Monday, December 7, 2009

Things Are So Grand at the Ole Opry

Brad was gone for 1o days to India. 1o looong days. Long for me, anyway!! In an effort to make the last weekend a little more bearable, Bennett and I planned a trip with Nana and Gigi to the Opryland Hotel in Nashville. We had SO much fun!!

We went to Charlie Brown ICE! where everything was made from ice. Everything. It was so wild! And, it was so COLD!!! We wore our ski gear and we were still really cold!
They gave us these very stylish blue jackets for warmth.
Bennett didn't like it that his was so long, but he stuck it out!

I have to note here that Linus' blanket was NOT made from ice.
Bennett thought that it was special that the blanket was real :)

Bennett and Gigi were special buddies the whole weekend long
(complete with wrestling matches and singing various renditions of 'Jingle Bells') :)

On Saturday morning we had breakfast with Charlie Brown and Snoopy.
It was probably the highlight of the whole trip for Bennett.
Of course, we were up REALLY early, so there weren't many people to compete for Charlie's attention :)

We love Snoopy too!!
Bennett was in heaven... pancakes with whipped cream, sprinkles, oreos, and white chocolate chips and a doughnut.
I made him get the strawberries and eggs. I don't think that he ate them!!

We also shopped all morning at the mall and then we went to the Rockette's Christmas show. Bennett did really great at the show... the live nativity was totally amazing!

We spent the evening back at the hotel. We checked out the lights - the whole hotel was a Christmas Wonderland (and you know we Boothe girls LOVE all things Christmas - a trait, I'm glad to report, has been passed on to Bennett :) I'll spare you all of the pictures of the scenery... but here's one more of Bennett in the outdoor light spectacular...

Thankfully, Brad made it back (on time!!) last night. We were so glad to have him home!!! Bennett didn't get to see him until tonight - and I have to say that I don't think I've ever seen him so happy and excited to see someone!! :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

So much to be thankful for...

I'm going to start with the top 100:
  1. God - His love and mercy amaze me every day.
  2. Brad
  3. Bennett
  4. Mom
  5. Angie
  6. My family
  7. Brad's family
  8. Asbury UMC
  9. Friends that are just like family
  10. Bible Studies
  11. 1st and 2nd Grade Children's choir
  12. Kim, who keeps me sane while attempting to teach the Children in the choir :)
  13. Bennett's school
  14. Bennett's teacher (this year and last year - they are the best!!)
  15. Bennett's imagination and the fact that he spent Thanksgiving day as Indiana Jones
  16. Bennett's love of reading
  17. Bennett's love of paper and markers
  18. Brad's job
  19. Our house
  20. the mini-van :)
  21. Thursday night TV
  22. MacBook Pro
  23. photo printers
  24. my 'big' camera
  25. my little point and shoot camera!!
  26. Coke zero
  27. scrapbooking - the hobby and the collection!!
  28. Rony, my hair dresser
  29. ABC family's 25 days of Christmas shows (and the 25 day countdown to the 25 days of Christmas!)
  30. Coach handbags
  31. Bobbi Brown lathering tube soap
  32. Book Club
  33. Golden Grahams
  34. Nestle Toll House break and bake cookies
  35. My washing machine and dryer
  36. The DVR that lets me watch all of those shows that I technically don't have time to watch!!
  37. My hair dryer
  38. the new Chris Tomlin Christmas CD
  39. to do lists
  40. great pens
  41. new notebooks
  42. my G1 phone
  43. Gmail
  44. the Google calendar
  45. my watch
  46. the color of fall leaves
  47. Hydrangeas
  48. My workout partner, Tonya.
  49. my back - it's not perfect, but it's better than it was!!
  50. Bennett's giggle
  51. Bennett's snaggle-tooth grin :)
  52. the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom
  53. Sadie
  54. our mailman
  55. coupons
  56. our pastors
  57. Christmas music
  58. Facebook
  59. my Ipod
  60. scent-free Bounce and All detergent
  61. hand sanitizer
  62. outlet malls
  63. Dairy Queen
  64. Publix
  65. Good neighbors
  66. the light-fixer pro
  67. raisinettes
  68. family dinners
  69. turkey - especially the one that Angie cooked today. Yum!
  70. cherry pie with ice cream
  71. internet shopping
  72. free shipping
  73. fond memories
  74. chapstick
  75. Bennett's coaches
  76. garbage collectors
  77. online bill payments
  78. cute (and comfortable!!) shoes
  79. down comforters
  80. clinique super powder
  81. plastic bins that I can organize things in
  82. Chick fil a
  83. Static Guard
  84. my new bathroom
  85. soft towels
  86. freedom
  87. safety (Bennett wants me to put 'safety in our new land'... he's been thinking a lot about the Pilgrims!!) :)
  88. clean sheets
  89. slippers
  90. my hair barrette
  91. hand lotion (a must with the high usage of hand sanitizer :)
  92. Kraft 2% sharp cheddar cheese
  93. Sandestin
  94. remote controls
  95. in-door ice and water on the refrigerator
  96. Dyson vacuums
  97. clothes that don't require ironing
  98. medicine
  99. double sided tape
  100. car washes
Wow... 100 things came to me pretty quickly!! I could probably think of hundreds more. How about you??

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Birthday to you...

Happy Birthday, Brad. You're the best husband and daddy in the whole wide world :)

This week, as I'm counting my blessings, you're at the top of my list :)

Love you!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

my kid rocks!!

I've been wanting to get Bennett to the Japanese Gardens for months... today was the day!! I was meeting some friends to shoot a Christmas card picture and talked Bennett and Brad in to tagging along. I'm pretty pleased with pictures I got in just 15 short minutes :)

I'm trying something new with the pictures - trying to group them for a little more variety... how does it look??

We are having a great weekend at our house. The rain held off all day, allowing us to not only spend time at the Gardens, help mom move some furniture, get our tree decorated (ok, that's indoors...), get some dinner at Don Pepe's and do our grocery shopping. We are looking forward to celebrating Brad's birthday and Thanksgiving this week - and Brad leaves on his mission trip to India in just 6 days!! Should be a busy week!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Mostly treats...

We had a wonderful Halloween yesterday! I hope you did too!!

Here are a few pictures of our fun times :)

Here are the 2 pumpkins that Bennett designed:
The pumpkin on the left is Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars. The one on the right is Brad, complete with drawn on glasses and cross necklace. In case you are wondering, I am learning to give up control one step at a time... the pumpkin designing this year was a step in that direction :)

We had a wonderful time with our neighbors at our annual hayride - it was cold, but it was fun!!

In years past, there has been a guy with a chainsaw that has induced terror in our hayriding clan. This year, the kids were ready. They talked about him all night long. Bennett called him the 'Chainsaw Master' and was ready to defend us with his light saber. The Chainsaw Master never showed up... this year, he was able to bring plenty of fear with just the anticipation of his arrival :)

As you can see, we are still having issues with Bennett's 'smile' face. Remember this?? This crazy-smile-and-crazy-eye-thing has been going on for quite a while. Sometimes I am lucky enough to get some really good pictures (like these) and I think that this phase is over. And then, I am confronted with moments like last night...

I'm learning to just give up, though. I'll look back on these pictures one day and remember this awkward time, right?? His sweetness makes up for his lack of a picture face :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Super Thursday!!

Wow! What a super day!! A super, big, exciting day!!

We have been planning for the last week for the Boosterthon Fun Run at school. Bennett has personally called every relative (or emailed, in the case of Uncle Chad, who is overseas :) getting pledges - he called. Not me or Brad. He was SO excited!!

Here are some pictures of the big event (which, by the way, occurred in the rain - and resulted in these mediocre quality pictures... but you'll still get the idea!! :)

And... he's off!!

First lap down... gotta get the shirt marked...

The first of many water breaks...

The American Idol lap (air guitar!!)

I love the Boosterthon!! Bennett completed the whole 35 laps!! Now he gets to call everyone and tell them how much money they have to pay up :)

After school, we rested for a little bit and then Bennett had his red belt test at Tae Kwon Do.

Here he is focusing before the big test...

His form...

One Step Sparring... (He's chopping that kid in the neck - Go Bennett :)

Preparing for the board break...

He broke it!! Yippee!!


Putting on the new belt...

He did it!!

Bennett totally NAILED his test!! I mean, 100% confident. Not one mistake. He did great! I am so proud!! He is so proud. There is something so wonderful in seeing your child succeed after trying and preparing so hard. Such a blessing!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Trunk or Treat fun...

Long, long ago...

Well, actually, back before school started this year, Brad and Bennett hatched a plan for our 'Trunk' at our church's Trunk or Treat celebration... The theme?? Star Wars, of course!!

Bennett began planning right away and has thought of little else since that day about 2 months ago. He's drawn pictures, planned costumes, drafted family members, and talked and dreamt about it. It really has been so fun for me too. To see him so excited it priceless.

So, here's our trunk...

Bennett drew a scene and picked out his figures and vehicles to complete it...

And... the costumes...
Han Solo, Luke, and Leia
Can you tell that we REALLY love our son??? :)

and Luke and Padme :)
(Gigi really loves Bennett too!!)

And, this is how we ended our weekend...
I can count on one hand how many times Bennett has fallen asleep without being told to.
I guess that the Carnival at Nana's church yesterday, church this morning, a baseball game, and then Trunk or Treat really wore our little man out.

We are such a lucky family :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

the grand reveal...

Did you even know that we were remodeling our master bathroom??? Well... we were!! :)

Our bathroom has needed work since we first moved in to the house - remember that 'cultured' marble with the gnat sealed for all eternity in the counter top? Lovely as that little gnat was, I was ready for him to go...

You can imagine my thrill, uh, I mean, dismay, when our shower began leaking into the basement. Being the opportunist that I am, I jumped on the chance to make some big changes...

Here are the before pictures:
I'm sparing you the pictures of the disgusting mold and mildew that lurked below the floor...

Mr. Gnat lived, I mean died and was buried, right there in the corner of the countertop...

Turns out that the bathtub is the only thing that we kept...

Ok, and now for the after... I know you can hardly wait!!

Look at that nice clear (non-frosted) shower door!! And that front on the bathtub!! Oh, and that nice new wall color?? (I do miss the brown, though...)

Look at that beautiful tile... no more mildewy fake marble!!

One of the major challenges of the old set-up was that we had no storage - namely, no linen closet. Poor Brad had to give up his closet space for a sweater-organizer-turned-towel-holder. See that corner cabinet on the bottom? The one that spins around?? It houses all our linens!! AND....Look at that AWESOME corner cabinet!! I've got my hairdryer and all our toiletries in there. It is so great!
(and there are no gnats in that granite!!) :)

You can't really see much in this picture - but I wanted you to see the pattern of the tile on the floor... it's so pretty :)

So, that's it. Our new bathroom...

Lessons learned:
1) It may seem like a steep price when the estimate comes, but rest assured, you will want to spend more as the project gets going...
2) Having a picture to show the lady at the tile store makes all the difference...
3) Having a sister who find the 'inspiration' photo makes even more difference :)
4) A good contractor is hard to find - but I found one!!
5) If Brad's current job doesn't work out, I think that I might recommend plumbing. They get paid well. Or tile. Or painting.
6) Construction dust is gross. It gets everywhere. You must vacate the area within 50 feet of the construction area.
7) Brad will let you have the space in his closet once taken up by linens for the excess shoes in your closet. He's that kind of guy :)

So, if you come over, I'll let you try out our new shower. I think you'll like it!! :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Pros and Cons...

I've been reminded lately that with every pro, there is usually a con. Take, for instance, Bennett's love of drawing and writing... This time last year, as we were just getting started in kindergarten, Bennett would barely consent to holding a pencil or marker in his hand, much less enjoy it. Each time a paper came home with something that I could recognize, I saved it, wrote the date on it, and hoped that one day he might be able to draw a person with not only arms and legs, but also all of the features of the face.

Well, once his interest was sparked, in typical Bennett fashion, he took off. He started drawing. All the time. This is definitely a pro - I love to see his creativity in action!

He's drawing constantly. Really. It is so strange to me, but now he asks to draw in between tasks. I love it! Here is a picture of his drawing desk...

And here, you can see that the sides of the desk are filled with pictures as well:

His favorite subjects? Star Wars, of course. Sometimes I get a Scooby Doo or a Charlie Brown. And, every once in a while, I get a family portrait... the problem? Well, sometimes, he draws very realistically:
See how tall and skinny Brad is? Very true. See me? Although I am obviously very happy in the picture (I am jumping up and celebrating), I am noticeably, well, let's just say I'm wider :) I'd count this as a 'con'.

Let's turn to his prolific writing... He can write and read just about anything now. His interest in this was just like drawing - it came over night and seemed to take on a life of it's own. Suddenly he was reading signs all over the place (pro) - and we couldn't spell things in secret any more (con)!

Another 'pro' is that things are clearly labeled in our house:
I've explained several times that 'EXIT' has an 'I', but he continues to tell me that that's not how it's done where he sees it. Interesting.

But, the biggest 'con' to this writing ability came to me very early on Sunday morning. Bennett got up before the agreed time (5:32 to be exact - a full hour before the agreed upon time) and I told him that he could lay on the floor (we've made him a pallet on the floor for these frequent occasions). He continued to talk to me - 'What time is it?' 'Can I get in the bed with you?' 'Is daddy here?' 'Can you feel my loose tooth?' 'When will our Halloween costumes get here?'. I finally responded with 'You are making me angry. Please be quiet' or something along those lines and he got quiet. I awoke a few minutes later to find this note on our bed:
In case you can't read it, it says "Dear mommy and daddy I have decidid to stay in my room all day becos noone loves me any more. Your Son Bennett Ray Steenwyk"

Definitely a 'con'.

Just in case you were wondering - he came out of his room about 10 minutes later to make sure we had seen the note. He didn't return to his room.

Oh, and he knows that we love him very much! :)