Friday, February 29, 2008

Spring is Right around the Corner....

Hooray for 53 degree sunny weather (Benjamin and I were outside all morning digging in the "dooht"), Samoas and Thin Mints (thanks to a Girl Scout who happens to be in my Primary class), and American Idol back in season. Yes, that's right. I admit it, I am a recent addict of American Idol (being able to fast-forward through commercials greatly aids this obsession). I say recent, because Paul and I only started watching this cult show last year, and we were pulling for Jordin pretty early on in the competition. It's still a little early this year to pick favorites, but how could you not love David Archuleta? A little 17-year-old from Murray, Utah with the most amazing voice and zero ego. Paul and I were both stunned with his performance this week, and we immediately wanted to download that performance, though we haven't been able to figure out how yet. I've never even loved the song, "Imagine All the People" by John Lennon. But wow.
The other show which I admit to watching is "So You Think You Can Dance?" (I'm laughing as I write this) The Season is coming up! I guess you could say we really enjoy watching people's talents. We're so cultured. :)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Messy Play

Today was "Messy Play" at the Parents as Teachers Center. So I don't think I've mentioned how much I love this program here yet, but it is seriously the best! I first learned about it from our realtor when we moved here, but later learned that it's offered in every state. It's especially popular here in Missouri. Basically, it's a free program that aids parents of 0-5-year-olds in educating their children before they start school.
I have a Parent-Teacher Educator, Mary Kay, who comes over every couple of months and plays with Benjamin while she answers any and all of my questions, and keeps me on track as far as what to look for in his development. It's also nice because she has really sound advice about cheap/free activities and developmental toys that are appropriate for his specific level and interests. Paul can of course attest to the fact that I'm much happier on the days that Mary Kay comes over. She's awesome. She makes me feel like I'm a rock-star mom, which is much needed praise in an occupation that generally feels thankless. And she thinks Benjamin is an angel, which I couldn't agree with more! :)
So this program also keeps me informed about field trips, toddler classes and playgroups that I can join, and free parenting classes in the evenings, including "Love and Logic," which is not usually offered free. I plan on taking that in the Spring just before Benjamin's 2nd birthday, and the real toddler rage emerges.
Once a year, they have "Messy Play" at the Center where there are tons of acitivities that allow toddlers to make a mess. Generally, Benjamin is a very tidy, clean boy who enjoys washing his hands, shutting doors and putting things back where they belong. But I got him excited to go anyways; he was pulling us out the door this morning. He refused to touch the wet oatmeal or mounds of shaving cream, but we found some other things to keep him entertained. Benjamin had a blast, and we took an obsene amount of pictures for your viewing pleasure!
Benjamin is making his own work of art with glue and glitter and all sorts of fun stuff. This was fun! They had paper plates and markers set out on "Spin Art" machines.
Benjamin liked the slimy frogs, snakes and crocodiles that were hiding in the trough of green "swamp" water.Paul helped Benjamin string some Fruit Loops onto a pipe cleaner. Most of them went directly into his mouth, though.
I loved this room! Benjamin had to take off his shoes and socks and walk through the sensory course. He enjoyed the soft ones, but would have nothing to do with the bubble wrap.
Here he is in scared cat mode. He quickly learned that if he stepped anywhere, there would be scary, loud pops. He wanted to maneuver any way he could AROUND this one.
Here he is climbing through a tunnel. There was a miniature playground with a slide, so we of course had to take advantage of that!
Benjamin loves going to the "Discovery Room" at the Center. It's not usually free, so we don't go often, but he LOVES the kitchen area best of all. He made pizza and cut it with the pizza cutter. Then he set the table with plates and spoons.
The toaster is pretty cool! Here it is, mid-action.
And here, we have Benjamin preparing one if his very favorite dishes, scrambled eggs. We go through more eggs in our house....
He was having a blast. We finally got him to leave, though, by bribing him with bananas, another one of his favorite foods. We never thought we'd have a child that we could bribe with bananas. He was totally compliant and said "Bye!" to all the toys and rooms and ran out to the car. The whole way home, we heard from the back seat, "Nanna! Nanna!" Paul and I just have to laugh. Where did this kid come from?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Another one for the Grandmas

Here's a little video of Benjamin doing the Wheels on the Bus. We tried to get him to do Book of Mormon Stories which is way cuter, but he would have none of it.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Fun Times

Paul made a beautiful Valentine's Day dinner with salad, steaks, scalloped potatoes, grape juice, and mint Milanos and chocolate-dipped strawberries for dessert. He gave me a beautiful single long-stemmed red rose and little presents throughout the week. What a sweetheart!

Benjamin got a Valentine present from our elderly neighbors from across the street!

He lit up when he discovered what was inside.

First thing, he needed to make sure his new teddy bear was changed. He wiped him and diapered him.

Then of course, new teddy needed to meet his neighbors and make friends. Bean is giving new teddy a hug.

New teddy gets a ride on Benjamin's push toy.
It was hard to finally convince Benjamin that he needed to go to bed. He was having way too much fun with his new teddy. Once he was down, Paul and I got to lounge and watch a movie together in the basement. As we were going to bed, my stomach, which had been feeling somewhat unsettled all evening, emptied all its contents. All night. About every half-hour. It was miserable. It finally stopped around 6 am, but by then I was exhausted, and Paul needed to go to work (also exhausted). Benjamin couldn't figure out what was wrong with me, but we essentially spent the entire day watching videos while I tried to recuperate and reintroduce foods into my system. I'm much better now. I have no idea what that episode was all about. I can't imagine it was food poisoning since we had the same foods, but who knows. It will certainly be a Valentine's Day I'll always remember!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

I've got the two loves of my life. Really, who could ask for anything more?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Pink Playdough

I learned this new trick last week. When coloring home-made playdough, use about a half of a packet of Jello. It takes the edge off the smell and doesn't stain your fingers. We had fun playing with it!

When Paul came home from Argentina on Friday, Benjamin was all smiles. Paul handed him a random blank card (It was in a gift bag) with a painting of a horse on it, and Benjamin immediately took ownership, carrying it all over the house, saying "Neigh!"
He also got a few Valentines from cousins and grandparents this week, and has been excited about those. He understands of course that Valentines are what you give when you love someone.
He especially loves the one with Lightning McQueen from "Cars" on it because it moves when you turn it.
He makes this little face sometimes, though I'm not sure what it means. I think he just does it to be silly.

Friday, February 08, 2008

My New Favorite Toy

I have a new favorite toy. It's SO fun! It's a laminator, and I got it at Aldi (a German grocery store here) for $20! It came with 30 sheets, so it's already paid for itself. I thought it was a pretty sweet find.
I just finished laminating scripture reading charts for my 8/9-year-old primary class. I've challenged them all to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year, in honor of President Hinckley, and his challenge that he made to us a few years ago. Since we're studying from the Book of Mormon anyways this year, it works out perfectly. And I've offered all sorts of incentives along the way, so it should be fun.
I'm also getting excited about making quiet activities for church for Benjamin. Oh, and more FHE lessons. The possibilities are endless....I'm such a craft nerd.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Welcome Home, Sister Cannon!

Paul's sister Abby, who has been serving in London, England for the past 18 months will be coming home today!
Welcome back to the U.S.! We're excited to hear from you! Benjamin is especially excited to get to know his favorite missionary aunt. One of his favorite songs these days has been "Called to Serve." We're all so proud of you and the tremendous work you've done!

Monday, February 04, 2008

We'll miss you, Paul!

Well, we dropped Paul off at the airport today for his business trip to Argentina. He'll get back on Saturday, so it won't be that long...but we'll sure miss him!
Benjamin wanted to play "I'm So Glad When Daddy Comes Home" on the piano today around the usual time when Paul gets home, and was insistent that he was going to walk through the door any minute. He ran over to the window and got pretty upset when I told him he wasn't coming home tonight, and that he was on an airplane. Poor kid. Later tonight when he was going to bed, Benjamin turned around before turning in for the night and said, "Bye!" to Daddy. It was precious. And of course I, having nothing better to do this evening, am blogging about it. So I'm missing him too!
So in effort to tell Paul how much he's missed, I am posting a random blog of "good times."
Don't they look exactly alike here?! Same expression and everything. This was taken last Summer at the BYU Creamery on 9th.

This was take on Christmas morning, 2005. His sisters Abby (who is coming home from her mission THIS Thursday!) and Claire are waiting with us on the stairs. I'm looking pretty good for first trimester morning sickness, even if I do say so myself! (haha..yeah right...) And Paul's sporting a beard (a.k.a. the ultimate sign of rebellion for a BYU student).

Uh, I have no words. This was Halloween, back when we were engaged. Yep, that about sums it up.

This was this past Thanksgiving break, when we were out with Paul's family. Benjamin was at Grandma and Grandpa Lowe's, asleep.

Also, I wanted to point out that at President Hinckley's funeral during the slideshow in the last song, that was MY cute husband standing there with his two adorable sisters and dad next to President Hinckley! We were both shocked when we realized it was him in the picture. What a wonderful funeral it was! I've been fine ever since I learned of his death, immediately comforted by the fact that it was definately his time, and that he deserved to finally get a break. Well, I couldn't help but cry during the service as I finally let it sink in. I will really miss him! I seem to remember my Mom having similar feelings about Spencer W. Kimball...of course I'll love and honor and sustain the new prophets, but President Hinckley will always hold a very special place in my heart, as the prophet of my youth.
Now, with Presdent Monson and his counselors President Eyering and President Uchtdorf, we have a new chapter of the church to look forward to!

On a slightly different note, Paul and I have both been fretting about tomorrow, Super Tuesday, and the contrast this whole election process is to the change in leadership in the church. We've been praying that the people voting will be guided by the Spirit, and that whatever the Lord's will is, it will happen. We of course would like Mitt Romney to win, but who knows what the Lord's purposes really are with his campaign. Time will tell.
We were excited too learn that Mitt Romney was coming through St. Louis on Saturday, but were never able to find out where or when that would be. I think he did stop in, briefly after attending President Hinckley's funeral, but only really made an appearance at the hotel he was staying at. His son Matt was at our ward the next day though, and bore a nice, unassuming testimony. Paul and I, realizing who he was, ran back there afterwards to shake his hand and give him and his dad our support. We're on pins and needles until tomorrow's over!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Snow Day!

So for those of you who grew up around mountains, these pictures will probably look like a joke, but we got a pretty good amount of snow last night! I grew up in Virginia, where an inch of snow would cause at least a two hour delay. I have fond memories huddling around our old radio in the kitchen on snowy mornings and hearing "WMAL, KM-63!" in a garbled sing-song tune, and listening for "Fairfax County schools: closed." Nothing quite so exciting!
I thought those days were over, but Paul's Blackberry started buzzing in the middle of the night last night, informing him that the office would be closed today. So we got a three-day weekend with him! This is especially nice, condidering he'll be in Argentina all next week.
We came outside with visions of making a snowman, but Benjamin's still a little sick, so he didn't last long outside.
Later in the day, Benjamin took Paul outside, and headed down the nicely shoveled walk and straight for the car. He must have needed to get out of the house, but he didn't get his wish. I thought this was a really pretty picture of the snow.
Here's Paul, working from home on the bed. I guess we never made the bed today. Oops.
Benjamin was cute today. I guess he's gotten to the point where he's okay with me painting, because he took me downstairs and helped me get out the panel and all my paints. He'll sit quietly on the couch and watch Elmo while I paint. It's a nice arrangement. As you can see, it's only about 2/3 done. This one will eventually go in his room.