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 story...at 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 concerned...it'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.