Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gobble Gobble!

With no family within hundreds of miles, we spent our Thanksgiving with some of our Baltimore family. The Nelsons (our friends from Arizona) were brave enough to invite us to their home for the big day in addition to our friends the Dalleys (Texas) and the Christiansens (Utah). They were very kind to postpone the meal until 4 pm so David could join us. He was working nights during Thanksgiving week so he woke up, ate & ate & ate and then went back to work.

Our Hosts & the Turkey

The Moms (Krista, Liz, Karen & Heather)

The kids loved spending the day with their friends and despite the number of kids it wasn't as crazy as I had imagined it would be.....maybe because I'm use to crazy Thanksgivings with lots and lots of kids around! I guess it felt like home. Heather bought each of the kids their own coloring books and had a designated "boy" and "girl" table.

Kate insisted on saving her preschool crafts from the week prior so she could dress up for dinner...she "promised" her teacher told her "she had too"! She was a pretty cute little pilgrim though. As always, Kate loved our traditional cranberry mousse....the number one reason why I know she is my daughter.

The day was not complete without the special turkey cookies made by Ann Clover (ALL of the kids adopted Maryland Grandmother)! She dropped them off on Wednesday for the big party!

We had a great day! We have much to be grateful for, and on this Thanksgiving good friends were at the top of the list!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Ben turned 7 on November 14th. I still can't believe it. I don't know where the time has gone! Seems just like yesterday that we were bringing him home from the hospital at a meager 3 pounds and 15 ounces! We were quickly welcomed back to reality from our cruise by celebrating Ben's birthday with his party on the 12th, the very next day. I knew it would be a little crazy to do it then, but I wanted to get it over with and not push things towards Thanksgiving. We also thought it would be fun to do it while Sue was still in town. I had nearly everything prepared before we left on the cruise. Fortunately, I got all my ideas from my sister Ruth so it wasn't too difficult to plan. The kids had a great time and by the time it was over we were more than worn out.

On Ben's actual birthday we spent the evening at Red Robin....Ben's choice! He was very proud to wear his new Ravens jersey to the restaurant. For those of you not familiar with Baltimore....nearly everything revolves around the Ravens in this town. Every Friday (when there is a weekend game) is purple Friday day at school. Up until now, Ben stuck out like a sore thumb without his Ravens gear. I'm not sure how he survived Kindergarten. One day when he unintentionally wore his BYU jersey to school on a Friday the kids on the bus teased him and told him BYU wasn't "even a real team" and there was no such thing as "the Cougars." A few tears were shed. We were thankful Jimmer turned that knowledge around during basketball season during which time Ben proudly wore his Jimmer gear at every opportunity! So this year, David researched the players and decided to go with #92 Ngata since our first choice Todd Heap had just been traded to the Arizona Cardinals. I think Ben looks great in purple....good thing since he will be wearing it every Friday!

We had a great time at Red Robin. Ben ignored everyone while they sang happy birthday to him but loved his birthday sundae....Kate on the other hand was not pleased that they didn't bring her one too! Fortunately, Ben decided to share!

We made it through dinner despite 2 long trips with the kids to the bathroom and a spilled full cup of chocolate milk. It was a special treat to have Grandma Jacobs with us for Ben's birthday. The kids loved having her here and were sad to see her leave. On the way home from Red Robin I asked Ben if he had a good birthday. His response, "No, a great birthday. A double great birthday. A triple great birthday!"

I am very grateful to be Ben's mother. He is a very special boy. It was a great treat to go to his parent teacher conferences this past week and hear absolutely nothing but praise. We are blessed to call him ours!

Cruising to the Bahamas!

For our 10th Anniversary, David arranged for us to go on a 4 night cruise out of Miami to the Bahamas and Key West. Sue (David's Mom) accepted our invitation to watch the kids while we were gone! The kids did great....I'm sure I thought about them much more than they thought about me! Ben was so excited for us to leave....he couldn't wait to buy school lunch all week! We flew to Ft. Lauderdale and spent the first night in Miami.

Day 1. Our ship (Royal Caribbeans Majesty of the Seas) departed at 4:30 pm. We were able to get on board and enjoy our first lunch buffet. We eventually found our bags...in front of another room's door! We unpacked our suitcases and left to explore the boat and the people on board. Among many other people we noticed a gay couple that we couldn't help but smile at. They were the nerdy gay type. Jurassic park t-shirts tucked in to their hiked up shorts, black socks and sandals. Guess who turned out to be assigned to our dinner table? I could barely contain my smiles when they sat down with us that first night. Needless to say, it made for interesting dinner conversations. I eventually got over their Canadian gay accents. At one point, they asked us if we had Safeway in the US. David quickly replied that yes we did and in fact that was his first job....bagging groceries at Safeway. It quickly became even more awkward when the smarter of the two interrupted David's story and informed us that his partner worked at the local Canadian Safeway. Through it all, I learned that David has a natural gift of talking to anyone....something he no doubt inherited from his father. We were too scared to ask them if we could take a picture with them that first night, so David found one of the pictures that the cruise line had taken and took a picture of that picture with his phone. So this is the best we can do. It doesn't do justice.

Day 2. Day two brought us to port in Nassau, Bahamas. We had arranged for a sailing and snorkeling excursion. We brought a water camera with us, but unfortunately didn't get the greatest pictures. The water wasn't as clear as I had imagined. There were lots and lots of fish though. We had a good time, but it was a little chilly sailing back. We also spent some time walking through the little shops and were able to buy the kids souvenirs. We enjoyed our formal dinner night after we returned to the ship and caught the dancing and singing show that night.

Day 3. Day three was suppose to bring us to the Royal Caribbean private island of Cococay in the Bahamas. Unfortunately, after arriving the Captain deemed the weather unsafe for tendering to the island. Instead, we spent the day on board. We took advantage of the cruise line's activities for the day. First, we hit the dodge ball game. I had intended to play until I discovered the Miami Vice team had showed up. They really were from Miami too. David was placed on their team....he stuck out like a sore thumb, but ended up being one of their best players. It was fun to watch.

We spent a lot of time reading by the pool this day. I finished the Hunger Games book and was very annoyed that I ignored my friend Heather's advice to bring the second of the three books along as well. We watched the belly flop contest, before heading to the free throw contest. After seeing the lame competition, I decided to join the contest and ended up with a bronze medal. It technically should have been a silver (the 2nd place finisher crossed the line by at least 2 feet with every shot)......but, I'm not competitive or anything so I let it slide without vocal protest. After dinner we walked around the ship and took some photos before heading to the Love and Marriage game show. I was very grateful we were not contestants, but really enjoyed the show.

Day 4. Day four brought us to port in Key West, Florida. This was my favorite day. We roamed the shops of Key West and enjoyed an hour or two on the beach. I found the perfect shirt for my Mom and just had to take a picture....I knew she would never actually wear it.

We found the Hemingway house, but were too cheap and too uninterested to pay the $40 to go inside.

We found the Southernmost point of the Continental USA and stood in line to take our picture. We were joined by a friendly iguana.

The highlight of the day was the old man at the beach. Actually, watching people's reactions when they first saw him was better. I won't even begin to describe his swimming suit to you or even think about posting a picture of it here (yes, I couldn't help but take one....everyone was taking them). I'd like to keep my blog porn free so I'll spare you the details. Here are a few more pictures of Key West.

After getting back on board we headed to dinner and spent the night at the shows.
Day 5. We arrived back to Miami, deboarded and headed back to the airport where we waited for 5 hours before our scheduled flight left. Southwest wouldn't let us catch the 2 earlier flights despite open seats without paying the $460 premium. So we sat. And again, I was so upset I didn't have the second Hunger Games book! Instead, we caught up on every fine detail of the Penn State fiasco. We eventually had a smooth flight home and were excited to see the kids again. Jacob just stared at me for awhile, before deciding he was not going to let anyone else touch him but me. Sue said of all the kids she thinks Ben actually missed us the most. Those school lunches wore off fast! Overall, we had a great time and created great memories. It was so nice to spend time with David and get a break from our everyday routines.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Whole Gang!

Halloween was a hit this year. It was one festivity after another! As always, the kids loved picking out their pumpkin and carving it with Dad.

Kate had a fun preschool party and David was able to make his first Maryland preschool party appearance.

Ben decided he wanted to be Fred from Scooby Doo this year and quickly persuaded Kate into being Daphne. I'm not sure how they did it, but I ended up being Velma and David was Shaggy. We decided to turn Jacob into Scooby after he refused to wear his lion mane at a friend's Halloween party the week prior. I made a collar for him and we made due. Ben and Kate loved, "The Gang". My favorite part about the whole family costume thing was that no one even recognized David with his wig on. And better yet, when he took the kids trick or treating so many people asked Ben and Kate if their older brother wanted a piece of candy too. I guess his wig looked a little too real and did resemble Justin Bieber....the most popular teenage haircut.

Fortunately for Jacob, Kate was eager to share her candy. He was sitting in his high chair one day eating lunch when I ran downstairs to move the laundry on. He started fussing while I was downstairs, but stopped before I returned to find this. Kate looked at me and said, "He just really needed it to make him happy and look it worked." And it did!