Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fall Fest

Our church hosted a Fall Fest on Sunday morning. It was open to everyone in the community. Lunch was served. There were activities for the kids, and we had a donation center open for 50 families to pick up food, clothing and supplies. It was a neat way to combine fellowship and outreach to those in the area.

The day was about service to others as well as fun for our kids, but with two little ones, Wesley and I knew it would difficult to do both. We decided to let Wesley and the boys stay home and I was able to 100% volunteer my time for the day. What a great idea! Without having to worry about Jackson and Philip, I was able to really help out, and I really enjoyed the day. I was "traffic control" for the lunch line; candy-hander-outer for Trunk-or-Treat; and on clean-up duty! Tiring, but very enjoyable!

Kate and Ben had the same idea as Wesley and me. Their boys stayed at home and Kate worked hard at the Festival. It was fun to serve along side of her! Of course it wasn’t all work…we started off the morning with some pumpkin bread and drinks at Starbucks!
Here we in front of Kate’s adorable car getting ready hand out candy. I would post a picture of my trunk, but well, up against her creative masterpiece, mine looked pitiful!

The children's activities

Todd was the head volunteer for Lunch. He put countless hours into making sure everything ran smoothly as we feed 500 people a delicious lunch!

Getting ready to start serving the masses!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


It seemed as if everyone was hosting a Halloween party this weekend. We had plans to travel to a YMCA in Atlanta for a Fall festival, but some chores came up around the house and instead of heading south, we visited the celebration at the church where Jackson’s goes to preschool.

We arrived late to the party, but still had plenty of time to Trunk-or-Treat, eat some popcorn and hot dogs, and play in the jumpy house.

Philip and I jumped in the Trunk-or-Treat line while Jackson and Wesley went to get popcorn.

Once the sun went down, it go chilly so Philip got into his pumpkin costume and new shoes!

Dressing Philip for Halloween was much easier than Jackson. He had a meltdown when I asked him to put on his monkey costume so we resorted to the train engineer outfit he wore last year (yes, it still fit!). He really didn't want to wear it until Wesley told him he could get candy if he wore it.

We waited for our turn to visit the cars and when we got up to the first trunk, we explained to Jackson what was going on. He went up; said Trick or Treat; and got a piece of candy. Wide-eyed, he walked back to us and said, "Do we get to go to another one!" We showed him the long line of cars awaiting him! He loved it!

Philip on the other hand wasn't all into the Trunk or Treat. After a bottle, he laid back...

And gave it up!

My sweet boys!
As we were heading back to our car, Jackson found the jumpy house and wanted his turn.

Pumpkin Patch

Yesterday, Jackson, Philip and I joined Kate, Sam and Jack for a trip to a local pumpkin patch. They hadn’t visited a patch this year and even though we had, it sounded like the perfect Friday morning activity.

We decided to go to Kinsley Farm, a farm that is only 20 minutes away and where we went with Cristal and her crew last year. When we arrived, there were a few school classes there, but no other visitors. It was really nice to not have to worry about crowds.

We packed up the little ones in a wagon and went to explore. They had a few farm animals to see/feed. Sam enjoyed that, but he was the only one. Jackson informed me he was scared of the big cows but not the little cows (aka goats).

Kate and I wanted to get the classic pumpkin patch pictures but the older boys were not in the mood. They wanted nothing to do with the camera and everything to do with throwing rocks! Who knew with all the pretty pumpkins to look at, they would be more entertained with the rocks! Boys will be boys!

It was the perfect way to begin this Halloween weekend!

The little boys started out the day in their own wagon pulled by their big brother...

That didn't last long so we ditched one wagon and let the little ones enjoy the day together (in a wagon pulled by the mommies!)

Here we are looking at the animals. As you can see, Sam is the only one brave enough to get up close.

Okay, so I am going to admit, I was freaked out by this cow too. It was huge. At one point, I looked over and he was staring straight at me. I mean, we made eye contact and it spooked me! I always thought cows were sweet little animals - no more!
(Abigail, if you are reading this, I am sorry...I am now afraid of cows!)

Chilling out in the wagon...
enjoying a little pumpkin!

Look at this little cutie! Jack is 6 weeks to the day younger than Philip. I hope they grow up to be great buds!

Our family photo

While the older boys entertained themselves by the rocks, Kate and I took the time to snag some pictures with our babies!

Don't you just want to squeeze those cheeks!

Finally, we were able to get one decent picture of our entire group. A nice man at the farm volunteered to take it for us. After seeing it, I was reminded of last year's picture. Seems as though I am destined to be partially cropped out of each picture. Weird...

Kate, Sam, and Jack
Leanne, Philip and Jackson


Filled with Love

Over the past three days, Jackson and Philip have received Halloween cards from Mimi, Grammy, and Net. When the first one arrived in the mail, I told Jackson who it was from and asked him to read it to me. I was making dinner, and I wanted to see what he would say.

He took the card, opened it and “read” what was inside. When the second one came, I asked him to do the same, and again with the third. Amazingly, except for the senders’ names, all three cards said the same thing.

Here’s what I heard day one:

Me: Jackson, Mimi and Pop Pop sent you a card. Will you read it to me?

Jackson: From, Mimi and Pop Pop. We love you, Jackson!

Me: Yes, Jackson, that’s exactly right.

Here is a little boy who can’t read but knows when his grandparents and great grandparents send him a card, it is filled with love.

And yes, when he read Philip’s card, he said the same…From Mimi and Pop Pop. We love you, Baby Philip!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Look - I'm Da Da

A box of Nerds made it home with Jackson today. We let him have some as a snack as long as he sat down at the table. He made himself at home in Wesley's seat and found his hat. He put it on his head and started typing while confessing "Look, I'm Da Da!"

Purple Day

Today was purple day at Jackson's preschool. I was worried he would have nothing to wear until I remembered the birthday shirt Mimi made him. She combined two of his favorite things - the color purple and trash trucks - and made him the perfect birthday (and purple day!) shirt!

Please excuse the black marker marks all over the shirt. He had a little fun before school and we had to go with it!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

You might be a redneck if...

This is your backyard...Complete with a baby in a diaper in a playpen!

Trust me, this look didn't last long!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Abigail and Amelia!

What a special treat! Today my friend Abigail and her little girl came to visit. Abigail's husband, Seth, had a conference in Atlanta and since Abigail is not teaching this year, she and Amelia were able to tag along. Yay!

Miss Amelia was born in August and I had not seen her yet. I wanted to get my hands on this little angel! When they arrived, she was asleep and so I did want every other mother day would do, I let her sleep knowing I would have my chance to love on her when she woke up.

Jackson, Philip, Abigail, and I ate lunch and then after I put the boys to bed, Abigail and I were able to catch up before Amelia wanted her lunch.

I have known Abigail for 26 years (wow!). Our friendship has evolved over the years as we became graduates, wives and now mothers. Today, I loved watching Abba in her newest role - Mommy.

Those first few months home with a newborn are (at least in my case!) scary, overwhelming, emotional, and amazing! Abigail is doing a great job with all things that come along with a precious bundle of joy! Miss Amelia is one lucky little girl to have such a caring and loving Mommy!
Abigail and Amelia (11 weeks)
Look at that beautiful smile!

And big bright eyes!

I love to see little babies in Bumbo chairs. I think it is a riot when babies who shouldn't be sitting up, do!

Abigail had yet to let Amelia try out her seat, but since it was here, we put her in it for a few minutes. She did a great job and seemed to like it.

I of course, thought she was a cutie as she experimented with this new way to see the world!

Then Philip decided to show off his skills in the seat.
Wow! What a difference 6 months make!

Philip was more impressed with Amelia than she was of him.

Jackson didn't want to get too close...
Do you think he remembered 8 1/2 months ago, when one of those carriers came into this house and didn't leave?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A visit with Uncle Melvin

Uncle Melvin was in town for his annual fall trip to Atlanta and stopped by our house for dinner tonight. It is always a special treat when he comes by.

Just like last spring, as soon as Uncle Melvin walked in, Jackson asked if he would play markers. Uncle Melvin lovingly agreed and the two of them colored while we all caught up.

After a tasty taco dinner, we did more talking before he had to head back to his hotel. It was a great night and we look forward to his next trip to Georgia!

Jackson, Uncle Melvin, and Philip
Coloring with Uncle Melvin

Happy Boys!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Preschool Photos

We received the proofs of Jackson's school pictures today. I thought they turned out pretty good.

Since I didn't have them in electronic form, I snapped a picture of them so I could share:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

One final thank you

Journaling about our Disney trip could not be complete without a huge thank you to my parents for watching Philip for the week.

The first time I saw a baby sweating in a cramped stroller, I was so glad that we had decided to leave Philip in Nashville.

Though his sweet personality was missed, I know he had so much more fun playing with Mimi and Pop Pop, and I enjoyed the week more not having to worry about bottles or mid-morning naps!

Also, I really enjoyed the time we spent with Jackson. Life as a big brother isn't always easy, and I am glad that for one week, we were able to pour all our attention on Jackson!

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for being willing to watch our little man for the week. We are so grateful that he was in safe, loving care!

Friday, October 15, 2010

I am so blessed

I am so blessed to be a part of the Bender family. We truly love to be together. Whether on the lake, in Disneyworld, or sitting on the couch, we always have so much fun laughing together.

This week was no exception. Jack and Lynne gave us a wonderful gift. Not just 5 days at the Happiest Place on Earth but 5 days with great friends!

I am so blessed to have been born into a loving and caring family and I am so blessed to have married into a family that is also centered around love and fellowship!

Thanks, Jack and Lynne for a fabulous week!

Friday - Back to Magic Kingdom

Jackson got to ride his first roller coaster!

Abby and Luke

Another trip around the racetrack

Most of the week, Jackson could be heard saying "I don't want to do that. It's too "scare-rey" There wasn't a rhyme or reason to what scared him. Sometimes it was noise from a show or if the lights went dim on a ride.

When ever he wanted off a ride he would look at us and say "I want off RIGHT NOW" Of course, that wasn't always possible but usually we could calm him down.

At shows, he would just climb off his seat, and start playing on the floor. If he wasn't bothering anyone and was safe, we would just let him enjoy the show from beneath the seats.

Well, Friday morning, he switched things up a bit. He wanted off the Buzz Lightyear ride. My reply that it would be over in a few minutes didn't calm him down so he climbed under the bar and hit the floor of the ride.

I wasn't too worried about his safety because it was an interactive ride not a thrill ride, but I wanted him off the floor. I didn't really think another thing about it until we went to see the ride pictures in the gift shop. We quickly located Wesley's picture...
but couldn't find the one of Jackson and me. Finally, Wesley asked - were you by chance, picking Jackson off the floor at any point of the ride?

Seems the camera was shooting at just the moment I was negotiating with my 3 year old to get up off the floor. They captured our cart in mid-conversation....

If you look closely, you can see the top of my orange shirt where I am bent over talking to Jackson on the floor of the ride!

Much happier watching the parade with some popcorn

Wesley went with the older crew to ride Thunder Mountain again so Jackson, Lynne and I headed to Fantasyland. Lynne held our space at Dumbo while Jackson and I took a spin around the carousel.

We then jumped into line and all three of us rode Dumbo.

For our final night, we enjoyed a character dinner with Pooh and his gang. Jackson was really into these characters and loved meeting Tigger, Eeyore, Pooh and Piglet.

Macey's favorite will always be Piglet!

We stayed in the parks late to watch the 9:00 Electromagic parade. To pass the time, the kids played with some glow sticks I had brought with us from home!
One last time on Da-Da's shoulders. Best seat in the house!