Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jack turns 1

Philip's friend Jack turned one last week and today was his party to celebrate!

Birthday Boy!

Kate outdid herself with this party. Everything was so cute including this cake she made - How adorable!

The birthday boy enjoyed the cupcakes..

As did his friend, Philip!

Addie, Tucker, and Jackson in front of the birthday table.

Kate even made Mickey party hats. Here is the big brother in his.

And the party favors were Mickey paintings that the kids did. Since I don't trust Philip with a paint brush, we went for a handprint instead!

Every now and then, you need some Waffle House!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Picture Day!

Preschool pictures were today, and I worked so hard to find coordinating outfits for the boys out of clothes they already had. I finally found two things and was so excited to see the adorable pictures of each boy and then one of them together.

After school, Wesley called to say that Jackson did great with pictures, but they had a hard time with Philip. He didn’t get a solo picture taken and they don’t know if they were able to get a good one of them together.

Jackson got on the phone and said “Philip wouldn’t stop crying in the picture. I tried to sing Twinkle Twinkle but it didn’t work.”

Bless his heart, he tried!

Here are the final results:

There have been many times I have said "Oh, I lost it!" When I saw this picture, I really did. I sat in the car and cried and cried. I couldn't help it. It is the first picture I have seen of a little boy - not a toddler, infant, baby - but a boy. A growing, handsome, fun loving boy! He looks so good in the picture but it makes me realize he's growing up!

Just to see how much he is growing
Left - Spring 2011
Right - Fall 2010

Mrs. Mary's 3s Class
Top Row: Mrs. Mary, Hannah, Andrea, Isabell, & Justin
Bottom Row: Ethan, Mac, Skylar, John & Jackson

Poor Philip! You can tell he's been crying, but Jackson did a good job calming him down for this shot.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Chuck E. Cheese

Today was Jackson's friends' birthday party. Lucas and Ethan were born 2 years almost to the day apart so this year they celebrated together!

Jackson LOVED the party. He loved the games; eating the pizza; and seeing (from a safe distance) Chuck E. Cheese. It was a great party for the kids and Wesley & I enjoyed it too!

Happy Birthday, Lucas and Ethan!

Eating pizza with his buddy Hunter.

He really loved this pizza and in fact...

was the last child eating!

Now everyone is back and waiting for Chuck E to begin the party!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Praise Baby!

I never thought I would be so happy to see Philip sit still long enough to watch a TV show but I am! He finally sat through and enjoyed Praise Baby while I was able to take a shower! Whoo Hoo!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What does one do?

Q: What does one do when he is scared of the helium tank blowing up balloons at Publix?
A: Hide under the fruit table!

Swim Lessons

This year, we decided to take a new route with Swim Lessons. Instead of the insanely expensive ISR program, I signed Jackson up for the staff discounted YMCA swim lessons.

He goes for 30 minutes, 2 times a week for 4 weeks.

Jackson is really enjoying it, and I have enjoyed it as well. I have met some new Mommies and have liked having time to play with just Philip.

While Jackson is swimming away in lessons, Philip and I take a dip in the pool. He spends the entire time smiling, laughing and flirting with the older women in water aerobics!

Last week, his teacher, Mrs. Deb, suggested he try goggles and he thought they were so fun! Doesn't he look adorable?? (Cold, but adorable! He wanted a towel, but I wanted to snap the picture!)

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Susan sent me this picture...

Drubby and Benjamin - both sound asleep and perfectly content!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Miss Morgan

Wesley was gone this weekend to a YMCA youth retreat and the boys and I had enjoyed the beutiful weather. Our neighbor Morgan came over to play sidewalk chalk. Jackson loves Miss and both he and Philip enjoyed playing outside with her.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Meet Maddie!

Meet Maddie!
The newest addition to the Moss family!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Jackson and Philip go to Shannon's!

Once we found out that I would be able to go with Wesley to Chicago for his business trip we asked my folks if they could watch the boys. It would work out perfectly for us to drop them off and fly out of Nashville. Things were looking great until Benjamin made his surprise appearance and my mom needed to be with Susan.

I was about to back out of the trip when Shannon agreed to watch the boys for us! She had been planning a girls week with Macey and Lynne, but they all agreed that Jackson and Philip could join the fun. Have I mentioned how BLESSED I am to be a part of the Bender family!

I asked Lynne to tell me some things from the week in North Carolina and here's what she said:

From March, 2011, at Shannon and Ron's home in NC:

  • After we picked up J and P from Wes, we were driving back to Shannon's on I-85 and I told Jackson to watch for a giant peach (water tower at Gaffney, SC), which completely intrigued him. Soon we saw it, and he loved it, and following that he created a whole story about a giant "punkin" we'd see soon, and it would become a hot air balloon, which Flash always barks at! We heard a wonderful description of the "punkin" while Jackson also began the planning for a big party at Aunt Shannon's house, and who would be invited. He entertained us the rest of the way with his lively imagination!
  • Soon after we arrived at Shannon's, we walked with J and P to the corner where Cole's bus arrives after school, with Jackson excitedly anticipating the big yellow bus AND Cole. We were turning our backs against the wind, even though it was sunny out, and Jackson said, "But God made the wind!"
  • The first night, after Jackson's bath, I sat in bed with him to say prayers. After my prayer, I asked Jackson to say one, and he immediately said, "Dear God, please show me your will for my life." (WOW!) I told Jackson that was a beautiful prayer, and he said, "Oh, my da-da taught me that. . . "
  • About 3 days into the visit, Jackson had shown great interest in the Johnstons' dog, Cali, who had just been clipped and looked very different from her former fluffy self. Jackson even slept with her (and Shannon) each night. When Wes called on Day 3, Jackson started his conversation with, "Daddy, Cali is not the real Cali!!" He had never said that to us! He must have really thought it was a different dog than the one he had known back in January.
  • Starting the first night, Shannon introduced bath time with: "Let's go scrub-a-dub-dub the DRUBBY!" Then we'd place both boys in the large bathtub in the master bathroom. The second day, just before supper, Shannon announced, "After supper, we'll scrub-a-dub-dub the DRUBBY!" Jackson said, "AGAIN??!!" We bathed them every night for 5 nights!
  • One night after Philip was already asleep, we gave Jackson new coloring books and crayons and sat at the dining table with him to color (Macey was doing her homework). Jackson colored a short while and then reached over and marked on the table with his crayon. Shannon told him NOT to mark on the table. Jackson did it again, and Shannon spoke clearly to him AGAIN. Then, Jackson reached over to color on the table the third time, and it did not make a mark, but I put the crayons away and took Jackson to bed, with him wailing, "But it did not make a mark!!" I explained to J that was not the point - he did not mind and must go to bed. At that point, I laid down with him and told him 2 Bible stories (Joseph and the multi-colored coat and Noah and the Ark). Jackson listened intently, and when I was finished, he sat up and said, "I have a book on that at my house, and I'm going to bring it to your house and read it with you, but I tell you what I'm NOT going to do - I'm NOT going to color on YOUR table!!"
  • One morning Jackson woke up about 5:30 a.m., and Shannon told him to lay quietly in the bed and try to go back to sleep. Jackson began singing, "The sun'll come out TOMORROW! TOMORROW! TOMORROW! I Love 'ya, TOMORROW. . . . " Shannon said it's a good thing that Jackson is cute.
  • I don't have a saying from Jackson's playtime, which was consumed with all of Cole's matchbox cars and trucks. I will say, though, that every place those cars/trucks/rescue vehicles went was in and around DisneyWorld. We took them to each of the 4 parks, before and after "work" - those cars saw all of the parades and went to all of the restaurants and even rode some of the rides - what fun!!
  • Also, after 2+ days of cold rain and cloudy conditions, and staying inside (in pajamas), on Day 3, we loaded up the double stroller and headed for the mall - we ate at Chick-fil-a and let the boys play at an indoor mall playground. The next day (Saturday - with Macey with us) we took the double stroller to the park, along with bubble-blowing guns and snacks. It was sunny, chilly, and wonderful to be outside! Also, on 2 different afternoons we strolled them in Shannon's neighborhood.
  • Philip was sweet, loving, and managed to cut 3 new teeth while we had him! He took great naps and slept through every night except one. He LOVES Cali and he LOVES to eat! Especially cheese pizza!
  • Shannon cooked like a machine - she kept the kitchen going and the washing machine chugging as she did all of the laundry, too, while driving Macey back and forth to school, making runs to the grocery store, etc. Her energy inspired me!

Memories are made of this - Love, Lynne

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Trip to Chicago!

Wesley was asked to be on a special steering committee for the YUSA. This year’s face-to-face meeting was set for March 9 in Chicago! I casually mentioned that would make a great birthday get away, and Wesley agreed.
The boys went to North Carolina for the week to be with Shannon, Lynne and Macey and Wesley and I flew out on my birthday. I was so excited! Wesley had work meetings Wednesday afternoon, all day Thursday, and half day on Friday. He was worried about what I was going to do all day. I told him not to worry. I was planning on working out, eating, sleeping, and watching some TV! Whoo Hoo!
Our hotel was located close to Merchandise Mart, which is a very neat/artsy area. It seemed very safe, but I got a little nervous walking the streets of Chicago. It was weird being in a different city all by myself. I decided to just grab lunch and head back to the hotel.
I grabbed a pizza and enjoyed it followed by a nap. After the nap, I went to the fitness center until Dinnertime. I was able to join Wesley’s group for dinner at an interesting restaurant in Chinatown.


Thursday, it was pretty much the same. I stayed in until lunch. I grabbed a quick bite at the food court by the hotel, and then another nap and workout.

Sweet Potato Tater Tots - Oh My!

Thursday night, I joined the group for a nice dinner.
Friday morning, I walked to a little café and people watched most of the morning. Then it was off to the gym and to the room to wait on Wesley. Once his meeting ended after lunch, we headed out to see the town.
First, we took a tour of the YUSA offices. They were so nice. Then, after a quick stop in Garrett's Popcorn, we walked to Millennium Park to see “The Bean.” It was really quite interesting!

Here we are in the reflection of "The Bean"

Another picture of us in "The Bean"
We are to the left of the middle in the back (very small)

Then we ventured up Michigan Avenue to see all the shopping. Neither Wesley nor I are shoppers but we enjoyed seeing all the people.

On our walk on Michigan Avenue we saw this boat. Turns out the next day, the river was going to be dyed green in honor of St. Patrick's day. We couldn't wait to see this.

We walked to the John Hancock Building and took the elevator to the Signature Room. We got an insiders tip to enjoy the sights and tastes of the restaurant instead of paying for the tour to the top (which we were only one floor below!) It was a great decision.
The views were breathtaking – especially the view from the women’s restroom (go figure!). We waited for a seat by the window and enjoyed a little snack.

It just so happened that Best Buy occupies the lower level of the Hancock building and we were there the day the Ipad came out. Wesley really wanted to get his hands on one of these and since the line was much shorter than the Apple line we had seen earlier in the day, we hoped in line.
Of course it makes sense to wait an hour in line for an electronic device while you are on vacation, doesn’t it? It does if you are married to Wesley Bender.

It ended up being a lot of fun and quite an adventure. Best Buy handed out tickets for all the Ipads they had available and they ran out of tickets on the customer directly in front of us. We were the next in line. We questioned the staff and found out if anyone forfeited their ticket, then the next customer (us) would get the opportunity to purchase the devise.
So again, of course it made sense to wait another hour in line for the possibility of the Ipad!
We ended up having the best time with the people in line, especially the three people behind us who also hoped for an available one. We were laughing and enjoying the time since we had nothing to lose.
And as the third to last person went to pay for their Ipad, their credit card was denied and we secured the available model. (Don’t feel bad for the guy. After he was denied, he said “Good. I didn’t really know if I wanted it anyways!”)
Wesley left so happy!

After paying, we hoped a cab back to the hotel to get ready for my birthday dinner. I had made reservations at Shaw’s Crab House (Jack’s recommendation) and it was so nice and extremely yummy!

I would love to show or tell you what we had, but it was so good and we ate it way too fast!

I remembered part way through dessert to snap a picture!

We walked back to the hotel and crashed. Saturday was going to be a long day. We had a lot to get in!
We took Ryan’s recommendation to try a place called Ann Sather. He had never been there but heard about it on the Food Network. We thought it was worth the try but on the 30-minute trip out to the restaurant, I was second-guessing our decision.
By the time we sat down and looked at the menu, we realized we had made the right choice! It was such a cute place and the food was amazing. I can say it was the best breakfast I have ever eaten! We did have to walk A LOT that afternoon to work off the insane amount of calories we ate but it was worth it!

Leanne and Wesley
We are holding ONE of the two cinnamon rolls they give you as a SIDE dish for your meal!

French Toast Fantasy
Marscarpone filled Cinnamon Rolls, battered, grilled and topped with granola and fresh seasonal berries.
How did I decide what to get? This was labeled "Yes, this is the one recommended by Rachael Ray!"

PS - See the "real" Coke in the picture? I decided I didn't need to fool myself and go "Diet Coke" with this meal!

Wesley had to help me finish - it was so good!
After breakfast, we jumped on the Subway and headed to the Field Museum. We really enjoyed our tour and I loved seeing “Sue” the largest TRex dinosaur fossil. It was amazing!

In addition to "Sue," we saw several other exhibits:

This is "Sue's" actual head. It weighs too much to be attached to the model on the floor below so they have it displayed upstairs. It was huge!

This man finds a computer game where ever he goes!!

After our tour of the Museum, we again walked Michigan Avenue. We were able to see the green river, which was so neat.

We did some shopping at the Disney store, and then settled into a delicious dinner at Gino's East.

We rolled out of the restaurant and took a beautiful stroll back to our hotel. I had an early flight to catch so we turned in early.

The next morning, I was off to the airport and to pick up the boys and Wesley stayed in Chicago for another round of meetings with a different YUSA group.

It was such a relaxing trip and a great way to celebrate turning 31!