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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Vanderbilt, All Hail!

Remember that last post when I gushed about how great Ben was on our trip?  Care to guess how he's been now that we're home?  Yeah, not awesome.  There hasn't been a lot of sleeping in our house this week.  I've uttered the phrase "I'm glad you're cute" many times.  So to remind myself just how cute he is -- and to document one more item crossed off my 30 Before 30 list -- I give you pictures of Ben by pretty things at my alma mater.

 
Here we have the lovely, oft-photographed Kirkland Hall.

These are some pretty, growing things outside Furman Hall (I had to look at a campus map to remember what the name of that white building was).

And this is a statue of some lady in the Branscomb family reading a book.  Behind Ben is my sweet friend Melissa, who kindly kept my boy from falling to the ground.

These next pictures don't exactly qualify as pretty things, but they are places on campus that have sentimental and/or comedic value to me:

Kissam Kissam.  This is the building where I lived my freshman year and where Daniel lived his freshman year.  It looks a little like old-style housing projects.  But check out those fine ladies surrounding Ben.  Thanks to Mackenzie, Susanna, and Melissa for making our 24 hours in Nashville so much fun and for running around in the 1000-degree heat to take these pictures!

Baseball Glove Lounge.  Perhaps you can see why this room would have that name.

BCM building.  This is perhaps the ugliest building of all time, but I spent many important hours of my life here.  And I met some of my dearest friends and my husband because of the Baptist Collegiate Ministries.  So, yay! (Also, notice how Ben won't put his leg down in the grass.)

I really loved being back on that campus with Ben.  My life would be very different without Vanderbilt, and my life would certainly be very different without Ben -- so it was fun to bring those two important parts of my life together for a couple of hours.  Almost makes me feel guilty for throwing away all those alumni support letters we get in the mail.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

All in a fortnight's work

We're home!  I plan to make a post or two about all the fun we had in the last two weeks of travel (don't I always say that?), but first it's important to note that Ben is suddenly becoming a big kid.  Allow me to offer as evidence all the changes he has made recently.

In the last two weeks, Ben has:

*cut two teeth -- and should get two more any day now.

*started making more sounds -- including an s sound and a motorboat sound -- and imitating more of what we say to him.

*figured out (finally!) how to go from his belly to sitting up.

*gotten pretty darn good at pulling up to standing.

*started saying "pat, pat, pat" when he pat-pat-pats things.  This one is particularly adorable.

*eaten several meals of just table food (instead of baby food).


Honestly, I expected this trip to be a little bit miserable since Ben is... um, not easy-going.  But suddenly he was so easy-going!  There were still some less-than-pleasant moments, but I'm in shock that he was such a champ during our travels.  Go, baby Ben!

One more piece of evidence that he's a big boy now:  he pooped in the toilet tonight.  For real.  I stripped him down in his room and was walking to the bathroom to put him in the tub when he started making his (unmistakable, trust me) "poop face."  I wasn't sure what to do -- putting a diaper on for a few seconds seemed dumb.  So I sat him on the toilet, and he went right ahead and did his business there.  I don't know why everyone acts like potty training is so hard.  That was a breeze. ;)

Friday, July 16, 2010

With a capital S

I grew up in the for-real South, but apparently two summers in a place with reasonable temperatures and low humidity is all it takes to make me soft.  The fam and I have been in Louisville this week (yes, we're our of town - go rob our house!!), and from the moment we stepped off the plane, I've been pretty convinced I'm going to die at any moment.  I feel like I'm in the rainforest.  

Despite the inhumane weather conditions -- and sharing a room with Ben, who is two time zones off his schedule and has to nap in the car most days and has grown 1.1 new teeth this week -- we've had a really great trip.  Our adventures have included walking in a park by the Ohio river (with shaved ice to ward off my imminent death) and petting painted metal chickens:


And taking a picture on the bench where Daniel asked me to marry him:


We also had a playdate with some friends we know via the worldwide web, but I failed to push the memory card all the way into my camera, so I can't figure out if I actually have any pictures from that evening.  Sadly, that was not even close to being the stupidest thing I've done on this trip.  Today I did something truly Stupid.

Ben and I drove down to Nashville yesterday (more on the good parts of that trip later), just for one night.  We were two hours into the three-hour return trip today when I realized we were driving on a few tablespoons of gas.  So I pulled over into the next gas station I saw and reached for my wallet.  Which wasn't there.  Or anywhere else in the car.  That's right.  I left my wallet in Nashville.  That meant I had no cash, no cards, not even a driver's license.  My closest ally was Daniel, who was in class an hour away and didn't have a car anyway.  Pretty Stupid of me, right?

I felt like a con artist when I told Debra at the counter my sob story and asked if I could pay for gas by just giving her my credit card number.  Nope.  Ben's cuteness came in handy, though, and she felt sorry enough to buy me $10 of gas. 

The whole situation got me all flustered, and I made the Stupid decision that it would be rude to nurse Ben at a table in the air-conditioned gas station since I wasn't exactly a paying customer.  No, no.  I should instead sit outside in the car, in which I couldn't run the air conditioning and risk not having enough gas to get to Louisville.  Have I mentioned the heat yet?  I had the windows and a door open, but that doesn't do a lot when the heat index is 103.  

Bless Debra's sweet heart, she came to my rescue again.  She saw me in the car during her cigarette break and ordered me to go inside.  I have never been so happy in the dining area of a gas station before.

The rest of the day has passed without incident, and my wallet will get here before I need my ID to fly home (theoretically).  Really, as far as colossally Stupid moves go, this one didn't turn out so badly.  It definitely reminded me, though, that I am sometimes a total idiot, and I need to pay better attention to what I'm doing.  Or maybe I need to slow down?  I don't know what the lesson should be here.  The one thing I know for sure?  Debra from the BP station off I-65 in Elizabethtown, if you're reading this:  I love you.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Another predictable post. But with a great many pictures.

My former colleague Elly wrote recently about making her blog a place for something more creative than just a recap of her life.  I have no such aspirations.  Thus, I give you another week-in-review post, in two parts.  But to take my blogging laziness to the max, I'm not even going to write anything except headings and captions.  

Part I:  Micah's Aunt Cheri and Uncle Brent Come to Visit, and We Do Fun Tourist Stuff
Palmer Park, the best place to take out-of-towners

Glen Eyrie castle

 Dinner at Flying W Ranch

Riding the cograil up Pikes Peak

Full of mischief on the cograil (ohhh, man) 

 Giving Cheri some good lovin' on the cograil
Top of Pikes Peak

 This is what we got on the 4th instead of fireworks: giant hail.

Part II:  Cheri and Brent Leave, But We Try to Do Fun Stuff Anyway

 Standing at the coffee table (aren't you glad I captioned this one?)

Duet with our buddy Nathan

Friday, July 2, 2010

More fun than you can shake a stick at

I know some of you who read this blog do really exciting things with your time.  Things that involve getting dressed and leaving your house.  So when I say that Ben and I have done something fun every day for the last week, you might laugh at me.  But by my standards, Ben and I have done something fun every day for the last week!  


Last Friday, my friend Jenna (really our friend because she and Ben like each other an awful lot) came over for dinner and some hanging out.  Ben pulled himself up to standing for the first time ever, while Jenna and I watched and cheered.  And we ate yummy spinach quiche.


On Saturday, we went to a cookout for a friend who retired from the Air Force.

This picture isn't from the cookout, but it's from the same day, and I think he looks really cute and big.

On Sunday, we had a cookout at our house for some wonderful Sunday School teachers who are retiring from their teaching gig.  I don't have any pictures from that either, but I made this yummy chocolate chip pound cake and would recommend that you make it ASAP.

On Monday, I finally took Ben to baby storytime at the library.  I've wanted to go for a long time, but it's always during his morning nap.  This Monday was no different, but I just decided to suck it up (it's only 30 minutes), and we both had a great time.
Ben slept really hard that afternoon and woke up with serious bed head.

On Tuesday, we went to playgroup with girls from my Sunday School class.  Again, something I never do because of naptime.  Apparently I was feeling very brave this week.  Ben had lots of fun, even though we stayed an hour into his normal naptime.  

Then on Tuesday night, our whole family of three participated in a 5K with a "running" club downtown.  This group meets every week, and they welcome anyone -- even out-of-shape people who walk the whole route with a stroller!  It's a really fun route, past Colorado College and fabulous old houses that I covet severely.
Please overlook the fact that Daniel and I both look ridiculous in these pictures.  We felt too silly to stop and actually pose for pictures, so this was as good as it was going to get.

On Wednesday, we had a couple of friends and their three cute kids over for dinner.  No pictures of that either.  We were just trying to keep everyone alive and the house intact. :)  We also went to Target, which I am ashamed to admit I consider a fun outing.

On Thursday, we broke in Ben's brand-new (purchased at Target the day before) baby pool.  He loves being outside, and he loves taking baths, so this was like a dream come true for him.  Plus, I'm too cheap to buy swim diapers, so his regular ol' diaper expanded to comical proportions, and he thought it was funny to play with:
video 
He lasted about 30 minutes before he started trying to crawl out, and we had to call it quits.

This morning, we pulled out all the stops and went with a pair of fabulous friends to the zoo!  I never really liked the zoo when I was a kid, but what was I thinking!?  The zoo is the bomb.  Ben wasn't quite sure what to make of the whole experience, but based on his complete lack of crying (and he skipped his entire morning nap, mind you), I'd say his impressions were pretty positive.
I did a terrible job of taking pictures, but seriously?  Does a zoo picture get any cooler than this one?  He was nuzzled by a giraffe, and we have documentation of it.

Despite the fact that we are both tiiiiiiired, the fun isn't stopping yet.  My aunt and uncle are on there way here at this very moment, so there will certainly be more Colorado-style fun ahead of us this weekend.  And then next week, I plan on staying in my pajamas for several days at a time.