Monday, December 26, 2011

Ben is 3!

December 26, 2008

 December 26, 2009

 December 26, 2010

 December 26, 2011

Enjoying the golf set that Papa & Grammie sent him while modeling the Cat in the Hat t-shirt from Uncle Tony, Aunt Jen, and new cousin Gwen.

He needed a little help blowing out the candles and, despite his love of music, did not want us to sing "Happy Birthday" to him.

 He approved of both the color (orange, his favorite) and taste of cupcakes and frosting he helped make.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fun with Ben

Just a little silliness from the other night. We love hearing Ben giggle!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Visiting Santa

We took Ben to see Santa at Bass Pro Shops this morning. He was a little nervous in line, but did really well once it was his turn. The camera elf caught him in a slightly confused, "Why is that lady shaking jingle bells at me?" look.

When Santa asked him what he wanted for Christmas, Ben cheerfully replied, "A candy cane," which was what we told him he'd get after he got his picture taken with Santa. When Santa assured him that he was going to get a candy cane today and asked if there was something Ben wanted for under the tree on Christmas, Ben just looked baffled. I suggested a Matchbox car and Ben thought that was a good idea. It's nice to have one more year where Ben hasn't yet been heavily influenced by the incredible toy marketing on TV. They don't really show toy commercials on Food Network or the free on-demand cartoons that make up the bulk of TV he actually requests to watch. Thankfully he didn't ask Santa for a set of Rachael Ray cookware (it is orange, his favorite color) or Guy Fieri Knuckle Sandwich knives!

Ben has also been enjoying our Advent calendar. He remembers (better than I do!) what day it is and asks to open that drawer. A few drawers have things like stickers, but most are family things like decorating the Christmas tree, doing a holiday craft, reading a Christmas book, or going out to see the Christmas lights. You can also see his favorite Christmas ornament, George Brett, on the tree behind the calendar. Dave is very proud!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to our family & friends!

Ben was shy on arrival to Thanksgiving dinner but warmed up and got chatty after a while. Here he is with his turkey hat on, chewing on Duck while he surveys all the people: 

The five boy cousins under six years old (!!) had fun eating at the kids' table, playing with building toys, running around outside, and climbing a big gravel hill. Ben also loved trying to get close enough to Kenny & Lynn's cat to pet her. I think he got two pats in total before she scurried off to quieter places.

Finally, Ben shares a holiday song he learned at school. Unfortunately, he turned away at the "crunch" part so you miss his enthusiastic reenactment of that:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Quick updates

 A few updates from our house:

• A few weeks ago, we bought a tricycle from friends whose daughter has moved up to a bike. He's been having a great time with it, though it's challenging since we live at the top of a hill and have very little flat space to ride. I have no explanation for the expressions in the second and third pictures!

•We've been working on potty training & Ben is doing pretty well with it. He earned enough stickers on his sticker chart to choose a prize. He asked for a number puzzle and has enjoyed the nice Melissa & Doug one we found. We made the executive decision not to put in any batteries before we gave it to him- why does a puzzle need sound?! He certainly doesn't notice anything missing!

•A few weekends ago, Ben decided that the salad spinner was the Best Toy Ever. He spent the whole weekend playing with it, sometimes with magnets/other detritus in it, sometimes just making imaginary food for us.

• Inspired by his golf lessons with Papa, Ben has been practicing his swing. Golf clubs are usually whatever drum mallet he can find.

•We've decided not to take Ben trick or treating this year. He doesn't really grasp the concept of Halloween and he's in a phase where he's been getting anxious and taking time to warm up in new situations, even if he knows the people we're meeting. We felt that going up to strange houses would be more stress than it's worth. He & I are going to his Halloween party at school tomorrow and he can wear his cute Halloween shirt when we hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters on Monday. He's had fun with the pumpkin crafts we've been doing and the pumpkin he got to pick out yesterday as a reward for being a good helper at Target :)

•Tonight for his extensive crib concert Ben is rewriting "Baa, Baa Black Sheep" to span the rainbow. We've heard baa, baa white sheep, yellow sheep, and orange sheep so far. Also on the program are perennial favorites "Let's go, Royals," "76 Trombones," a rubato mashup of the ABCs with counting, and a Shatner-esque spoken word version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." He will occasionally pause and ask his animals (we assume) if they want to listen.

•Ben wanted to spend his pre-bed play time playing the piano. Ben chose the "Mommy Goes 'Round the Sun" song and we repeated it multiple times for different family members and their pets. He played the piano with great gusto on the "Boom!" part at the end of each verse. He is now trying to fit his full name in to the song as he sings in his crib. He still can't quite grasp that the order goes first middle last name; he keeps trying first last middle.

•At daycare, Ben is beginning the transition to the three-year-old room, spending short spurts of time there before returning to the 2's. He had a hard time at first but has been doing better going back and forth. Yesterday kept asking the 2's teacher if he could go to the 3's.

•Last week was the start of my third trimester. Baby girl is kicking up a storm and had a strong heartbeat at our appointment last week. We were kind of shocked when the doctor told us it was already time to start scheduling appointments every two weeks instead of monthly - hard to believe we're at that point already! We will be starting to transition Ben to a twin bed so he's used to that by the time she arrives and needs the crib.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Trip photos, part 2

Ben helped Mom go through her stash of scrapbook paper odds & ends by punching & gluing them for a collage. He would've played with those punches for a couple of hours every day and probably started trying to punch shapes out of everything in the house if we hadn't put them away after a few days.

Grandma refereeing as Dad & Ben race cars down the hallway:

Ben LOVED trying out Dad's golf clubs. Note that Dad is wisely standing far out of club range from the very enthusiastic toddler golfer. Please note that the slightly Unabomber look was entirely selected by the two-year-old despite not actually needing his hood up or sunglasses on.

Hanging out with my grandma:

On Sunday we went over to Tony & Jen's house to see their newly remodeled kitchen and play pinball & drums downstairs. Ben really did quite a good job exploring Uncle Tony's drum set and stretched on his tiptoes to hit every possible cymbal. It took him a little while to figure out the foot pedal for the bass drum.

Baby bump picture of me & Jen. She & Tony are expecting baby Gwen 3 1/2 weeks before our baby girl is due. Possibly some of the belly was because we'd just eaten lots of salad and pizza at Buddy's!

Mom had a small surprise gift for Ben every morning. He liked the big box and packing paper that his Magna Doodle came in almost as much as the actual gift. 

On our last full day in Michigan, we took Ben to Yates Cider Mill, one of our favorite places to visit in the fall. Their cider & donuts were a great treat! The cider mill was the first thing that Ben told his teachers about when he returned to daycare.

Two ducks were splashing around in the river. Ben had a great time watching them and quacking. 

He wasn't quite sure about the goats at first but insisted on seeing all of them and yelling "HI, GOATS!" and "BYE, GOATS! BYE, BABY GOAT!" before we left. 

He also helped Mom get her exercise by instructing her on running down the trail above the river. He kept repeating, "When I say 'ready, set, go,' that means you run." They'd then run about 8 feet before he'd stop and tell her the same thing again.

Crib concert & trip photos, part 1

Ben is in a singing mood again tonight. His crib concert thus far has consisted of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," "Hey Diddle Diddle," and a remix version of daycare's days of the week song ("Mondaaaaaaaaay, Tuesday, Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesdaaaaaay...").

We flew up to Michigan last week to visit my family & attend my sister-in-law Jen's baby shower. Dad brought Grandma up from Ohio for a few days as well.  We took Ben apple picking at the orchard, to the cider mill, to my favorite pizza place, and to see a marching band practice as part of the "boys' party" while Mom, Grandma & I were at the baby shower. We also spent a lot of time cheering on the Tigers, who were kind to my blood pressure last night and beat the Yankees to move on to the American League championship.

People seemed to like turning Ben upside down, possibly because he kept asking, "upside down, again!" We warned them that they were responsible for anything that fell out.

We went up to the Big Red apple orchard, got to take a hayride pulled by a tractor (Ben was thrilled!) and went apple picking. Ben also tried to pick up a giant pumpkin. He was thrilled to help stir and eat the applesauce that Mom & I made with some of apples we picked.