Monday, October 24, 2011

ridiculously inspired

I originally saw this video on Liz's blog and her thoughts were mine exactly...ridiculously inspired.
Lately, I've been inspired and excited about every little thing (it seems like more so than usual but maybe not) :)

-Crazy inspired to clean and organize my entire household (basement especially!)
-Excitedly inspired to create healthy, simple and inexpensive meals each weeknight for my family.
-Inspired to read a variety of magazines and books that have been calling my name for some time.
-Every day inspired to smush my little Cooper's face with hugs and kissses and to grab Parker when he's not expecting it and loudly smooch on his little face and give him ginormous bear hugs!
-Determined and inspired to prepare each and every week for our Small Group's Love and Respect session...thereby strengthening my marriage and our family.
-Challenged and inspired to always provide a nurturing and loving home to my precious boys.
-Crazy inspired to capture and document our family's everyday moments.
-Ambitiously inspired to imperfectly perfect all that I do (seamless mornings with the boys from start to finish, leave work feeling as if I've performed at 110%...I would never expect any of these things to always be perfect, but I do love to try!!)
-Ridicuously inspired to travel, create, perform, document, LOVE, laugh, bake, organize, manage, speak, listen, photograph, teach, decorate, read, relax, study, learn and pray. I am daily inspired to be a better Daughter of Christ, wife, mother, sister, daughter, granddaughter, friend, employee, citizen of this blessed country. I am so very grateful for my life and the inspiring individuals and moments that surround me.

If you are not already ridiculously inspired by day to day living, watch this video...maybe it will spark a little muse! :)

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A good cause, my growing boys, and other randomness...

The other day I ran across something that I would like to share. Please visit and watch the two brief videos. You will become more aware of the tiny batteries around your home and mine. By the end, your heart will ache for little Emmett, who is a living miracle; hopefully, you will also have a desire to spread this information to your friends and family too.

And on a completely different note (and also very trivial compared to the above mentioned) a few randoms in our life over the last several weeks...

We've recently purchased a new vehicle...we can now fit 8 in our vehicle instead of a squishy 5 (plenty of  room for future carseats...future being the key word there) ;)

I am addicted to Chai's like my Christmas in a cup in the mornings....especially now that the temps have started dropping here. I told Clay the other night when we were laying in the bed that I wanted a milk steamer so I could make my own Chai Tea's lattes in the morning. He wasn't too crazy about that idea but I keep telling him that it would save us a LOT of money in the long run.We'll see if I get one from Santa this year. ;)

Since the end of September, I've shed more than a few tears as I've thought about my precious little boys growing up and getting so big. "Ole Mr. Time, please slow down. I've been having a little trouble keeping up lately."

I think part of my emotions started when Parker recently came home talking about big boy things like the "rad engine" he's going to have one day or when he first got in the car singing tunes from Justin Beiber that he overheard from an older kid at daycare. Then Cooper turned one. After that, there was no stopping the tears from their emotional mama. ;)
October 2011: Typical shot of Clay getting two boys ready and out the door
Between the boys growing up four times as fast as we'd like them to and work and life being slightly crazier busier than usual, we are grabbing onto every simple moment that we have together as a family at home. Some of our most memorable moments have been spent rolling around on the floor wrestling and laughing, going miles around the living room on our knees with airplanes and cars in tow, and squishing up together with boys in our laps as we read stories of pumpkins, apples and Autumn tales.

I am really looking forward to the next several weeks as we have very few organized plans outside the home...and that means more time for baking in the kitchen, playing random made-up games with my boys, more storytimes, more walks in the brisk outdoors and more grilling. It is during these times that my mind is most alive with inspiration and ideas, so I'm sure some additional creative projects will come as a result of all the playtime at home. :) I love this time of the year.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

crunching through leaves in the woods of the Arboretum

So, I mentioned in the last post that we flew back into Minne from Mississippi early Monday morning. I did not want Fall to pass us by before we headed out to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, so immediately after flying in, out to Chaska we went. Clay was home (and as usual, we take full advantage of days that he is home to try and get out and do fun things together as a family) so he picked us up from the airport and after taking care of a few "need-to-do" things first, we drove on to our destination.

It was the perfect, relaxing outing that we needed. The boys crawled, played and laughed in the colorful woods. I took some pictures; Clay enjoyed taking everything in (and I'm half of the smiles on his face were due to his visions of future "guys-only-in-the-woods" trips...he often likes to reminisce over his Eagle Scout and hunting days and plan future trips for he and his boys :)). We walked...a lot. It was great though; had it not started raining and approaching suppertime, we would have stayed longer.

I love how this picture is all blurred out except for precious you can tell, he was quite the happy sort riding on top of his daddy's shoulders!

It was slightly difficult to snap pictures of Parker because he was all over the usual. ;)

Family picture. Yea!

If you haven't crunched in leaves yet this Autumn, I would highly recommend going outside right now and trying it. It might just bring a big smile to your face. Happy Fall Friends! :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

72 hours in Mississippi

Last Friday, the boys and I headed to the airport to catch a 6am flight to Mississippi. Thankfully, we had plenty planned to keep us busy over the 72 hours that we were down South, so that we didn't feel the lack of sleep from our early departure too badly (although I might have mentioned to my mom a couple of times that I would have given more than a few dollars for a Starbucks or Dunn Brothers to be in town).

While in Mississippi, we were, of course, able to see a lot of our family. I don't know what makes me happier--to see the smiles of my boys as they easily play, share and interact with their great-grandparents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncle, etc. or seeing our families' smiles as they sprawl out happily on the floor ready to start a new game or adventure with the two...maybe it's a little of both. :)

Here are some of my favorites:

...and just to keep it real ;) ...

...we hadn't seen my brother and his wife since the first of January, so when I found out on Thursday that they were going to be flying in as well, I was sooo excited!
This picture is a typical representation of the silly and adorable face that Cooper would make whenever his Aunt Fair was holding him or trying to get his attention.

As usual, there was a special event going on that gave me a fantastic "excuse" to skip to the South on this particular weekend. My dear friend, Ashley, is having Baby #1 (a girl!) so we threw a little shower for her (Terra, Mindy, and Mrs. Felicia...everything looked amazing. Great job!) We were all extra excited for this particular party because instead of the typical blue that we have had for almost every shower, we were able to decorate with pink! Unfortunately, I took so many pictures with Ashley's mom's camera that I hardly got any of my own, but the event was a huge success and so much fun!

Though I don't have pictures of the pink stuff, I do have a picture from my dinner out with some of the girls. I can assure you, we had a fabulous hour and a half catching up and chatting. To an outsider, our conversations, I'm sure, would have seemed comical. One half of the table (probably the 3 married with kids) couldn't seem to quit talking about bottles, new baby products, sleep schedules, toddler tantrums and other everyday things; whereas, the other half of the table (probably the 3 hot single girls who still have a social life and stay up past 10pm ha ha!) chatted it up about their recent international adventures, work, and not-so-serious relationships. Thank you girls for a terrific evening! You never fail to entertain! :) And thank you LaLa, Ashland and Papa for watching the boys for a little bit this weekend so that this mama could have a little girlfriend time! I really appreciate it!!!

And on the eve before our departure...Rassie got Parker in the kitchen for some simple baking and a Halloween craft. It was one of the highlights of the trip for him.
Proof that we did indeed sleep during the weekend...Parker probably better than all of us ;)
...and just like that we were back in Minnesota by 10am Monday morning. A little part of us ready to get back to our little routine but another part of us missing our family like crazy! Thanks to each of you for helping to make our trip so special and fun! We're already looking forward to the next time! :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"i'm the birthday boy!"

It's My Birthday Today!
I am One Year Old.

A few things you should know about me (or things my mama says she does not want to forget!):
Weight: 23 lbs, 5 oz - 59%
Length: 31 1/2 in - 93%
Hair: Blonde (definitely from the Nolen side)
Eyes: bright Blue
Teeth: 9 (and working on a few more)
Diapers: Size 4
Clothes: 18 mos
Shoes: around 4 - 4 1/2 (my mama says she needs to get my feet measured soon!)

I like to crawl more than I like to walk because I can get there 12 times as fast. I like to practice walking with assistance and have been for a few months now but do prefer to use my hands and knees.

I like to eat. I really enjoy spaghetti and pasta meals with chicken, mixed vegetables, rice, and all fruits.

I am a great sleeper. Now that I no longer have tummy problems I usually sleep through the night without any issues (well, except for when my teeth were coming through which was a process!) Since a baby, I prefer to be placed in my crib so that I can drift off to sleep happily on my own. I go to bed at 7:00pm. Every night after dinner is done and mama picks me up from my chair, I happily wave my arms up and down (to say bye bye to any observers I might have) with a big grin on my face and even sometimes say, "Nigh Nigh." I typically nap every day from 9-11 and 1-3. I sleep with my bunny lovee and a blankee that has a super soft side and a satin side. I sleep best in my crib at home and at Mrs. Leslie's. I do not sleep well in a stroller or on the rode when we travel. When tired enough I will fall asleep in my car seat (that takes a very long time though!) I have always been perfect at falling asleep easily but not always great at being able to stay mama says she is very thankful for the full nights of sleep I give her though. She seems much happier when she gets rest. ;)

I am extremely active and like to get into things that my mama and daddy don't really want me to (cabinets, drawers, breakables, bathrooms potty' name in...I've tried to crawl to it, in it or on it. Mama says that she never had to put away her "pretty things" until I came along and now the story has changed. (supposedly my brother never got into things that he wasn't supposed to...well, not as much anyway)

I chew on anything and everything I can get my hands on. I like to try everything in my mouth first before I choose to play with it.

I love bathtime so much. It might be one of my favorite times of the day.

I like to play with my big brother and watch all that he and my daddy do.

I can already make car noises when I run them across the track of my choice ("Brrraah. Brrrraah.")

I say "Ma Ma." "Da Da" "Nigh Nigh" "Ba Ba" (for bottle) and am making fun new noises and syllables each and every day.

My mama has always had trouble keeping me in her lap for storytime but I am getting better. As long as I have something to feel or open on the pages of the book, my attention can be held a bit longer.

My mama says that I am her little Mr. Mr. (she's not quite sure why she started that nickname but says it might be because for so long I reminded her of a little old man with my fairly blonde/bald head and cute little toofers)

Most people tell me that I look more like my dad than my mom (my mom says I look JUST like my dad's side of the family..coloring, chin, hair, build)

I have 2 precious dimples on my cheeks that my mama says she could kiss all day long.

I do like to be held some and snuggled but usually will squirm out of your arms to get down on the ground to play. I like to climb stairs (since about 10 or 11 months).

I scream (loudly and shrilly like a girl) when I want to (one can typically hear it a time or two around dinnertime...though my mama has been working on signing with me since I was a wee little one, I prefer to scream when I need something or just because :) She and daddy laughed one night because mama kept trying to get me to sign "all done" after dinner. I had had enough of that mess, threw both hands in the hair, waved them around in the "all done" sign--but just above my head instead--and screamed "Ddaaaahhnnn!!!" Mama and Daddy say it hurts their ears when I scream like that. Parker isn't too fond of it either and says while covering his ears, "No screaming Cooper!" I get a funny look on my face when I yell makes mama laugh. She says she needs to post a video of it one day.

I am definitely a verbal baby. I am also very social.

Since 11 1/2 mos I have been drinking whole milk. Bottles at bedtime and usually before naptime. During meals and snack time I drink from sippy cups.

I cry when daddy leaves.

I am and have always been a very happy and active little baby boy. My mama says my "toofy", cheesy grin gets her every time.

I am Cooper Bennett -- the birthday boy.
It should be another fun year. I plan on keeping mama and daddy very very busy. ;) I'll let you know how that goes.

"Cooper, your Daddy, Parker and I love you so very much. This past year has been such a blessing for us having you as a part of our lives. Thank you for being your spunky little adorable self. You make the sun shine on days when the rain comes. I love you my little mr. mr." 

Friday, October 7, 2011

We saw the sunrise while airborne this morning.

The picture that I was able to snap quickly from the other side of the plane, while in between the two boys who were, at the time, in very much need of their mama's full attention, does not do justice for the bright red and orange tinted sky that we witnessed on our way to Mississippi.

Often times when I fly I think of my daddy. This morning, I imagined him looking down at me smiling through the sunrise. Funny how flying or being 100's or 1000's of feet above ground (like when I went on that ski lift in Whistler in you come up to the top, it feels and seems like there's nothing on the other side. It literally makes you feel as if the lift is taking you up into the clouds) makes me feel even closer to him. :)

Looking forward to a fun, jam-packed weekend with friends and family from our hometown. Hoping you have a good one too!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

sweet moments of Fall

"To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I embrace each of the seasons (though winter here in Minnesota takes a little bit more effort! ;)) but if truthful, I have always been partial to fall. Autumn is my absolute favorite time of year. Everything about it makes me happy inside. Apple Orchards, red berries and pine cones, mulled cider, golden colors of orange, red and yellow, pumpkins, cool weather, warm fresh breads baked in the oven for friends, football games...each of the flavors that the season has to bring.

It is especially easy to encourage my children to be attentive to all that nature has to offer us this time of year. A quote from a good book: "When we train a little boy to be attentive, we can encourage him to study a bug just 30 seconds longer...when we train up a little guy to be attentive, we give him the gift of discovering a fascinating, orderly world and making his own unique mark upon it." This quote and fine lesson on "training up a little guy on Attentiveness" obviously is referring to more than just the Autumn season; however, when I read it this morning I immediately thought of this time because of all there is to enjoy (and to take for granted if we move too fast to appreciate it.)

This Fall, take the time to lay in the grass with your kids and see how many different colored leaves you can find on the trees. Take a quilt outside with some good books and magazines for the season and breathe in the crisp air as you dive into an inspirational read. Go for a walk with your children and incorporate in a scaventure hunt, finding acorns, pine cones and all good things that Fall has to offer (you can even bring them home and have the kiddos make an art project out of it). Sit by a bonfire and toast smores. Visit several apple orchards letting your little ones pick the apples. With the apples you pick from the orchards, invite your family in the kitchen with you to make some special "apple treats" like apple pies and apple cider. Decorate your home with signs of the season: colorful leaves, pine cones, red berries, candles with scents of Autumn, pictures of past times enjoying Fall moments, pumkins and warm baked treats for the family to enjoy on the weekends.

...we are lovin' every sweet moment Autumn has to offer us this season. Hope you are too. :)