Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Super Chili

Here are some nice pics of my flower beds...yeahhh!  So exciting!  The lilies are just glorious and they smell wonderful.  They are all in front of the house but you can smell them all around the yard.  The smell reminds me of weddings since there were lilies in my bouquet!  I tried to take a picture one evening but it was so hot and humid that my camera lens fogged up!  

Second attempt...

The flower beds look good but the planters with annuals are starting to look kind of bad.  The one you can see looks great but the rest...eh...for some reason the geraniums are withering in several of the pots which is unusual because I consider geraniums to be one of the hardiest and healthiest and easiest to grow annuals.  Also, I planted moss roses as a filler flower in many of the pots but now they have taken over the entire pots and kind of sucked the life out of the other plants.  That greenhouse must have recieved a super batch of moss roses or something.

The gardens are producing.  Pardon the gross assortment of clutter in the background.  I was too lazy to set up a nice photo that doesn't include spray bottles of cleaning supplies and a used water glass and paper towels. 

Do you see those tiny red peppers in the tomato bowl?  They are called Super Chilis and we have alot of them.  I tried one for the first time last night and they are HOT.  I don't know what we will do with them because Justin doesn't like peppers at all and I like them but these are way too hot for casual eating, at least for my taste!  If anyone wants a challenge let me know and I will give you some!

Oh, what else...I found the Jump-a-Roo we got for a gift stashed away and realized Ben is big enough for it now so i set it up and he loves it. 

One more obnoxious baby item on display in our house!  The nice thing about this one is that it is easily taken down and stashed.  I had to put a rug under him so his feet didn't slide on the floor!

I keep wondering when teeth are going to appear!  He has been drooly and obsessed with putting things in his mouth for a few months now but over the weekend he started sucking on his lower lip so I think it might be close.  Hopefully it isn't a total nightmare.

The soundtrack to this photo is a loud shrieking sound!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gerber Baby

So, I have done something I didn't think I would do...I entered Ben in a baby photo contest!  I know...I know...it is The Gerber Generation Photo Search, which apparently happens every year.  One baby is the big winner of a $50,000 scholarship fund type thing from Gerber's life insurance company.  This winner is chosen by judges.  Then there are six category winners that win $10,000.  Everyone can vote for these. 

I think we have a pretty good chance...there are only...oh...86,889 entries so far in all categories and there are still 32 more days to enter a picture.  Haha...but I believe my child is the cutest in America, just like all of those other 86,000 parents think the same thing!  I saw a poll on Babycenter that asked if moms secretly thought that their baby was cuter than all others and 95% said they did!  This contest is proof of that phenomenon.  I think it must be one of those biological survival things that scientists study like how women are supposedly repulsed by the smell of their brothers' sweaty shirts but not their husbands in a blind scent test or how men like blond hair because it naturally occurs most often in young women who would be able to produce lots of babies to ensure the continuation of thier line. 

Realistically, I saw the story of last year's winner and it was a caucasian boy with blue eyes so I would imagine that they would not have a baby boy who looks pretty much the same win again the next year. 

Here is the next Gerber Baby's entry!  Voting doesn't start until September.  I will probably put a link on here to vote then.  I don't plan on being overly annoying about it and spamming it all over facebook or anything because I get annoyed by that stuff.  The only thing I usually vote for on websites is this animal shelter I follow that is trying to win a big donation for their shelter which is a much worthier cause than "vote for my kid to be the Gerber Baby!"

Oh, and I just looked at the website again because it is opened in the background and there are now 87,949 entries!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Guess Who's Engaged?

My brother...whoa!  One more milestone on the "I am old" continuum...

To be fair, he is 25, which is older than both my sister and I and most of our cousins were when we got engaged but still...

This is the perfect occasion to share a few outlandish pictures of him such as the bed of needles shot above and this gem...


The lovely bride is Melanie.  They have been dating for a long time so I went to facebook and found some good photos of them together.  Now, when you get engaged, Facebook makes a little album with all of the pictures the two are tagged in together.   

At first when I saw this I thought my brother was a woman.

OK, there is one normal one with nephew Ben...

I can't wait for the wedding! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Little Bison!

Last night we took Ben to an NDSU alumni event that was in town.  They have toured the state and had these events where they have dinner and a bar and all the coaches talk.  There was a silent auction and some free novelties (we got our yard sign!). 

And of course, the inevitable...a baby picture with Coach Bohl!  He is so friendly and agreeable and his way with fans is really appreciated.  

I wonder if he will still be coaching around 2030?  Haha...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Baby On the Move

Well, freak me out...Ben is on the move now.  It's not just a 180 degree roll here or there...He rolls all over the place and if I leave the room he might be in a completely different place whe I return a few minutes later.  I usually lay him on his back under his "Ocean Adventure Gym" and then chaos ensues...

During the day this is all really funny and cute.  However, it is not so cute at night.  I consider myself to be someone who doesn't automatically imagine the worst case scenario.  I tell myself that the chances of something crazy happening are miniscule.  So, I admit that I might leave Ben strapped in his carseat in the car in the garage while I unload shopping bags or luggage even though the garage is not attached to our house (it is set back to the side behind our house) because what are the chances that a thief is going to run in there and steal the car with Ben in it during the 30 seconds I am in the house.  I know it has happened somewhere in America sometime but it would be a VERY rare thing to happen.  I admit I took Ben on a boat without a life jacket for a peaceful evening ride on a Sunday night.  The water was calm and there were no other boats around so it would be a freak accident indeed if something happened.  Getting caught by a warden...I guess that would just be embarassing! One thing I do worry about though is SIDS.  Doesn't everyone...the thought is so horrifying.  So imagine my horror when a weird noise from the baby monitor woke me at 5 a.m. on Monday morning.  I almost went back to sleep but something told me to check so I did and found the poor baby wedged face down up against the crib railing, still wrapped tight in his swaddle!  I immediately rolled him over and of course he was fine but holy crap...what a scare.  I took the crib bumber out a while ago and I don't want to think about the worst case suffocation scenario that could have resulted if it was in there still.  I didn't go back to sleep that morning and instead spend the time searching the internet for what to do when your baby starts moving around in his crib. 

Every source said that as soon as a baby is strong enough to roll completely during the day he will be able to move his head to breath in his sleep if his breathing is obstructed.  That was a relief. Apparently, the occurrences of SIDS drop dramatically around 4 months, when babies generally start to roll consistently. Also, the swaddle wrap tag said that when rolling starts it is time to stop swaddling so now we leave his arms free at night. 

Well, sorry, that post started out cute and turned into kind of a buzzkill...scroll back up to the pictures for lift!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


If you recall, we have two gardens this year...the usual shady, unproductive plot in our back yard and also a sun drenched plot at the city garden.  Comparing the two is like comparing...well I don't know what...something malnourished and deprived to something robust and healthy.  The plants at the city plot are so much bigger and healthier.  The onions are up to my knees and the tomatoes are up to my chest and covered with flowers and green fruit.  The peppers have big and juicy peppers on them just waiting to ripen.  I have been thinning the carrots and they show promise of being delicious.  I know this because I eat the ones I pull!  They are bright orange and shaped like carrots, so unlike the knarled, pasty ones that grew in the back yard last year.   

The tomatoes...big problem...we didn't get around to giving them any support with cages or buckets with the bottoms cut out or stakes or anything when they were small and soon it was too late.  The plants are like huge trees and they are a tangled mess that can't be untangled.  Their heavy limbs were falling over onto the adjacent carrots and onions and celery.  So this weekend we lifted the whole mess of limbs up off the ground and mashed them behind a fence. 

Now it is just a huge mass of plants but at least it they are contained and there aren't any tomatoes laying on the ground.  On the left are potatoes and everything else is tomatoes.  Maybe I will have to learn to make salsa! 

Upon close inspection, I found so many tomatoes growing in the leaves!  There are many flowers as well, so I think we will have a huge crop to share. 

These are the onions!  I am so proud of these because they are something that never can thrive in the back yard.  Usually we get some vegetables but they are small and way late but onions really need constant sunlight to grow at all. 

Another shot of the tomato fence...we are such professional gardeners!

And now, a cute photo of Ben, because I know some people look at this mostly for that reason and would be dissapointed in just photos of undiscernable masses of garden plants...

We went to a birthday dinner at a restaurant on the river with a piratey-beach theme and a parking dock for patrons arriving by boat on Saturday so I dressed him in this beachy button up shirt.  Hehe...

Oh guess what else...I saw "Magic Mike" on Friday...so worth it!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I Need Earplugs

So, Ben used to make these cute little noises that sounded like this...

When my mom would be on the phone she would hear him in the background and say..."I hear a little lamby!"  It was cute.  He still makes some noises like that but mostly he sounds like this now...
Aye, carumba, he is so loud! 

Also, he got mistaken for a girl for the first time yesterday while wearing this arguably neutral but in my opinion boyishly styled polo shirt/onesie.   

People on Babycenter get really bent out of shape when this happens (but also, alot of the mom's on Babycenter get bent out of shape when anyone they don't know tries to interact with or even look at their baby in public...there are GERMS everywhere and every public place is crawling with kidnappers you know!!!) but I don't think it's that big of a deal. It's not like the baby is going to suffer long lasting effects because someone didn't have a huge bow on their daughter's head during an outing and they got mistaken for a boy at a time in their development before they can even understand the English language.  When it happened, we were at CVS and as I was walking out the door a man who was 70+ years old said, "you don't have to worry about bundling up your little girl today, do you?" in reference to it being 95 degrees outside.  I just went with it and said, "nope!  It's pretty hot out, isn't it!" or something.  No harm done to the Ben or a friendly passer by, but it did make me wonder what about him made a "girl" statement that day...maybe it was his rosy pink cheeks or the little fawns and woods animals that decorate his carseat.  It's funny how all it takes is a pink or blue outfit to make a baby look decidedly one gender or another.  You could fool anyone who didn't have to change their diaper!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ben's updates

Ben has been a busy baby these last few days.  Some highlights...

My Uncle Steve and Aunt Cindy who live in California were in Bismarck over the weekend so Ben got to meet his great aunt and uncle.  

Next time they see him, he will probably be a toddler walking and talking!  I just saw them in Vegas a month ago so it was fun to see them again so soon since I usually see them only once a year. 

Ben went to the doctor yesterday.  The doctor said he could try eating some solid foods.  "Solid" is a very liberal description of the first non-milk food babies eat.  We bought some rice cereal, mixed it up with some of the free formula samples we got from the hospital a few months ago, and gave it an try. 

Oooh...something fun is about to happen!

Yeahhh...this didn't really work out...I don't think any of this slop actually made it into his stomach.  Oh well!  It was a first try!  We will have to keep practicing!  I did some research and many sources say that 6 months is a more ideal time to introduce solids so I am not really in a hurry.  Sorry about this picture...these kinds of pictures of babies are kind of gross but also funny...

Last night after the feeding fiasco I left the house to go to the Y and when I got back Ben was swaddled because was out of sorts and fussy.  I was occupied elsewhere when Justin called for me to look at something. 

See anything out of place?

That is one of Allan's many toy mice.  He was in one of his crazy playful moods and he dropped it by Ben and then waited expectantly for Ben to throw it for him!  Haha so cute...he wanted to play with his brother!  Jake, my sister's dog, did the same thing a few weeks ago.  Ben was sitting in his stroller while I was helping my mom do yard work at the farm and he dropped his tennis ball at the foot of the stroller and waited for Ben to throw it with a doofy grin on his face.  They will have a fun time when he is finally old enough to play with them!

Monday, July 9, 2012

4th Continued

Yeah...I said I would finish this like 5 days ago so here you go...

Before we headed back to the farm on the 3rd we stopped at my aunt and uncles lake because it was Ben's second cousin's 1st birthday party.  Ben got to hang out with so many other babies over the weekend!  His dad is my cousin Greg, who is a few months younger than me. 

Here is a not very good picture of the two of us as babies.  I love my name sweatshirt!
Grayson is a big boy now and it is hard to imagine Ben becoming like that in a few short months! I hadn't seen him since he was younger than Ben is now. He walks and has a mouth full of teeth and can feed himself.  The baby months really fly by. 

The party was an Elmo theme if you couldn't tell! 

We tried to get some party hat pictures.  It went a bit better than that time I tried to take pictures of Allan wearing a mini party hat but not much better!
Ben's hat stayed on for about 2 seconds after that hand was removed...good thing I have a fast camera!

With Great Grandpa Glenn and Great Grandma Dorothy.

After this we were off to the farm and, since we had plans to go to a street dance that night, Ben was off to his first non-family babysitter for the night!  She is a middle school age daughter of family friends who I have known since she was a baby.  I remmeber her coming swimming at the pool when I was lifeguarding as a little toddler in the baby pool so it is strange that she is now the babysitter and I am not the baby sitter...I am the mom!  All of these things have taken some getting used to...
I was kind of worried, not about Ashley's (the babysitter) competence but because Ben had decided that he didn't want to drink from a bottle over the prior few days.  But everything was fine and around 11 p.m. I got word that he was sleeping and then it was time to relax for real!  The night was problem free and I had a great time catching up with old friends from high school.  I was talking the whole night and hardly had time to drink and take shots with my sister and cousins which is probably a good thing!

I forgot to mention that the weekend and days before the 4th were ungodly hot, as I'm sure many of you experienced and we kept waiting for the inevitable break in the humidity in the form of heavy rain and violent weather.  At the lake on Monday night there was a lighting storm that looked like strobe lights but no heavy rain.  It came on the morning of the 4th during the parade in Hatton! 

Here we are with Grandpa Tim, hiding under the front porch of the Masonic Lodge turned preschool.  Grandpa Tim looks worried but he was actually happy about the rain because of the farm!  Everyone was happy!  And it didn't last long.  The sun came out and the parade went on. 

Ben got to see Great Grandma Phyllis and his Great Great Aunt Joy again on the 4th and seems happy about it!
After lunch we headed to the rednecky, class B-ish event that I love (once a year...I know some people attend these events many times every summer and there is a "circuit" that some people follow like any other automotive racing type activity but once a summer is enough for me).  It was Demo Derby time!  This day is such a deviation from every day life.  On any given week day that the 4th lands on you sit in a pickup or on the roof of a bus or on a trailer and drink in the middle of they day and watch old cars from the 70s and 80s smash each other until only one is left running. 

This year there was a bit of a problem...right after the event started, in the second heat, the action was stopped because of an emergency...not with one of the cars but elsewhere in town.  The required rescue truck had to leave and attend to the other emergency (it turned out to be a minor injury when a teenager had an accident with an ATV/golf cart Ranger vehicles).  Another amublance had to come from a nearby town to be on hand for the derby which was nice of them.  This lead to about a 45 minute break in the action which gave time for more drinking which I don't think anyone minded, especially after word was out that it wasn't a serious emergency. 

Bad choice on the black shirt Mother!  It was hot out there!
Andrea with our favorite lemon and sugar infused hot weather vodka drink.  Yummmm...so refreshing!  I want some right now seriously!   You fill that container with lemons sliced in half or in fourths, a bunch of sugar and vodka.  Then you shake it violently for 20 minutes.  Taking turns shaking is necessary!  At the end of 20 minutes you have a delicious summer drink that I highly recommend. 
So that was that...I can't even think of who won the derby.  There was also a drawing for $10,000 and I have no idea who won that either (I know who won, but I didn't know them). 

Then it was buzzkill time...everyone had to leave right away because the 5th was a workday.  It was hard to leave and we didn't get home until late but we did arrive home just in time to see the Bismarck fireworks display which we can see clearly from our house.  Well, we could see it if the house across the street didn't have a huge tree in the front yard.  But we could see it pretty well with the neigbors in their driveway. 
Sigh...until next year, 4th...I look forward to it already because it won't be in the middle of the week!
Oh, I should add that Ben did not attend the derby in case anyone is questioning my parenting!  He stayed with my brother's girlfriend and she took him to visit her baby loving parents who live about 15 miles from the farm.  Lots of kids attend but it is definitely not a place for little babies.  Too hot, too loud, and too many flying clods of dirt and fire hose showers sprayed at the crowd. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

4th Part 1

Well, much to my chagrin, the 4th of July is already over.  It went way too fast and the fact that it fell in the middle of the week and that Justin had to work the next day was a huge buzzkill.  I hated that we and everyone else had to leave in the evening and the 5th just seemed all wrong and anticlimactic.  Oh well, next year will be different...

It was a pretty chaotic weekend.  On Saturday I went with my mom and Ben to a family reunion of my Grandma's family.  She has a huge family and is the third oldest of 14 children.  They get together every year in Northern Minnesota, where they grew up.  Some of their cousins come with their families as well.  They live all over now.  One sister lives in Maryland, one in Michigan, one in Idaho, and of course several in Minnesota.  There were 9 girls in the family, who are all still living, and 5 boys.  Three of them are still living.  One died in the early days of the Vietnam War and one just died recently. 

Here is a picture of them all.  I think it might be the only one where they are all pictured together.  My grandma is in the back row and third from the right with her eyes closed!  They are...deep breath...Norma, Russell, Phyllis (Grandma), Gloria, Anita, Geraldine, Donald, Dennis, Patsy, Joy, Sandra, Karen, John and Barry.  Holy crap!   

So, anyway, the reunion was at Lake Bronson State Park in Northern Minnesota.  It has a lake and camping and also this 1930's era observation tower that is pretty cool.  We visited and walked to the tower and ate some food and that was about it!  It was pretty fun. 

Here is Ben meeting his...uhhh...some sort of cousin.   The other baby is Barry's grandson so I suppose the baby (Levi) is in my generation and my second cousin.  It gets confusing when the generations are so big!  My mom's youngest first cousin is my age! 

Meanwhile, Justin was playing in an alumni baseball game back in Hatton with my dad and brother.  I guess they weren't too strict about having to be an actual alum to play.  They teams were even graduation years versus odd graduation years.  It sounds like they had a good time and a big crowd.  The game was to celebrate the dedication of a renovated baseball field. 

After that we headed to Minnesota Lakes Country to Justin's family's lake cabin.  Ben's cousins Jack and Spencer were there. 

Here are the babies who happened to have both packed fun and summery orange outfits!  Too perfect!

Beach baby!

Jack and Spencer's puppies were there.  I like to call them the dingos because they are brother and sister and cling together in a mini pack all the time.  They LOVE water and swimming and will fetch a ball all day long.  They show fatique eventually but it takes a long time.  It takes ALL day. 

They swim like muscrats!

We went tubing...

Jack tubing...

YEaahh!!  I also went water skiing but I didn't have the camera outside.  I couldn't do these activities last year because of being pregnant so it was fun to get back behind the tow rope.  

Justin's step-brother Josh skiing...he has been doing this his whole life and is quite good. 

This was a good opportunity to use my camera's action setting.  I love how the water looks!

Ben went in the lake for the first time!  I know it looks bright but don't worry...these were taken in the evening so it wasn't as bright or harsh as it looks. 

He liked it!

It was Grandpa Larry's 55th birthday on the second!

I will write about the rest of the 4th later...Ben has taken up spending most of his waking time screaming.  It is different from crying and most of the time he is not upset but just wants attention.  I can't believe how loud he is and the only way to get it to stop is to carry him around and entertain him so I can't get anything done.  He is in the swing now but the quiet is not going to last much longer. Writing this post took all afternoon.  Ugh.