Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dolphin Whisperer

They love me! They really love me.

Nathan got the kayak out today.  Nathan, Mom, Meredith and I took turns going out and both times I was out I saw the dolphins.  (They are technically porpoises and not dolphins but whatever...)  The first time I saw them, there were two and I was close enough to actually see one of their eyes. It was so cool.  Being out on the ocean in a kayak is a surreal experience. The ocean was really calm today so I just sat there and floated.  There were pelicans that were dive bombing for fish, fish were jumping and the dolphins were coming to me!!!!!  The second time I went out there was only one dolphin but it was so close to me that I heard it's blow hole and I think I actually felt the spray from the blow hole.

There I am.  Not a great pic, a little fuzzy, but it proves I was out there!  Wish there were some dolphins in the shot!

Meredith was a little sad she didn't get to see any dolphins.  

Mom!  Come back!

Mom and I could have stayed out there all day.  Like I said before, it was so relaxing and calm.  You kind of had to be careful if you were just sitting there because the currents drifted you towards the sea.  I did this for a few minutes and then realized I was a little further out than I wanted to be! 

My turn!  My turn!

The second time Nathan went out he got really close.   He was with in 5 - 10 feet of 3 dolphins. Very cool!  We were all standing out in the water with the kids and we could see them pretty well also.

After that the kids and Nathan built a great sand castle.  They had a great time.  Bennett and Kaitlyn filled the buckets and Harrison and James built the walls.  

Don't James and Nathan look proud?  Everyone else would also but they were too busy complaining about the sun in their eyes!  

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Will it Last?

The kids are getting along.  Can you believe it?  I really can not.  I mean, I know they are good kids and James and Harrison are old enough to work things out, but still, incidents happen, right?  

Well, we have been almost incident free!  I have never seen 2 year olds share like Bennett and Kaitlyn.  We encourage them of course, but then they listen!  They take turns and hand each other toys.  It is adorable!  And I think they really like each other.  They are always smiling and giggling and playing together.  Although I do think that Kaitlyn is a little more social than Bennett.  She often flocks to what James and Harrison are doing while Bennett is content to hang out by himself.  Today, James, Harrison and Kaitlyn were running around in the dining area and Bennett was in the living room playing by himself with race cars.  They were laughing and making tons of noise and Bennett was content just to sit and be by himself.  

Harrison and James are doing great.  They love staying in the same room and playing together.  They run, laugh, chase and make plans together.  There have been a couple of times where Harrison's anger has gotten the best of him but it hasn't lasted very long as he figured out that it was more fun to play than to be angry!

Swimming has been the big hit.  Of course it has been almost unbearable hot here so if we are outside, we are in the pool.  Harrison LOVES the water and unfortunately has no fear.  I have had to "save his life" (his description!) twice so far.  He jumps on the rafts and noodles and doesn't always make sure he will land securely where he can grab ahold.  AND then there is the fact that he doesn't try to save himself!  The funniest time this happens is when he steps off of the steps and he doesn't stand on his tip toes.  He just stands there.  Under water.  I really wish I knew what he was thinking.  We keep telling him he needs to bounce up and down and ask for help, but it's like he just doesn't want to.  Very funny and very scary!  

Bennett just might be a bigger fish than Harrison.  He loves to jump into the water to me.  And he loves it most when I let him go under before and catch him.  He comes up sputtering and laughing with the cutest little look on his face.  I am getting getting a little worried about the next time we are at the pool in Des Moines.  What kind of risks are we going to be taking?!?!

And the sharing and general politeness continues in the pool.  Everyone takes turns jumping into the pool and everyone asks to take turns on all of the different floaties.  Maybe I should stop commenting on how good things are going.  We do have 7 more days before we leave!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Plane Ride

We are in Florida!!!!!  And it's too hot!  I hate to complain, but my goodness, it's really hot.  

We got to the airport on time and my dad and Chris were there to send us off.  Bennett is finally at a saying goodbye stage.  Up until now he has just stood there and looked at you and sometimes waved.  Now he finally says goodbye and does so with gusto!  

Of course Harrison was very excited. 
He knew we were going on a trip and with three days left to wait he finally could hardly contain himself.  "How many days until we leave for Florida?" he would ask.  "Three" I would answer.  Then a couple hours later he would ask again.  Same answer.  I think I told him 4 times that day that we still had three days to go!  Friday I was able to distract him a little since on Saturday we were going to Brody and Nathan's house to play and then to a hotel to spend the night with Gpa and Gma Neipert.  (Busy weekend!)

So, finally on the plane.  My mom was sitting with Harrison in one row and I was sitting with Bennett in the row behind them.  Everyone was excited.  As the plane was going down the runway Harrison was smiling from ear to ear.  Meanwhile, Bennett was deciding that this was not such a good idea and maybe we should go home.  
As the plane is actually leaving the ground Bennett gets a very scared look in his eye and says "No plane, no plane!" while waving his little hand in front of him.  I thought we might actually have an issue that would involve screaming and crying.  But, luckily I was able to comfort him just enough that by the time the plane was off the ground he wasn't scared anymore.  We think what scared him most was the loud noises.  We were sitting right above the landing gear and it was a little noisy.  So when that all quieted down he was a little more accepting of what was going on.  

The flight was fairly uneventful.  Bennett played with a puzzle and a little magna-doodle pad and Harrison looked at his new Highlights magazine and Brain Quest trivia game that he loves.  
The descent was another story.  Harrison is still excited.  He can't wait to see James and also can't believe that ALL of these people are going to Florida.  Where are they going to stay?  Bennett suddenly has a look of terror in his eyes.  He starts to cry a little, but Gma is right next to him (we had switched seats) and calms him down a little.  As the decent gets louder, Bennett's eyes get bigger.  Soon he is yelling "Stop, plane!  Stop, plane!"  and I am trying not to laugh.  Gma is as close to him she can get and he is reaching for her hand. Finally we land and Bennett lets out the breath that he has been holding for the last 3 minutes.  He starts off on a tirade of "Stop, plane - too loud!  And bumpy!" among other things that we couldn't really understand.  He was adamant that we understand how upset he was and how naughty the plane was.

Nathan was there to pick us up and James was waiting up for us when we got home.  I can't believe they got to sleep at all but I wasn't surprised when they were up at 6:23 am.

I have already lost my hearing and am ready for nap and it is only 7:30 am!  Let the fun continue!

Zoo Camp

Harrison had a great week at zoo camp.  It was week with Madagascar.  They learned things like where Madagascar was, what animals lived there and what animals the Blank Park Zoo had that were from Madagascar.  He fed a giraffe, some fish and penguins!  He said the giraffe feeding was the most fun - the giraffe tongue was a little scary though!  They got to ride the train and he made friends with his buddy Sam.  Overall it was a good week and he had a great time.    

Monkey mask

This is a picture of Harrison with most of his crafts.  They made a hat, a giraffe hand magnet, a drum, a monkey mask and a book that documented his week.

As you can see Harrison was holding his hands out to show me his creations.  I guess Bennett thought it was the thing to do so he stepped in front of Harrison and he showed me his hands!

It was a little weird for Bennett.  He was really concerned about where Harrison was.  This was the first time that we had dropped Harrison off somewhere and Miles or Will were not there to distract him from his loneliness!  Every morning when we left the zoo and go into the car he asked 'Where's Harrison?'  By the end of the week it was very comical.  We walked Grays Lake a couple of days and one day Miles and Claudia walked with us.  It was fun seeing Claudia and Miles.  Miles got his hair cut he looks like such a little boy!  Before he was still so babyish in his look and now he's so grown up!  Children - STOP growing!  We also did some shopping and just hung out.  It was nice bonding time!  

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Down by the river

I took the boys to the river this morning.  I so miss living near the river.  I didn't like our neighborhood, I hated our house, but I loved that I could walk 100 feet and feel like I was in the middle of nowhere.  Maddie loved it too.  Poor girl...

We walked the bike path to the walking bridge over The Des Moines River and then found a spot where we could go creek-side.  During our walk Harrison talked all about the types of animals  that lived in the woods and what they were doing.  He quizzed me on what types of animals lived in the woods and then I tried to scare him by telling him there were probably some cougars and bears in there too.  He let me know he felt very safe.  Cougars and bears only live in zoos.  I guess we will be reading some habitat books on animals in the wild and watching some more Animal Planet this week.  

Down by the river started out just like I thought.  'Let's throw sticks in the water!'  Bennett and Harrison quickly depleted the supply of sticks in the immediate area and went to throwing sand in the water.  What is it about splashing water that kids enjoy so much?  Anyway, I found a tree trunk and just sat down and watched them play.  I'm not usually very sappy but it sure was nice just to sit back and watch them have fun.  They are two little boys with no cares in the world and I am enriching their lives by letting them throw sticks!  To me this is how fun is supposed to be.  Nature, dirt, bugs, water, etc.  Harrison learned that the sand next to the water was too wet to build with, but the sand up by me just slipped through his finger tips.  Right in the middle worked perfect.  Bennett learned that you can not pull tree roots out of sand very easily.  It is better to ask Mom to help you or ask Mom to help you find more sticks to throw in the water!

A crew team went by while we were there.  This excited me very much because I keep telling myself that I am going to check out the Des Moines Crew Club but I never do.  Harrison didn't understand why they couldn't go fast enough to have a water skier behind them.  Much to his excitement a boat and water skier came by a little while later.  This was also very exciting because with the boat brought big waves.  I loved the look on his face!  We are going to Florida next week to stay with my brother and sister-in-law and I wasn't going to push to go to the ocean.  But now I might have to!  It was just too cute seeing the boys watch the waves and seeing how excited that made them!

Harrison said this leaf looked like a heart.  Then he looked at me and said "I love you, Mom."  I never tire of hearing that!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I took the boys on a picnic to Margo Frankel Woods State Park the first weekend James was here.  We started out at the grocery store.  My kids have never had Lunchables so I decided that might be fun to try.  Turns out James hadn't had them either so it was a good choice.

When we got to the park Harrison wanted to go on a walk.  James didn't want to go on a 'safari' so we compromised and decided to go on a 'safari' after lunch.  Off to the playground.  Small playground but fun never-the-less.  Harrison is really into those bars that you hang on to and then get pushed to ride back and forth.  Bennett and James did the slides and then it was time for the sand.  Digging, building, knocking over, finding sticks.  So much fun in a sand box!

After that it was time for lunch.  The Lunchables were a big hit.  I also got some Cheeto's and bananas.  I think James won the 'More food than I should be able to eat' award for the day as he ate his Lunchable, 1/2 of Harrion's, some of Bennett's, a whole banana, lots of Cheetos AND two cookies.  I don't think he ate supper!

Our 'safari' was nice.  We didn't go far which disappointed Harrison but naps were needed and it was time to head to Gpa and Gma's.  

I do what you do

We are currently riding a fine line between brotherly love and brotherly annoyance.  Bennett and Harrison are finally starting to play together in the real sense of the word.  They both get out their cars and pretend to zoo them down some imaginary track.  They both are pirates saving me from mortal danger.  They take turns hitting the baseball off of the tee and shagging it for the other person.  That has been great.  Very fun to see and fun to watch.  True playmates.

Then there is the annoyance.  Bennett wants to do everything that Harrison does.  This is very normal.  He is imitating an older child.  Mimicking his play.  Wanting to be just like his big brother.  Harrison normally handles this pretty well.  It's all about attitude.  And I seem to be pretty good at modeling that for Harrison lately.  What hasn't been going well is when Harrison thinks that Bennett has a great play idea and he wants to take over.  Bennett wants no part of this and seriously gets annoyed at Harrison for invading his space.  This seems to happen a lot.  And usually with age-inappropriate things for Harrison.  Toys and games he is well beyond, he just wants to play because Bennett is doing it.  It drives me mad!  Yesterday it was the wooden puzzles that I set out for Bennett while Harrison was playing with cars.  Today it was the hammer/ball toy that Bennett brought up from downstairs.  I just didn't expect Harrison  to want to do the things that Bennett does.  I was expecting the other way around.  So now I am contemplating how to deal with this issue of child development without someone calling DHS.  Tata for now!

Monday, June 8, 2009


An ICubs game was on tap for Saturday night.  We were all excited to go and the ICubbies came through for us with a win. 

There were so many things that we cute or funny or unforgettable, but now I am having a hard time remembering any of them (except of course the 'kiss my butt' story...).   I guess I will let the pictures tell the story!

When we got to the stadium, the kids noticed the first thing that took money.  Luke obliged by forking over some quarters for a FUN baseball ride.  NOT!!!!!  I think they did enjoy it, but it was a little lame.  

We got to our seats and a baseball game was already in progress.  The 1875 baseball team from Living History Farms was there.  It was very interesting (different rules, no gloves, etc) and I might have gotten a bit more out of it, except the kids were so hyped up I could barely hear the announcer!  So after that got over I decided we needed to move a bit before the real game started and we would be confined to our seats.  Luckily for me there was water near by.

They had a blast in the fountain.  Nathan, Luke and I kept them relatively dry but it was fun watching them try to touch the water and then run away laughing.  James has such a great laugh!

You would think they would be more excited to go on a public outing with 4 kids under 4!

Grandma and Grandpa love their grandkids!!!!  Do you know how hard it is to get children to smile when you want them to?  What is it about that?  If I knew how to use photo shop I would have two great photos from the 20 photos that I took!

I wonder if Harrison is in real pain?  He might just be really embarrassed by those suspenders!

Kaitlyn and Bennett played with each other for a lot of the game.  Grandma helped facilitate this but really, I think that Bennett and Kaitlyn just enjoyed each other.  It was really cute.  
Here they are playing a peek-a-boo/hiding game.  I often think that Harrison and/or Bennett have the cutest laughs, but hearing Bennett and Kaitlyn laughing together was enough to make me smile ear to ear.  

Harrison and Nathan are not to be outdone.  They had to get some Kaitlyn loving in too!  Or maybe Kaitlyn is just the sweetest girl ever and she can't resist giving hugs, kisses and snuggles to her favorite boys!

Harrison spent at least the first 3 or 4 innings of the game like this.  He wanted to catch a ball so bad.  He eventually got tired of holding the glove and gave it to me.  I didn't know it would come with the stipulation that I had to hold it in the air so that I would be ready to catch the ball.  I quickly conned Grandpa into holding the glove and quietly laughed as Harrison repeatedly told him to hold it up.

After about the 2nd inning, Bennett realized what Harrison was doing.  He wanted in on the action too!

The night ended with a wonderful fireworks show.  I really wish I could have gotten Harrison's expression.  He had this look of awe that said I have NEVER seen anything cooler than this!  Kaitlyn made it through most of the show and then suddenly decided that the loud noises were too loud and too scary.  Nathan tried to teach her how to put her fingers in her ears but she was enjoying the fireworks too much to really figure it out!

Bennett's Story

I am Bennett.  I sit on tables.  Hear me roar!

When we go to the park (and even at home) Bennett finds all of the things that he can hang on and yells "Look at me!  Look at me!"  He does this over and over and over.  This particular day he swung on that pole and landed on the slide.  He was very proud.
I love my Grandma and Grandpa.  Well, right now it looks like they love me and I just want a cold beer and a nudy magazine.  I'm bored...

Bennett plays the air guitar.  It is one of the funniest things I have ever seen.  I can't remember if I have mentioned this before or not.  Anyway, he calls this his air guitar shirt.  I asked him if he would wear it and then teach Kaitlyn how to play air guitar.  When we got to Ames and I asked him to do air guitar, this is the look he gave me.  I am just a pawn in his game.  

I  took this picture when we were at a park.  Bennett is looking down at me through the holes in the jungle gym floor.  

I ride motorcycles.  I'm cool.  Pink is manly!

This was one of those days.  I put Bennett down for a nap around 12:00 pm and he finally went to sleep around 2:45 pm.  It was like I had given him a cup full of sugar and let him loose.  He was wild and would not stay in his bed!  This does not happen very often, but on this particular day, he ended up in the chair with his pants off and the radio on (tuned to conservative talk radio!).  Sound asleep!

I don't know why everyone doesn't look as cool as me?

We made Mother's Day cards for my mom and Bennett was concentrating very had on writing Happy Mother's Day.  He had heard me talking with Harrison.  When  he was finished he said "Look, Mommy!  A!"  He thinks he writes the best 'A' anyone has every seen!  I am also noticing that my little south paw has the pencil in the wrong hand.  I will drill him on that tomorrow!

Sweet boy!

Baby Stuff

I took care of 8 week old Cale for seven days the end of last month.  And even though it was only seven days and he was only 8 weeks old, I decided to haul in a bunch of baby stuff I might need.  Let the fun begin.  My big babies had more fun than the real baby!

Harrison and Bennett actually fought over the swing.  Hand to hand combat.  I guess Bennett was victorious this go round.

But don't you forget who was the first and who is still the biggest baby of the house.

Miles didn't want anything to do with the swing or bouncy chair, the Boppy was his best friend.  He even went and got that for story time one day!  It was too cute watching him position the Boppy so that he could sit in it and watch me.

Of course, big brother Will was too cool for all that baby stuff.  He is a big boy and will not be told differently!  (I can feel the coolness radiating from him!)

Here is the real baby.  Isn't he precious?!?!  So cute and such a good baby!