Monday, December 20, 2010

The Saga of our Little Man

Reaction to a green ipod for his birthday.

Landon turned 5. The baby boy, who endured surgery after being in this world for only one month. The toddler who outran his big sister before he could say a complete sentence. The little boy who captured his preschool teacher's heart, just by looking at her and saying "Please". The little man who plays Legos with his Daddy, sings to the new ipod with his sister, and has his Mommy wrapped around his little finger...turned 5. The sippy cup is officially gone. He is now old enough to attend Kindergarten. And now Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is for "babies". A little message to this baby...I mean, boy, that continues to keep growing, even when his Mommy tells him not too:
Your smile lights up every inch of my heart, and then melts it til there is nothing left. I adore the fact that you still tell me "I love you, Mommy", out of the blue, and give hugs at any time you choose. I relish each of these, and want to hold on to that a little longer. Because you are growing into a boy. A boy who believes in God, who wants to learn everything about how things "go", who has a temper that sometimes gets the best of him, and who loves his family and friends unconditionally. You are my little man, and I love you to infinity and beyond, plus one. (inside joke)

December Pictures

Christoper the Elf
Claire on the ATD float (she's supposed to have an elf hat on...thinking she decided it wasn't her "style"!

Landon and some buddies, ready to catch candy!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Start of December

Ok, so this is a combination blog; which is about what December is going to have to be if I'm gonna keep up with the schedule and blog about it! First off, today is Landon's birthday! I can't believe it's been 5 years since my baby boy graced us with his presence. He is truly a joy and blessing! I'll go on about that later.
Second, we started our advent calendars this year (yes, plural) on December 1st. Right on time, which is pretty amazing for me! We have a "fun times" one that has candy and little papers in each day with something fun to do (ie: decorate ornaments, make a gingerbread house, etc...) and we have a Lego one. Our elf appeared that day too. His name is Christopher and is a little funnier than Hokie elf from a year ago. He likes to hide in crazy places each night! The kids wrote their letters to Santa and are feeling confident that they are currently on the nice list. This Mommy, on the other hand, has some doubts!!!
Lastly, Claire participated in the Christmas parade again this year with her dance company. The girls decorated the float the evening before at their Christmas party. It wasn't as cold this year, and therefore much more enjoyable! We even met some friends so Landon had someone to watch, and catch candy with! Okay, so that was the first 5 days of December...
Pictures to follow

Friday, December 3, 2010

Thanksgiving Break photos

Papa "creamed" Landon before we sang Happy Birthday and he blew out his candle.
Papa got creamed back after the candle was blown out!!!!
Getting some Laney love. Yes, they are under an umbrella...
The cousins playing outside...when it's way too cold to be playing outside!
Jumping in the leaves at Gram and Poppy's
Maddie enjoyed the leaves too.
Cousins in the leaves.
More cousins in the leaves...

Cousins posing for Gram's Christmas card's that working Gram?

Thanksgiving in Kansas

Our family traveled to Kansas over the long Thanksgiving weekend to spend time with the rest of our family. Cousins played, adults chatted and thanks was given by all! The weather was generally cooperative, and even when it wasn't, the kids played outside anyway! The kids spent time on bikes, in the leaves and Landon enjoyed celebrating his birthday...twice!!! Thanks to both sides of the family for a relaxing and tummy-stuffing holiday!

Photos to come soon...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Thanksgiving Tree

Landon's tree. The trunk is made of a cutout of his hand (which he cut all by himself)! I did not help with his leaves, he came up with the things he was most thankful for all by himself.
Claire's tree...she spent several minutes thinking through her options before putting the most important ones on the leaves. She often inspires me, and reminds me, to slow down and look around before putting things in writing (or to memory in my case).

My children get a whole week off from school and activities for Thanksgiving. Imagine my surprise (hahaha) when they were at each other's throats this morning before we could even get ready for church. So being the crafty Mommy that I am (another hahaha), I started them on a project. The end results were so heartfelt and sweet, I had to share. I also must note that both kiddos were sharing and visiting, nicely, throughout this crafting session. We even had a discussion about Jesus, and the Trinity and just what all that means. Although I'm pretty sure most of that went right over their heads, they listened intently and with such concentration that they quit working with their hands and just sat and stared at me! (Or maybe I'm just that boring of a storyteller!) Anyway, I love what my children are thankful for...and if I could make a Thanksgiving Tree, I would have each of their names on a leaf, along with my wonderful husband and all their attributes that make us a wonderful family. How truly blessed we are...

Monday, November 15, 2010


It is almost Thanksgiving...
but the Christmas decorations are already out in stores,
and the The Big Toy Book's pages are already marked by hopeful kiddos,
Christmas music is on the radio,
and we are anxiously making the list of things to buy and do before that fateful day.

But what about Thanksgiving? This out of the mouth of my almost 5-year-old. Why don't we celebrate Thanksgiving like Halloween or Christmas? Why don't we make crafts and talk about it alot? I didn't have an all-knowing answer for him; which he was expecting, by the way. But he cut me off before I could get the first word out of my mouth. "Mommy? I'm thankful for you and Daddy and Claire and our house and food." Thank goodness someone remembers what holiday comes first...and why we should celebrate it!

Branson Trip 2010

The cousins are ready for bed...but not even close to being sleepy!
The grandchildren with Gram.

It's not often one is so lucky to get all of the family together in one place, for an extended time, and share good memories. But we got lucky the first weekend in November when we met Gram, Poppy, Unkie, Staci and Thurston in Branson. Everyone arrived Friday evening to a condo on Table Rock Lake. The big surprise for the kiddos that evening: Uncle Frank came along! We had dinner and stayed up late playing and chatting. Saturday morning everyone woke up early...some to shop, others to play. After lunch, the whole group headed to Silver Dollar City. Although our family are "old pros", several in our group had not been, or it had been a LONG time since they had experienced SDC. We rode some rides, had some funnel cakes and enjoyed a train ride. Everything was Christmas themed, which was the point of our venture to Branson. SDC lights up EVERYTHING, and it's absolutely spectacular! The train ride stopped not to train robbers (like usual) but to the telling of the Christmas story. And The Flooded Mine (a ride) had Christmas trees among the baldknobbers (hee hee!). The best part was the huge Christmas tree that lit up in time to music, and the lighted Christmas parade. All the children smiled and laughed while the characters paraded by, and even the adults seemed to be in the spirit! Sunday morning was departure time, and everyone went back to their normal lives. Thank you to my parents and to my brother and his family for taking time out of the hectic schedule that is life and being together. Those are the times our children will remember, and those are the stories I want to tell them so they never forget!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Parties

Painting pumpkins with much thought. Each kid picked out pumpkins to paint with their own spooky designs.
Making a masterpiece. Which included a bloody skeleton and a witch on a broom.
Claire at her costume parade.
Landon at his costume's not the best picture but he is giggling away at his teacher, who is in front of him. I just think it's cute!

Claire and Landon both had Halloween parties at their schools this week. Landon's was Thursday and started with a costume parade through the school. Then they decorated treat bags, had pizza for lunch and played some games. Although the teacher offered for any parents who wished to come and play during the party, I think all the boys in the class had made a pact to tell their Mommy's they were NOT allowed! Landon told me to come back when it was over...

Claire's party was Friday. They started with pizza for lunch and some crafts. Then her whole school (all 850 of them) paraded around in their costumes. This was followed by games and treats. I actually got to help with this one, and had fun watching the kids get all sugared-up!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Nana & Papa Come to Visit

Orange goo from the pumpkin.
Showing off the inside of the pumpkin.

Friday afternoon brought big excitement as Nana & Papa came to Bentonville. Mommy and Daddy had a birthday party to attend Friday evening, so just the four of them got some "quality" time. Saturday we woke to rain, so decided to stay in and play board games and Wii. Saturday evening Scott and Beth came over for dinner and visiting. Sunday morning, Papa helped the kids carve their pumpkins before heading home. We all had so much fun! Thanks to Nana and Papa for the free babysitting services Friday, and yummy dinner Saturday!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall Fest

Sunday afternoon was our church Fall Festival and Pumpkin Patch. There was a chili cookoff, trunk or treat, hayrack ride and of course, the pumpkin patch! The pumpkin patch is new this year, with all proceeds going to the mission work being done in Haiti. It is open to the public until Halloween, but the church members got first take on the pumpkins. What a wonderful time for a wonderful cause! The kids had a blast and we are officially loaded up on Halloween candy...and it's not even Halloween yet!!!

Sunday was also Geoff's birthday. We didn't do anything too crazy, mostly because we spent the majority of the day at church! The Symons' had our family over for dinner to celebrate with ribs and cupcakes. Talk about the perfect ending to a great fall day!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ozark Corn Maze

Getting lost in the corn.
Riding the cow train.
Daddy and the kids.
I have NO idea where we are!
Shooting the cannon.

Our family enjoyed a romp on the farm at the Ozark Corn Maze. We meandered through a Razorback corn maze, with Daddy leading the way. The kids also shot corn cobs from a corn cannon and rode a "cow train" around the maze. It was a fun outing on a warm fall morning!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dance Class Observation

Claire is a dancer...she says so all the time! Regardless, it's still fun to watch her come into her own while learning to dance. It was parent observation week at dance, and so we were able to watch from within the classroom. A wonderful experience for kids and parents alike! I love watching her dance!

It's a man's world...

Landon decided to be a big helper this weekend for Daddy. He was perfectly sweet while helping too. I'm not sure if it was empathy for Daddy's knee or if he just understood that a man's work is, well, a man's work! He told me as he went out to mow with Daddy: "I'm just doin' what I gotta do, Momma!"

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ode to October

To the month of falling leaves and child-like spooks,
I beseech thee,
to be exciting, yet calm...
intriguing, yet stress-free...
enjoyable, yet restful.

I'm only asking for cool, not cold temperatures...
So we can enjoy a pumpkin patch, or a romp through nature.

I'm only asking for occasional scheduled events...
So we can enjoy spontaneous get-togethers with whomever may want one.

I'm only asking for the beautiful pleasure and perfection of fall...
So we can enjoy it wholeheartedly and remember how lucky and blessed we truly are.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Shining Star

Landon's Pre-K class has been going well! He is really enjoying it! Last week Landon was the "shining star". This award goes to the student who is most helpful and kind over several days. The reward for this honor is a turn with a Webkinz turtle named Thomas. Landon spent several hours over a period of two days playing with Thomas on the computer. He was so proud of himself...thus the goofy grin in the picture! Mommy is proud of him too. He really is a sweet, kind and helpful little man!

Miss BHS pageant

Claire was a Future Miss in the Miss Bentonville High School scholarship pageant this year. She did it last year, so when a senior asked her again, Claire was prepped and ready! Miss Kelli from dance participated in it this year and did a wonderful job! Claire did a wonderful job also...and enjoyed every minute of it! It was ridiculously humid that weekend so we didn't curl hair, but she still looked darn cute!

Monday, September 20, 2010


Some things test your patience. Some things stand the test of time. Take a spelling test. Test the water temp, test the mic, test your skills, test your faith... In the duration of a day, one is tested over and over. When tested, some people stay calm. Others tend to the "crazy" side. As for me, it depends on the situation. I'm stating this fact only as an observation I've had during the last week. Geoff had knee surgery again. And although all precautions were taken to have this situation not end like the last...I'm still tested. Geoff went to the ER today to be checked for a blood clot. The result was negative, thank GOD!!!! But in that hour before the results were known my mental state was tested. From fear, to anger, to relief...I can't iterate how helpless I felt. All is well, the patient is asleep and the kids are playing happily. And now that I'm done reflecting, I shall be happy too.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Early Mornings

We are getting up early in the mornings for school. This has been a difficult transition for Claire. Each morning I hear things like: "Why can't I just be late...or...School owes me for these early mornings". This morning was much the same, and when I asked Claire what she wanted for breakfast (while still laying in bed) she answered "Sleep, I just want sleep!"

Landon was in on it this morning also. He was up a little earlier than usual, and decided to watch cartoons while I finished getting Claire ready for school. But after a minute, he padded in to Claire's room and laid down on the bed with a frustrated look on his face. I asked what was wrong and he responded "It's so early there's not even any good cartoons on yet!"

Saturday, September 11, 2010

End-of-summer Campout

Even though we've done a ton of fun things this summer, we have not gone camping. The kiddos love camping, sleeping outside, playing in the tent, and roasting marshmallows. But Mommy is not fond of public potty holes and Daddy doesn't like to drag all the gear to a camp ground. So...we compromised last night and had a campout in our own backyard! Daddy set up the tent, we grilled burgers and made smores, and hung outside all evening. After dark, we curled up in the tent with some good books and read by lantern light until everyone was sleepy. Although it was warm and humid, everyone seemed to be sleeping well...until Daddy noticed the wind had gotten very still. After checking the weather, we hauled the kids into their own beds and broke camp. We crawled into our bed just as a storm blew in...lucky Daddy checked the weather! Another good reason to camp in your backyard!!!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Landon's 1st Day of Pre-K

With the backpack before school. I'm not sure what's with the goofy grin! He's so darn cute!

Landon started Pre-K this week.

If I could leave this blog at that sentence I'd be better than having to write out how that first day went. Not because he was a mess, or cried or didn't want to stay...but because he was SO good, did NOT cry and obviously wanted to stay! So, who was the mess, cried and didn't want to leave? ME! My baby boy was so grown up walking in the classroom, saying good morning to the teacher and playing with his new friends. I barely got a "Bye, Mom" before he was lost in the crowd.

Now, I get it. I complained last year about him crying before we even left the house to go to school; the constant hugging and holding while I tried to leave the classroom. It was frustrating and sad for this Mommy. But a little hug or kiss would be nice!!!! He is going three days a week, even though the program is five days. I just can't let him go...he'll be gone everyday soon enough! But the teacher and program are superb, and I really wanted Landon to have that this year. So he get's a part-time Pre-K status, which is just fine with both of us!

When I picked him up he was nonstop talking about the things they learned, books they read, toys they played with, etc. He loved it. Plain and simple. He returned today in the same fashion. I miss him... I can't believe he's getting so big... I want to play Legos... I'm gonna go cry now...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Geoff's New Toy

Ok, so we are ALL getting use out of it. Geoff sold the Ranger, without tears or a temper tantrum! I think that happened only because he knew the golf cart would be in the garage taking its place. The kids (and the dog) have enjoyed taking rides around the neighborhood, to the pool and to the park.

Few More Colorado Pics

Landon took a turn on the huge trampoline.
The name of the restaurant says it all!
Our stop in Denver at Casa Bonita...the kids had a blast!

Landon dressed as a park ranger.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Second Grader

Wow, time has gone by so fast! I have a second grader. She cannot be that big already! Claire's first day of school was August 19th. She got up with a chipper attitude and was ready to go! Once we got there, it was a different story. Let me preface the rest of this story with a little info: Claire loves school. She loves to learn, experiment and socialize (not necessarily in that order!). So imagine my surprise when Claire started crying before she even sat down at her desk! Ok, so not complete surprise; this crying thing when she has to separate from Mommy has been going on for several months...but at school? Of all places! The teacher came over and consoled her and after a few minutes she was fine. What a difference a few hours can make! She came home with a huge grin and a million stories to tell me! I still think this year will be just might be a little challenging to forge into the realm of maturity (for Claire, not me...).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Say what?

We are short a computer desk right now (long story), and therefore I have no idea where the cords are to download the pictures off the camera. So I am waiting patiently to blog Claire's first day of school...which was wonderful, by the way! She loves her teacher and all her's gonna be a good year! Landon is enjoying some down time with Mommy, although he's keeping me busy! Preschool doesn't start until after Labor Day. So why am I blogging you ask? To record a conversation I had with my little man this morning:

Mommy: "What would you like for breakfast this morning?"
Landon: "Why is it called breakfast?"
Mommy: "Because in the morning you have to take a break to eat and do it fast because usually you are in a hurry in the mornings..." (I obviously have no idea what the true answer is, but with all the "whys" coming out of this boy's mouth lately, sometimes I just come up with my own clever answers. This did not work today.)
Landon: "But I'm not in a hurry in the mornings, you get me up too early for that!"
Mommy: "I know, but when you are an adult and have a job you might be."
Landon: "Say what? I have to be an adult? And have a job? For real? Say what?" (He walked away shaking his head, without breakfast.)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Colorado Trip 2010

Great scenery
Rock climbing...which happened anywhere there were rocks!
"Rock fishing" at the Alluvial Fan
Sprague Lake
Wildflower hike near the Continental Divide
Snow on Trail Ridge Road
The kids became Junior Rangers at the Alpine Visitors Center. (Like their outfits? It was COLD up there on top of the mountains!)
Bear Lake
Alberta Falls...the kids and grandparents are the color you see near the top!

The kids and I enjoyed a week of vacation bible school at our church. I was a leader and the kiddos participated in a "Rock the Bible" themed week of scripture, music and fun! It was exhausting, but the kids really learned alot...including the 10 commandments! As soon as our day was completed on Friday, we headed to Pilsen and Gram and Poppy's house. Daddy met us there Saturday and we were able to play with cousin Thurston before getting up early Sunday morning to road trip to Colorado. Geoff had to work and was unable to come with us Gram, Poppy, Claire, Landon and myself hauled ourselves across western Kansas and into Colorful Colorado! We stayed in Estes Park and went into Rocky Mountain Natl Park everyday to hike, take in the scenery and learn about nature. We also road horses, played in bumper boats, and walked around town. With a stop at Casa Bonita in Denver on the way home, our trip was complete. The kids really enjoyed themselves, and were appropriately awestruck by the mountains (much to Gram's happiness!). They are still talking about the things they learned and saw. The pics kinda give a tour of the places we visited.