Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Flashback Friday & Preview

Happy Halloween!! I have never been that into Halloween but this year it has just been a lot of fun with Ben. He sort of understands things and is excited about dressing up. Last night we had a Halloween preview night where we went and trick or treated at the grandparent's houses. He had so much fun (and got so much candy and such). He will hold out his bag and say "tick o teat." He looks so cute in his Tigger costume (he wasn't too sure about it at first but when I told him candy was involved he was all about it!) Here are a few pictures from last night's adventure.

There will be lots more to come from tonight I am sure. We are going to trick or treat on our street and then go to the fall festival at our church. I thought I would throw in a flashback to last Halloween. He has grown so much!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pumpkins, Vans & Trucks

Random title I know but it really sums up our weekend. We did our annual pumpkin carving this weekend. Our Life Group always has a social to carve pumpkins that we always enjoy. That was on Saturday night. We had been debating for a while what we were going to carve and finally decided on a Thomas the Train pumpkin (since it is Ben's favorite right now). The social was lots of fun and Matt always does such an amazing job on the pumpkin. Really he is awesome!! He is very artistic and just free hands the pumpkin!! Ben loves the train pumpkin. Every time he sees it he calls it "choo choo pumpump." Matt said as long as Ben can recognize it that is all that matters!

The other big news around the Eckley house is we got a new van and a new (to us) truck. I know that is crazy. If you know us well you know we don't buy cars very often (it really sends me into panic attacks! - I don't spend money well!). My parents were talking about buying a new car and offered to let us buy their truck from them. We were thinking about it and then the crazy idea came to trade in both of our cars and buy a new van and buy the truck. Really I don't know how it all happened it just happened too quickly. So now we have a truck and a new van. And I am feeling really old. I am excited about a mini van. I was driving a mini van (it was old and beat up but I loved it until the guy told me it was unsafe to drive on Friday which is what got all this started). Having a new mini van that we sought out is making me feel old! Oh well. I guess that is my life.

Here are some pictures of our pumpkins and the new van (because several of you have asked to see it!)

From the pumpkin carving - All the kids with the pumpkins (& Kyle!)

Ben driving the new van (note the truck in the background)

The new van - Sorry bad picture but it is blue and a Honda Odyssey (really not that excited I know!)

And I just thought this was a funny picture. Yesterday we had Evan our neighbor who is Ben's age over to play and I was making up our bed when the boys started jumping on it! They had so much fun!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ben and the Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I thought I would take the title from one of my favorite books as a kid. Ben has had the worst day ever. He has had allergies really bad this week with the changing weather so he woke up with a stuffy nose. I almost didn't send him to MDO but he loves it so much and I knew he wasn't sick so he went on. I got a call at 11 that he was screaming and they couldn't get him to stop. They had come in from the playground and he just lost it. I got there about 20 minutes later and he was still screaming. Don't really know why. He is cutting some teeth so I guess he was hurting - yea I forgot to mention the teeth earlier. He hasn't eaten in 2 days because of the teeth so that could have been why he was screaming because it was time to eat. So I picked him up and calmed him down. He had a haircut scheduled so we just drove around until the haircut so he could sleep. All afternoon he was just sort of pitiful but he didn't take a nap. We went outside before dinner to play. He was riding in the wagon with one of his friends and he fell out the back and busted his eye!!! Blood everywhere and it immediately puffed up and he broke his glasses. Really it was a bad day!! So tonight he got to eat ice cream for dinner and watch TV and movies all night! Hopefully tomorrow will be better - it can only be better.

Here is his puffy eye. He is 19 months old and already he is on his 2nd black eye. Of course we are supposed to be getting his Christmas pictures made on Friday. We will see how it looks tomorrow! Also a picture of the broken glasses. Hopefully they can fix them at the eyeglass place or else we are buying another pair! YEA!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Going to Carolina!

We went this past weekend to visit my brother and his wife up at their new home in Greensboro North Carolina. We had a wonderful trip!! It was so much fun to get to see them and visit with them. They were great hosts and we just got to do so much! It is about an 8 hour drive up there so we set out Thursday after work and were just going to drive until we got tired (this was going to be a hard thing for me because I like a plan). We ended up driving the whole way. Yep all 8 hours. We got there about 1 in the morning after only stopping once for 30 minutes for dinner. Ben did great. He actually stayed awake the whole time!! We did have another tire mishap. Really it would be nice to go on a trip and not have to buy new tires!!

We went to the Children's Museum in Greensboro on Friday. It was so much fun. Everything was Ben sized so he loved it! Plus he had 4 adults playing just with him. We got a tour of Greensboro which was cool to get to see what all Kelly and Andrew do! Saturday we went to the NC zoo. It was an awesome zoo. I would actually call it the best I have ever been to. It is the largest in North America. If you walk the whole thing it is about 5 miles (we rode for a little of it but pretty much walked the whole thing). The animals were so interactive. Ben put his hand on the glass for the chimps and they would come up to it and touch his hand and make faces at him. It was so cute. He loved all the animals. He would point at them and make noises. He also loved the mountain lions. He just chased them up and down their cage. They enjoyed being chased. At one point Ben yelled at them and the mountain lions jumped. Yes Ben scared the mountain lions. That's our boy!

The most fun on the trip was just hanging out with Kelly and Andrew. We played games, watched movies, and ate some good food! It was a great time!! Thanks for letting us come guys!! We love you and miss you!
On the way home we stopped and visited with our friends the Thomas' in Knoxville. Ben loved playing with Ethan and Elijah. It was fun to get to see them too!
Kelly and Ben at the Children's Museum
Flying a plane with Uncle Andrew

Grocery Shopping - they had the neatest kid sized grocery store

Family Pic

Checking out the giraffe

Playing with the chimps

Uncle Andrew & Aunt Kelly with Ben (don't ask about the Wake Forest t shirt - we don't understand!)

Scaring the mountain lions

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Veggie Tales

Last night we took Ben to see the Veggie Tales Live show. I have been a fan of Veggie Tales for many years. They first came out when I was in high school and it was cool to like them back then (ok so maybe not really cool but it was ok to like them). I remember a lot of the songs from back in the day. Now Ben just likes any cartoon so I let him watch Veggies because I can stand to watch it. It actually has some adult humor in it that I like.

So we thought it would be fun to take Ben to the live show. We met up with our friends the Hancocks for dinner and then went up to the church (it was at our church) where we met up with the Powells. So to get the scene. We are packed on a tiny pew (it was one of the 1/2 pews in the back) with 7 children and 6 adults. The sanctuary is packed and it is all fun and exciting. I really did feel like I was at a rock concert or something. It was a strange feeling. All these screaming people.

Ben loved the show. Well, I guess he loved it. You would not have known from his expressions. He was motionless the whole show. He just stared at the stage with his hands in his mouth. He cracks me up because he is always on the go but if he is interested in something he can be still as a statue. It was like he was taking it all in and didn't want to miss anything. It just made us laugh. The show was very enjoyable and I was glad to be in the back (it was loud - did I mention I felt like I was at a rock concert for kids!) And then I wondered why we even took him. It is not like he even remembers it today. Oh well. I guess the memories are for us and it was fun!
Our packed pew!
Statue Boy watching the show

He chewed his hands the entire time!

Playing with his friend John Thomas during intermission.

During the second half of the show I made him clap so at least he wasn't just staring.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fall Break Fun!

Last week was fall break for the schools here in Huntsville. Although Ben is not in school it did affect us. We didn't have a lot of our normal activities all week (no Bible Study, no MDO). I had told Matt at the beginning of the week that it might be a rough week for me because I wouldn't have any breaks but I was wrong!! Our week was packed with all sorts of fun activities. We went up to the Nature Trail on Green Mountain, we had play dates, we went to the Botanical Gardens, and we went on "secret adventures!" Ben even went to work with me a couple of times (no childcare was available so he just hung out with me at work - I didn't accomplish too much but did what I had to do). It was a great week. We were more busy than usual. We got to see lots of our friends and experience lots of new things. I love having a flexible little guy who is up for whatever I throw at him.

Oh I almost forgot about the birthday party he went to... Our little next door neighbor was turning 7 and she invited Ben to her spend the night birthday party!!! Ben didn't spend the night but he did go over for the first part that included playing Barbies (he loved playing with Barbie's car) and making purses!!

Here are a few pictures from the fun week we had (I didn't take pictures of all the activities we did!).

A couple of funny things Ben has done in the last week... I very rarely will let Ben watch TV while he eats but every once in a while as a treat I will pull his chair over in front of the TV. One day last week while I was fixing his breakfast I looked up and he had pulled his chair all the way over in front of the TV and was waiting on breakfast!! This morning I gave Ben syrup for the first time with his waffles (although I was later informed by my dad that they give him syrup all the time when he stays at their house). I caught Ben dipping his paci in the syrup and just licking it off!! The boy knows what he wants and will do what it takes to get what he wants!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ben's Twin

You know how they say that everyone has a twin out there somewhere in the world... well, Ben is personal friends with his twin. It is a little boy named Gabriel. Gabe is about 6 months older than Ben but they look very much alike. Chris and Jess (Gabe's parents) were one of the first friends that we made when we moved back to Huntsville. Gabe was just born and we thought he was a really cute little guy. Little did we know Ben would look just like him! We have both actually had people at church make comments about how much they look alike They have been confused on numerous occasions in the nursery. Gabe is a little bigger than Ben but they both are slender and tall with glasses and curly blonde hair. So cute!! Matt and I laugh about how if we want to know what Ben will look like in 6 months all we have to do is look at Gabe. Chris, Jess and Gabe just started going to a new church so we won't get to see them as often but we sure enjoy their friendship. Today Jess and I look the boys to the Botanical gardens and had a good time running around with them. Several people asked if they were related. So I thought I would introduce you to Ben's twin!
This picture was several months ago. So cute!!

Today at the Botanical Gardens. Looking at the train.

We even dressed them alike today.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Gift Giving

"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!" Matthew 7:11

Those of you who know me very well know that giving is not one of my strong points. For much of my life, I have struggled with giving away things (money, gifts, etc.). I have seen such a huge change in my life in the last few years. God has really been working to in me to give me a heart that is giving (and if you can believe it a heart that actually enjoys giving). I think becoming a mom has changed my heart in this way so greatly. When I look at Ben I just want to give him the world!! Anything and everything should be his. I walk through Walmart and I want to buy every toy there and give it to him.

This past Saturday, I got up early and went garage selling. It was the big garage sale here in our neighborhood. I only had $26 as I headed out. I really didn't need anything but I just thought I would check it out. I came back 2 hours later with no money and a car full of toys (and I mean full to the top - I could not have gotten one more thing in the car). I only bought things for Ben. Every house that I stopped I found something that he just "had to have." I even begged one lady to take a check so I could buy Ben a great Christmas present (I got a great deal on Little People!). I was so excited and couldn't wait to get home to give Ben some of the things that I had gotten (don't worry I did save most of them for Christmas

Then it hit me as I remembered the verse above. I finally understood it for the first time. Just like I spent all morning searching and seeking the perfect toys to give Ben, that is what Our Father wants to do for us (but He is even better at it than we are)!! He wants to give us the world but we don't let him! He has so much for us but we limit Him. It was just a very powerful and humbling thought! Thank you Lord for loving me that much and thanks for working in me to give me a giving heart.

I thought I would share one of my favorite finds from the garage sales... A Cozy Coupe car. I remember these when I was little and I always wanted one. Ben loves playing with them a friend's houses and at church. I was so excited to give it to him. He LOVES it!! He played with it all Saturday morning and then Sunday when we went out to the garage he started squealing. I could tell he was excited that it was still there! I guess he thought he was only going to have it for the day. He is so cute in it because he can only go backwards!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

The calendar is telling us it is fall so I changed the background on the blog. The weather is not exactly cooperating but that is ok. Today it was 87 degrees. More like summer than fall. We are trying to get in the fall spirit though!

We went to the Tate Farm pumpkin patch on Saturday. It was so much fun!! When Ben walked in he literally said Whoa!! There was so much to see and do. We went on a hayride and got to pick our own pumpkin. There was a petting zoo with farm animals. They had all sorts of little kiddie climbing things which Ben loved!! There was a hay maze and a pumpkin gun! So much to see and do!! We took so many pictures that I couldn't include them all but here are some of the highlights. Thanks to Uncle Brett and Aunt Joanna for going with us and helping us out. It took all four of us to watch after Ben.

I am not a fan of petting zoos but I did let Ben look at a bunny that I held.

The thing Ben loved the most was climbing up into a cotton picker they had turned into a slide. I love this picture because he is holding his cup and trying to figure out how he is going to go up the ladder.This was the cool slide!
The pumpkin shooter!

Picking out our family pumpkin. It is now on our front porch. It was so neat to actually get to pick the pumpkin off the vine. They had all sorts of different pumpkins as well. We got some neat ones and made a display on our mantle.

On the hayride... Ben has major texture issues so he wasn't a big fan of the hay!

Be on the lookout. I have lots to post and write about this week.