Monday, June 27, 2011

God in Nature

Dave thought Collin undressing himself for the first time was picture-worthy. Look how proud this cute naked boy is!

Benjamin (who thankfully rarely gets out of bed after we put him to sleep anymore (unlike his sister)) came down and in tears explained how sad he was that he had to be in his room away from us when all he wanted to do is be with us because he loves us so much. How can you not let that melt your heart?!?! After some big cuddles with him and explaining how I miss him too but that he does need his rest, Daddy came to the rescue and offered to cuddle in bed with him while Benjamin fell asleep. I knew how that would end up! By the way, I left them like that all evening and night! : )

We had a tiring day on Saturday and the kids were pestering each other and so we decided we needed to get them outside and something to focus on. We decided to skip church (where we thought the misbehaving would surely continue) and Dave had the great idea to teach them that we can worship God anywhere. So we headed to Brown County and enjoyed a full day of learning about all of God's wonderful gifts that we can find in nature. The kids loved it and it was a perfect family day! While we were eating our picnic, we spotted our first animals....two large birds flying around in a circle together.

Benjamin thought they were pretty funny and told us that they were doing "The bird Ring-Around-The-Rosie".

I tried to get a cute picture of all three kids, but it wasn't in the cards. Poor Benjamin smiled so nicely for me pretty much the whole time while Anna and Collin took turns being goofy. Finally, Daddy was sweet enough to come over and help me get a somewhat good shot!

After our picnic, we took the kids into the nature center. It had been a year or two since we had last looked around in there and the kids had so much fun seeing all the animals. I think their favorite was this rattlesnake. He was pretty fascinating....getting to be so close to him as he climbed up and down the glass right next to us! (His head is next to Benjamin's thumb in the picture)

It was really neat to be so close to this cute little turtle too! (The top was left open, so we could lift the kids up and they were right above him)

Watching the bees making honey was really fascinating. They had a flower garden outside the building and a small hole with a path into this glass structure that the bees would fly in and out of collecting pollen and then returning in for us to watch them do their work.

I took over 20 pictures of Anna trying to get one pretty shot of her in these beautiful surroundings. She is so silly and animated, it's hard to get her to do a natural smile instead of throwing her arms in the air and posing with a silly grin!

The hike we went on (which was just short of a mile!) was overgrown on the sides of the path in a few places and so I took the opportunity to get a pretty picture. Again though, I had sweet Benjamin smiling perfectly while his siblings took turns being goofballs!

We all had so much fun pointing out all the great finds on our hike. We saw so many different kinds of mushrooms and fungi, squirrels, birds, a big snail, nuts in various stages, trees standing tall/broken in half/and dead and rotting away. It was a great way to teach the kids. Here's Dave showing the kids the differences in bark on various trees.

Collin did a really great job hiking for the first time. He can go so fast when he wants to now!

Collin was yelling at me in this picture (telling me that NO! he didn't want his picture taken, he wanted to just walk!) but I wanted to capture some shots of how beautiful this hike was. We never saw another person the whole time and were just surrounded by all these beautiful trees everywhere you looked!

Anna loves her Daddy!

She was so proud when it was her turn to be the leader and when the path was a little bit tedious and I would make her hold my hand for safety, she'd tell me "I love walking with you! I love it when it's the girls!"

Eventually it registered with Collin's body that it was nap time and he settled in nicely on his strong Daddy!

He seems so big when he's walking all over (and sometimes running) and talking and then he seems so young and like our baby again when he sleeps peacefully like this! PS He's now up to 3 molars and doing so well with them!!

After hiking for an hour and a half we decided that we had all earned an ice cream treat and headed into town to try some of their yummy ice cream flavors. It was such an awesome day surrounded by God's beauty!!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Weekend

It rained and stormed most of the weekend, so we just enjoyed a fun and relaxing weekend at home celebrating Dave's awesomeness as a Daddy. When the weather was clear for a little while on Saturday, we had some fun in the backyard. The kids have really been missing the water toys with the weather being cooler lately, so we've turned to bubbles for fun. We got this fun bubble machine that does a great job of blowing more bubbles than the kids could ever want for and they love running through them and Benjamin even does kung fu to them.

Collin had a blast laughing and smiling on the swings.

He especially loved it when his big brother came over and gave some big pushes!

All the boys having a swinging time!

Dave loves banana splits and recently got them for him and the kids for the first time from an ice cream shop. The kids loved them too and so I got the idea to get him banana split bowls and all the fixings for Father's Day. The kids were so cute trying to give him hints about how his present was something he was really, really going to like! Dave was surprised and so excited by the gift and EVERYONE enjoyed eating the yummy treats.......

These two actually finished off every last bit of banana split from their dish! Anna then asked if we could have them again after supper!

Since it was such a yucky day (weather-wise) we improvised and had a family movie and watched The Incredibles together and had homemade pizzas and then of course our banana splits. Here's Daddy and his kiddos finishing the movie.

Look at this adorable little boy!!

He's gonna get you!!!

The little monkey eventually joined his siblings for some Daddy cuddles....

I teased Anna for ruining my picture (which I didn't notice she had done until I loaded it on the computer). She thought it was hilarious and was clearly proud of her stinker face!

Benjamin was pretty cute here. After the movie was over, he climbed on his Daddy like below and sat like he was just hanging out with his Dad. Then he all of a sudden attacked! It's so fun to watch how much they love wrestling together!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fun At Home

Look at this neat toy that I found for the kids. It's an activity mat that has all these neat puzzles and pictures for them to color (and there's more on the other side). It comes with special markers that you use and then when they're finished you just throw it in the washing machine and they can do it all over again!

Too bad this kid doesn't know what you mean when you tell him to say, "Cheese!" ;)

Anna likes Tinkerbell a lot right now, so I found her these green wings and tutu and she loves flitting around pretending she's a fairy.

The boys saw me taking Tinkerbell (I mean Anna's) picture, so they had to have a turn too...

Benjamin enjoying some early morning cuddling with his kitty, Max....

These two have formed a sweet connection and it makes Benjamin so proud that Max loves him!

Collin's Check-up:
Collin had his 18 month check-up this week (even though he's really 20 months). The doctor says he's growing great! He is not a three footer!!! His length is exactly 36 inches which is still well over the top of the growth chart, his weight was 28 pounds and 7 ounces which is in the 75th percentile and his head still measures in the 75th percentile. It's unbelievable how much he's growing and that he will be two in just four months! Time sure does fly! He now responds to almost everything you tell him with an oh! For instance he'll ask, "Where's Daddy?" and I'll say something like "Daddy's in the garage." to which he responds, "Oh! Daddy's in grage." It's pretty cute. He can now count (close to correctly) to eleven! I can't believe how fast he's learning to count!
Benjamin's Attempt To Use Expressions:
About six months ago, we saw one of Benjamin's preschool friends for the second time when we were out and about. He was telling me how it was funny that we kept seeing her away from school and I responded by saying something like, "Yeah, we keep running into her." He immediately told me how that was so silly that we had just seen her, none of us had ran into her! So I explained how sometimes people use expression that don't mean what you're literally saying. I gave him some different examples and he seemed to get it right away. Then today we were at the grocery store and Anna excitedly pointed to a girl and told me that she was in her class. After we walked away, Benjamin said, "That's pretty neat, Momma. First we kept bonking into my friend from preschool and now Anna got to bonk into one of her friends too." : )

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Enjoying Summer

Two Weekends Ago (6/3-6/5)
A couple of Saturdays ago we had a successful yard sale trip in a huge neighborhood (we got a really nice treadmill for $30!!!). We had to come home though because Benjamin wasn't reacting well to the heat. Collin couldn't make it until we got home before he drifted off to dream land (in spite of the fact that he had filled his diaper in the car). Dave changed his diaper and he slept through the whole thing!

If only he always slept this well!

Dave grabbed the camera to document the kids all sitting at the table together for the first time....

After supper we had our first watermelon of the summer!

Like Collin's post-watermelon face?

The kids and I played in the sprinkler while Daddy did some yard work. All three kids are so brave just running right through!

After a while we had to up the fun and make a water slide with the sprinkler.

They really shoot down the slide when it's wet and keep going in the grass, but they love it!

Collin was happy to get a hold of his Daddy!

The two sides of Anna: Unbelievably Happy -

and A Real Stinker -

All three kids have really been enjoying the kiddie pool. The weather has been a little cooler the last several days and it's driving them crazy to not play in the water!

Our church had promotion Sunday where they celebrate students that graduate from preschool, high school, and college. Benjamin was so proud to get to go up and get his very own Bible!!!

Collin has spent at least the last two months in a serious Daddy-stage. He wanted to be with his Daddy all the time, no matter the circumstances. Thankfully, for my sake, he has started to turn around and is very much into his Momma again! :) Benjamin has always called me Momma, while Anna switches between Momma and Mommy. Collin seems to mimic his big sister more and more these days and has started to call me Mommy some now too. Its funny because he only really uses it when he says it over and over again. If he's super happy to see me, he runs into my arms squealing "Mommy! Mommy!" or if he's upset because he wants me and I'm not holding him, he cries "Mommy! Mommy!" in the saddest voice. Whatever he calls me, I'm so glad to be receiving lots of sweet lovin' from my little monkey!!

Last Weekend (6/10-12)
My cousin got married this past weekend. The kids love a good wedding reception to dance away at!

Anna with her Grandma that she loves so much!

Collin having fun with his Grandpa and my Great Uncle....

Anna and Katrina were so cute holding hands and running all over the place. They are starting to form a very sweet cousin bond!

I love the looks on the kids' faces in this picture! They were so awed when a bunch of people went out and did one of those dances where they all do the same moves together.

I thought this was pretty adorable!

My cousin, Joel (to Benjamin's right) saw Benjamin trying to do the moves they were doing and convinced him to join them. :)

School Story:
I was doing some apple crafts with Benjamin and Anna during our school time one day when Benjamin all of a sudden starts chanting, "Apple, apple what do you see? I see some seeds growing in me. Seeds, seeds what do you see? I see an apple growing around me. Apple, apple what do you see? I see some people about to eat me!" I was so impressed with his creativity! (If you haven't read the very popular children's book "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" then you will not get this one!)