- A neglected walking routine is painfully difficult to get back into. Even with a neighbor who is beating down the door with "encouragement" at 7:30 am.

- Play Doh can turn grey.

- My kids really rock Ring around the Rosie from the back seat. Eight times this afternoon alone.

- I am about to be a mother to a four-year-old.

- It is OKAY that I am not "over-doing it" for a birthday party. Eight friends, cupcakes and pizza at Wazoo's will put an enormous smile on his face. He won't care if there isn't an all-out, themed, five-hour cake making extravaganza. He also won't care that I still haven't sent out all of the invitations. Nor will he mind not having a "mommy's reliving her event-planning days" party where he is the center of everyone's attention for three hours. He would rather blend in at an inflatable place going 90 mph down an air-castle slide than having everyone stare at him. That's him. And that is what the day is all about.

- There is not enough Purell in the world for my new career. There are also not enough Clorox Wipes in the bulk-sized container to get through two weeks of wiping down tables, toys and nap mats. Over and over.

- The stomach bug is already going around and I am sort of okay with it. Sort of.

- A class of ten three-year-olds can use four rolls of toilet paper a day.

- I can survive on half a granola bar and a string cheese stick until 6:30 in the evening. Maybe now I'll get skinny. Or can at least hope.

And to collapse. Isn't that how I ended my last post?

Friday, September 05, 2008

Where Did The Week Go?

Whew. What a fun and crazy few days it has been. The boys and I LOVE preschool, I can't say that enough. While this week was exhausting and overwhelming at times, it also proved incredibly rewarding. The entire reason we dove into this preschool adventure was for Benjamin. And then I decided to jump on board, too. And of course, with me comes Jonathan.
Benjamin is so excited to be a preschooler. He seems to be enjoying every aspect of it. I ask him what he has done in his class and he talks about their centers and their sand table and painting pictures. He tells me every day that they took a nap. I truly believe that he must have slept because he is such a chatter box the whole way home instead of nodding off like his brother. He wants to know what I have packed him for lunch before we even get in the car in the morning. And I do think I may have to cut back on my lunch-making extravaganza-- it is taking a little too long and David has poked fun at my heart-shaped sandwiches and banana notes (thanks for the idea, Ginger-- I will keep up that fun one up). He even has a new little friend, Miss Shelby who sent him home a note in his back pack yesterday. Shelby's mom put it in Benjamin's bag and told their teacher that Benjamin was all Shelby could talk about after her first day of preschool. I thought that was pretty sweet.
Jonathan seems to be enjoying "toddler world" also. His teacher, Miss Kristi (how funny), is super sweet and really seems to be enjoying him. It has been a bit of an adjustment week for him, though. He only naps once for 45 minutes (on his own doing) and then is pretty exhausted, out of sorts and a bit grumpy by the end of the day! On top of that, he cut two molars this week. It was all a bit much for him, but we hung in there and I am sure he will be Mr. Happy next week.
My class has been great. They love the idea that we are "Busy Bees" and they already have the "Days of the Week" song down pat (it is the one sung to the tune of The Addams Family...that may get old, quick!) We had a great first week together.
Benjamin also started receiving the therapy from the school district this week. Miss Robin comes right to our door twice a week to work with Benjamin on fine and gross motor skills. Today she told me that she was quite sure he did not need any speech therapy after they carried on quite the conversation about this, that and everything in between. The therapy is very similar to what we are already receiving at Camp Hope, now on Mondays. We may need to mull it all over because it makes for an extremely packed week, especially considering Camp Hope is a one-hour drive to Waco, one way.
Today we also went and played with our pals in Belton at our church's playgroup. We kicked off the theme of this fall's playgroup: the colors. Today was "Rainbow Day" and I am still kicking myself that the only photo I took was the one of the sign on the door. Hello, all the kids were dressed in the colors of the rainbow... and I totally forgot to take any pics! Maybe next time.
And last, but certainly not least...David has had a wonderful first two weeks of school. Everything has gone very smoothly and he really is back in the groove of the school year!
And after a full week of fun....I am off to collapse.

You know your mama loves you when she cuts your sandwich into a heart.

Our first official "note".

Working with Miss Robin.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Our First Day of Preschool

The boys and I completed our first official day at the Belton Christian Preschool and it was a smashing success! Not a tear was shed by my bunch (okay maybe one or two by Jonathan after his only 45 minute nap-- the boy needs some sleep!), but they were both such mature little gentlemen being dropped off and heading into their classes like they owned the place!
I did learn a few things today...
--the alarm must go off by 5:30 am or we will not be on time (no, we weren't late on the first day, I just thought getting up that early would allow for extra time; instead it was just enough-- bummer).
--the sand and water table should not be used before a class hand print project
--some parents pack candy (and more than one type) in lunches...what is this all about?
--two out of ten three-year-olds will nap at the same time; eight will lie awake for an hour and then be in a crazy mood for the remainder of the day
--in a weird way, the kids who cried at the end of the day because they wanted to stay at preschool sort of melted my heart a bit...maybe they do think I am kind of neat.

All in all, a great start! And of course...a few more pics.

Our big boy preschooler!

The king of the toddler room-- trying to not let the weight of his "mini" back-pack take him down!

My classroom

Monday, September 01, 2008

A Visit from "Grandma & Grandpa Pecos"

Around our house, both sets of grandparents go by the same titles. To distinguish between the two, Benjamin labeled them geographically a while back and it just sort of stuck. This weekend, we enjoyed a visit from Grandma and Grandpa Pecos (David's parents).
We had a great time with them, just catching up. We intentionally didn't plan anything major, mainly so they could spend some quality time with the boys. We did manage to roam (or run) the halls of Rancier Middle School for a tour and of course we made our first visit to the new Barnes & Noble, which did not disappoint! Other than that, it was all play and visiting...and eating, we seemed to do that a bunch, too! But isn't that how it always is when you get together with family?
Can't wait to see you guys again! We already miss you, Grandma & Grandpa Pecos!

Grandma & Benjamin built some amazingly tall block towers! And Jonathan helped them take them a part (aka, knock them down and giggle wildly!).

Benjamin was kind enough to let Grandpa win at his Cars vtech game thingy.

Jonathan showed everyone how to program the Palm Pilot (this is an old one, we don't actually let him play with David's current PDA!).