Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Jackson loves dressing like his Da Da. If he knows he has an outfit that looks anything like Wesley's, he wants to change into it. It is very cute, but sometimes a little frustrating when we are trying to get out of the house!

This morning, Wesley was taking Jackson to school. Jackson was all dressed and ready to go but Wesley said he needed to go get something. He came down wearing clothes that matched Jackson. When Jackson saw him, he was so excited!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Family Fun

After shopping all day on Friday, we decided to have a laid back Saturday. My dad and I took the boys for a 15-minute walk - it was freezing!

Then my Mimi and Papa came over to see the boys and watch the UT/Kentucky game. That afternoon, the entire crew came over for dinner. The boys were in charge and we enjoyed a delicious lasagna dinner.

Sunday, my parents took the boys to Sunday school and Wesley and I packed up the car. As they were leaving the house, I noticed that my mom matched my boys. I had to grab a fast picture!

Philip loves his Mimi!

This picture is so not Philip, but for some reason, I liked it. Maybe because it shows off the cute outfit my mom made for him.

Mimi, Philip, Jackson, and Pop Pop

We joined them at church for service and enjoyed hearing their new preacher, Daniel Hope. After church, we cleaned out the fridge and headed out.

We hated to leave because it was a fabulous holiday. It was relaxing, fun, and full of family time. Thanks Mom and Dad for hosting a great celebration!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

Black Friday started early this year. Toys R Us opened at 10:00 pm on Thanksgiving Day so after getting the boys in bed and thanking my parents for staying behind to watch them, we headed off.

We arrived at the Cool Springs Toys R Us at 9:30, and we were shocked! The line went down the sidewalk and around the building. I instantly said it wasn't worth it but Wesley wanted to brave the cold (it had dropped 30 degrees since the run that morning!) and wait.

Reluctantly, I got in line and at 11:00, we entered the store...we were in the line to get in for over an hour!!!!

Since we are experienced Black Friday shoppers, we knew what to do first. We found the back of the line and got in it. Then Wesley went shopping and came back for me to go. At 1:00 am, we had made it to the checkout with a full basket.

Though I was reluctant at first, I am so glad we went. We saved a bundle and had a blast searching for all the deals among the sea of people!

All geared up and ready to hit Toys R Us!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Feast

In 1999, I celebrated thanksgiving with my family in Nashville. Since then, I have been MIA at the Nashville table.

We have been in Knoxville, Johnson City, or stuck here in Cumming due to work and schedules.

Since we were with the Benders for a week during Disney World, we decided to head to Nashville for this Holiday. It was a great decision. We enjoyed lots of family time with Emily and Ryan, Susan's crew, my mom and dad, and my grandparents and Uncle Melvin.

After a delicious Thanksgiving feast, we took some family pictures for my mom's Christmas card. Getting 13 people to smile and look at the camera at the same time was almost impossible but we did get a pretty good shot. After the family shot, we got a great one of Net and Drubby and the great-grandkids.

2010 Boulevard Bolt

The Boulevard Bolt is a 5 mile race run each year on Thanksgiving Day, and Emily, Ryan and I signed up to participate this year.

I trained for 12 weeks for the run and I knew I could do it. Since it was the end of November, I expected a cold, dreary run, but we were in luck. It was a beautiful morning. The perfect weather for a race with 7000 of my closest friends!

We did a great job. We all three started together and finished together. This was the first time Emily had ever run 5 miles straight and the first time I had in a long time. I was so proud of us!

Wesley, my dad, Philip and Jackson met us at the end to cheer us to a big finish!

Finishing the 5 miles

Emily, Ryan, & Leanne

We are now runners!

Our fans

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Volunteer Appreciation Dinner pictures

Here are the pictures the professional took at the recent YMCA Volunteer Appreciation Dinner:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Spare Key

We pulled into the garage this afternoon after a successful trip to the YMCA. Before heading in to make lunch and get on with the day, I sent out a text to a couple of friends. Throwing my phone and keys into the passenger seat, I got out of the car and headed to the back to retrieve something from the trunk.

My first attempt to open the hatch was unsuccessful as was the second, third….

I ran to the front and quickly realized the doors were locked! I told myself to calm down and tried to explain to Jackson how to undo his seat belt. No luck.

I then asked him to reach to the door lock and pull up…no luck.

Having no phone, I ran next door where after several knocks and door bell ringings, our wonderful neighbor Angela, answered. I explained the situation and she ran to get a phone for me. I called Wesley and asked about the spare key.

He suggested a place where it might be so I ran back to the house. Jackson at that point had figured out what was going on and was not happy.

I checked in the suggested place with no luck. I ran back to call Wesley and met my neighbor on the way. Phone in hand, she took over calming Jackson while Wesley and I tried to figure out where the key might be.

I was about to just say forget it and call 9-1-1 when he suggested to look in the junk drawer.


I found the key, opened the door, hugged my neighbor, and took two confused little boys into the house.

I was trying to calm myself down and I worried how Jackson was going to pull it together...shouldn't of worried about that!

His first thought was: "Hey, Mommy, can I watch George now?"

So glad it didn’t scar him for life..and so thankful for spare keys!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanks-for-Friends Dinner

I love our new Thanksgiving Tradition!! Tonight was the second annual Thanks-for-Friends dinner at Kate’s house. We all brought our favorite holiday treats and enjoyed celebrating the season with our dear friends.

As usual, Kate out did herself on the decoration and ambiance. Everything looked amazing!

And the food was out of this world. I got to bring the turkey again – and in my opinion it was even better than last year! Also, since we won’t be spending Thanksgiving in Knoxville this year, I made a Bender family tradition – cranberry apple bake! Yummy!

My rosemary turkey

The boys table
Philip, Wesley, Ben, Todd, Tru, Todd, and Waylon

Though he had a plate full of yummies, he only enjoyed the bread and cupcakes. Oh well!

Philip loved being a part of the fun this year!

Four of the 10 kids: Jackson, Addie, Alayna, and Addison
Not pictured: Tucker, Sam, Philip, Jack, Tru, and Isabelle (coming soon!)

The girls
Priscilla, Katey, Ashley, Leanne, and Kate

I had to include this picture. Waylon was the photographer for the above picture of the girls and Tucker and Jackson were the "look at me and smile" boys. They were pulling out all their tricks and it was so adorable. I had to ask for one more retake so I could snap this picture of them!


Philip was the lone infant in the baby nursery today so instead of having class for one, they allowed him to join the crawler class. I didn't mind at all because I knew he was ready for it, and I was right! He loved sitting up in the yellow chairs and clapping along to the singing.

He did such a good job that he got promoted on the spot! I know he will love the interaction in this class as he grows and grows!

He wore a beautiful outfit that my dad wore when he was Philip's age!! He looked adorable!

Size-wise, he looks like he fits in, but with his passy and baby eyes, you can tell he is still a young one!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

YMCA Holiday Party

Tonight was the annual Holiday Party for the YMCA teens. It was a fabulous event this year with 120+ kids from all over Atlanta joining the fun.

The boys and I tagged along with Wesley for the festivities this year, and we were amazed at what we saw.

The teens were asked to bring supplies to pack shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Wesley committed to filling 500 boxes but really thought the goal was too high.

I guess the teens showed him because they filled 600!!!!! There was hardly room for all of them in Wesley’s trailer! What a blessing!

It is so great to see the kids coming together to have fun and to help out those who are less fortunate. And I love that my boys get to see the serving attitude of these teens at such a young age!

600 boxes packed up and ready to send to those needing a little help this holiday season!
Daddy's Helper
Jackson followed Wesley around after the event cleaning up and shining his orange flashlight. I have NO idea where he found this thing!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chili Cook-Off

Sometimes it’s fun to just go with it!

Wesley was invited to be a judge at a chili cook-off at one of the local Ys. He heard that in addition to the cook-off there would be all sorts of fun activities for the kids so he invited us to come along. Never turning down free fun, we agreed.

When we arrived at the Y, we quickly realized that he was misinformed. It was just a low key, chili cook-off. That didn’t stop us though from having fun.

Jackson even made a day of it by enjoying time in a new Play Center. He was all about the new toys. Philip, Wesley and I just enjoyed lazily watching the members until Wesley was put to work tasting the 8 pots of chili.

After the awards, we all feasted on chili – even Jackson enjoyed it. Though it was not at all what we expected, we still had fun.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Playtime with Camp and Shepherd

Back in October, our friends the Wyatts helped us out when we were in need of a babysitter and watched the boys while we attended a YMCA event. We wanted to repay the kindness and asked to watch their boys when they needed someone. Tonight, they took us up on our offer.

Jackson loved having two new playmates, and I think Philip did as well. First, we headed to the playground to get some of the energy out!

We found a small hole in the fence around the tennis courts. The boys were able to squeeze through it run around for a while on the courts.

They made an all-boy mess in our playroom!
After dinner, Jackson wanted to play "Diney Wharld" with his friends. This time, Jackson and Camp were in the parade. Here I am with Pluto (Jackson) and a Stormtrooper (Camp)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Playing "Diney Wharld"

O how I wish I had the imagination (and memory) of my three year old.

Today, we played “Diney Wharld” and it was a blast. Jackson, Philip, and I watched parades, met the characters, rode the monorail and buses, and slept at the hotel.

We also relived a few experiences from our trip in October. These little gems were not things I remembered but Jackson did. We “changed hotels” just like we did on the last night of our recent trip. We also rode the bus back to the hotel and got bagels and coffee to eat on our bed. (Amazing that he remembered the one morning, he and Wesley went to get coffee and bagels at the hotel food court, and then we ate them on the hotel bed!!)

He obviously also remembered all the photos we took as he grabbed a toy camera for us to take to the parade. Quick thinking on my part, I told Jackson I needed a camera too and grabbed my real one. So glad I have proof of all our fun!!

Jackson waiting on the parade
He saw Pluto and had to pose for a picture

And here he is with Mickey

Mickey again - the picture before wasn't a good one so we had to try again

Jackson and Minnie

Mommy and Minnie

Okay, here is Philip (played by Philip); Da Da (played by Jackson) and Jackson (played by Donald Duck)

We took a break to head to the Y, but after dinner, he wanted to pick up where we left off...another parade!

Da Da (played by Jackson) and Jackson (played by the bear) with Goofy

Jackson (bear) and Da Da (Jackson)

Jackson (played by Philip) with his popcorn before the parade

Philip (played by bear); Da Da (Jackson); Jackson (Philip) getting ready to get on the bus to head back to the hotel.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Philip's 9 month appointment

We went to the doctor today for Philip's 9 month appointment. It went great and he was deemed perfect!

We visited the doctor last week when Philip came down with his first illness - a cold and high fever. It was diagnosed as a virus so I was glad to get him checked out again today. I just wanted to make sure it hadn't moved to his ears and it hadn't! He looked great!

Here are his stats:

Weight: 21 lbs 14 oz (69%)
Height: 30 inches (92%)