Thursday, January 26, 2017

Benjamin is 16 Months

Benjamin is 16 months! Precious boy just keeps growing, despite my pleas to stay little!

We were a bit late taking him for his 15 month check-up, so these stats are actually only a week old:
Weight: 26 lbs, 3 oz (87th%)
Height: 32.5 inches (83rd%)
According to his doctor, he's hitting all of his milestones ahead of schedule and looking just perfect.

He is our little bookworm. He's especially digging books with animals these days with favorites being The Big Red Barn and Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? We read both of those books at least a couple of times a day, plus lots of others. He will go to his room and grab a book and then come find us wherever we are and sign please until we stop whatever we are doing and read to him. And he maybe throws a fit if we don't stop what we are doing quickly enough. =)  When we picked him up from the church nursery last week, his teacher said "He was great! And he REALLY loves books!" Yep!

Mom and Dad aren't the only ones who get the joy of reading the same books to him over and over. Big brother Jackson has begun sharing those duties too!

Other favorites at 16 months are:

  • Going outside
  • Wrestling with Andrew
  • Checking the mail with daddy (he will stop reading to go check the mail!)
  • Opening all of the forbidden drawers and cabinets
  • Stacking blocks so he can knock them over
  • All kinds of berries, grapes, bananas, and grilled cheese
  • His paci, and the more the merrier! He won't go to sleep in his crib until he has one in his mouth and at least one in his hand, preferably 2!

He follows two step instructions like "Ben, take off your shoes and put them in the basket!" He also seems to be mechanically inclined, and keenly observes how something works and then repeats the behavior. Andrew has a take apart plane with a battery operated drill that Ben loves to play with. He puts the screws in the holes and drills them in, or at least tries to! Baby proofing outlet covers have become mere decorations in our house as he loves to go around the house and pry them out.

He's mimicking all sorts of words and sounds. Here he is showing off just a few of his tricks.

The times he lets me snuggle him and rock him to sleep are so rare now. This picture was taken the night following our first day back at school and work after the holiday, and hasn't happened since. I guess he knew his mama needed some extra snuggles that day.

Happy 16 months, sweet boy!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Pinewood Derby

During Christmas break, Jackson and his daddy began preparing for the quintessential Cub Scout event: the Pinewood Derby. The pair set out for Hobby Lobby where Jackson decisively picked out the car kit he wanted, paint colors and decals. He had a vision of a red, white and blue car that he would name the USA Lightning. 

The car assembled out of the box was too light so they got to work making it heavier. Jackson was pumped to get to use power tools when his daddy let him drill some holes to add additional weights. Once the car was heavy enough, they painted it. Jackson did the base coat and dad helped with the detail work. Jackson put on the finishing touches with the lightning bolt decals.

The big day finally arrived and Jackson and dad nervously got the car checked in. But oh no! It was a smidge too heavy! That's ok, dad had thought of everything and quickly trimmed the weight that was stuck to the bottom of the car. A second weigh-in had the car at 5 oz (the max allowed weight) on the nose! Perfect.

To kick off the exciting event, Jackson's Den got to lead the flag ceremony!

Finally, it was time to race! The leader asked the boys "Who thinks they have the fastest car?" and Jackson's hand confidently shot up. There wasn't a doubt in his mind that his car was the best!

Jackson's car went in the second round and sure enough he won all four of his races!

The Pinewood Derby has gotten fancy with their technology. The cars race on a computerized track that feeds all the times into a computer that computes the average run time to determine the winner. We waited nervously through 6 more rounds, growing a little more confident and a little more nervous with each one. We knew his times were good, but his last run was significantly slower than the other three so we were nervous about how it would average out.

But sure enough, with an average speed of 200.8 mph, he took 1st place out of 33 entries! Justin was stunned. Jackson was delighted but not at all surprised. He had so much confidence that he and his daddy had built the best car, and this time, he was right.

No pressure for next year, Justin!

Andrew was pretty proud of Jackson too, and has decided that next year he wants to enter a car into the sibling division!

Congratulations, Jackson!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Mr. Snakey

Andrew brought his stuffed snake, "Mr. Snakey" to school on Friday for show 'n tell. On the car ride home, we were bantering with him about Mr. Snakey's day, if he had tried to bite anyone, etc. 

I said "You know, I bet Mr. Snakey is really tired from his big day at your school. You know what Mr. Snakey told me? He said he's really tired and wants you to go right to sleep tonight instead of playing in your bed after we say goodnight." 

*Silence from the back seat*  

Justin says, "What do you think of that buddy?"

Andrew, in a total deadpan tone replies, "Stuffed snakes don't talk."

Ha! Well played, kid, well played!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Beloved Three Day Weekend

Oh three day weekends, how I love thee. We managed to get a ton of stuff done around the house and still have time for some fun.

Monday of our three day weekend proved to be rainy and dreary. So an indoor activity was a must and Jackson wanted to go to the George Bush Presidential Library. He had gone once before with Nana, but wanted to go back to show it to the rest of us (no matter that Justin and I have been several times before). 

Of course we had to stop for the photo op in the Oval Office. 

They would only agree to take the picture if they could sit in the big chair together because, in Jackson's words, "It's a little intimidating." Fair enough.

Justin and Andrew got some pro-tips from the man himself!

We explored all of the exhibits and learned quite a bit!

Ben even liked the library ok, as long as we were moving. He got to get out of the stroller in Barbara's Reading Room and enjoyed exploring the miniature white house there.

Back at home, we all did some crafting! Jackson and Justin are gearing up for the Pinewood Derby and worked together on Jackson's car.

While Justin painted the car to Jackson's very precise specifications, I finally finished those hand print salt dough ornaments we started as one of our Christmas activities! I think they turned out so cute!

I also got our winter footprint art finished! I love these three precious snowmen brothers!

Can all of our weekends be three days? Please?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Jackson Will Make Some Woman Very Happy Someday

During Christmas break, I bought a new mascara. I liked the gave me a little more volume and lift...but it was definitely a subtle change from my old mascara. The night I first wore it, I was leaned over the tub scrubbing the boys during their bath when Jackson said, "Your eyes look really pretty today mama. That black stuff on your eyes makes them look pretty."

Seriously, my 6 year old noticed? And took the time to compliment me? I'll take it!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Best Bath Ever

The boys regularly enjoy a paint bath (we like the Crayola bathtub finger paint, often found in the Target dollar spot). They also occasionally get to enjoy a shaving cream bath. So what happens when you combine these two??

Lots of smiles!

 Ben wasn't sure what all the fuss was about, at first...

But he was quickly asking for more too!

Shaving cream paint is perfect for practicing writing your letters, whether your canvas is the bathtub...

...or your brother's back!

The good news for my tiny Picassos is that bathtub paint is also soap! Clean and entertained...definitely a win-win!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Wintry Weekend

It was winter for about two and a half days here in Texas this weekend. We made the most of it by doing wintry things like eating soup, ice skating and wearing sweaters!

Friday never made it out of the 30s which called for soup! We changed our Whole30 meal plan to accommodate accordingly and made a great hamburger vegetable soup by Pioneer Woman. We ended our evening snuggled on the couch under a blanket in our coziest PJs, watching a couple of episodes of Fuller House.

Saturday morning we woke up to temperatures in the 20s. No precipitation in the forecast though, so I had to take the big boys to the ice skating rink to find some ice. They were hosting an Open House and free skating day. Of course, free=crowded, but my guys didn't care. They had a blast anyway!

Another 30ish degree morning on Sunday meant lots of layered look cuteness with sweaters on these three boys! 

The cold clearly didn't put a damper on their personalities!

But alas, the winter weather was short-lived. It felt decidedly Spring like today with a high of 80 predicted tomorrow! Oh, Texas!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

My New Best Friend

I have a new best friend. Her technical name is ILIFE A4, but we are working on a family name for her because she is amazing. She is vacuuming my floors while I type this blog post. I love her.

Justin and I got some Christmas money from a few wonderful family members, and my sweet husband didn't even complain when I told him how we were going to spend "our" money. We are at the stage of life where time is our most precious resource. With dark wood floors and a cat and three children, I'm either constantly vacuuming or staring at the crumbs/cat hair/cat litter/dirt on the floor and thinking I should. This little lady is saving my time and my sanity. Priceless. We got her out of the box and she got right to work. Everyone was intrigued.

Especially Gracie.

Gracie doesn't let her out of her sight the whole time she is working. After a close encounter with her spinning side brushes, Gracie has decided not to get too close. But she is definitely vigilant.

So what should we name her??

Friday, January 6, 2017

Zoo Day

None of the boys had school on Monday and Tuesday, so we found ourselves with a couple more days of vacation after New Years. We needed a good reason to put ourselves back on a more normal schedule, so we decided we needed a fun day trip.

Our destination was Waco and the Cameron Park Zoo. The last time we came as a family, Andrew was a tiny little squish! It was definitely time for a return trip because it's really a great little zoo...just the perfect size for a half day adventure.

Benjamin really enjoyed seeing all the animals. He is very into animals currently. His animal books are his favorites and we've been practicing animal sounds and such. I don't think that he realized all those animals existed outside of the pictures in his books! His expressions throughout the day were filled with curiosity, wonder, and maybe a little bit of trepidation like when this tiger growled... loudly! 

Jackson was the master of our map. He made sure we visited each and every exhibit and didn't miss a single animal.

I love the giraffes!

This leopard was my favorite for the day though! He was kind of pacing around the enclosure and then we went into the cave area that has a viewing window into their world and he came and laid right beside the window. It looked like he wanted his belly rubbed! (Of course if he is anything like our cat Gracie, he would want exactly two belly rubs, no more, no less. Any more and he would try to bite your hand off!)

The slide that goes through the otter habitat is always a favorite. The otters weren't out this morning, but these two brothers wrestled like a couple of otter pups, even on the slide.

Andrew was excited to lead Benjamin all around and show him his favorite animals.

We spotted a very cute butterfly as we were wrapping up our visit!

We had lunch in Waco before heading back. Everyone napped on the return trip and arrived home ready to finish up our post-Christmas clean-up. This kid showed us how strong he is when he took the tree to the curb!

And everyone was eager to help Daddy undecorate the big tree!

So grateful for this extra time with my boys!