Saturday, December 31, 2011

Waterpark Getaway

I was on Facebook on Wednesday night & I saw that some friends of ours had taken their kids to the Wasserbahn Waterpark & Resort in the Amana Colonies for the night. Matt & I have been wanting to take Bennett there sometime this winter, so our friends decided to stay another night & we headed to the hotel on Thursday.
I was so excited! I knew Bennett was going to have so much fun! He's too young to experience the anticipation, but I think I took care of that for him. 
We got to the hotel right at check-in time, so there was a massive line at the front desk. Matt took Bennett to look at the pool while I waited to check us in & that's when Bennett's excitement hit. Unfortunately, it took us     f o r e v e r  to check in, so Bennett wasn't too happy. He couldn't understand why we couldn't just go get in the pool.
Once we got to our room, he immediately opened the door and ran down the hall trying to get to the pool. He can't open any doors at our house yet, so we were surprised! Once we corralled him back in the room and let him choose which of his suits he wanted to wear (he picked the "onge" one) it was time to head down to the pool.

We swam for an hour or so and then went to get some supper at the Maid Rite across the parking lot. After supper, it was time for...more swimming! Bennett spent a lot of time jumping off the edge, letting Matt catch him. Well, really there was no jumping involved. It was more like walking off the edge, but he was still having a blast.
We had some snacks in the hotel room when we were done swimming and then it was time to try to sleep. History with Bennett would tell us that he does not like to sleep in hotel rooms. There is generally lots of screaming involved. Our room had two queen sized beds, so Matt took one and Bennett & I took the other. I tried to put him in his pack-n-play, but after a lot of crying and a promise that he would go to sleep in mama's bed, we ended up snuggling for the night. 
At first, I was loving it. I don't remember the last time Bennett snuggled up and went to sleep like that! But then my arm went numb. &I couldn't move. I think it took me 5 tries to get my arm free and I still woke him up! The rest of the night was spent half awake trying to make sure Bennett didn't fall off the bed. I'd pushed the pack-n-play up against the side of the bed to act as a make-shift guard rail and put some pillows on the floor where the pack-n-play didn't cover. I finally fell asleep only to be awakened to a thump and cries. I think he must have fallen feet-first onto the pillows on the floor because he didn't cry much at all &went right back to sleep. Me? Not so much. I half-slept the rest of the night.
Oh! Also- Matt & Bennett invented what might be the most fun hotel-only game ever

Monday, December 26, 2011


I really should've been posting about each of these as they happened, because we celebrated Christmas with 6 different families this year!

We started by having a baking day at my parent's house. My mom and I made what felt like so many goodies, but they were gone pretty quickly as we filled tins to take to our neighbors. Bennett got to help my mom cut my dad's hair that day too. He loves helping with anything he can!

Then, we got together with my dad's extended family. I forgot to take any pictures, but we had a really great time! Bennett got some neat presents including a couple of "diggers", a book about the Little Drummer Boy, stacking toys, &a sock monkey that my grandma made for him!

The next weekend we went to my mom's parent's house to celebrate Christmas with that family. My cousin has a daughter who is just about a month younger than Bennett & it was so much fun watching them play together this year!

Some ladies at our church had a cookie exchange and I made 13 DOZEN cookies! It was quite messy!

On Christmas Eve we spent some time with Matt's mom's extended family before we headed to our church for a short Christmas Eve service. Then it was time for Christmas with Matt's family. When we go to their house, Bennett immediately heads for the toy cupboard to play with the little cars, some of which were Matt's when he was little. The only way we pried him away from the old cars was to tell him that Grandma had got him new cars. The first present Bennett opened was full of clothes. He threw each article out of the box, over his shoulder. When he got to the bottom of the box and saw there were no cars, he put his hands in the air and said, "Where are the CARS?!" and walked back to the old cars. It was hysterical! We finally convinced him to open the package that had the cars in it, but that was about the extent of him opening presents. I had to open the rest for him!

We went to church on Sunday morning and then to my parent's to celebrate with my family. My mom crocheted Bennett a monster hat that he wore the whole time we were at their house! He also got a Melissa & Doug brand semi truck with a car trailer which he calls "Matt". I think he means "Mack" from "Cars", but he also knows his daddy's name is Matt, so who knows?

We let Bennett open his presents from us Sunday morning, but we had to leave for church pretty much as soon as we were done opening. When we got home from my parents, Bennett was so excited to finally be able to play with his new toys! We got an awesome (free) hand-me-down kitchen set that he loves! He really loves peanut butter &honey toast/sandwiches &he found the play honey, peanut butter & bread &was pretending to make some toast. It was so cute!

Well, as you can see, we had an awesome Christmas! I hope you all enjoyed time with family and celebrated the birth of Christ!

21 Months!

I think each new stage Bennett is in is my favorite. He's just so much fun right now! He loves to play with cars and will do so, independently, for quite a while. We've seen the movie "Cars" a million trillion times and he likes to reenact his favorite scenes with his play cars.

Bennett Likes:
Cars, cars, cars
Watching movies
Fruit snacks
Seeing family

Bennett Dislikes:
Only getting one cookie (we've had multiple fits over this)

Struggles This Month:

Triumphs This Month:
An ever-expanding vocab

It's officially after Christmas, which meansssss... I get to start planning Bennett's birthday party. It's only 3 months away, you know. Seriously, I already have a Follow Me on Pinterest board dedicated to the event. We won't have a big party, but it's still fun to plan!

Friday, December 9, 2011


We've slowly been gathering all the necessities for playing in the snow this year. You know, a warm coat, snow pants, boots, etc. & it finally snowed enough to play a little! Bennett was too little to play last year, so I've been so excited for there to be enough snow for him to go out!

Immediately after breakfast this morning, the three four (I guess I'll include the dog) of us headed out to the beautiful white stuff (I say this now. Ask me again in February & I'll have another word to describe the snow, I'm sure.). 

He LOVED it! He kept hitting the snow like he was trying to brush it off the ground, telling us that he was "helping". He's been trying to convince me to take him back out all day. When we went to the store earlier, he headed around the back of the house instead of to the garage & was quite sad when I made him get in the van.

As you can see, there wan't too much snow. I can't wait until we really get a storm so we can really play!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Beatboxing Tractor Tipper

Just a few fun videos for your weekend!

The first is proof that Bennett has seen the movie "Cars" way too many times. This is him playing out the scene where Mater goes tractor tipping. He did this all on his own & spends most of his day tipping some sort of car, pretending to be a tractor.

This next one is Bennett's newest skill. Matt "taught" him to "beat box". It's quite possibly the funniest thing I've seen in a very long time! Except for a second in the middle when Matt joined in, all that noise is Bennett!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree!

 Bennett helped us put the Christmas tree up this year! He got into the ornament box and broke two ornaments before they got the the tree. One was a homemade reindeer from a glass ball that I made when I was younger (they must not have had shatter-proof ornaments back then...who in their right mind would make something out of a  glass ornament with a little kid?) and one town memorial ornament from Matt's childhood. We quickly decided that our pretty glass ornaments would stay in their boxes and just the fun ornaments came out this year.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

One of My Favorite Things

Even though I didn't grow up in the town that we live in now, my grandparents (my dad's parents) have lived here for years. Most of my young childhood memories of Christmas with the Stewart's involve driving several hours to the small town my grandparents lived in at the time. One year, my uncle was Santa at a local mall and he borrowed the suit to come to our family Christmas. I was old enough that I didn't believe & knew who he was, but my brother &cousins didn't know any better. That's one of my favorite Christmas memories,,. anyway, back to the original some point, my grandparents moved several hours closer to the town that we live in now. So, from that point on, I remember driving to their house to celebrate Christmas &driving by the courthouse that was brightly decorated for Christmas.

Largest Decorated Man-Made Christmas Tree in Iowa Newton
(Not my picture...obviously)

It is gaudy, it is awful & it is one of my favorite parts of living here. I don't think there is a cross there anymore, but there are still neon lights above each door that say "Merry Christmas".

A few years ago, there was talk of not being able to light the courthouse due to lack of funds, but people from the community stepped up and donated so that the tradition could continue on. It's pretty neat that the community cares enough to keep it going.

Every year, the evening after Thanksgiving, they light the courthouse and have a lit parade just after. There are food vendors and a chili cook-off. This is our fourth year living here, but this is the first year we've made it to the lighting. It was so much fun & made me love the lit courthouse even more. 

We got there early, in time to catch some chili before they ran out. We ran in to a few people we knew and then we decided to buy tickets to go on a horse-drawn carriage (or wagon in our case) ride. They were supposed to be doing rides from 5:00-5:45, stop for the parade, and then continue afterwards. As we stood in line, I realized that we were getting closer &closer to 5:45. By the time we got to the front of the line, it was 5:50. I was starting to get bummed that we may have stood in line for so long and then need to get out to watch the parade and lose our spot. Luckily, we got in the wagon just in time. As the driver pulled away from the curb, he looked over his shoulder and said, "So, it's time for me to line up for the parade, so you all get to be in it!" 

Unfortunately, we didn't get to see them light the courthouse or see much of the parade, but we did get to be in it, which was a treat. I was super glad that I'd decided to shower and clean up after all the late night shopping I'd done the night before!

Waiting for the wagon to get going.

I love the squinty face, but would like some normal pictures sometime!
Bennett was mesmerized by the lights.

Bennett waved to everyone for nearly the whole parade. When he wasn't waving, he was dancing!

After the parade they had "Group Karaoke". Basically, they set up a karaoke machine and everyone gathered around it to sing together &they passed around the mic. Pretty much the best thing ever.

Annnnnd then this happened....

Ah-mazing. It's things like these that are going to make me miss living here a lot once we move.

Monday, November 28, 2011

20 Months!

Playing Cars with Great Grandma Mary

Stacking Groceries

Bennett Likes
CARS! The movie, the toys, the actual thing...anything CARS!
(things that go)
Honey Nut Cheerios with milk for breakfast
Smoothies- He asks for a "cup-a" when I make them.
Singing songs- "Twinkle Twinkle" is a favorite.

Bennett Dislikes
Bathtime? He's always loved it, but I think he just has more important things to do now. Sometimes he still likes it.
Eating what we'd like him to eat
Going to bed

Struggles this Month
Mealtimes- When he's done, he's done.

Triumphs this Month
Knows the colors green, blue, yellow, purple, pink &sometimes orange.
Knows the letters "B", "N", "O", "T" & a few more sometimes.
Not as many tantrums as last month!

When I took Bennett to the doctor for his chicken pox, we found out that he weighs 25.2 lbs. He's gained over a pound in the last 2 months! He's also quite obviously grown taller, as pants he was wearing 2 months ago are now too short.

He continues to be super sweet. It's much easier to take him out to eat now, except for when he's finished eating. If he has toy cars, he's set to play for a very, very long time!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Things We Do for Laughs

Poor Bennett's got The Pox...of the chicken variety. I wanted to get a few pictures of them to post, but apparently getting chicken pox means that you have to jump up &down &run around like crazy because that's all he's done all day!

He did get the Varicella vaccine, but that doesn't guarantee immunity to The Pox (calling it "The Pox" makes it seem a whole lot more fun, dontcha think? Or maybe it makes me more annoying...either way, I'm enjoying it), but should help it to be less severe. So far, Bennett's not itchy, so hopefully that continues to be the case!

Anyway, he got a nice lukewarm bath tonight and then Matt spent quite a lot of energy making Bennett laugh.

Forewarning: there is a naked baby tushy in this video. Also, yes, that is my messy, messy bedroom in the background. I wish I could say it's abnormally messy, but that just isn't the case. Judge if you must...I'm lucky to have a husband who loves me for reasons other than my housekeeping skills!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sweet, Sweet Boy

Bennett has had a little bump between his eyes since he was a few months old. Our family doctor has been watching it for some time & we kept thinking it would just go away. For a while we wondered if it was because of his clogged tear duct, but after two surgeries to unclog that, the bump is still there. Our doctor decided at Bennett's 18-month appointment that it was time to refer us to an ENT.

Long story short, the ENT thinks that the bump is probably just a cyst, but because of the placement, there is a small possibility that the cyst is connected to Bennett's brain. If it's just a cyst, they'll just remove it, no big deal (according to the ENT. Big deal still according to mama.). If it's connected to his brain it's (obviously) a whole new ball game. Soooo, today we went for Bennett to have a CT scan to determine just what this little bump is.

Matt had to work, so my  mom was kind enough to go with me. We didn't have to be at the hospital until 11, which was nice since we had to be there way too early for the surgeries. We actually had to leave the house at 9:45 since the hospital is about 45 min away & we didn't get home until after 3:30, so I felt like it took the whole day.

Thinking back over the day, the things that stick out the most aren't necessarily the medical details (although there was a messed up IV trial and quite a bit of blood & crying), but how stinking sweet this little boy is.

First, we brought an insane amount of toy cars to keep him occupied. He was playing with them when we were waiting to check in at out patient registration and a little girl who clearly had a severe &probably life-threatening illness came to check in & Bennett shared his cars with her.

Then, shortly after we checked in at radiology a nurse came to see if we wanted to go to they "Toy Room" since we had so long to wait. He looked at her, stuck his hand in the air &grabbed hers. When we got to the room, he was super excited- jumping up &down & yelling "yay!". As soon as she opened the door, he said "thanks!" and went in to play. The room was awesome, by the way.

When our nurse came to get us to prep Bennett for sedation, Bennett grabbed his hand and headed out the door. He held his hand during the whole walk (which was actually a fairly long walk). There was a hospital worker who took a picture with his phone of Bennett holding Nurse Jay's hand. Bennett also gave Nurse Jay a sticker from the stickers we brought to keep him occupied.

Even after the IV debacle (pain courtesy of Nurse Jay...well, it was really because Bennett moved, but as far as Bennett is's Jay's fault), Bennett told him "thanks". When he woke up from the sedation, he just said, "Hi!". Ugh. So stinking cute. Nurse Jay even said "You're so friggin' cute!".

Also, there was a team called "Child Life" that came in several times to help us with distracting Bennett as they put in his IV. They visited us in the toy room to find out what all Bennett likes and then came to the prep area with a "Cars" book that made noises, a drum &an iPad full of awesome apps. The bubble seemed to be most effective at calming him down after they inserted the IV.

He did just fine the rest of the day. We finally went to get lunch. He had only had water and jello to eat before the scan, but actually ate almost all of his Happy Meal at lunch &nearly all of his supper! No nap today, so early to bed tonight. I'm glad today is over, but I'm trying not to be anxious about the results. The ENT said that he hasn't seen a cyst in the placement of Bennett's attached to the brain in the 25 years that he's been practicing, so the odds are in our favor.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Bah! GiggleBellies

GiggleBellies. Heard of them?

Bennett's current favorite song is "The Wheels on the Bus". He knows all the actions &now points out every bus he sees. One day, after singing it over&over&over, I stupidly decided to look on YouTube to see if I could find a video of the song that Bennett would like. Oh boy, did I ever!

**Unless you want to listen to this song 10,000 times a day for the rest of your life, make sure that your kids are no where near when you play this video. You've been warned.***

This video has over 11 MILLION hits and I'm pretty sure that at least 1 million of those are from my computer. He. is. obsessed. Any time he sees the laptop he starts chanting "Bus? Bus? Bus?" Often times, we'll tell him, "Okay, but only ONE TIME." I tried to show him other songs by The GiggleBellies, but he wouldn't have it. I guess now he'll watch Old McDonald, but it's taken watching "Bus" a million times for him to accept another song.

It could  be worse, I know, I know. He's not allowed to watch Barney for this exact reason. &I think I'm crazy because I'm actually considering getting Bennett The GiggleBellies DVD for Christmas. Glutton for punishment? Obviously.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Glow Stick Baths

A while back I found the idea to put glow sticks in Bennett's bath here. Yes, Pinterest has begun to control all my ideas (&blog posts), apparently. Anyway, I found a pack of 15 glow bracelets for $1 at Michael's the other day and picked a couple up. It's a hit! We've played with the glow sticks during the last several of Bennett's baths.

I tried taking some pictures, but that didn't work so well. I mean, the bathroom had to be dark for the glow sticks to live up to their full potential &the flash pretty much ruined all that &I'm not savvy enough to take pictures without a flash. I do have another video that shows Bennett enjoying them a little bit more, but it also reveals Bennett a little bit more ifyouknowwhatimean &I'm all for keeping my little boy modest, sooo I've opted to post the less fun-filled video.

These things have already made it onto my "Bennett's Stocking Stuffers" list. They're that cool....and cheap.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Okay, so you're all like, "Didn't she just post about carving pumpkins yesterday?! &about a pumpkin patch recently, too? How many more of these pumpkin posts are there going to be?" Well, this is the last one. Ohkayyy?

Pumpkin painting. This is one of my favorite parts of Fall around here. I feel like I can be so much more creative than I can whilst (yes, whilst) carving &the pumpkins last so much longer. Downfall? No pumpkins seeds to roast.

Painting worked so well this year with Bennett! He needed direction, but it wasn't like carving where he couldn't really do anything. He was so excited about it & I didn't have to show him what to do at all. He totally knew what we were doing.

Bennett was straight-faced the whole time he was painting, just like he is when he's serious about know, like drumming & dancing.

He seriously smiled for about two seconds for this picture &that was it. Painting is serious business, man!

We had so much fun painting our pumpkins. Even after we were done, Bennett kept asking to paint more. I've pinned quite a few homemade paint recipes (finger, bath, etc.) and painting art projects lately. I think we're going to have to start doing them more often!

Friday, October 28, 2011


A few weeks ago, we went to Matt's sister & brother-in-law's house for supper and some pumpkin carving. It was fun to see Bennett's reaction to the pumpkin "guts". Jake has a really nice camera, so I'm sure you can guess which of these pictures came from his camera vs. mine.

*Photo by Bennett*