Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Turn off the TV

So, I was sitting in the office, minding my own business when Harrison walks in.  Now, I should preface all of this with the fact that it was quiet time.  Everyone was sleeping.  So, when Harrison walked in I was a little startled.  He doesn't usually sleep, but he usually stays in  his room more than 10 minutes.

Anyway, Harrison looks at me and says:

"Mom, this girl on TV just lied!  And she was a grown up!  It's not ok to lie."

I am speechless.  Not only is he up, but he is watching Days of our Lives.  Next he says:

"Mom, why do you have to go to the doctor when you are going to have a baby?"

"Why do you ask?"  I say.

"Well, the girl on TV is at the doctor and she is going to have a baby.  And damn-it, the dad is not there!  Whoever that is!"

It might be time to get him implanted with that microchip now.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Our cat is a funny cat, like most.  She does what she wants and will not cater to anyone.  Especially the kids.  Bennett loves her.  Absolutely loves her.  He loves all cats.  When we were in Florida in June he would manhandle Roscoe, Nathan and Meredith's cat, and Roscoe would pretty much take it.  Eventually he would get tired of it and bite Bennett, but Bennett didn't mind.  He would just start petting and pawing at him.

Well, imagine Bennett's delight when we came home from Night Eyes and Payton was in his bed.  He just couldn't get enough of her and for once she didn't mind, that much.

Return of the face

Bennett has decided to practice his smiling again.  Can someone please tell him the natural, unforced smiles are much better?!!!

Another day on the farm

Off we went to Center Grove Orchard again yesterday.  The lighting wasn't always the best, but here are some pictures from our trip!

This was a favorite part of the day.  We went to see the goats after the tractor rides and James said "Oh, but I want to go back to the tractor!"  But then he heard he big bad wolf was coming...

Harrison, James and Bennett were the 3 little pigs and I was the big bag wolf.  We went from house to house and they would scream "Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin!"  I t was way too cute.  This was them being scared in the brick house.

This is the big bad wolf having the tables turned!

The wagon ride was fun.  We had to peel the kids out of the corn pit to get onto the wagon, but other than that Bennett vroomed like a car and James held on tight because of the bumps!

I thought the jumping pillow would work out really nice.  A flat, cushy surface to fall down on.  And it would have been nice if some bigger people hadn't gotten on.  I think there was a little too much air bouncing for James and Bennett.  I barely got off the thing because they were glued to me!  Harrison on the other hand...

Nathan and James leave tomorrow.   We are going to Ames again today.  I wonder how I can fit James under my shirt when we leave...

Best Buds

I don't want Harrison to ever have a better friend than James (except his brother, of course!).

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hi Everyone! I'm Baaaack!

Nathan and James got here Thursday evening.  It has been non-stop fun ever sense.  

It started right away at the airport.  There are  these big block shaped stones outside the short-term parking garage.  We had picked my dad up from the airport a couple of weeks ago and Harrison jumped on each one.  Up onto the block.  Down from the block.  There are at least 15 of them.  Walking back to the car, Harrison decided to repeat this fun adventure.  James decided to try as well.  There are several differences between James and Harrison (as with all children, I am sure), one of them being athleticism.  Harrison is just a bit more nimble than James.  Harrison was quite a bit ahead when James showed that he may be a bit wittier than Harrison.  Harrison would jump onto the block and then jump down.  When he jumped down he would look back to see where James was.  James noticed this and when Harrison jumped up, James would run around a block (skipping it) and jump onto the next.  Harrison was completely unaware and the 2 finished almost even.  I can't call it cheating, because they weren't competing and there were no rules to the activity.  I call it being the best you can be with what you've got.  And this time Harrison had the brawn and James had the brains!  

Mom and Dad were nice enough to take all of the kids for the night and that meant Chris, Nathan and I got to go out.  Out!  I didn't even know it was still legal for me to do that.  I must be getting boring.  Anyway, we met up with Marc and Emily and Josh Dobson and a couple of his friends at Mickey's Irish Pub.  It was a fun night.  I have to figure out how to do that a little more often!

Friday night I twisted Mom's arm and got her and my dad to bring the kids back to Des Moines for Night Eyes at the zoo.  And boy was she glad.  We had a great time.  There are too many funny and cute things that happened through-out the night but by far the best was the end of the train ride.  There are all sorts of families waiting to get on at the 'station' and we are just pulling up to a stop and James says (quite loudly, but not a yell) "Hi, everyone!  I'm baaack!"  It was way too funny and so much fun to try and think what must be going through his head.

The night went on with a lot of growling from Bennett (I think he thinks every animal except a duck and a dog growls!) and a lot of excitement from Harrison and James.  We ended up at the inflatables.  Bennett was a little tentative, but once he figured out how to 'dive' over the walls I didn't ever think we would get him out.  Harrison LOVED the slides and James thought the bounce house was something he really wanted to do until he saw Spider-Man in there and then that was out because "Spider-Man is mean to me.  I don't want to get hurt!"  Not sure where that comes from but it was really cute!
Cubbie player James wanted to keep his hat down so he didn't get scared.  I thought he was going to run into things all night long!

Get this giraffe off my head!

This is one of the only times we got Harrison the Dragon to keep his 'head' on!

Up in a tree

I don't really want to know how high up in the tree he really was.  That would ruin the the beauty of the picture for me!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Day for Creation

We had a special Sunday this week with Sunday School and church out at Jester Park Lodge.  It was beautiful and fun and I tried to spoil it by bringing Bennett along.  I know, that's mean, it's just that I don't usually take Bennett to church.  Usually he stays home with Chris.  He thinks it is fun in large spaces to make little noises to see if they will echo.  Once he finds out that they do echo he makes the little noises a little louder.  And then a little louder until he is eventually making them as loud as he can without technically screaming.  We had that little bit of fun in the middle of church today. 

But, before that, Harrison had Sunday School.  It was a multi-age group today and we were outside.  Sheryl, the leader, read the story of Creation from the bible that the 3 year olds had gotten from church a few weeks ago.  Harrison and I have read this story a few times but it was fun to see him listen to it and then put it into practice.  After they read the story, we went on a hike to gather 10 things that God created.  Harrison decided that 10 different things were not his cup of tea.  He gathered 2 leaves, 6 acorns, 1 stick and that was it.  He didn't want anything else.  The cutest thing was watching him put the things in his bag.  In went a leaf.  "And it was good" Harrison would say.  In went an acorn.  "And it was good" he would say, over and over until he had all nine.  He gave no reason for not wanting 10 things.  I would pick something up and he would just shake his head.  But watching him say 'And it was good' was one of the funniest things.  Very cute.

We played Bingo with God's creations and everyone won a prize.  A piece of gum.  Harrison hates gum.  We have actually seen him get mad when we are chewing gum.  He gets exasperated and says stuff like 'WHY do you like it?!!!'  When he found out what the special prizes were he looked at me, within earshot of Sheryl, and said "I don't like Sheryl Surprises!" and walked away.  Poor Sheryl looked at me and I just laughed.

Church was also about creation and I really do love our pastor.  She gives the most honest and heartfelt sermons.  You always leave wanting to be a better person but never feeling like a bad person.  I believe this is no small feat as most pastors I have heard usually make you feel like you are not good enough.

I actually can not believe I heard or comprehended anything at church today.  Bennett is just a 1 1/2 year old terror.  He doesn't want to listen, he doesn't want to stay in one place, he doesn't want to agree with anything you say.  Typical, I know, but none-the-less frustrating when you are out in public.  At home I just let him cry or fuss when he doesn't get his way, and I do try that when we are out, but the way people look at you when you are out doesn't always make you feel good.  I try and think they are saying:

"Oh, look at that poor single mother of two.  If she just had some help from their father it would be an easier row to hoe.  But they will succeed.  She is bringing them to church to learn God's love and they won't abandon their children like their own father."

That always makes me feel better.

We got home from Jester Park Sunday and I was ready for a nap.  Bennett went to bed and I sat down on the couch to watch a little Planet Earth.  Harrison and Chris walked in and soon they were interested.  Harrison still has a terrible knack for asking questions throughout an entire episode of things like this.  He started in by asking what this program was.  I told him it was Planet Earth and then I asked him who created the Earth.  He looked at me and said 'I don't know.'  I said again, with a little more force "Come on.  Who created the Earth?"  He said "God." and then he paused and said "Or Barack Obama."  

How funny is he?!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dear Christopher

Tomorrow we celebrate our 6th year of wedded bliss.  6 years!  I can't hardly believe it.  But, I think, more importantly than that, today we celebrate the 12th anniversary of our 1st kiss.  You pursued me for over a month and I finally gave into your charms and let you kiss me in the hallway next to your room on the 3rd floor of Linden Hall on the campus of Iowa State University.  What a great night and what a great guy you are.  I am a very lucky girl that you are as persistent as you are and I can't imagine my life any other way.  I love you very much.  Happy Anniversary!

For those of you in need, the bathroom is this way.  Please aim for the bowl as I do not clean up vomit!  For those of you in need of a tissue, I prefer Kleenex with lotion.  They are the softest.

Light the Night

The main reason for our trip to Davenport last weekend, besides the ducks :), was Light the Night.  It is our 3rd annual walk as Team Klara and was again a great success.  Marci, Kara's sister thinks that our 2008 fundraising total was just over $10,000.00.  That is so great and unbelievable to me.  $10,000.00!!  Marci actually raised over half of that when she did the Team in Training marathon.  But we all felt very proud that we are able to keep Kara's memory alive through this great cause.
I didn't get very many great photo's but these show us volunteering at the balloon area.  Marci and Jenn are part of a team of volunteers that helps organize the Davenport walk.  This year Jenn volunteered our team to manage the balloon tent.  Every person at the walk gets a balloon in memory of the person they are walking for.  Those who have lost loved ones carry red balloons and those who are currently battling or who have survived the disease carry white balloons.  Well, last year the balloon tent was a disaster.  It was unorganized and the balloons got so tangled  after they were blown up that not everyone got one.  Jenn thought we could do a better job.  And we would have if there hadn't been so many obstacles in our way.  First, the gal who ordered tanks of helium ordered 2 tanks that cost the same as last year.  Well, helium has about doubled in price since last year so in essence, she ordered half as much as she needed.  Also, the tanks were only half full.  The reason for this is still not completely clear to me.  So now we are down to 1/4 of the helium that we need to fill up 500 balloons.  We started filling balloons at about 4:00 pm.  At around 5:30 we were out of helium and had about 175 balloons filled and no white balloons filled.  Hmmmmm.  2 guys left to get more helium.  They got back to the walk at about 7:00 pm.  We were supposed to start handing out balloons at 7:15 pm!  The other great thing about the balloons was that fact that when you put helium into them, it would activate the lighting mechanism.  WRONG!  This only worked in about 1/2 of the balloons.  I thought maybe Jenn was going to scream at the woman who returned he balloon because it was 'defective.'  We didn't have enough balloons for everyone let alone those who had defective ones!

Overall, I think most everyone got a balloon and we had a great time.  The walk was a success and now it was time to party!

The last 2 years, after the walk, we have gone back to the Steeplegate (hotel) to hang out, drink beer, reminisce, and eat good food.  This years crowd was not as big as last years, but we still managed to get the cops called on us!

It was about 11:30 pm or so and everyone had left except for Chris and I.  Jodi and Ken (Kara's mom and step-dad) had gone back to their room (416) to clean up the food and stuff.  Chris and I were just hanging out with Marci and Mike and thinking about leaving as well.  That's when 400 lb man and his french bull dog decided to come out of their room (415).  We didn't pay them much mind and they went outside.

Well, we were in the atrium area which was just outside Ken and Jodi's room.  This area is technically closed after 11:00 pm but nobody had kicked us out yet and we didn't seem to be bothering anybody... yet.  

When 400 lb man and his sidekick came back from their short walk, that all changed.  He came over to us and asked us if we were staying in room 416.  We said yes, we were and he went on to tell us a story.  I will try to recreate it here.

'When you guys go in and out of the room and the door bangs on the metal piece on the wall, it bangs the shit out of my room and wakes up the dog and it is really annoying.'

I thought - 'Good story, but could you just have asked us to be careful with the door?  It is kind of loud in my room.'  

Instead Mike said - 'When your dog was barking, it really bothered the shit out of me.'

I thought - 'Oh, good.  The night is getting interesting!'

400 lb man kind of turned to go to his room after Mike said this to him and then thought differently.  He turns back around and says "And what time was that sir?  What time was that?"

Now, Mike stayed pretty restrained.  He just chuckled and said I don't know and 400 lb man walked away.  I do believe that if Kara's brother had been there (they didn't come back this year - they walked in Omaha) or if Scott hadn't left already, we could have had ourselves a rumble.  But instead 400 lb man walked away... to the front desk.  About 3 or 4 minutes later he walks back by us, very smug looking and into his room.  We basically think that the front desk is going to come and ask us to clean up and go back to our rooms, but to our surprise, hear comes the police.  Now, when I say police, I do mean the cops, but I actually mean just one cop.  Not a full squad of officers in riot gear.  This one cop comes over to us and in the straightest face he can muster asks us what's going on.  We are pretty honest with him and tell him that we have been going back and forth checking the Cubs score (LOSERS!) and cleaning up.  He is fairly annoyed to be asked to come take care of this but does see some humor in that this is the first time he remembers a noise complaint on a 63 year old couple.  He was expecting a large gathering of people, not a quiet group of 4.  Just as he is getting ready to leave, Marci says to him - 'Now, you are going to go talk to them about this, right.'  He plays along and proceeds to go knock on Ken and Jod's room and tells them to either pack up their stuff and leave or quiet down.  I think the loudest we got all night was when we were laughing at the cop giving poor Ken and Jod a lecture on respecting other guests of the hotel!  We think they have forgiven us!

We had a great time and can't wait for next year.  Although, you know what I wish for most...

More ducks!!!

Last weekend we went to Davenport.  Saturday morning, Pam and I took the boys to Vandeveer Park to feed the ducks.  It sounds like a running theme with us, doesn't it?  Ducks?  Sure we like ducks.  Let's go feed some ducks!
Vandeveer Park is really close to Greg and Pam's house and the boys and I have never been.  It is a great park.  Nice sized lake, great playground equipment and a huge water feature.  We spent a lot of time feeding the ducks and 2 geese.  Bennett was doing the best at throwing the bread and crackers and I was sure he was going to fall into the water.  We tried to sit back and let the ducks come to us,  but they are little bit more shy than the birds in Charles City.  If we moved too quickly or if Bennett screamed with glee to loudly the ducks would flutter away to the water which in turn made the boys go closer to the water.  But luckily we escaped that fate.  No water dunking for us.  Unfortunately that can not be said for the toddler that fell in while we were leaving.  Poor little thing.  He went all of the way under and his mom pulled him out but wouldn't pick him up.  He was cold and crying.  I made the mistake of laughing at them (we were in the car). Harrison picks up on my laugh and wonders why I am laughing at them.  "That's not funny, Mom.  You said it was dangerous to fall in the water."  Now what do I do?  How do you explain to a 3 year old that you are not laughing at them, you are just laughing at the situation?  It took awhile and I still don't think he approved of my behavior.
This is Harrison's way of shielding himself from the sun.  He truly does not like the sun.  Whenever we are outside he comments on the fact that it is too sunny or that this is the 'perfect place' because it is in the shade.  
Both Harrison and Bennett wanted to climb around the fountain.  We let Harrison, but Gma wouldn't let Bennett to far from her grip.  He falls enough as it is we don't need any broken bones!

Happy Birthday - 1 month late

So, Chris turned 30 last month.  We went out for dinner at Ohana's Steakhouse.  It is a Japanese restaurant that cooks the food right in front of you.  We go there for a lot of reasons but my reason is strictly for the scallops.  They are fabulous.  Ohana's puts this sauce on them that is sinful.  We all love it.  After dinner, it was home for ice cream cake.  I had wanted a Hawkeye cake, but Dairy Queen said no.  They don't have a 'license' for the U of Iowa.  So they did the colors instead.  I believe that will be the last time we do black frosting on anything!

Catch up

I have not been busy.  I have not been lazy.  I have just been doing other things and I apologize to you loyal readers out there that have been deprived of my wonderful writings this past week.  I will try to get you all caught up in the next couple of days but I am not promising anything.  I usually try and blog in the evenings but my neighbor and I started walking in the evenings about 2 weeks ago and it has been harder to find time but I will try. 

Christopher and Harrison went to Davenport again this weekend.  They are cutting down a tree in Greg and Pam's front yard.  That left me with the little terror I call Bennett.  We had a grand morning of Farmer's Market, Barnes and Noble, Kidding Around, Toys-R-Us and then home.  Toys-R-Us might have been a mistake.  I didn't buy anything - just browsing for upcoming holidays and birthdays - but Bennett did decide that 1:30 pm is waaaay past his special time with Douglas and told me about it by going 'boneless' and screaming as loud as he could because it was time to put the toy microwave back on the shelf.  Poor kid.  What kind of a mother takes a toddler into a toy store and doesn't buy him anything?  

Anyway - he is off in Dreamland now and I am able to catch up on this weeks activities.  Happy reading!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Oh no - Winter is coming

I love fall weather.  Cool temps and warm sweatshirts are my heaven.  It is also great to get out and go and that is what we have been doing.  We have gone to a park almost everyday the past 2 weeks.  We have gone on long walks and wagon rides.  We have played in the yard and searched for different kinds of leaves.  Everything you can think of, we have been trying to do.  I so don't want cold weather where we can't go outside or when we can but it takes us 20 minutes to get our stuff (coats, boots, mittens, hats, etc) on and then we play outside for 10 minutes  before we decide it is too cold or we have to go to the bathroom and then we are back inside and it takes us 15 minutes  to get all our stuff off.  Ahhh, the memories!  I am certain there will be a blog about this in the future!We headed out to the zoo on Tuesday.  The little boys were really tired in the morning for some reason so we had an early lunch (10:45) and then naps.  Everyone was up by 1:00 p.m.  The zoo sounded nice so that's what we did.  

Harrison was particularly excited because he got to see a Trumpeter Swan.  

"Oh, Mom!  Look!  A Trrruuuumpterrr Swaaaaan"

He stared at the thing for almost 5 minutes.  I think we may have to find something on swans at the library tonight.

Bennett & Will enjoyed the goats and llamas.  I thought for sure Will was going to get bitten.  Every time I turned around he was racing back to see them!  Bennett thought it very amusing to throw leaves at the goats and then watch them eat the leaves.  We had a talk about this, but Bennett didn't seem to subscribe to my way of thinking.  A stroller ride was in his future.
The best part of the day was snack time.  I don't know why toddlers have to shove as much food as they possibly can into their mouths all-the-while asking for more but it sure is funny!  And, a little scary.