Friday, July 29, 2011

Not only does he speak Chinese...

My brother's girlfriend, Andrea, recently returned from 4 months in Eastern Asia. She stopped by for a visit today and brought us presents!

Bennett was excited to see Andrea today & he really loves the training chopsticks that she brought for him. He really wants to run around with them, but after a few close calls (read: chopsticks almost in his eye), we decided that they are best used when eating.

Andrea brought a beautiful table runner and chopsticks for Matt &me, too.

Yes, those are Spaghetti-O's in the video. This is the first time Bennett's ever had them. Actualy, the can says that they are actually not all that bad for him, &the can doesn't lie. There's a full serving of veggies in there. Annnnd the cheese &grapes even all the sodium out, right? Isn't that how it works?

Untitled from Shannon Linser on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vacay- Part 2

Consider this a photo dump. I have a trillion.

 Isn't this video just the cutest?

Untitled from Shannon Linser on Vimeo.

The pizza at Beau Jo's was really good. They have Rocky Mountain Honey on the tables to put on your pizza crusts. Honey is one of Bennett's favorite things, so he spent most of dinner just eating honey off of his pizza. Yum!

Matt's parents lived in Colorado before they had kids and Beau Jo's was one of their favorite places to eat. The first picture is just them (obvs) & the second one is of them and all the people who they've "helped to make" since they left Colorado.

After supper at Beau Jo's we browsed some of the shops in Downtown Steamboat Springs.  Bennett is pointing out Abe's nose and giving him a pound. Matt thought the shirt in the upper right picture was funny. It says, "Confidence: the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation."

One of my favorite things that we did was hike at Fish Creek Falls. It's a 5 mile hike up the mountain if you go all the way to the lake at the top, and then another 5 miles back down. The girls only went about a mile up, I think. The boys went a little further, almost to the second falls, so probably 2.5 miles up.

1.Warning about rock climbing 2. Initials carved into trees along the path 3. Sarah looking at the falls 4. The girls after we came back down. We were waiting for the boys to finish. 5.Bennett fell asleep in the Boba carrier on the way up the mountain and enjoyed the rest of the ride with Matt. 6. Elizabeth, Sarah & Rebekah feeling the cold mountain water

Philip, Jake, Sarah, Matt & I went river rafting one morning. We were hoping for a level 3/4, but ended up with level 2 with one spot of level 3. It was still a lot of fun, but definitely could have been a little more challenging.

 We went on a bike ride on the last full day we were in Steamboat Springs. Bennett hadn't ever ridden in a Burley and he really liked it. We might have to start looking for one on Craig's List. When we started our bike ride, I was having a really hard time. Before this trip, I hadn't been on a bike since before I was pregnant with Bennett, so about 2 years. We went on a bike ride earlier in the week and I had been just fine. I couldn't understand why everyone was able to go so fast and I felt like I was going to die. I mean, even the 6-year-old was doing better than I was. I kept having to stop and walk or get water. It was rediculous. When we stopped for lunch, Philip looked at the bike I was riding and realized that the brakes had been stuck on. Yeah, I'd been riding that bike with the brakes on. It was good to know I'm not that out of shape!

Bennett & Linda checking out the trees and river when we stopped for lunch on our bike ride.

1. Bennett playing with my sunglasses on the long drive home 2. Hello, Wyoming! 3. Crazy Nebraska weather 4. More time playing with sunglasses 4. &5. More crazy Nebraska weather

Okay, I'm done with my vacation least until we get back from taking our youth group students to camp next week.

Monday, July 25, 2011

"Who wants to see my HOH rooooom?!?"

Okay, HOH room. I'm just really in Big Brother mode. Seriously, I've had several dreams involving the game. So, the real title of this post should be something like "Who wants to see pictures of my vacation?", but I kind of feel like I'm asking you all to come and see my HOH room. As in, you don't really want to see all these pictures, but will look at them to be nice. Um, so sorry to all of you who are totally lost by all of these references to Big Brother. I'll stop.

I think I'm going to break these posts up into a couple different ones because I took 182 pictures. I won't bore you with all of them, but you'll probably see a lot of them.
We left for Colorado at about 8 pm and decided to drive as long as we could. We eventually decided to stop for some sleep about 1:30 am. In retrospect, we probably should've stopped sooner...for Bennett's sake. He was asleep in the van, but freaked out when we tried to lay him down for the night. He was so overtired. We eventually got to sleep about 3 am. We were on the road by 9 or so the next day and drove to Colorado Springs.

We stayed at my Great Aunt & Uncle's house on Thursday night. It was so much fun to see my family. {See this post about my excitement for vacation} Bennett & Marley didn't really notice each other too much, that is until we put them in the same chair.

There's a big rock-thingie (I really want to call it a mini-mountain, but I know that's not what it is. It's just bigger than anything I've seen in Iowa...haha) in their back yard, so we walked up to the top to enjoy the view.

On Friday we went to the Olympic Training Center (sorry, no pictures) &then Focus on the Family. I loved listening to Focus' Adventures in Odyssey program when I was younger, so it was fun to see Bennett explore the play area.

Bennett & Matt playing with the puppets, Matt helping Bennett check out the toy train that was running around the ceiling, Bennett & Bekah climbing through the tunnel

There is a 3-story slide at Focus on the Family. I'm not a fan of twisting around in enclosed spaces, so I passed, but Matt's sisters all took their turns and really enjoyed it.

When we were done at Focus, we headed north to Steamboat Springs. These next pictures will be super boring to you if you live anywhere with a level of elevation higher than 934 feet (yeah, that's the elevation of the town I live in...I looked it up). The sky was just so beautiful and we really enjoyed the view of the mountains!

Part 2 to come...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

We're Back!

We're back from our vacation! Just in time for VBS at church and then off to take the Youth Group students to camp for a week.

I'll post about vacation later. Right now I'm still recovering from a million hours in the car, a teething baby & lack of sleep. Isn't vacation supposed to be restful? We had a great time &it was much needed, but I definitely don't feel more rested.

I'l leave you with this video of Bennett dancing to the washing machine in the timeshare. If he hears a beat, he's gotta dance!

Untitled from Shannon Linser on Vimeo.

Friday, July 22, 2011

16 Months?!

Has it seriously been a month since I posted about Bennett being 15 months old? This past month as gone way too fast & this coming month is only going to go faster!

Bennett Likes
Chasing the dog
Being outside
Going to see friends
His extended family
Reading books, especially "I'm a Little Teapot"
Being alone with Daddy
Jumping in his crib
Having his back rubbed or patted

Bennett Dislikes
Leaving Daddy
Having to go to sleep
When others get hurt
Sometimes having his diaper changed

Triumphs This Month
Knows what a dog, lion, monkey & cow say
Throws away his wet diapers
Being able to be a little more flexible with your sleep schedule
Points to himself when asked where Bennett is
Smiles and says "Cheese" when you take a picture
Will say "Set, Go!" after we say "Ready"

Struggles This Month
Teething? I think we're working on eye teeth.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Back in January I saw this tutorial and decided that I needed to try it in Bennett's room. We used a lot of fabric to decorate for his birthday party and at the time I bought extra so that I could make these frames. Recently, I finally got around to making them and putting them up. Unfortunately, it only kind of worked out. I did take some pictures of each step as I was making them, but the tutorial over at How About Orange is so much better than mine would have been, so if you'd like to try it, use hers.

Here's how I think mine would've worked better.

  • If I'd had a rotary cutter.
  • If I'd done it at my table and not on my ottoman while watching Friends.
  • If I'd sprayed the frames a little more with the Stiffen Stuff.
  • If the walls in Bennett's room were flat.
After I ironed the frames to the walls (yep, ironed to the wall), some of them didn't want to stick. Also, there are a lot of bumps on his wall, so I don't think this helped much. It kind of scuffed up the wall a little bit where there were bumps, but a little paint will fix that. Any of the frames that are low enough for Bennett to touch are already off the wall.

The plus side? He loves them! He really likes to look at pictures of his family and now he can see them when he wakes up or if he's having a hard time going to sleep. Also? No heavy frames that could fall and hit him.

Bottom line? There's a right way & a wrong way to do this project. Mine being the wrong way, How About Orange's being the right way!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I'm a Little Teapot

Bennett has a lot of books. It's really important to us that he enjoys reading, so we read to him a lot. My grandparents gave me a lot of books growing up and my grandma wrote "From G&G Kenney" and whatever the occasion was in the front cover of every book. My mom has decided to continue this tradition with Bennett, so she's given him tons of books that say "Love Grammy" on the back of them.

One of these books is "I'm a Little Teapot" by Iza Trapani. I tried to read this book to Bennett a few months ago and he wanted nothing to do with it until my mom came one night and read sang it to him. Now? He can't get enough of it. I don't know about you, but the song that I learned growing up had one verse. This book has twelve verses. Twelve. & my mom sing each verse in a different accent. She's kinda awesome like that. Needless to say, this is currently Bennett's favorite book.

In true toddler fashion, he wants us to read it to him over&over&over&over&over. I've resorted to hiding the book after the 5th time in a row of reading it. He always finds it. Recently, Matt and I have started using the book against each other. As in, "Hey Bennett, Daddy will read you the teapot book! Go take it to him!" The last time Matt tried to do that to me, though, it backfired and Bennett insisted that he read it to him.

There have been several instances where I have walked into the living room and seen Matt, with Bennett on his lap, reading "I'm a Little Teapot". It makes me so glad that 1.Bennett loves his Daddy, 2. Bennett loves to read & 3. Matt is such a great dad. Even though Matt & I dislike this book so much, it definitely came on vacation with us. Hey, we aren't going to squelch his love of reading.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


We're going on vacation! I'm pretty excited. Just a little. We leave tonight. Bennett's getting excited, but his idea of packing and my idea of packing are very different. He's decided that we need to bring a big ball, one flip flop, two throw pillows and a plastic rake.

Mine looks a little more like this:
Oh yeah, there's a back side to that. Do you notice the color coding? After reading this post, my friend Sarah McElvaney gave me a set of Gelly Roll Pens! I've been using them almost daily.

Anyway, we are going to Colorado with all of Matt's family (His dad, mom, 3 sisters & 1 brother-in-law). We'll be gone for 10 or 11 days (we haven't quite decided). I have some family that lives in Colorado & we're going to stay at their house one night. I'm pretty excited to see them! My cousin (technically, technically my first cousin once removed...or my dad's cousin) has a daughter who is almost exactly 6 months younger than Bennett and we haven't seen each other since before either of them was born. I can't wait to meet her little girl! We'll also see my Aunt & Uncle (technically great aunt & uncle, but whatever). We last saw them when Bennett was about 6 weeks old.

We've gone on vacation with Matt's family years ago and have tons of memories and fun stories from our trips. I'm excited to create some new memories. I also can't wait to have Matt away from work for a week and a half & enjoy the beauty of Colorado! I have a couple of posts auto posted for while I'm gone, just so that things don't get boring here. I might get a chance to post a little while I'm gone, but we'll see about that. I might just spend all my time enjoying our family.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Iowa Boy

Is there anything more Iowan than corn on the cob and pork chops in the summertime? I think not.

Untitled from Shannon Linser on Vimeo.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cow Appreciation Day

Have you ever been at the food court of the mall and seen a bunch of people dressed like cows? Yes? No? Regardless, today, we were those people. Today was Chick-Fil-A's "Cow Appreciation Day". They gave free meals to anyone dressed like a cow! Bennett & I love Chick-Fil-A. Well, I love Chick-Fil-A. Bennett would probably eat any chicken nugget you set in front of him. I didn't realize it until we were on our way to the mall, but Matt had never eaten at a Chick-Fil-A before. I guess he was working every time that we've gone. Anyway, they have pretty much thee best chicken nuggets I've ever had and their service is amazing for a fast food place. I can't help but love them.

I heard about Cow Appreciation Day quite a while a go and decided that Bennett & I would go. I was pretty excited when we discovered that Matt had today off and I asked him if he would participate with us, doubting that he would want to look so foolish. To my surprise, he was totally on board and didn't complain about it once. (Have I mentioned how much I love this man?) Sooo, I cut out some spots & "Eat Mor Chikin" with felt and safety pinned them to white shirts we already had. Super fancy. I had great aspirations to knit us some spotted hats, but that didn't happen. Whatever. Maybe next year.

 It was great going to the counter to order and seeing the total on the cash register read $0.00 when we were done ordering. Fantastic! I'm thinking this needs to be a yearly tradition!

Bennett was not a fan of the cow, who amazingly was shorter than I am. He did decide she was okay enough to give a high five to after I did.

We didn't bring Bennett's sippy cup, so he got to drink straight from the milk container. He thought he was pretty cool.

After lunch we let Bennett play on the "squishy playground" (there has to be an official name for this) for a while. Matt hadn't been able to see him play on this yet either. Bennett was excited to show off his skills to his Daddy.

 This was the scene about 5 minutes after we left the mall. Don't worry, Matt was driving.

As if we didn't get enough excitement for one day, after supper Matt & I took Bennett to the pool for an hour or so. Matt also hadn't been to the pool with him since he was really little. It was a huge day of firsts for Matt. Oh! Did you notice Bennett's haircut?! My mom cut it for him the other day and I think he looks so grown up. I like it a lot, but it makes me a little sad that my little boy definitely looks like a toddler now. Time for another? (not quite yet...that's the answer to that question, fyi.)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Nerd Alert: Big Brother

I am so stinking excited for this season's Big Brother! The premiere is tonight & I. cannot. wait. I get way into this show and a few years ago took Matt down with me. I love all the scheming and suspense and how you don't ever know what will happen. Bah! I just can't wait. That is all.

OH, and it's on CBS at 8 (central) tonight if you want to join me in this craziness!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Independence Day Celebrations

It's become a kind of family tradition over the last four years that on the Fourth of July both Matt & my families come to our house for a parade and lunch. This year, our church decided to walk in the parade to promote a couple of events that are coming up (Vacation Bible School & a free clothing event), so we enlisted the help of our families to hand out flyers and candy in the parade with us. It was pretty fun (as far as being in parades go) until we ran out of flyers and candy and then in the words of a friend, "now we are just taking a walk down the middle of a street with lots of people staring at us." Whoops. We would've had more candy, but every store within a 40 mile radius was pretty much sold out. Mental note: Buy candy early next year! Also, we were in line waiting to start the parade about and hour and a half before it actually started, so Bennett was spent by the time we actually  moved. He was pretty cute, though, waving his little flag!

After the parade and a great lunch with our families, Matt headed to work and Bennett & I enjoyed an awesome nap. Bennett normally doesn't wake up in the morning until 9:30 or so, and we had to be at the church at 8. I didn't go to bed the night before until our usual 1:00 AM and then hardly slept because I was so afraid that I would oversleep. I never sleep well when I know I have to get up earlier than normal, so we were both exhausted!
I decided last minute that Bennett & I would join some friends at another parade in a nearby town, so after our nap we hurried to get things ready. I'm really glad that we went. Sometimes I feel like I can't go do things with our friends when Matt is working, but I didn't want to just sit at home tonight when there were so many fun things going on.

It was super hot at the parade, but Bennett enjoyed watching the parade more than he liked being in the parade. He also tried a tootsie roll for the first time and boy, did he like them! He kept grabbing the wrappers and saying, "mo! mo!"...or "more" for those of you who don't speak toddler.

He didn't like that I was covering his ears for all the sirens, so he climbed onto Jacquelin's lap. She had to cover his ears, too and he wasn't too happy!

Waiting for the fireworks with Jacquelin
Bennett watching the fireworks with his best friend Josh.

Bennett fell asleep on the drive home and dozed in and out of sleep while I changed his diaper & clothes before bed. It was actually really sweet to have him cuddle with me before bed. He's been doing that a lot less lately. He did so well all day considering how busy we were! I hope I don't pay for him staying out so late tomorrow, but it was worth it regardless.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Anniversary Dinner

So, thinking back over our past anniversaries I have fond memories of nights spent away and dinners eaten out. Matt & I kind of celebrated our anniversary last weekend by getting away for the wedding, so on our actual anniversary last night we decided to just stay in and have a nice dinner with Bennett.

I made a roast, carrots, potatoes and biscuits. I even lit a candle. It was magical. Until the dog puked under the table. Oh yeah, that's right. While I was making supper, somehow Bennett & Elliot (the dog) found a tube of Desitin and decided that it would make a tasty appetizer. So I called poison control who assured me that if Bennett wasn't gagging or choking that he would be just fine (phew!) and continued with our supper plans. We were enjoying our meal when we heard that horrid sound of a dog vomiting. Mmmm, pass some more roast beef, please. Matt cleaned the carpet up and almost lost his supper as well. Sorry so graphic, but seriously? This was my night. We tried to go on with our meal, but the majority of our time at the table was spent dealing with an incredibly goofy toddler. I have an awesome video, but I've been trying all day to get it to upload to anything and it won't for some reason. But here's a picture of what Bennett looked like afterwards.

He's so attractive.

After dinner Matt gave Bennett a bath (for obvious reasons) and while Bennett was naked, waiting for Matt to start the water, he peed all over the bathroom rug. It was hysterical. He had no idea what was happening and had the funniest look on his face! When he was finished he ran to Matt like something was going to attack him. It was so funny!

After I finished the dishes (&threw in a load of laundry containing a certain bathroom rug) we decided to run to Walmart for a few things (yarn & shampoo). Bennett went to bed shortly after we got home and we spent the rest of the evening knitting (me), playing Sega Genesis (mostly Matt & a little bit me) and watching Friends (both of us). Super exciting.

I feel like it would be a little bit easy for me to be disappointed with the way our anniversary turned out, but you know what? I'm not. I think it was just perfect spending the evening enjoying the life that we have been blessed with and built over the last five years. I think that years from now, when I'm thinking back over our anniversaries, I will have fond memories of #5. It was much more memorable than any dinner out, anyway.