Monday, August 30, 2010

Yay, Tony!

My brother Tony does contract management for the Army. Last week, he and the other members of his team were given an award by the Undersecretary of Defense for the project they are working on. U.S. Senator Carl Levin was also there to speak.  We are so proud of Tony! (Ben also liked the shiny stars on Tony's coin/medal!)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Another consignment score!

I ran over to the Just Between Friends consignment sale this afternoon and finally found some blocks for Ben. I got a 75-pc MegaBlox set for $8 and also got the Little People farm for a fantastic $4! He loves animals and making animal sounds so it will hopefully be a big hit. It doesn't have any people or animals with it, but those can easily be bought later. So that will probably pretty much do it as far as big birthday & Christmas gifts for Ben along with the Little People market I got at the last sale. Ben was napping when I came home, so the gifts are safely hidden in the basement. I also found some jeans and shirts for him which should round out his fall wardrobe nicely.

Something I forgot to list in Ben's 20-month post was his new obsession with rice. He didn't even like it to begin with, but has gotten used to it and lately started pleading, "Wice, please?" almost every night when we're making dinner. We really don't know when or why he decided it was the best thing ever. He should be thrilled when he finds out we're having chicken tikka masala with rice tonight!

Ben had a great time kicking and carrying a ball around this morning. He even figured out how to carry it up the stairs.

He also decided that the variety pack of local Boulevard Beer we bought to share with Neilam & Jen next week was a perfect-sized seat.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ben at 20 months

Ben is now 20 months and keeping us constantly on the run. He tromps around the house, climbs up and down the stairs, and talks a LOT!

At 20 months, Ben:
  • loves this ABC video from Sesame Street and can sometimes be heard in his crib chattering "A-B-C-D...woo!" Between that and the Leapfrog fridge letter toy, he is fascinated with letters and tries to point them out when we're wearing shirts with words or reading the newspaper. He's rarely accurate at this point, but does occasionally get an A or M right. 
  • frequently points out cars, trucks, airplanes, and birds, whether or not they're actually there. When I get him up in the mornings, he almost always points to the window & tells me there's an airplane out there. We are amazed at the times when he actually hears or sees an airplane before either of us have noticed it.

    • is still head-over-heels for "Gee-da" (Food Network host Giada DeLaurentiis) and sometimes cries when we cut him off (although he does that with other videos too). He also has seen a few episodes with her toddler daughter Jade (slightly more age-appropriate crush!) and yesterday asked for "more Jade?" when I pointed her out in the credits. 

    Generally, though, he will pay attention to something on the TV for a minute or two, then go back to playing with his toys. Dave found out last week, though, that even if Ben is not looking at the screen, he'll still notice and object if you change the channel from Giada!

      • loves his daycare teachers and talks about them a lot. He told me "Apool [April] read book" the other day. We are so lucky to have a great daycare where even the administrative staff knows him. 
      • generally fusses less when he goes to bed, but sometimes stays awake chattering to himself for 30+ minutes. 
      • has been using his toy phones a lot to talk to Grandma, Opa, Grammie, Papa, and Tony.  Of course, if we have a webchat with anyone, he clams up half the time...
      • has several favorite songs he requests and sometimes dances to them. Here he is dancing to "The System is Down" from 

      • also likes playing instruments, of which we have plenty!  He found a recorder and a flutophone (pretty much the same thing, just cheaper and slightly easier to play) in my work bag the other day and tried to play them. On the second day he actually got sounds out of them after I demonstrated. After a few minutes, he got bored and ransacked my bag again and found a woodblock, which he proceeded to tap using the flutophone. I figured that the small stick that actually goes with it would be in more danger of being used as a chew toy, so I helped with using the flutophone!

      • can identify stars, ovals, crosses and hearts. We're still not entirely sure how he picked up on stars; ovals he learned from his shape sorter, hearts from his play dough cookie cutters, and crosses from the cross on his wall. Stars are his favorite, though, and he gets really excited if he sees one. He played a little bit at the mall playground yesterday and was thrilled to point out the stars on the carpet & star-shaped lights. I painted some wooden stars to match the hanging ribbon on his art gallery hangers and he says good night to them now.

        • has discovered a love of cooked or roasted bell peppers and onions. Still not a fan of the raw ones, but would probably scarf up 1/2 a pepper if we let him!  He also enjoyed the Venezuelan food he tried at El Porton Cafe and had fun playing peek-a-boo with a very sweet waiter. His Opa, who grew up in Caracas, was excited to introduce Ben to arepas, plantains, and flan. 
        • continues to love reading books and will plop in our laps and demand we read a book over and over again!

          We are looking forward to a visit next week from my friend Neilam and his girlfriend Jen, and my parents 2 weeks after that. We hope to take them to the Great Midwest Balloon Fest, which benefits the non-profit I work for, among other charities. We went to a hot air balloon festival in Michigan several times when I was growing up and it was always fun. We think Ben will really like it!

          Sunday, August 15, 2010

          Busy Ben

          Ben has been keeping us busy, running around, playing, and talking up a storm. He loves looking out the windows and telling us about every car, truck, or airplane he sees, hears, or imagines. He realized that his magnetic Leapfrog fridge letters could also stick on our front storm door (something neither of his parents had thought of) and enjoyed tromping back and forth from the kitchen to the living room, sticking the letters to the fridge and then to the front door. We have listened to the alphabet song so many times that he's starting to repeat letters, and can say "ABCD" with the song. We're also encouraging him to put words together so it's clearer what he wants than just saying "more." One of his new favorite phrases is "read book" - he loves his library of books and brings several over to us every day to read, sometimes over and over and over and over...

          We went to a consignment sale last week and got this whole pile of fall/winter clothes, toys, book, and instruments (the lollipop drum and ladybug xylo are for work) for ~$65! Ben's closet is now stocked with 2 nice fall-weight hoodies ($2 for the pair!), 3 pj's, 4 pants, a nice argyle sweater, 6 long-sleeved shirts including an already-beloved Elmo one, and another tanktop since the weather's been so oppressively hot.  We put away the Little People Market for a Christmas or birthday gift as Ben already has enough big toys to play with now.  I was also thrilled to find the beautifully illustrated book The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, which had been on my list to add to Ben's library. Ben's favorites are the four small Tonka trucks we found; they have been his most played-with toys since we bought them!

          Ben thinks the old stethoscope that Grandma gave him is an awesome toy, and ran up and down the hallway with it around his neck last week.

          We were out at Uncle Kenny's a few weeks ago when Dave's Aunt Lynn was visiting from Las Vegas. Ben and Little Peter had a great time playing with building blocks and Ben and I petted Kayla and tried to catch the skittish new kitty, awesomely named Kitty Kitty Bang Bang!

          Ben is also now able to get on the rocking panda that Kenny & Lynn got him all by himself and says good bye to the panda at night.

          Lastly, here are some photos that Jerry has taken over the past few months over at their house. Ben has had grandparent time the last 2 weekends as Dave & I had 2 baby showers to attend. Ben, of course, had a wonderful time and regularly chatters about Opa (which he's been able to say for a few months), Brandy (their dog), and is working on "Grandma." Jerry reports that yesterday's favorite word was "grass" and it sent Ben into peals of laughter when they looked out the family room windows at the grass.

          I think this is one of my favorite Ben pictures:

          Sunday, August 1, 2010

          Yummy Yucky

          As part of her baby shower gift, my friend Stacey (wonderfully skilled finder of randomness and fun!) got us the book Yummy Yucky by Leslie Patricelli. Ben has recently decided it is the most hilarious book he owns. 

          We videotaped his crazy giggles in response to the book but the video is too big for the blog. You can watch it here. Thanks for the book, Aunt Stacey!