Thursday, December 18, 2008's Christmas.

I guess this is the most appropriate picture to begin this post. Last weekend, we made it to a live nativity scene, complete with a marketplace, shekals, and Roman guards. It was cold, but it was a fun way to experience Christmas with Ben. He kept asking if that was really baby Jesus. It was held at the First Baptist Church here in Columbus. Afterwards, we enjoyed hot cocoa and cookies.

Here is Ben and Santa (aka "Smash") at Dad's work. This picture beats any ol' Santa picture at the mall. Ben is all smiles, because he just got done telling Santa that he wants Obi-Wan Kenobi's star ship. (Whatever that means...) Santa's job: just nod and smile. Hmmm...kinda like my job half the time ;)

This was the first year that Ben really enjoyed decorating the Christmas tree. He just loved it, and when there weren't any more ornaments left, he still wanted to put more on.

And dear Lydia...what can we say? You're just beautiful, being you. I took these pictures this morning before we left to take Ben to preschool. This cute little outfit came from a friend from Germany, who we were stationed with in New Mexico. I just think it's the cutest thing. And polkadots are a big deal down in the south.

And if you have made it this far. This by far is my favorite picture: a Strawberry Shortcake complete with her own "Guitar Brush". Gotta love multifunctionality. :) I love this so much, because it is Lydia's first toy - from her big brother Ben. The backstory is that Ben had Awana's last Sunday and it was a special night because it was Awana Store night. This is the one night that they take all their Awana bucks (that they have worked so hard for by memorizing bible verses and other good deeds) and cash them in at the Store. With no prompting whatsoever, Ben was insistent to his teachers that this is what he wanted to spend his hard-earned "money" on - a Christmas present for his sister, Lydia. When we picked Ben up and pulled it from his bag, we were both completely speechless and in awe. Collecting ourselves, we asked the teachers if he was really sure this is what he wanted. They said they asked him the same thing, and he was set on his purchase.
I sure hope Lydia grows up one day to know how much her brother loves her, in spite of all the fights and arguing they will someday have.

And at the end of a day, it's the smiles and laughter that make it all worth it....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

and i quote...

Lately, Ben has been saying a few things that crack me up. And it is the last story that made me decide to publish the first couple along with it.

Before Lydia was born, I gave Ben a briefing on how feeding the baby was going to go. We talked about breastfeeding and how mommies feed their babies this way. When Lydia arrived, he was watching ever so intently, and then rather bluntly said, "Lydia likes boobs." Not a tough concept to wrap your brain around, I guess.

For the last couple of weeks, Ben has been in our family bubble, enjoying Dad being home and having my MIL, Liz over. Rob and his mom did a great job attending to him and his social activities, but I still think he missed his friends. We were leaving base, and Ben started asking if he could have some friends over. So Rob begins the whole explanation of how babies are too young, and that their immune systems aren't fully developed. He explains to Ben how your immune systems fight off germs, and how all people have germs. Rob concludes, "So, Ben, we have to protect your baby sister from germs in the beginning."

Ben: "Well, can I have one germ over?"
Rob: (standard parental response) "Well, we'll just have to wait a little bit and see..."
Ben: (clearly not satisfied, especially considering he thinks he came to a good compromise with "one germ") "Well, Gram is here, and she's a germ..."

What can we say? Is there such a thing as family germs being OK over friend germs???

And last, but not least.

So, many of you know that fighter pilots refuse to use the word H-E-A-D. Yes, it's a little dumb, but they have so craftily thought of other words to use. So around the house, Ben knows his H-E-A-D to be a "nugget". And it just becomes a word so normal around the house, especially when your son has quite a knack for "bumping his nugget." Today we were eating lunch and he was remembering the other night when he bumped his head on the coffee table so hard that he had a bit of a goose egg. And as much as he has made a career out of hitting/bumping/falling on his head, I said, "Should we take him to the doctor?" (Rob ended up icing it and you could hardly see it the next morning.) Ben was asking me today why I suggested going to the doctor, and this is what he said: "Mom, why did you say I should go to the doctor when I bumped my (wait for it) fore-nugget?" A fore-NUGGET?! As if I couldn't believe it, I said, "Ben, what is a fore-nugget?" and he pointed to his forehead. I just had to laugh.

lydia's nursery.

Here are some photos of Lydia's nursery. She has not yet moved in yet ;). But the room did get completed (sans wall hangings) the day before she was born.

This is a gift from Elizabeth, who had a friend paint this wall hanging.

A dear friend, Wendy, painted these ones for me.

My mom sewed the bumper, and I sewed the rag quilt hanging on the back of the crib.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Tonight at Awana's Ben had to complete a project called "Bakesgiving", in which the dads and kids are supposed to bake a cake at home sans Mom. I really love baking, and the prettier the baked item is, the more curb appeal it has for me. So Ben chose to make a Gingerbread cake with Cranberry filling and Orange cream cheese frosting out of Paula Deen's Holiday Collector's magazine. For Ben it was the gingerbread cookies that circled the outside of the cake that made his decision clear. For me, I wasn't sure about the tastes, but the longer I thought about it, it sounded good. I love the orange-cranberry muffins at Starbucks, so I figured it might be a good one to try. I must also say that the boys did a great job, special kudos to the husband, since a 3 year old's attention span would not have baked the cake alone! Rob did a fantastic job, and Ben was a fantastic helper, who was very proud of the cake. Once Ben and his cake arrive at Awana's, it will be judged by some of the church members, and when we pick up Ben tonight there will be a small social for all the families involved. I can only imagine how much cake will be there tonight. Mmmm.

Here are a few pictures of the afternoon:

The masterminds at work...

Pretty much right out of the magazine, huh?!

Rob has been a super Mr. Mom to Ben, I truly couldn't ask for more. I will miss him when he goes to work for the whole day tomorrow. My parents are arriving on Wednesday, and are very ready to meet their second grandchild, Lydia.

Friday, November 14, 2008

star wars fans unite...because i don't get it.

Ben's Thanksgiving homework project:
to disguise turkey cutout as anything else to avoid being eaten on Thanksgiving Day.

Dad on baby leave:
to help keep up as Ben's social director while I am getting used to this two child thingie.

What does it all yield?
One happy little boy - who's favorite thing right now is Star Wars.

Apparently every one we have shown this project to understands the caption that reads: "this is not the turkey you are looking for." Something about Episode 4 and some weird Jedi mind trick thingie....?? Something about it being a "classic" scene that *everyone* knows...?

All I know is that Ben is loving dad time with soccer, baseball in the back yard (which he has been able to hit w/o a tee), school projects, and the upcoming event of baking a cake for Awanas this weekend, that apparently Moms are *not* allowed to help out on. Hmmm...maybe I could look up some yummy recipes for them, but somehow I feel that I would get in trouble with the husband.

Friday, November 7, 2008

lydia taylor brooks.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

our little girl...

Our little girl (something Jenny thought she would never get ;) )...has a full head of black hair....and so not in my belly anymore!  I will be uploading some photos soon.  But I wanted to let family and friends know that she decided to come on Monday, 3 Nov at 9:48 a.m.  My c-section was actually scheduled for this morning, but Lydia had other plans.  It was a quick morning that consisted of Rob leaving for work at 4:50 a.m., and I was somewhat awake when he left.  Most mornings in the last week, I had just felt like ick having mild contractions and discomfort, but Monday morning it felt more crampy and there was pain in my lower back.  From 5 - 6 a.m. I just lay in bed mentally taking note of number of contractions.  Counted 7, decided to just get ready and jump in the shower, finished putting bag together, grabbing a few things for Rob, yarn and book for me, and the rest of Lydia's bag.  Put a call in to the husband, because I knew it was unlikely that he would answer the phone the first time, while also doing a SOF upgrade.  Decided to call the hospital 40 miles away in Amory to see what they suggest to do.  Tylenol and lie down and count for another hour to see if it's just false labor.  After about 20 minutes, I realized they weren't going to go away and I wasn't going to sit around here and let things happen alone.  Put in another call to Rob, no answer.  Call a couple friends to outsource care for Ben and Rainey.  Thanks Shannon and Martha!  Call Rob again - apparently third time's a charm.  I tell him that I think he should come home now.  After getting in to the car, dropping off Ben at Shannon's - Rob made it to Amory (a typical 40 minute drive) in 24 minutes. Rob was quoted saying, "This is great!  I get to have a baby daughter today AND drive FAST."

Arrive to hospital.
Time hack: 8:24.  
8 cm dilated.
C-section prep.  
Lydia arrives via cesarean.  
Time hack: 9:48.  

Having had both a vaginal and c-section experience, I can honestly say there are pros and cons.  If you look at both in a textbook scenario, a vaginal is truly the way God made it to be.  But - how often is textbook the case?  In my situation, a textbook case was not feasible.  The c-section was quite surreal.  To have so many attendants attending to you and your care and safety is quite humbling.  You realize just how big a deal you and your unborn child are at that moment in time.  And it is quite odd knowing the way they are getting your baby out and not feeling it - well, other than the "tugging and pulling".  

We are so glad to be home, and enjoy Lydia.  It is just so amazing and perfect to see how God made us all so different, and loves us the same.  We truly feel loved by God knowing that he has blessed us with a second child.  

Here are Lydia Taylor Brooks' stats:
7 lbs, 3 oz
20.5 inches 
and Perfectly loved by God and her parents and big brother.

Much Love,
Jenny, Rob, Ben, Lydia, and Rainey

Monday, October 27, 2008

not a diva.

I am not a highly political person. And being that I am not even sure what that means, let me clarify: I have been quite disenchanted with both sides. While I tend to relate more with the conservative/Republican party, I have been quite dissatisfied this year with both sides. That being said, I find it only slightly (insert sarcasm) annoying that Sarah Palin is being referred to as a "diva".

I think I find it slightly annoying today on a day where I feel completely exhausted from being pregnant, and frankly, packing too much in these last two weeks before I show up for my c-section party on 6 Nov. How can a person who has birthed five kids, one with special needs, be even considered a "diva"?!?! While I know Hollywood glamorizes being pregnant, it is hardly glamorous, let alone "divine". Is that the adjective for "diva"? I don't even know.

Ben is only three and I feel like I am 75% of the time catering to his obligations and commitments - on top of feeling big as a barn and feeling like there are arms trying to climb out of me.

Let's just say for argument's sake, that with one child, I *hardly* feel like a "diva".

In fact, let me just mention a few things that don't make me feel like a "diva":

I don't feel like a diva at 37 weeks pregnant. This is only my second time, not 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th time being pregnant. Just imagine the time involved in being pregnant for nine months, getting back to "normal" - whatever that is - postpartum? Now mulitiply that by the number of kids you have. Sorry, but it doesn't quite shout "diva" to me. Does it to you?

I don't feel like a diva when I am making dinner at the same time giving Ben a bath, and applying a little foundation and mascara - only to make it to our Sunday School group and spend some time in the Word with friends. The minimal makeup and brushed ponytail are just so my friends don't have pity on me for my ragged appearance.

I don't feel like a diva when I am constantly having to remind only *one* child to brush his teeth, get dressed, eat his breakfast/lunch/dinner, go to the bathroom, so that he can make it to either Awanas, preschool, soccer, etc. Again, let me mention - this is one child, not more.

I don't feel like a diva when I am trying to prepare goodies for both a playgroup and a home party that I said I wanted host for a friend.

The bottom line here is not that I want any pity on me or the way I feel at almost 38 weeks pregnant. I love my life, and I love doing all these things because I love my family. Really. I wouldn't trade it for anything in this world.

All I'm sayin' is that I feel bad for the chick who gets accused of being a "diva". The chick who juggles a family of 7, a marriage, and manages to take all of America's - at least all the Democrats' - criticism, because she was given/loaned/whatever a few outfits to run for the second most important job in the United States.

I'm just sayin'....

Monday, October 20, 2008

patiently ansy.

A note to my sweet girl: Today, my dear Lydia, you average the weight of a crenshaw melon - whatever that is - and close to 6 lbs. At least that is what this BabyCenter email tells me. However, we had an ultrasound appointment this past Monday, that my inlaws and Rob and Ben joined me for, and it was estimated that you are 6 lbs, 8 oz (the 63rd percentile), BUT give or take a POUND! How's that for "ballpark"?

Lydia was quite a busy girl the morning of our ultrasound. The tech said that she was the busiest one that morning, and she had already done nine other ultrasounds before us. I, too, could vouch for her activity. She had been quiet all morning, and as soon as I layed down and the tech started looking around, she was rocking her cramped quarters. I guess she knew she had an audience. Uh oh....I was hoping for a more calm child this time around....

While I am 36 weeks pregnant, it has been decided by the us and our doctor's recommendation tht I have a cesarean section. I won't go in to "details", but I have had so many more complications with my ulcerative colitis with this pregnancy.

So with that, my c-section has been scheduled for 6 Nov, provided things don't get going sooner. We are very much excited to see our dear Lydia, but at the same time, I am not as anxious to see her, as I was with Ben, being that he was the first child. I am hanging on to these last days and cherishing them as much as I can. And trying to cherish Ben as much as I can, thinking that he is the only child for a few more weeks. I hope he knows what's coming to him. :)

There is a part of me that is ansy. Ansy to get back to normal. Ansy to get my ulcerative colitis back to being maintained/controlled. Ansy to run again. This cooling off has been such a terrible tease. I have already been toying with the idea of races, what few I can find in the South, since race season obviously doesn't last as long as it does in cooler climates.

I started looking into some of the latest races that would be do-able, both physically and locationally. One of the latest races is Nashville's Country Music Marathon/Half Marathon held at the end of April. Except for the fact that it is so darn expensive, and my frugality is kicking in big time. I honestly have a hard time paying close to a hundred bucks for only a half marathon, especially considering that the full up marathon is only like $10-20 more and also taking in to consideration that both Rob and I would particpate in it. So I looked in to some smaller races and have a found a few. One is late March and the other two fall in mid-April, one being Ben's birthday. I will not commit until I see how things go, but I am have noticed myself thinking about it a lot more lately. I will not expect to PR it, but to just enjoy being back doing something I love. My health has been considerably different this time around, and not for the better. And so I expect there to be some differences in recovery, but from what I learn from many mommies, whether it be about kids or pregnancies, is that they are all different. I just pray that I handle things graciously and fully trusting in the one who created me.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

a growing belly.

I told myself that this time around I would be better about taking belly shots. I even told myself that I would have those fun, artsy belly pictures this time. And that never happened either. I was even looking forward to it, because I thought having the pictures with Ben would be really cute. However, that didn't really end up happening. I guess I just take for granted having a growing belly, and my family and friends don't really get to see. I've been hogging my belly all to myself~ha! (only slight sarcasm.)

I've seen so many friends take pictures so regularly and at even intervals. I have enjoyed seeing them change as they grow a life from a bean to a baby, that I thought I ought to share some photos. Unfortuanately, I don't think I took them too regularly or at even intervals, but here is what I've got.
10 wks.
22 wks.
25 wks.
27.5 wks.
35 wks.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

boys versus girls.

Today I was watching a DVR'd Oprah that had Dr. Oz on it. I don't really watch Oprah much, but I love when Dr. Oz is on there. The topic was men versus women in terms of the way their bodies work and the differences.

I don't know if it's just because I am pregnant, tired of being slow and huge, and indignant - but after watching it today - talk about women getting the SHORT END OF THE STICK! Maybe it's just the hormones talking, but here is what I learned:

Why women are such cheap dates when it comes to alcohol consumption:

Dr. Oz said that it is not primarily a size difference, but a biological one. Would you believe that men have an EXTRA enzyme that digests alcohol? Well, probably not my husband, considering he has a liver issue called "Gilbert's syndrome" (French pronunciation). Really? Is this what men need?! He also went on to mention that Asians lack an enzyme in their liver that most others have. Back in my day of drinking and being young - I used to refer to me getting red in the face when I drank as the "Asian curse". Little did I know that there was some fact behind it!

Mommy Brain.

I really try to refrain from this phrase, because I thought it was some made up issue to make moms feel better about themselves whenever they got forgetful or flakey. For instance, I was supposed to pick up my friend's daughter from preschool today, and I failed to remember to meet her in the morning to get her carseat. Shoot, I apparently didn't even notice the minivan flashing its brights at me. What the heck?! But when my friend, Heather, actually did reach me, I told her I had no good explanation, I jokingly pointed at the pregnant belly, but was not serious. HOWEVER, there, too, is fact about Mommy Brain. Dr. Oz said that when you're pregnant, your brain actually SHRINKS by 8%, but that it is the cells that are shrinking, not that you're losing cells. He also said that because babies need so much Omega-3 Fatty Acids (which is a necessity for memory), the baby just leeches it off of you, leaving you with sparing amounts, and your memory takes one for the team. Fabulous.

Lung Function

This one almost made me downright mad! I always figured that it wasn't right to compare people's different sizes with their performance. I figured....well, we're all proportional, so it's relative. But nooooooooo....Men have larger lungs than women, so they can quickly level off once they start, let's say, running. When men start running, the huffing and puffing of warming up tapers off much quicker apparently than women. Here's where I think Dr. Oz was trying to give a warm fuzzy to women. And after being crabby about all these injustices, it worked with me, especially because it's about running and getting strong. Here is what he said: While men have that advantage, women, once they get in shape, can catch up quickly and are, therefore, capable of more improvement. To me, that is more rewarding, however, I am sure a die-hard pessimist would say, "well, it's just because you can only improve so much and if men are starting out with a more competitive edge, than it just makes sense that they can't improve much more." And you could look at it like that, but I love the joy of improving and getting faster and stronger.

Memory and Worrying.

Finally, it turns out that there is some truth to a woman never forgetting. It was said that a woman's brain has a larger hypothalmus than a man's brain. Because this is part of the brain is central to memory, they said that we, women, have a more complex memory in terms of "emotional event detail." She used the example of how we might remember arguments more specifically than our counterparts. Hmmmmmmmm....

Worrying: It has always seemed like I worry more than the husband does. When there was something serious that I worried about, it always drove me a little crazy that Rob, while concerned, seemed to have better reign over those thoughts than me. Did I say a little crazy?! Well, sometimes more than that. Another distinction between male and female brains is the anterior cingulate cortex. Studies show that this area of the brain deals a lot with worry, and research finds it interesting that this part in the brain is, also, larger in a female's brain than a male's brain. This may give some explanation to women worrying more than men.

And after all is said and done - we get to live longer. Some things just don't make any sense....

Friday, September 26, 2008

banana puddin' pie.

This one is for Rob's mom, Liz! Here is the pie I practiced making for when you come to visit while Lydia gets born! :) I promise to make it for you!

It was much yummier than I expected it to be. I like bananas, but not to the point of dessert. However, it is pretty darn good! Here is the recipe for anyone who enjoys baking! It's definitely a "keeper". It came from Katie Lee Joel's cookbook "The Comfort Table".

Banana Pudding Pie

65 vanilla wafers
2/3 stick unsalted butter melted
2 ripe medium bananas, thinly sliced

½ C sugar
1/3 C flour
¼ tsp salt
2 C milk
4 L egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract

Whipped Cream:
1 C heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pie: preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 inch pie plate. Pulse 45 vanilla wafers in food processor until finely crushed. Reserve ¼ C to top the pie. Mix the crumbs and melted butter. Press into pie plate for crust and bake for 10-12 minsutes.

Pudding: in medium saucepan over M heat, combine the sugar, flour, salt. Whisk in milk and stir constantly until the mixture comes to a slow boil and thickens – about 7 mins. Reduce heat to very L. Stir a couple Tbsp of the mixture into the egg yolks, and add the egg yolks back into the hot mixture. . Stir constantly until the mixture is thickened to pudding – ¾ mins. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Arrange one banana’s worth of slices over the crust. Spread half the pudding over the bananas, top with the remaining 20 vanilla wafers. Top wafers with remaining bananas and pudding. Let cool completely.

Whipped Cream: Beat the cream, sugar, vanilla until soft peaks form. Spread over pie, and sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Chill pie in refrigerator.

coffee beans and solo flights.

So, as Rob's job as Flight Commander comes to an end and he begins a new job...he is ending on a good note. Whenever students solo in the T-38, it is usually "customary" to give your instructor a token of appreciation for soloing you out. Usually, this translates into a bottle of alcohol. However, Rob doesn't really drink, and he has usually received coffee in its place. I think it's great, because it is something we shop for on a regular basis. He would come home with 5 or 6 bags of coffee, and one student about a year ago began a coffee bean subscription for an entire year from a local roasting company in Destin, FL. Once a month we would receive a choice coffee, complete with a write up on the particular coffee's location and its distinction. That student he graduated a FULL YEAR ago is already at RTU and only last month the coffee "subscription" finally ended. Not too shabby to say the least!

Well, today, after picking up Ben from school, we headed up to base to visit the husband at work. Rob said he needed me to help him bring something to the car to take home, and low and behold it was 4 plastic bags full of COFFEE! We're talking anywhere from 1/2 lb to 1 lb bags, not to mention two big economy tubs of Folger's. And coffee isn't exactly cheap! I asked if it came from one student and it did. The student said he didn't know what Rob liked, so he just got a bunch of different coffee. OK, now seriously, we are not that picky. I do have some friends who are pretty serious about coffee (Shannon!) :) I thought to myself, "I grocery shop with a 3 year old, how picky could I get when I can't browse the coffee aisle - or any aisle for that matter - for more than a couple minutes before he's off to help me with the next item on our list!" Heck, I haven't even added "coffee" to my list in a year's time, that I don't even know what the local Walmart and/or commissary have to offer anymore!

I told Rob that if he solos anyone else, they might just need to give him something different. Hmmm...I wonder if any of them babysit......... Just kidding!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

a few pictures.

Just wanted to share a few pictures of us recently. We attended the Air Force Ball this past Thursday, and had a fun time.

Fellow military and MOPS friends.

Here is Ben on his first day of school - outside his classroom. Here is a picture of Rob and me in San Antonio, and I think that Ben looks like me in the photo. I don't normally see much of me in Ben, so when I do I get a little excited! ;)

Ben and a toad that was in our backyard, until Rainey got a hold of it...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

my dear mama.

So, I received a care package from my mom in the mail today. And here is what was included. See photo. Let's get a closer look. Is that a foot? Did you know she even wrote Ben's name on it?

Seriously, my mom can be such a goof and completely random, and at the same time - always a good sport about things! I just had to find it humorous, and exactly like her to think to herself, "what am I going to do with this hand stress reliever shaped like a foot? .... Oh I know, I'll give it to Ben!" To be fair she also included a couple craft boards shaped like a plane and a stegasaurus that can be colored.
And I think the FUNNIEST thing is that of those few items she included for Ben - he just thought the foot was the most hilarious thing in the world, and began running around with this baby sized foot and laughing and tormenting our poor, sweet Rainey. I should have gotten a photo of that!

Thank you, Mom for all the baby girl bodysuits! And the camisole for me. What is it with clothes that gets a woman so excited! The pinks, purples, and yellows gave me a shot of excitement to be holding a girl in just a mere couple months! I can't even imagine what it must be like to have a girl at this point! While I am not one to always miss my parents, is that bad? I do occasionally get the pangs of missing family close by. For instance, I roasted a chicken last week, and after dinner, I had to sit and pick the remaining chicken pieces before disposing of the bones. I called my mom and told her I missed her because "no one picks a chicken like my mom". I always remember her picking the chicken apart and never complaining...when I was picking at it, I kept thinking, "I wish she was here, cuz she would do it!" It really surprised me that nostalgic thoughts can just hit you at the strangest of times.

Please keep my mom in your prayers, as she is traveling today with a couple of her sisters to the Philippines, because my Lolo died (her dad). Prayer for safety and God's peace.

Friday, September 5, 2008

our 4-D ultrasound.

It's still a girl, and this makes us so excited to meet her in person!

Enjoy the video. It's mostly for family, because they are the ones most excited to probably see it! But to anyone else, you're welcome to view as well. Thank you to all who were thinking of us, awaiting our next ultrasound!

Aside from seeing her face, the tech listened to the heartbeat and took a moment to check certain anatomy. It really is so neat to see your baby in utero, and because we have Ben in our lives, it has made me - and probably Rob - more excited to meet her in person. And the ultrasound is the next best thing, since we can't see her just yet!

Rob worked on making the file size much much smaller, so that it is easier to upload.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

end of summer moments.

Thought I would highlight a few photos from the end of this summer. It is still hot, Rob is still cutting grass, Ben is still loving being a boy, I am enjoying all the family moments.

But...Rob will be glad when the grass stops growing and Ben will be sad when grass cutting season is over. He will probably cry and fuss a lot about it. But thankfully, our good friend, Alex gave him a bubble lawnmower for his birthday, because he is still loving that thing AS MUCH as the day he got it. (Seriously, Martha, it is the coolest toy your son could have gotton him.) Definitely a mommy favorite for me! Now if it only really cut grass...

Rob has gotten a couple new classes of students, but isn't sure if he'll see them to the end of not. He has been a flight commander for a year or so now, so he may get shuffled around. He is taking another class online for his Masters in Military History, that will be done the end of October. He has been running a bit more than me, and did a 10K this past Sunday. It was the Nike+Ipod race that you could do anywhere and receive credit for it, provided you used your Nike+ chip to record your time.

Preschool starts next week, and we are ALL excited for that! Ben had his sports physical for soccer, preschool, and his slightly late 3 year check all in one visit. How is it exactly that I go from freakout mama to having my FRIEND remind me that I haven't had Ben's three year check?!?! But he actually got to read the eye chart for grownups, and not kids. The kids' test apparently has pictures instead of letters (ie. school bus, heart). He had a hard time with line 6, and would mistake a couple letters such as an O for a C. It was a realization for me that I can't help my son every step of the way....I wanted to say to him, "nooo, guess again" before realizing that, umm, this *is* a test, and I just can't help him on it. Of course, I tell the husband about it that day, and I should have known that he would ask me, "what line was line 6?" I am thinking, um, didn't you just answer your own question - line 6 is line 6!? Then he clarifies, "was line 6 the 20/20 vision line?" Oooh, I know where you're going with this one, Mr. Pilot Husband just need to chill out - you wear contacts yourself! :)

As for me, I have been doing all the domestic things around the boys. Reading more lately, crocheting a baby blanket for a friend's friend, "exercising" with Ben around the track (he rides/I walk), making meals for families with new babies or illnesses, working Red Carpets at the husband's job to raise money for our wives' fund. I am participating more actively in MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) this year, and Ben will be in school thrice weekly.

10 weeks to go for this "bump" of mine and we're having our 4-D ultrasound done on Thursday. Will be sure to upload some pictures! Especially of certain anatomy! :)

I hope every one's summer is winding down nicely for a good Fall start.

Jenny and Rob and Ben

PS - if you don't hear from me after the baby comes, you can consider this a Christmas letter! Ha~ who needs a Christmas letter when you can blog now?!

Rob: "Looks like we found Papa Smurf's house!" We used our son to reference the size of this schroom.

Here is Ben with a good scrape on his nose from Awana's. Rob asked Ben's teacher if he was trying to get his "Face Sledding" merit badge. While Ben apparently biffed it and then slid a little upon contact, he has been loving Awana's and has even memorized his first couple Bible verses.

Ben at Mother Goose's library reading. This is the show-n-tell portion. She is a quite the quacky lady you might expect. She has a deep southern drawl, and has the boys and girls line up in different lines upon entering the reading room. She says in the craziest voice I have ever heard, "Nooooooooooooowwwwwww, Gentlemen, what do you say to the ladies?" And the boys repeat, "Laaaadiesss, would you like to go in first?" After this the little ladies are to accept politely and are told to CURTSY to the boys. It is seriously a hoot!
Labor Day we enjoyed the Space Museum in Huntsville, AL.

Rob and Ben in front of the Blackbird.

This demonstrator made homemade rockets using film tubes, water, and alka seltzer tablets. It was pretty neat - a fun thing to do at home.
Ben and Rob before the movie "Fly me to the Moon" in 3-D.
The Space shuttle simulator.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

hey fellow "clovite" friends.

Did y'all hear about the prison break at the Curry County Prison? To most, it would be just another small unknown town, but this town has made it's own history in last few years since we have lived there.

We've had a high profile murder, a tornado, a man who managed to get bitten by a gila monster (please note, these are some of the slowest moving creatures), and ridiculously low gas prices that caused "confusion and delay" at one of the busiest intersections in this town! Is there anything I am missing?!
I will say that I hope the town's people stay safe (not only because I am nice, and do not hate the town) but because there are some very near and dear friends that we have made there that still reside there.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ben, we don't need to know EVERYthing....

Today, we were running errands that included signing him up for soccer, visiting his new classroom and new teacher for this year at preschool, getting a new vacuum belt, etc. Ben had decided that after our mandatory errands that we should go to base to ride his bike for a mile - I keep insisting that I need his help in exercising. So while I walk the track, he rides his bike.

Ben is funny, because some days he doesn't really feel like being chatty, but those days usually tend to be few and far between.

Today was one of them, because as were were going through the gate, the female gateguard says hi to him, and he takes this as his moment to inquire ALL the things that go on in a 3 year old's mind. So before I know it, he is asking, "Why do you have yellow teeth?" The shock and horror. The lady with the gold tooth was good natured about it, and said it made her rich, because she has a gold tooth.

Unfortunately, this question did not surprise me, but took me off guard. See, a few weeks back when we were entering base, he had spied this lady's tooth before, and as we had driven through, he was asking me questions about it. I told him that he should not ask certain kinds of questions. And as kids are inquisitive, I decided to answer the question myelf by saying that sometimes people don't take good care of their teeth, and they have to get a false tooth.

Apparently my reply didn't satisfy his needs, because he had to get it straight from the "horse's mouth". No pun intended!

Monday, August 4, 2008

a maternal prenatal sap.

Is what I am turning in to. I have been going "awwwww" over every animal story. It is in stark contrast to what I was like when I was pregnant with Ben. With Ben, I was watching "Baby Story" like every first time mom-to-be. This time around it has been these animal stories that have been making me tear up! With Ben, it didn't take me long to hate my dog, Rainey. Seriously. I was so tired and focused on doing the right thing with a new baby.....and really, REALLY TIRED. I just didn't have the patience to deal with another "thing" demanding my attention.

This brings me to my current pregnancy. I have loved seeing Ben grow up with Rainey. He is the only person that Rainey will completely submit to and I trust her wholly to keep her safe and be gentle with her. It doesn't matter how much Ben torments her, sits on her, runs his noisy toys in her direction. She would never harm her. I am pretty sure Rainey would never harm anyone. I think, sometimes, that the husband and myself trick ourselves in to thinking that if there were an intruder to threaten our home or us, that she would rise to the occasion, but even I have my doubts about that.

But seriously, Ben can walk right up to her and grab the ball right out of her mouth. But when we want to throw her the ball, she plays keep-away most of the time. I also recount a time over Easter where I stayed longer at the Brooks' home in SC. Liz was going to drive us home a few days later, and as we were trying to get Rainey in the car, she got this look in her eye that said, "A-ha! I'm free. Catch me if you can!" I tried for 20 minutes to apprehend Rainey, only to have the golfers take a break from their game and snicker at the sight. Finally, I thought to myself, and told Ben, "Go get Rainey!" It took him a few minutes (not 20), and sure enough my 3 foot wonder was able to walk right to her, grab her collar, and drag her toward me.

I really hope that when this baby arrives, that I have the patience to love my dog, while loving a new baby in the house. And to be fair to me, Rainey has grown up a lot since then, and Ben and Rainey have clearly grown into their relationship.

Today, I was reading an email from my best friend (who I dedicate this entry to, because she is an animal lover!), and when I got up, I noticed that Rainey had "nosed" the cracked door to Ben's room, and was sleeping on the floor at the foot of his bed. Rainey RARELY opens doors, even if they are cracked just a little (I have always thought it was weird). But here is where I found her, waiting for her best little bud to wake up. It melted my heart.

Here are the other things this week in the news that have melted my heart - Don't laugh, you know you want to say, "awwwww..."

Christian the Lion

Isabella the Golden Retriever

Friday, August 1, 2008

it's really a girl?

So this is the question that has been on my mind a lot lately. I obviously have nothing to found my fears on - but when do you ever?! are the reasons, for whatever they are worth:
1) we found out early - a day shy of 17 weeks (here in MS they do the gender determination between 18-20 weeks. I even asked if was still alright to find out. I was told yes.

2) Most recently, a flight doc was in the husband's office where this exchange transpired:

Flight doc: (spies a "the shot" of the ultrasound) "So it's a boy, huh?"
The Husband: "No...? It's a girl."
Flight doc: "Oh. I could have sworn it was a 'turtle head'."

The husband proceeds to tell the wife this story, who is already feeling bad for being so paranoid, and she says, "Was he kidding?!?!?!"

Turns out, he wasn't kidding. But, hey, I suppose anyone could be wrong. I am just hoping it isn't the ultrasound tech. And in all actuality, I had said from the beginning that I would be so excited, if not a little bit more, to have another boy. But now that some physical plans have been made to welcome a little girl, it would be slightly disappointing.

I am 25 weeks pregnant today, and in a month or so I can schedule a 4-D ultrasound to be done. It is mostly a frivolous (sp? I don't even feeling like spellchecking be/c someone might think I'm dumb. Frankly, I don't care if you do. I am not dumb, just really tired and lazy right now.) thing to have done anyway. So I think we'll go for that, and have at least a couple months "heads up" for if we need to regroup.

I will certainly keep you posted of the last ultrasound's findings.

**Oh and it turned out that I did spell it right....did you honestly think I could NOT look it up? you silly, silly people, but here you go anyway....

Frivolous: unimportant, small, inconsequential, minor, insignificant, slight, trifling, petty, marginal, negligible.

However, I find none of these terms to describe what may result in this next ultrasound. A surprise 'turtle head' is HARDLY "minor, slight, or insignificant" - not to mention "inconsequential".


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

the inlaws weekend.

Last weekend, we were in SC visiting both sets of in-laws! What a fun weekend. My mom and dad flew from AZ to visit them, and then they left halfway through their vacation to go visit my aunt and uncle in NH. This is the second time they have planned a trip like this, where they visit my in-laws. I think it is really neat, because it doesn't happen everyday and it sure makes "killing two birds with one stone" more convenient. And I don't think after the visit anyone wanted to kill each other! So that's always good. Ben really enjoyed both sets of grandparents pretty equally. Since Ben is in prime boyhood now, he loved riding the tractor with Grandpop (Rob's dad) and finding a turtle with Lolo (my dad). In between that he enjoyed swimming in his great Gram's pool, and trying his hand at fishing in her pond. Unfortunately, the fish in this pond are more choosy as to when they feel like biting than in our pond across the gravel road.

enjoying meal time

with his Grandpop

loving the screened in porch

before bedtime with Lola

a turtle!

jumping off the diving board. this smaller diving board has prepared him for the higher springboard at the base pool, because just yesterday he jumped off it!

me and my mom.