Thursday, August 22, 2013

Little Big Ben

Where did I leave off? Oh yeah, Ben was like 7 months at my last update. Oops! Here's a little catch-up...

From about 7 months on, ALL Ben wanted to do was walk. This was our fault... we should NEVER have taught him this was possible at such an early age. What started out as a fun treat became a demand. I was legitimately worried of becoming the next hunchback of Notre Dame. Luckily, at around 10 months, he has learned to cruise and crawl. This makes my life A LOT easier! When he does walk, he only wants one of my fingers which allows me to stand up straight again.

Ben spent a lot of time in our bathroom in Tucson. With the huge closet mirror doors, I could just sit him up with his toys in front of the mirror while I took a shower or got ready and he would happily stay put. Thank goodness his reflection is so captivating!

I was pretty nervous about the adjustment of moving to Washington. With the different climate, new house, additional people, etc, I thought Ben would go through an adjustment period. Nope. Happy as a clam from day one. But I am grateful to have had warm clothes on hand because that first morning was pretty crisp!

My mom got Ben a Johnny Jump Up so he could be happy without being walked around all day. He LOVED it for the first day. But then he would get too excited and keep banging his head on the doorframe. After a few good bangs he was done. I wonder what other people do to make these work safely? Suggestions?

As I mentioned before, one of the best perks to living with my parents is the proximity to the cemetery. For a while, Ben and I would take long morning walks down to visit Jonah, water his flowers, and set up a blanket to play near him. Ben loves stealing the pin wheels from his plot and eating them. I think it's as close to playing together as they can get right now and I love watching :)

We have also been visiting the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium quite a bit. My mom has an annual pass which makes it justifiable to go if only for a couple of hours between nap times.

Harold holding Harold

Pointing at the colorful fish

We had a lot of fun a few weeks ago visiting the Sequim Olympic Game Farm with my aunt and cousins. Basically you drive your car though dirt roads with a loaf of bread and roll down your windows to feed the bison, reindeer, llamas, etc. It is a riot! Unfortunately, Ben took our girlish screams to mean the animals were scary so he spent a lot of time trying to escape!

1st time sailing. HATED the life jacket!

 Ben has been subjected to many forms of water at this point. Baths, pools, boats and lakes. He tolerates these activities, but doesn't exactly love any of them. I can tell he feels very insecure because he holds on to me for dear life. But he is slowly becoming more comfortable.

I just loved watching him try to escape

Lake Tapps Beach has a great sand pit. He likes this much better than actually getting in the lake

Hayden Lake, ID. Again, loves getting out of the water :)

Ben's real love lately is with balls. Basketballs are his favorite followed closely by rubber balls. But honestly, if you stick him on a blanket with any ball or two, he'll be happy for a while. I love that he is grown up enough to have favorite toys and his own interests.

 Other random Ben details:

At his 9 month check up, he weighed 23lbs (but is now 24), still has a 99th % head circumference, and in the 80-something % for height (see what happens when you don't write these things down right away!)

He loves to eat (big surprise, right?) Bananas, applesauce, carrots, green beans, plain yogurt, toast, oatmeal, watermelon, and cheddar cheese are his favorites, but I can usually get him to eat just about anything if I stick it in his mouth. If I just place something he's not sure about on his tray, he'll swipe it to the side and eventually feed it to Penelope. Penelope knows where to sit during mealtime.

Ben is such a distraction at church! His favorite thing is to stand up with his hands on the pew behind him and yell at the top of his lungs to see who will pay attention to him. Then he'll give all of his viewers the biggest smile and yell some more. He's gotten a lot more wiggly so we've had to get pretty creative with keeping him in one place for an hour and 15 minutes but having my parents there helps a lot.

He is sleeping 11-12 hours at night and then takes 2 hour and half naps during the day.

He drinks 4 6oz bottles a day (we stopped breastfeeding by 8 months due to supply issues)

He does not like to be left alone (except for sleeping). When I set him down to play, he almost always checks for me every few seconds to make sure I haven't tried to sneak off (hence my lack of blogging the past 4 months!). Now that he is cruising furniture, to make sure I'm still near, he'll take one hand off the furniture and swipe the air behind him to make sure I am close by. If I'm not in arm's length, he's very offended!

He is loving opening and shutting cabinets. And of course, exploring the contents within them. This makes the kitchen a bit of hazard since I have not baby proofed. I keep putting it off since I am always pretty much within an arm's length anyway :)

I finally figured out how to get this boy to cuddle! Microfiber blankets have given me up to 20 seconds of cuddling if I hold Ben on my shoulder with the blanket behind him just before bed. I loooooove this!

All and all, this baby is such a fun, happy and healthy boy. I hate how fast he has grown, but I love watching all the new things he is mastering. He is such a joy!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Back in Action

No more excuses. Time for an update.

We moved to Washington. It was such a weird experience to say goodbye to the student life and all that comes with it: friends in the same life situation as us, scheduled vacations, the ward we came to love, and believe it or not, the area we came to love like a lot. It still feels like we are just on summer break. But alas, we have to accept the fact that we are now officially grown-ups! (Although living at my parent's house doesn't exactly help with that!)

As for a little review of our life over the past 4 months:

I am SO proud of Handsome Ransom for graduating from law school. He studied so much and yet somehow made time for me whenever I asked him to help me with anything. He made law school seem easy, but let's face it, if tables were turned I would have had complete meltdowns with the burdens of tests and homework not to mention family responsibilities. He is a beast! Way to go, Ransom!!

Ransom's last day of class (I absolutely love that he allows for these pictures!)
And for a throwback, here is Ransom's 1st day of law school... you'd never know it'd been 3 years!

Graduation day!

Pretty sure this is the only family pic we got

For graduation day, my brother's family drove down from Gilbert to celebrate with us. We got a sitter because graduation was way later than Ben's bedtime (how lame!) The ceremony was honestly pretty pitiful! The "inspirational speaker" gave us an autobiography while describing how awesome her family is; never really motivating the graduates into thinking they could ever be that awesome. And then it just kind of went downhill from there... BUT the important part is that Ransom's name was called as a graduate and he walked across the stage (although refusing to wear his cap because "it's stupid and didn't fit") while we cheered!

Despite the ceremony itself being pretty lame, it was surprisingly very emotional for me. I kept thinking back to our graduation from BYU. I was 7 months pregnant with Jonah and I remember talking to my Mom about how 3 years from then, Ransom would be graduating from law school and Jonah would be 3! So as I sat there, at the long-anticipated graduation, a wave of new grief hit me. Jonah should be here. Ben should be here. We should be taking pictures as a family of 4. I felt bitter and sorry for us. And to be completely truthful, that never really went away. But, thankfully, as I thought about our journey through law school and the point we are at now, I was able to feel Jonah so close. Not only had he been there through the especially rough days at the beginning, I knew he was there at the graduation. I could feel how proud he was of us for making it. And like I have so many times before, I felt like the child as my baby taught me.


The next week, Ransom began studying for the Bar Exam. But before he could engross himself too deeply into it, we got our bags packed and headed for a 3 day road trip to Las Vegas with our really good friends, Janie and Andrew. I had never been to Vegas so my eyes were definitely opened to "the world" YIKES! But we had fun walking around the strip and seeing all the sites. Since we stayed in the Stratosphere, we got to go up to the viewing deck as much as we wanted which was such a fun perk! But the best part, by far, was going to the shows. We saw an afternoon comedy magic show (Mac King) which was pretty funny and quite amazing. I got Ransom and I on stage by raising my hand when he asked for newlyweds (hey! we still feel like newlyweds) but the best was going to the Cirque de Soleil show, Mystere. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!! SO expensive, which goes against every fiber of my being, but honestly worth it!

This trip was made possible by our wonderful friends Emily and Adam and my Bro and SIL for watching Ben for us. This was the first time I had left him with anyone so I was pretty worried about being able to have fun but because I know and trust them so much, I was able to relax and enjoy the time away. Thank you, thank you!!!

Soon after our trip I had to get serious about packing. Ugh, packing. Usually I actually enjoy packing because I love going through our stuff and throwing stuff out, but it's a different story when you add a mobile baby to the equation. I had to pack during nap and bed time which was not fun. But it got done by moving day and despite my best efforts to stick my heels in the mud, we left the beautiful house we had called home for the last 8 months. Saying goodbye to some of the best friends I think I'll ever come by was so hard. I know I'll never live to close to so many great friends again. We had so much fun the past 3 years and especially over the last 8 months as I was able to stay at home with Ben. But such is life, right? Ransom and his dad drove our big moving truck with the car in tow while Ben and I flew in comfort. Over the next few days we unpacked into my parents house and got settled.

As much as I miss so many good friends in AZ, it is really nice to be so close to so much family. We love being able to visit Ransom's family all the time and having my sister and nephew only a few minutes away. And of course, having the cemetery within walking distance is invaluable!

Ransom got right back on track with his Bar studies while I got to have fun with family. And let me just tell you, thank goodness for family! The bar study program is a BEAST! Ransom was waking up at 5am every morning and would study until at least 7 at night, taking only a few eating breaks. And even at night, he would try to memorize stuff while watching TV with me. The WORST 2 1/2 months ever! Poor Ransom! Thankfully, the bar was the last 2 days of July so I have my husband back. He'll find out the results by the end of September and in the meantime we wait (and go on lots of trips!).

Next up, Ben updates...