Saturday, April 19, 2014

Bennett Turns Three

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Since my mom was going to be in town for the weekend, I thought it would be perfect to take Bennett to A Day with Thomas.  I thought he would love it.  It was hard to tell...

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He tends to hang back in new places, especially if the girls aren't there.  We were both relieved and excited when he broke a smile.  Ok…so it was when the clown was getting hurt…but whatever.

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Then it was time for the main event: riding the train!

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He was so quiet the whole time!  And, unfortunately, the train went past the Great Wolf Lodge (or the Wolf House, as he puts it) and then that was ALL he wanted.

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I would say the day was a bit of a bust, except he hasn't stopped talking about it since.  He and I happened to drive past it this week and he recognized the spot right away, even though Thomas was gone.  But we got out and checked out the other trains and he asked over and over to ride on it again.  What a funny kid.  

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Of course, the girls were up for making his cake again.  No pink pigs this year, though!  We invited some neighbors over last minute for cake.  The kids all knew each other from school and running into each other outside, but their mom and I hadn't met.  She is really cool, just a few houses down, and now we have a car pool going.  Birthday success!

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Bennett got his first (balance) bike and picked out his awesome helmet.  I adore this boy, Happy Birthday, little man!

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Restaurant 2013

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At it again!!!  The restaurant gets bigger every year.  She really, truly did most of it this year.  I actually put the cake in the oven and drove her to the store, but she did the rest.  

She really, really wanted to make money from it.  I told her it was a little rude to invite people over to eat then charge them for it :)  I'll have to think of a good compromise for that in the future.  Because I'm pretty sure this is turning into an annual thing.  That's about as long as I can put her off before she's itching to do it again.  Love my planning, organizing, resourceful girl.

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Back to MO

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St Louis/Kansas City, April 2013

J presented at a conference in Kansas City so we decided to make a week of it and visit our favorite city and people.  Katherine, Bobby, and the girls met up with us in St Louis where I tried to pack everything I was missing into a few days.  Of course, first on the list was City Museum.  It was fun to take the kids there now that they were old enough to really explore.

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Another return to the Magic House was a must.  When Abbey was Bennett's age, I took her here once or twice a week.  It's still the best children's museum I've come across, there is SO much to do.

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It was fun to see the things Bennett was interested in.  Sometimes it was a flashback (I have the exact picture above taken of Abbey five years ago) but it was more interesting to see the things he was drawn to that neither of the girls paid attention to (below!).  It's ingrained.

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We spent a ridiculously gorgeous spring day at the zoo.  The second the girls got out of the car, they were running in the fields, gathering flowers.  We met Emily and my cousin, Melissa, there.  It was one of those times where, of course, we were there for the kids.  But man…I just wanted to spend the day talking away with these ladies.  After we lost Bennett…twice…I had to buckle down and keep him within arm's length.

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The best friend a girl could ask for!  What a looker, eh?

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Can you believe we never went to Ted Drewes when we actually lived here?!?  Disgraceful.  I think I got confused with another ice cream place and was underwhelmed when we tried it, so when people would bring it up or recommend it, I would just dismiss it in my head.  Maybe it's all for the best.  I would go get that lemon graham cracker awesomeness every day if I could.

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We had some time to kill so stopped in at one of my favorite little parks.  They had improved it quite a bit, so there were actually people there.  I usually had the place to myself.  The girls spent the good part of a quiet evening building rock towers.  They could move to Puerto Vallerta and really make a career of this!  Quite the concentration.

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Then it was off to catch Baker Boy's baseball game.  He was three when we moved away, so it was fun to see this grown up boy so intensely invested in the game.  Heather won the girls over with the offer to pick anything they wanted from the snack stand.

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It was odd staying in a hotel this time--felt like I was visiting instead of coming home.  But I really love this city--so many fun memories and good people who helped me get through one of the tougher years in my life.  It's funny to me that it's so far from where I grew up but I know people who live here now from every phase of my life--family, elementary school, high school, college, violin days, medical school, blogging…  And they all don't really know each other.  Just more reasons to make return trips.

Justin did great at his conference in Kansas City.  He won something…or was ranked in the top 3…or 5.  Sheesh, I can't remember.  But he did great. 

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Everything we needed was within walking distance except the most important thing.  Barbecue.  Supposedly the best BBQ in the country.  Luckily these two fellas were there to enjoy with Justin because 1) I don't care for barbeque, 2) the restaurant is in a gas station, and 3) the line was out the door.  I told them to go ahead and get a cab, stopped at Panera on the way home, and put the kids in bed.  These boys were so happy and in so much pain from the gluttony when they got back.

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(Shawn and Mark helping with the kids since they were missing their own something fierce.)

We had to make the drive back in one day and Justin was si--ii--iick.  He reclined the seat as we left Kansas City, put in his ear plugs, and only made a groan every now and then until we got home.  Lucky for me (actually, luckily for HIM) the kids were amazing.  We stopped for gas and dinner, but otherwise pushed through 13 hours.  I could have kissed all their little faces (and probably did) when we pulled into the driveway that night.

Some more pics from the weekend in KC:

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

In My Room

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I took some of these pictures SO long ago, intending to do some sort of tutorial on a few of the projects I did for the girls' room in Michigan.  I put so much time and energy into this room--design and decorating don't come quickly to me.  It took my friend, Melody, literally seconds to give me some AWESOME ideas that solved problems I'd been stewing over for weeks.  Anyway, I told myself I had until the day Bennett was born, then that was it.  No matter what.  My desire to decorate died that day, as well as my drive to post on this blog, ha ha!  What happened?  Facebook, I think.  Now we are in our new house and the girls' room is just kind-of thrown together.  I really miss this place, their sweet room, so I went looking for these pictures today.  It was just a place I wanted to be.  So many good memories and funny conversations happened here.

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I liked the look of two twin beds, but we never, ever used Abbey's.  There were many nights when I was pregnant that I'd fall asleep with BOTH of them, in that little twin bed, all night.  But they did love playing 'Jump from Bed to Bed'.  Clever title, I know.

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It's funny to have their ages on these, Hayden turns SIX next month!

I got on a Sarah Jane kick and bought a bunch of prints one month.  I also grabbed this calendar--I hope my kids don't actually look at it to learn how to read dates because I keep using the same calendar year after year :)  Between that and their inherited time-telling issues, their teachers could have their work cut out.

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In retrospect, arranging the bookshelves to look JUST like a ladder and putting interesting things at the top was not a great idea.  But it only took once...

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This drawing was the first time Abbey ever drew our family.  I think I'll keep it framed forever.

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Melody gave me the idea to make the bird nest for this light shade.  I literally feathered the nest.  I used bits and pieces from everywhere--some garden fencing from a recycle shop, ribbons from here and there, a painted strand of leaves and berries, twigs from our walks, etc.  I went online searching for a bird pattern (pre-Pinterest!) and found just the one I wanted.  But the website also had them attached to a branch mobile.  So if I'm going to make two for the nest, might as well make seven more for the mobile :)

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This big mirror always makes me laugh.  We were driving around, checking out Ann Arbor when we first moved there, and I caught sight of this mirror as we went past a garage sale.  Justin told me to 'play it cool' as I got out of the car to check it out.  I think I offered $15 or $20 and the man said he wouldn't take anything less than $30 or something.  I started milling about looking at other things, and Justin independently walked up and started talking to the man about it.  The guy sold it AND the little mirror underneath for $10 to Justin.  I was still at the garage sale!  I don't know how, but Justin always gets what he wants.

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Did you notice this little guy?  A few years ago, Hayden found a little blue elephant 'piggy bank' at a garage sale.  She loved it and carried it around like a stuffed animal.  But it wasn't stuffed, it was ceramic, and when it dropped on the garage floor, it shattered.  I wasn't there, but Justin said it was devastating.  Abbey was probably four or five at the time and suggested they should pray and she asked Heavenly Father to help us find Hayden a new one for Christmas.  So what do you do.  You get online and track one down.  Only, it's not going to cost the fifty cents you paid for the original one at the garage sale!  Answering that prayer was pricey.

And last.  These paintings.  Oh, these paintings.  I gave Melody an insane list of possible inspirations--none of which had anything to do with each other.  What she came up with was so incredibly perfect, so incredibly spot on.  It's where I imagine my girls go when they pretend together.  She is such a gifted artist and captured Abbey and Hayden's childhood so perfectly.  I have the best memories of laying in bed with them at night as they told each other stories about the girls in their paintings and called dibs on who was who.

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