Friday, July 30, 2010

Stepping back in time

Oh, Jeff Probst. You know that you hold me hostage on Thursday nights, right? Because of you and your little sidekick over on NBC, Michael Scott, I am usually stuck inside on Thursday nights wondering who the tribe will speak to and what pants Andy Bernard will wear. It's a tough life.

But in the summer, I don't have these worries. I am free to roam about town as I please on Thursday nights. You may read this and wonder why I am held hostage. I hear you all silently wondering is if I am the last person in America to have a DVR. And no, I do have one, but I also have friends that call right at 8:00 and say, "OH MY WORD! Did you see that?" So, therefore Rob and I feel obligated to watch these shows live.

I digress. Last night we had no tribe to root for, so we did what any normal family would do. We went and visited a working farm that was a stagecoach route in the 1800's. Doesn't everyone do that on a Thursday night?

We entered the visitors center and were greeted by a very large boot. Of course. Makes perfect sense.

This sight greeted us as we headed out to the farm from the visitors center. I almost fainted. I was so excited. I tapped into my inner Laura Ingalls and decided to get my prairie life on.

We saw these volunteers harvesting wheat. You could then go to the kitchen where a woman was making bread from the wheat germ and churning butter. Maybe if I would get off the couch and quit watching "Survivor" then I could make my own bread too. Until then, I'll drag my lazy self to Wal-Mart.

It may not look like it here, but I am secretly pretending that I am traveling from Walnut Grove to Plum Creek.

Just call me, "The Horse Whisperer."

I don't know. But it's pretty.

Bennett got to grind corn to feed some chickens. She couldn't really get the hang of it, but believe me, you had better not even try to help her. Her favorite new phrase is, "Bennett. do. it. myself!!!!"

Will was not amused by the chickens. He's too high brow for farm life.

Bennett didn't mind getting down and dirty. She had no fear of the chickens and did a great job letting them come and eat out of her hand.

Great shot of two of the loves of my life.

A parting shot beckoning me to come and volunteer on the farm. You just wait. One day you will see me in a bonnet harvesting wheat with the best of them.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Evening Converstion

The Scene: Driving home from riding the merry-go round with two very tired children.

Me: Bennett. Guess what?
B: What, Mama?
Me: Tonight, when we get home, you are going to night night in your bed. And when you wake up tomorrow we are going to go get Daddy from the airport.
B: Okay.
Me: Does that sound good?
B: Uh, uh. Tomorrow we get Daddy.
Me: That's right.
B: And ice-cream.
Me: Um, okay.
B: And Jesus.
Me: Sounds good. Tomorrow we will get Daddy, ice-cream, and Jesus.
B: Yep.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 5

Today is our 5th day alone. All alone. Daddy is in Africa. No family within a 12 hour drive. Alone.

I have had help. I've been able to get out, but I have never been without children since Rob left. I have met friends for lunch, met friends at the playground, gone to dinner with friends from Alabama (YAY,) had people over to watch movies and play wii..... but my children have always been here or with me. I did have one evening where my friend Andrea watched Will so I could have dinner with friends, but I did have "Miss I refuse to sit still at dinner for 3 minutes" with me.

Here is my count so far-

-I have changed 40 diapers
-Cleaned 10 pair of big girl panties
-Emptied an Elmo potty 25 times
-Cleaned up poop 4 times
-6 loads of laundry
-6 baths with 2 active and splashing kids
-served 15 meals alone
-served 5 snacks
-packed 2 diaper bags 10 times
-applied 7 band aids
-broken up 57 fights
-sent Bennett to time out 18 times
-read 125 books
-gotten an average of 5 hours of sleep per night
-taken 2 fussy kids to the grocery store 4 times. (A list the first time would have solved this problem)
-taken 4 wagon rides
-played 10 games of hide and seek
-colored 8 pictures
-applied 40 stickers to the potty chart
-chased children all over playgrounds 3 times
-ridden 2 merry-go-rounds with a terrified Will and an elated Bennett
-mopped up muddy dog tracks 3 times
-vacuumed dog vomit. twice.
-cried 3 times

So, the funny thing about all of this is that I am a stay at home Mom. I am used to all of this. I do every bit of this on a daily basis. But I am realizing so much this week how much it helps to have a partner. Someone who gives you that sigh of relief when they walk in the door in the evening. Someone to hand the kids to. Someone who will get up with them in the morning. Someone else to do the dishes. Someone to read a book to the kids so you can take a bath. Someone to watch them so you can go to the store by yourself. Someone to help with the meals. Someone to ask how your day was. Someone to pray with at night. Someone to laugh with once the kids are in bed.

I have had a great week with my little ones. In the midst of all of the craziness, we have had a great time together. I love love love being with them and watching them delight in their world. But I'm ready for their Daddy to come home. I don't like doing it alone.

And if Rob doesn't come home soon, one member of this house might mysteriously disappear. I'm not saying which one, but I am strongly suggesting that it might be one of the canine creatures. The one whose name begins with K. But that's all I'm saying.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Her theology may be a little off

My husband works at a church. This has presented many problems in our lives this past year. Most families don't take their children several times a week to Daddy's work.

Bennett would get so upset when I would take her to the nursery when I had a meeting at the church. We would pull in the parking lot and she would say, "We're here!! We're at Daddy's work." Then when I would take her to the nursery instead of to Daddy's office she would start bawling and look at me like I was the most deceitful person she had ever encountered.

On the flip side we would pull into the parking lot and she would start crying because she didn't want to go to the nursery. She would be in near hysterics when she realized that we were just going to Daddy's office to pick him up for lunch.

Very confusing. Were we at church? Daddy's office? A lot to think through for a 1 year old.

So now that Bennett is 2 she has entered the "why" phase of her young life. She has a better grasp on where Daddy's works, but it has now taken a turn for the worse. She was pestering me a few weeks ago about why Daddy has to work.

Bennett: Bennett no like Daddy go to work. (Because clearly Elmo has taught her to speak only in 3rd person)
Me: Me neither.
Bennett: WHY Daddy go to work?
Me: (incredibly stupidly) Well, he has to go to work to make money so you can enjoy that cracker you're eating. (Or something to that effect. It wasn't exactly phrased like that. But close enough.)

Do you all see where this is going? So every time we go to the church now, she will say, "Daddy go to church to make money." Hmmm..... I told her Daddy went to WORK to make money, but she can't separate it. It is all over for us now. She tells her nursery workers, "Daddy come to church to make money." She tells anyone in a 2 foot radius the same story much to my embarrassment.

Rob was mortified. He told me to tell her, "Daddy goes to work to serve Jesus." I tried. It's too late. The damage has been done.

Which brings me to yesterday. Rob is on a missions trip with the church to Africa. Yes, it is technically for work, but it is also an amazing opportunity for Rob to use his gift of storytelling to capture video that will be shown to our congregation in hopes of raising funds and support for the people of Malawi. It is an honor for him to have this chance to use his gifts to serve the Lord.

Bennett doesn't see it like that. We were at the church last night and someone bent down and asked her, "Do you miss your Daddy?" Bennett smiled at them and said, "No. Daddy in Africa to work and make money."

Sometimes I wish he sold real estate.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

DVD players in the car: When will I cave?

So, before you send me angry hate mail, I do NOT disapprove of having DVD players in your Swagger Wagons. I know many fine people that have these addictive little devices in their vehicles. I am related to some of them. And their children are quite lovely little people.

But, I have to say that I am just not there yet. We went on a recent road trip to Alabama. I had a friend offer to loan me one. I declined. They thought I was insane. Another friend and I had a conversation that went something like this-


Me: Yes

Friend: BY CHOICE?

Me: Yes.


Me: Yes. But that's besides the point. (And don't worry, Mom. It was lemonade. You know how loopy that makes me.)



So, I know I am in the minority and I know in 5 years time I will happily be be-bopping down the road to some sort of Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, but I honestly don't see the sense in them now. Granted, my daughter has 3 tantrums an hour on road trips that I am sure a DVD player will cure, but my kids are only 1 and 2. I have a hard enough time keeping the TV off at home. Why would I want to strap them in their seats for hours and force them to watch something I don't like them to watch at home?

On our last road trip we listened to music and everyone sang along, we pointed out clouds, we talked about our trip, we read books, and we were just silent at times.

Again, I'm not opposed. I just know that once that can of worms is opened, it is opened for good. And my kids are so little. But, I am still open to being persuaded otherwise. Thoughts? Am I as crazy as I secretly think I am?

Summer Lovin'

Sunday, July 11, 2010

We're Ba-ack

We are finally back from a fun filled week visiting family in Virginia. We haven't seen Rob's family in a year and some members had never even met Will and hadn't seen Bennett since she was 5 months old. It was about time.

Rob's sister and bro-in-law live in Alexandria, but they have a home south of the DC area right on the Potomac River. So Websters from near and far piled into Swagger Wagons and airplanes and headed East.

We had a fabulous week playing with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We went for boat rides, swam, kayaked, picked blackberries, toured colonial plantations, fished, watched movies, played games, and just enjoyed being together.

Rob took about 2500 pictures. I am not exaggerating. He seriously did. Fortunately I have narrowed them down to about 33. That may seem like a lot, but believe me, I am doing you a favor. Of course, nearly all of my shots have people in them. Rob will be posting on his blog his amazing scenic shots and HDR photography. I let him do the complicated stuff.

Here we are with Rob's side of the family. His Dad and step-mom are seated in the chairs and the other redheaded adults would be his sister and brother. The remaining folks are the spouses and kids. It is an awesome family and I feel so lucky that I married into this great group of people.

My little family unit celebrating the 4th of July

Rob's father with all 6 of his grandkids. This was the first time that Jim had been with all of his grandchildren at one time.

Will with his Uncle Hazen. Even though they aren't blood related, you can totally see the similarities here, right?

Bennett and Will with their Granddaddy

Catching up with the family.

Will was the first one up every morning (!!!) so Rob would take him out in his pajamas so he wouldn't wake the house. Here is Will enjoying the sunrise over the water in his pj's.

Blackberry picking with the cousins

Not too fun on a scorching day, but the result was a fabulous cobbler

Bennett looks thrilled to be with her cousins. Maybe she needed a nap.

Fireworks! That kept my baby up all night! Oh, well. Still pretty cool.

Bennett rockin' the ipod with her cousin, Madeline. I think they were probably listening the Lady Gaga. That seemed to be the artist of the week much to everyone's chagrin.

Kisses from Granddaddy.

Rob taking a morning stroll with his Dad and kids.

Maybe my favorite picture of Bennett ever? I LOVE this shot! It looks like it could be in a Coppertone ad.

Bennett absolutely adored her cousin, Sophie. She wanted to be wherever Sophie was. They played together, read together, went to playgrounds together... everything. Bennett cried when Sophie left 2 days early.

Even Rob and I got a little downtime to relax and enjoy the water.

Aunt Laura was so happy to spend time with her newest little nephew.

Fishing with Daddy.

Making memories.

I fished too! But I only caught a crab and a ridiculously bloody fish.

Out in the kayak with Daddy.....

... with slowpoke trailing behind.

Will you guys hurry up? Can someone get me on a boat please?

Bennett is completely unaware of the danger lurking behind her. Mad Max is on the loose.

Sunset over the river. Absolutely gorgeous.


Hazen pulling in the crab traps. Yay for lunch!

Playing outside with Sophie and Jameson. What a gorgeous background.

Relaxing in the hammock.

Family boat ride. My children look slightly nervous.

Rob with his Dad and siblings.

And finally, we flew out of DC to come home, but we made time to stop at the Air and Space Smithsonian where we caught up with our dear friend Carmen and her children.

So, there you go. My captions aren't very witty because frankly there are too many of them and I am still tired. But we had a fabulous vacation. I love my family so very much and I am thrilled that my children will have such wonderful memories of growing up and spending summers in Virginia with their family.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Birthday Boy

Last night we celebrated the birthday of my 1 year old little boy. We didn't mean to wear all blue, but then we thought it was fun because it was a way to honor little Will. Not really, but it makes us seem less nerdy.

Rob and his little buddy.

Showing off Will's smash cake. That's our friend Jerry in the background. Rob will not like me posting these because they are not cropped or photoshopped, but he is asleep and we have a busy day ahead, so there you go.

Our dear friends, Terry and Mary Haines. They knew us before we started dating, I baby-sat their children when they were babies, I have been in over 50 church skits with Mary in Alabama, they were at our wedding showers, at the hospital when Will was born, and now here for his 1st birthday. I don't know what I would do without them.

Opening presents. Bennett is drawn to anything Mickey Mouse like a moth to a flame.

Everyone watching Will open presents. There's my dog Meg in the middle annoying everyone.

Happy first birthday, my sweet little William.

My parents have been to every birthday party of all 5 of their grandchildren. This was the first one they had to miss, so they joined us over skype. Pretty awesome, huh?

Eating some food. There's my dog Kirby in the middle annoying everyone.

He's a pretty dainty cake eater. I almost smashed his face in it to get a better picture, but couldn't bring myself to do it.

He would rather his Mommy eat the cake. I had no problem obliging.

It's not a party until you cover the pregnant lady with balls in the hammock. Much more modern than pin the tail on the donkey.

Nikki and Whitby. Such beautiful friends chilling on a gorgeous summer evening.

Bennett could have cared less about cake, presents, etc... She was just thrilled that Levi came. She doesn't know what to do without her best friend.

Have I told you all how much I love this little guy? I hope he had the best first birthday possible. I can't wait to celebrate so many more with him. This is just the beginning, kid.