Saturday, August 28, 2010

Summer Catch-up: Part 2

We got home from our Great Louisville Adventure on a Monday, and the following Friday (July 30), we were on the road again.  This time we drove to Abilene, Texas, to visit Daniel's family.  Colorado Springs to Abilene is a long drive.  A loooooong drive.  But we entertained ourselves by making Ben repeat funny sounds -- this was a new trick at that point.

Daniel grew up in Abilene, and his parents are still there, and his brother/sister-in-law/nieces and nephews recently moved there, too!  So it was a big ol' family affair.

This time, we stayed at Clark and Stephanie's (the brother and sister-in-law) house.  They have four insanely cute kids, and Ben was in cousin heaven.  The three oldest cousins were really sweet to play with him, but Asher, who will be two in December, usually wasn't much of a fan.  Probably because Ben constantly poked him in the face.

Whilst in Abilene, we had an early birthday party for Ben because the Wiginton side of the family won't be here for his big birthday bash next week.  I think the pinnacle of a first birthday party is watching the baby smush cake in his face, and I didn't want to jump the gun on that special moment, so we had donuts instead of cake.

He loved the donuts (poor kid has his mama's sweet tooth).  And he got all sorts of fun toys.  Thanks, Grandmommy & Daddo and Clark & Steph!

Despite valiant efforts, we never managed to get a good picture of our little family of three.  Ben's sugar high was probably not helping matters.

Clark and Stephanie live on a lake, so we spent lot of time playing outside and enjoying their backyard and its nice view.  

And as if that weren't awesome enough, Clark bought a kayak while we were there, so we all took a few turns row-row-rowing the boat gently down the lake.

And when the 500-degree weather proved too much for us, we came inside and played with fake mustaches:

This trip also included a fun double-date with Daniel's parents.  We went to a cute, girly restaurant AND a fun little gift shop with local stuff AND a candy store, all in downtown Abilene.  That's pretty much a run-down of my favorite things, so I had a great time.  But I don't have any pictures to prove it :(

I do have a few pictures of the zoo, though!  We went to the Abilene Zoo!  The zoo was mucho fun, until Ben started melting down a little around naptime.  We had to cut our visit short, but we still got to see some good exhibits.

The whole trip was quite enjoyable.  And even though Stephanie destroyed me in several late-night games of Nerts, I think we will probably go back again :)  Assuming our Abilene hosts will have us.

*I'm almost caught up now!  Just one more trip (to Estes Park, CO) to cover, and then the blog will be devoted to a sappy post or two about baby Ben's turning the big oh-one!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Summer Travel Catch-up: Part I

The last month or so has been a bit of a whirlwind compared to our normal (admittedly boring) lives.  And I have been so very negligent when it comes to blogging all our adventures, but no more!  I hereby vow to make three posts this week, catching the blog up on our recent trips before I start making sentimental Ben's-first-birthday posts.  Hooray!

Part I:  Louisville/Southern Indiana with My Girls

I already wrote a little bit about being in Louisville with Daniel and my mildly tragic side trip to Nashville.  We were in Louisville together as a whole family for about a week, but then Ben and I stuck around for an extra week of fun with some of my favorite girls in the whole wide world.

Oh yes, we did take a "prom picture" on the stairs.  That's (left-right) Rebecca, Whitney, me, and Angela.  The four of us have been close friends since high school. After graduating, we started a tradition of making almost-annual trips together to different major-league baseball parks.  This year, we went to Cincinnati (such a cool ballpark!) to see the Reds play the Washington Nationals.

None of us are die-hard MLB fans (sorry, Dad), but the baseball trip tradition gives us a nice excuse to get together in a fun city without the pressure of staying for a long time and doing everything you're supposed to do when you go to a fun city.  Our only stated objective is to see a baseball game.  But the only actual goal is to spend some time together.

This year, we got to spend more time together than normal, which was perfect since our last baseball trip was two years ago.  Whitney and her hubby live in southern Indiana (right across the Ohio River from Louisville, and a short drive from Cincinnati), and they were kind enough to let three extra girls and a baby invade their house for a week.  We couldn't all fit in the one car we had access to, so we just got to bum around Whitney's house most of the time.  It was glorious!  

Whitney has a beautiful baby girl named Norah, so we spent a lot of time staring at babies.  And sitting around and eating and not getting dressed until the middle of the afternoon.

And reading to babies and dressing them up all young Hollywood-like.  Ben doesn't usually like anyone to play with him except me and Daniel, but he took to my girls very quickly.  I think he might have developed a few little crushes.  Smart boy.  If he marries a girl half as wonderful as one of these, I will be a happy mama.

I am incredibly thankful for these girls' friendship, and I'm so happy we make a point to see each other and stay invested in each other's lives.

As if that weren't enough fun, Angela and Rebecca and I sat by the Doobie Brothers at the Louisville airport at the end of this trip.  One of them talked to Ben, and then Angela got an autograph.  The End.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Boy Wonder

DISCLAIMER:  This is going to be the sort of post that is really uninteresting to everyone except me.  And possibly my mom.  If you choose not to continue reading, you should at least enjoy this cute picture:

In the last few weeks, sweet baby Ben has magically started to get what spoken language is all about.  It's amazing (especially to a mother who may or may not be a language nerd)!
So far, his vocabulary includes:
  • ball - He says this one allllll the time now.  It started out as "bop," but now he says "baa" in a funny, nasal way.
  • cat - He pronounces it "dat," with special emphasis on the "t" at the end.  If he hears me or Daniel say something about the cat, he starts looking around for Justin and saying, "Dat?  Dat?"
  • meow - This one is particularly impressive to me because I didn't try to teach it to him.  He just started saying it (pronounced "mih-now") on his own.  He chased Justin yesterday while saying "mih-now" over and over.
  • no, no - Hmm... I wonder where he got that one?  He seems to be better at saying it to us than he is at obeying when we say it.  Little stinker.
  • uh-oh - Usually when he drops/throws something on the floor.
  • pat - He really loves to pat things (anything, really) and say, "Pat, pat, pat."
  • mama - My favorite, of course :)  Sometimes we'll be in the middle of playing, and he will point at me and say, "Mama."  But he is especially good at saying "Mama" when he is upset.  Often, he adds an extra syllable - "mamama."
  • bye-bye - His Southern roots come out with the pronunciation of this one.  It also takes him a little while to realize that it's appropriate to say bye.  He'll watch someone leave the room and then wave and tell them "bah-bah."
 Other language-related tricks include:
  • correctly answering the question, "Where is Mama's nose?"
  • clapping on command and when we say, "Yay!"
  • answering "aah, aah, aah" when I ask what any animal says
  • making valiant efforts to imitate any sound effects Daniel and I make with our mouths
  • obeying when I tell him to "pat, pat, pat" anything
  • laying his head on my shoulder (briefly) when I tell him to "love Mommy"
  • attempting to blow kisses -- he rarely gets all the components right, and sometimes when we blow a kiss to him, he makes the noise in this video: