Monday, February 27, 2012

Two Point Five!

Benjamin Jon is officially 2.5 years old!
Happy fractional birthday little Ben!
Ben is currently 29 pounds and 37 inches tall (click here to see averages). He has begun choosing what he wants to wear (usually his pirate ship shirt) and is fitting into some 3T shirts already with his 2T pants. He is very strong and active. Every day he gains pride in his new abilities, proclaiming, "I did it!". He loves to climb and then pretend to fall. He announces, "I'm falling!" and then giggles his head off all the way down.

Ben has a fantastic imagination and can busy himself happily with make believe and very few props. He really likes robots, rocket ships, airplanes, bugs, and animals. If you place a handful of objects in front of him, he will usually tell you how many there are. He likes to count while he plays. He calls Sophie's rawhide chews "dinosaur bones". He "buries" them in a cardboard box.
He likes to hide under blankets and be a "Cave Bear". He drags odd objects into our bed "Cave", so we are always finding pretend pliers, play dough crumbs, small toy animals, and other surprises when we turn in at night. I also find a variety of small flat items under the rugs and couch cushions. If we are missing something, he remembers exactly where he hid it. He is going to be really good at hunting Easter Eggs this year!
He loves to dance and sing. He knows the words to a lot of songs. When he is not sure, he just fills in syllables to make the sentence the right length, with "Na-na-na" or "La-la-la". He can sing his alphabet and identify almost all of his letters correctly when asked. He is collecting new words every day; his newest favorite phrase is "Oh, that's Awesome!".
Ben loves shapes and colors. He points out Octagons at stop signs and tells me "green means go" at stop lights. I'm not sure how I ever drove through town without him. Although he will sneak food off of my plate when I am not looking, he is learning about ownership too. He explains, "This is Ben's fork. This is Mama's fork.". He isn't terribly possessive as far as toddlers go, but likes having a kid-sized version of what Mama and Daddy have.
This kid is very determined when he sets out to do something. He is far from easily distracted. He knows what he wants to do and he goes after it full steam ahead! Go buddy go!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ben the Builder!

While browsing the consignment store, I found a couple of DVD episodes of "Bob the Builder". Ben became an instant fan of Bob and his crew. The chorus of the theme song includes, "Can we build it? Yes we can!" "Can we fix it? Yes we can!".  We try to limit Ben's media exposure, but this show gets a pretty high approval rating in our house. It fosters a positive, can-do attitude, introduces big concepts such as work ethic and "reduce, reuse and recycle", it demonstrates how big equipment and tools are used to repair and create nice, useful things and it even features a capable female builder (Wendy).

Ben grins and glows with pride at being called "Ben the Builder". He kind of looks like Bob too. The show was the perfect yucky-weather compliment to the introduction of this workbench. We found it at a consignment sale too and we have been stashing it away until Ben got a little bigger.
Here, Ben the Builder is using his "Hammer Hammer".

Daddy is sharing his workshop expertise.

Right to tighten, left to loosen, will make a lot more sense once you pick a hand to eat with.

This shot made me picture him with a fishing pole.

That's it!

Ben has more tools than his Daddy!

Ben can fix it, yes he can!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The New Alternator

Dylan and Kelsey had an eventful trip to see us over the weekend. The little Sube broke down along the way. However, because our fellas are as handy as a pocket on a shirt, it was up and running in no time. We spent Saturday in Missoula on errand. Kesley and I hung out at the mall with Benjamin while the guys diagnosed the car problem. Dylan called an auto parts store and installed a new alternator himself; right there on the side of the road. Good job guys! Good men have a way of turning bad luck and hard work into positive experiences.
We had a great time chatting, laughing, eating, and playing games with the kids.

Little Brother shared some sweet play time with his Big Brother.

Kesley made a new friend at the pet store in the mall.

Ben became the conductor of this "Choo Choo" train! His Great Uncle Roy would be proud of him!
He went at it head-first!

He didn't have any engine trouble.
He never ran out of steam.

He was very busy, but still made time to chat with the ladies.

It was a great visit and our little alternator adventure had a very happy ending!

Friday, February 17, 2012

I-D-A-H-O

Dylan is coming home from the University of Idaho to visit! We are very excited! We have been fluffing his pillows, stocking the fridge, and looking forward to welcoming him with open arms!
So, we made a trip to the grocery store to get ready for the college student. While in the produce department, Benjamin made friends with this large, festive, potato salesman. Actually, he made friends with his brother, Tato #1; therein lies this story. They had a nice chat as we were weaving in and out of the produce department islands. We, mostly, just circled like sharks around the potato island so Ben could have multiple visits with his new found friend.

The grocer stocking the isles couldn't help but notice the affection Ben had for the over sized root. As Ben called out, "Mr. Tato, Mr. Tato", the grocer giggled and smiled. When Ben was asked if he wanted it, Ben replied, "Yeah! I want it! I want it! I want the Mr. Tato Robot!". This prompted the nice grocer to allow us to clip the decoration to our cart destine for home.

Ben told everyone at the checkout counter, and within ear shot, about his precious potato and that they were both "Happy!". However, once we were in the parking lot, disaster struck! There was a blight, if you will. The sticker holding the anchor ribbon gave loose! The Potato drifted up, higher and higher into the sky, leaving Benjamin holding a limp ribbon. His mouth agape, he started to tear up and called out, "Come back! Come back!". I hugged him and encouraged him to wave "good-bye" to his floating friend who was, clearly, headed back to IDAHO.

Apparently, the manager noticed this parking lot drama and decided that Albertsons could sell potatoes even if there were no large "IDAHO" balloons looming over them. He came running out of the store and said that, if we waited a minute, Ben could have the last remaining potato balloon.

So Thing 2 (Ben) will be standing here with Tato #2 ready to greet Thing 1 (Dylan) with open arms! Maybe Dylan will even see Tato #1 waving to him during his drive as they cross paths.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Feeling the Love!

Ben would like to take a moment, down from his sugar high, to thank you all for the e-mails, phone calls, cards and other very thoughtful ways he was asked to "Be My Valentine"! What a fun week full of little surprises! XOXO!!
"Ooo Ooo Ah Ah Ah Ah!!"

"Oooo Yummy!"

"Oh! A bear wif a balloon!"
 
"Bear and Ducky are friends!"

"Oh! A heart! There! There! There! There!..."


"Ah ha! Ben's!"

"How'd you do that, Mama!?"

"Again! Again! I hear it!"

"Pop!" An endothermic, gas-producing, chemical reaction inside the slapped pocket made a balloon inside the envelope/bag blow up and pop out! It was very exciting! They sure didn't have those when I was a kid!

"Go Dog Go!"

With almost two and a half years of saving, the pig is filling up!

"Buzz Light Year Robot!"

"Person Robots!"


"A heart! Another heart! Another heart! Oh, Thank You Grandma! You're Welcome Please!"
(yes... these are all actual quotes from Lovebug Ben)
 I wish I could have captured all of his reactions. Please know that he loved each and every greeting and we are overwhelmed by the unnecessary sweetness!

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Not with a 10 foot pole!

Stand back! There are not many two and a half year olds who can swing a stick like Benjamin Jon! He is up to a duel, let me tell ya.
He wrestled this fallen Aspen sapling away from Sophie and went into an imaginary sword fight with everything in the yard! He wasn't angry, but he was quite serious.

We kept our distance as Ben swung it around mightily with his strong little 37 inch frame.


He poked at the half-frozen ground like he was harpooning a fish!


He held it out like it were a Light Saber and the Force was with him!



He fearlessly jousted the big spiky Spruce!

Then, as if he were laying it to rest, he drug the sapling back to it's place in the Aspen stand and walked away victorious.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Our Little Wolverine

Benjamin is an honorary member of the Winter 2011-2012 Wolverine Watch! The study is being conducted by our  Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness (click here) and Grandpa Jon (click here and here); in partnership with the Idaho Fish and Game Department and other tough, weather-resistant volunteers! We have been eagerly following the project remotely and Ben received this "Paw Print" hat in the mail this week. Upon opening it Ben called out, "A Clue! A Clue!". And he is absolutely right! The field study is sure to turn up a lot of valuable information. The DNA samples are being gathered for analysis and the trail camera pictures are being reviewed. We can hardly wait to see the data!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sunshine At Our House!

Welcome to Ben's secret Tree Hideout!

He plays a special game of "Pick Up Pine Cones".

To play, you gather as many pine cones as your little hands can hold and pack them out.

Then, you put the pine cones in the basket and run back for more! Doesn't that sound fun?!

Our sunny friend, Codie, came to play again today and we went for an explore in the yard.

Ben showed Codie "Ben's Geese".

Sophie dog lead the way.

We walked / ran around the perimeter of our 2.6 acres.

The dynamic duo spent a lot of time taking turns on the slide.

Ben liked to "catch" Codie as a helper at the bottom of the slide.

You can't quite make it out on the horizon in this picture, but we chased "Ben's Plane". It is "Lellow". It circled our house as the kids reached up, ran around and waved. Then it landed at the neighbor's landing strip to the North of our house (very close). It was a very exciting sunny day!