Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ben is 7!

Quick Stats:
56 pounds
4 feet, 1 1/2 inches tall

Birthday Questionnaire:
1. What is your favorite color?
2. What is your favorite toy?
“Do books count? I don’t really play with toys, but if I had to pick, I would say my toy guns… but I don’t really play with toys.”
3. What is your favorite fruit?
4. What is your favorite T.V. show?
The Family Feud
5. What is your favorite food?
Ranch Style Beans
6. What is your favorite snack?
Trail Mix – the kind with peanut butter chips
7. What is your favorite animal?
8. What is your favorite song?
Beat It – Michael Jackson
9. What is your favorite book?
“A-Z Mysteries” Series
10. Who is your best friend?
Tanner and Tanner
11. What is your favorite cereal?
Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries
12. What do you want to be when you grow up?
A rescuer of marine animals


Lucky number 7! My Benji Bear’s seventh year has been so much fun! It reminded me that while it is sad to think of my kiddos not always being little, the other side of that coin is seeing who they will grow up to be. I could not be more proud of the little guy that Ben is becoming.


School was a great adventure for Ben. He really excelled– especially in reading and science. He started the school year knowing how to read very well, and by the end of the year, he was reading multiple chapter books a DAY. The crazy thing is how much he is retaining. He is such a smarty pants. At school, his teacher and classmates nicknamed him Professor Barrick. Mrs. Mancias asked me to write a note allowing him to go to the “big kid” side of the library. When he finished his class work, she would assign him topics to look up in the library. My favorite thing he did this year was his report on soil facts (yes, soil… as in dirt). They studied the properties of soil in class and he asked his teacher if he could do more studying on his own and present it to the class. He came home and asked Brian to help him google soil facts. He wrote down all of the things he learned and presented his report to the class. Mrs. Mancias liked it so much that she asked him to present it to one of the other Kindergarten classes. His Grandad was so proud that he took up such an interest in soil! :)


One of the great things about Ben is he is so excited to try new things. He took gymnastics again last Fall and he really enjoyed it. At the end of the semester, I gave him the choice of signing up for another session or trying something else. He opted for Track and Field through the CYO. He wasn’t the strongest competitor, but I loved how he just jumped in there ready to try and learn. He participated in one meet during the season, and his events were the 50 yard dash and the standing long jump (his favorite). Unfortunately, he wasn’t feeling his best throughout most of the season.


Ben’s tough time during spring sports happened because he was diagnosed with asthma. It came way out of left field because we have no family history of it, and he hasn’t had ANY respiratory issues up until this past Winter/Spring. He had a persistent cough for a week or so. One night he woke me up in the middle of the night and told me he couldn’t breathe. He was wheezing and couldn’t take a deep breath and really freaking me out. I sat with him in the steamy bathroom and had him sip on a cup of tea with honey and that seemed to help. We headed to the doctor’s office the second they opened and came home with an armful of medications (including a nebulizer). We spent the next few months trying to determine what Ben’s triggers are (oak season gave him a terrible time) and learning how to manage his asthma. Ben has, of course, taken this all in stride. He even became a pro at preparing his own breathing treatments!


The biggest event of the year was Ben’s baptism. It was the best thing EVER watching him speak up for his faith and take that awesome step. He gets lost in his Bible sometimes and his Sunday school teachers rave about his knowledge of scripture and his excitement for learning about God. His favorite bible story changes, but last time I asked it was the story of Samson. I love talking with him about God and getting his perspective on things. It’s such an awesome thing to be able to chat about WHY we should make certain choices instead of just saying “do this” or “don’t do that.” I also love teaching him about Grace – especially because I need it so much each day!


Like I said, it was an exciting year for Ben: starting school, new friends & new sports, learning to ride a bike, getting baptized, joining summer swim team, and a ton of other things I know I’m forgetting. At the end of the day, though, Ben is still the same big hearted guy he’s always been. He is a sweet big brother (most of the time) and a doting son. He is affectionate and complimentary and silly and funny. He loves to snuggle. He loves anything having to do with animals. He loves cartoons & movies. He likes music and has the cutest little wiggly dance moves. He hates to clean and his room is evidence of this. He gets hot when he sleeps, yet he insists that every inch of his body from the neck down is covered by the blanket. His appetite is growing and I fear the grocery bills of his teenage years. One day he says he is a “fruititarian” and the next day he wants to chow down on a cheeseburger. He likes basketball and football. He is a pretty good shot with his bb gun, and he gives his Daddy some decent competition on the Frisbee golf course. He is my one-of-a-kind guy that challenges me and surprises me every day. I am so blessed to be his Mommy!

Happy Birthday, Benji Bear!

I love you as big as the sky!


Saturday, June 15, 2013

A My Little Pony Party

Gracie’s favorite toys lately are My Little Ponies, so it was no surprise that she asked for a My Little Pony party for her birthday this year. We actually postponed the party for a month so that we could do it on the same day as her dance recital. This way, all of our far away family wouldn’t have to travel twice or choose between the two. It made for a very busy weekend, but we had A LOT of fun!
I looked through the different invitations on Etsy for ideas and ended up making these for her party. I love all the bright colors!
Invitation blog version
The decorations were half store-bought and half homemade. She requested a purple cake, so I did a round cake with a rainbow and some pony candles on top. The rainbow was my favorite part! We also had cupcakes iced to match the different ponies and “Pinkie Pie Punch”. :)
The party favors were pony cups filled with lots of girly goodies – a lip gloss, bubbles, pony tattoos, pony stickers, a pony ring, and a little baggy of Starbursts. For the boys, I had a jump rope, chapstick, and baggie of M&M’s.
The party kicked off with a big surprise for Gracie & the rest of the kiddos. My mom decided that a My Little Pony party wasn’t complete without real ponies, so she had these two cuties join us.
The kids’ reactions were priceless. Gracie said, “Daddy, are we keeping them?!”
Pony rides kept B, G, N & all our friends busy for a while. Ben decided it was a cowboy party and ran upstairs for a couple bandanas and some cowboy hats (aka the Faux-brero).
After the pony fun was over, we took a break and had a bite to eat.
Sweet Padon had a table all to himself. :)
Once their bellies were full, the girls visited the “Style Boutique” for some pony tail ribbons and finger nail decorations.
Someone may have gotten a little too close to the girls dressing up!
Last, but not least, it was time to sing (for the second time) and cut the purple pony cake.
Nom nom nom cake!
Happy Happy Birthday, Gracie Belle! It was so fun watching you enjoy your friends, family & pony guests!

“A”, You’re Adorable

Gracie has been taking classes all year with Miss Heather and she has really enjoyed it. We were all excited to see her perform in her first ever dance recital. She did a tap dance to the song “A, You’re Adorable” and she LOVED the song. She knows the steps to her dance, but she KNOWS the words to that song. She asks for it in the car all the time. She tells Ben, “I’m going to sing my song, then you’re going to clap, OK?” Her little class practiced so hard and they all did a great job on recital day! I hope she grows up to enjoy dancing as much as I did!

She was in a silly mood while we were getting ready for dress rehearsal.


Waiting for her turn to go on stage.


Grammy came to help and get a sneak peek.


On our way to the theater on recital day. She wasn’t nervous at all – just excited!


She found this feather in the dressing room and made it her new best friend.


We were super lucky and snagged some front row seats. Noah challenged us to a duel while we waited for the curtain to go up.

It was finally Gracie’s turn to dance! All of the little dancers in her class did a great job! They were too cute!

When it was all over, we headed outside where her Daddy & Paw Paw gave her flowers. We were all so proud of her!


She got lots of hugs and love from all of the family who came to see her – even her brothers!


She apparently wanted a little smooch, too.


Ben finally obliged her.

As we were leaving, Gracie suggested that we all sing Happy Birthday to her (since her party was the next event on the day’s agenda.) So, our party of 10 stopped on the sidewalk and sang to her in front of God and everybody. She was smiling from ear to ear!


I’d say she enjoyed her first dance recital!