Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Potty Teets"

As I have mentioned on here before, Bennett has become quite the fan of the potty lately. After watching Jace (the little boy I babysit. Really, you should know that by now...) use the potty a few times, Bennett decided that he was game for whatever his buddy did. And so the potty training began.

Well, kind of. One day I tried an experiment to see just how far Bennett would go with the potty thing. I took his diaper off all morning long on Sunday and planned to watch him closely, getting him to the potty just in time to show him what it's like and still save my carpets. As it turns out, Bennett has a remarkably strong bladder that outlasted my visual by about thirty seconds. Thirty seconds. I went to the back room to get one thing ready for sharing time, and the next thing I know we are out an entire bottle of Resolve. That stinker. Anyway, that was about the extent of our potty training.

Honestly though, I don't really mind changing Bennett's diapers at this point in my life. He is my only baby right now, so I am fine with letting him take things at his own pace without really pushing him too hard. I did, however, purchase him a little toilet ring and step stool so I wouldn't have to hold him over the looming hole of water fifteen minutes at a time (seriously, this kid loves to sit on the potty THAT much. I think he must take after his dad). But that's as far as I really cared to go.

Until today.
(Warning: The remainder of this post contains some potty language. There is just no other way to put it.)

While changing Bennett's wet diaper today he, shall we say, "tooted." Of course he thought this was hilarious, and when I told him to say excuse me (something we've been working on) he started laughing even harder and began trying to push them out. Oh, what a boy I have. At first I was only annoyed by this show of blatant disrespect, but then I noticed that the force of Bennett's pushing was causing some pee pee (yes, that is the word we use around here) to leak out. And that's when I realized what an opportunity I had.

I quickly asked Bennett if he wanted to sit on the potty, and he thought that sounded like an excellent idea. He always thinks that's an excellent idea. So we went to the potty and all I had to do was tell him to push like before. And he did.

And Bennett used the potty.

Granted, it was just a little leakage, but the way we were celebrating probably caused our neighbors to think we just discovered our son pees liquid gold. It was a very exciting moment. Actually, it was longer than a moment, because once Bennett realized that he could control his little guy down there, and that when he made stuff come out of it his mom about had a conniption, he didn't want the game to end. I never knew such a little bladder could hold so much in reserve. I finally did get him off the potty, and then Bennett and I got his first legitimate "potty teets." You talk about a proud toddler.

Of course, I'm not delusional enough to think this is going to be a consistent thing. I did drop him off at a friends' house to go to a primary meeting a little after this incident, and when I came back he sat on the potty and "pushed" for me again. (Yay!) But I'm still not seeing any little boy Superman underwear around this house in the near future. And that's OK. Today just showed Bennett that he can do this, that he has control of his body, and that his mom has the ability to reach several octaves higher than her natural speaking voice when she is really excited.

What a stud.

Seriously proud.

I was rejoicing so vigorously at this point that I moved the camera, but I still love this picture. Look at that face! (well, the half you can see...)

Here is a video of some of the excitement. You might want to turn your speakers down before playing this.

Big Boy

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Grandma Pat

We have written on here before about Grandma Pat. We wrote about when we went to visit her in Oklahoma. We wrote about when she was going to accompany our family on a cruise last July. We wrote about when she came to visit us for Easter. We wrote about her Christmas gifts to Bennett, and how she tried to teach him to crawl. Most recently, we wrote about visiting her in Houston while Matt was home for his R&R.

And today we are writing about her getting to go home.

Grandma Pat passed quietly away February 8th, 2011 at the age of 70 years, 2 months, and 7 days. I only knew her personally for a little under two years, but I can honestly say she was one of the neatest people I have ever had the privilege of meeting. Because Grandma Pat didn't just live. She LIVED.

And that is what they focused on at her funeral. Her remarkable life, full of family, friends, travels, adventures, and dreams. It was a beautiful ceremony. Bennett and I were in attendance, along with many, many others who knew and loved Grandma Pat. There were more flowers and plants in the little Baptist church where her life was celebrated than I have ever seen at any florist. And like the reverend said, "A great life makes for a great funeral."

She truly was a remarkable lady.

Mary, Wayne, and Bekah, laying down our flowers.

Mary, Bennett, and me saying our, "goodbyes for now."

She was truly loved.

I didn't get a picture, but there were about thirty of these left at the church and the cemetery.

Some of the flowers people sent.

Some of the greenery.

Trying to decide what to do with it all!

These pictures are for Matt. This is Cole, Uncle Clay, me, Bennett, Aunt Annie, and a baby (I have no idea who the baby belongs to...) Aunt Annie is Grandma Pat's daughter.

Cole, Uncle Clay, Aunt Annie, and the mystery baby.

And just because we were at a funeral doesn't mean we didn't have a little fun. In fact, I'm pretty sure Grandma Pat would have wanted it that way. :)

Because that's the only reason I invite people to stay with us get things done around the house...

As mentioned above, February 11th was the funeral of Grandma Pat in Bokchito, Oklahoma. Bennett and I had originally planned on spending this weekend with Bekah and Nathan--two of our favorite people--labeling and organizing photos at our home (a daunting project). But when we found out about Grandma Pat, plans sort of changed. Because we really wanted to see each other though, and because we were all going the same place anyway, Bekah and Nathan decided to drive up to Oklahoma with me and Bennett, thus hitting two birds with one stone (although my pictures are still in a sorry state of disarray).

It was a fabulous trip. Besides celebrating the life of a wonderful lady (see above post) we also got to eat at several fast food restaurants, stay in a hotel with delightfully comfortable bedding, and visit for hours as we drove to and from Oklahoma.

We got back to my house Saturday night, but Bekah and Nathan decided to stay and attend church with us the next day before heading home to San Antonio. Despite our travel-weariness, we managed to start and complete several spontaneous projects before midnight on Saturday, and then create a plethora of amazing Sharing Time creations Sunday morning. So even though my pictures will have to wait for another time to be properly organized, I feel like I still managed to put my guests to good use.

On the way home from Oklahoma we stopped to visit Uncle Kendal and Aunt Darla, who are not really an aunt and uncle to the Hargrave children at all, but only adopted as such. Bekah told me they were so close to them growing up though, that she was probably twelve years old before she figured out they weren't actually related to her. Family is all relative (no pun intended...OK, maybe a little). So here is Nathan, Bekah, and Uncle Kendal. (Aunt Darla was unfortunately out of town on this day, but I have met her before and she is hilarious.)

Here is one of our impromptu projects Saturday night after Bennett was in bed. I'm not even really sure how we started doing this, but the next thing I knew we were painting our entry way to match our living room. It looks so good, I can't believe we didn't do this earlier.

The entryway, all pretty and painted.

Looking in from the front door. I know we are probably going to be leaving this house in a few years and it makes me a little sad because I love the home we have created here. Always a new adventure I guess. I'll just enjoy it while I can...

This is the little shelf we put up in our living room, also an unplanned Saturday night project. The bare spot where this is now hanging used to bother me so much, but I never knew what to do with it. So I asked Bekah what she would do, because Bekah is amazing at decorating, and she pulled this little shelf out from under Bennett's bed (which I have also been dying to use, but never knew where) and said, "Why don't you use this?" OF COURSE! Sometimes it just takes a new set of eyes to see what is so dang obvious. Anyway, I love it. And I couldn't have hung it up without Nathan's man power. What a team.

Honestly, we really had a lot of fun having Bekah and Nathan visit us last weekend...and not just because they worked like crazy people while they were here. They are so fun to be around, and I really do just enjoy their company. And to make things fair, I did pay them for their efforts with really, really, really good London Broil. So there.

But next time they come my pictures better get organized.
(This was just a joke, for those of you who can't read sarcasm...)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Prison is awesome! I mean deployment.

So here we are. Northern Iraq, the last hot bed of tension in Iraq. We have over 3 major ethnic groups, 12 different versions of similar religious beliefs sitting on a fault line of, probably the richest oil reserves in the world. So, I mean, hey what could go wrong. Here we are in the fight. Living everyday like its our last. Taking care of each other, watching our brothers back. Keeps my medics busy. Here is a little picture to give you an idea of some of the cool stuff we have gotten ourselves into.

Just kidding!!! Its more like being in prison let me help explain it through pictures!

Some of my medics getting there crunch on! Its kinda like being in prison. Thats what we need, a bunch of ripped men carried weapons with testosterone overload!

Playing basketball is always a good stress relief. As long as a fight doesn't break out (we fight more on the court than out in the field, Haley likes that part).

This is our little work mule, literally. Between SSG Evans here and the gator they do alot of the day to day stuff that keeps this place running. Kinda like a grounds keeper.

Playing volleyball with a guard with a machine gun standing watch. Again like prison.

I just wanted to take a picture of my ambulance. I think people would actually get out of the way if you saw this barreling down the road at you.

Doc Manson being busy as ever in the prison infirmary, I mean Battalion Aid Station

Here is the finished product of the rec room. If we are good we get an extra hour of TV time. No really this is my MWR (mental wellness recreation) center I built right before leave. We got a phone booth, bean bag pillows, elevated couches and.....

.....and of course the free internet (this is a minimal security prison), and ping pong. Why is it there is always ping pong???

But really, we are enjoying a some what of a peaceful time here thanks to all our brothers and sisters who have sacrificed time, family and blood to give us this gift. As we start to close down facilities and retrograde equipment back to the states we are reminded of those things. But no really it really is kind of like prison. But at least I'm getting paid right?!

Friday, February 18, 2011

One of THOSE days...weeks...

Tuesday night Bennett and I were at a friends' house for dinner when Bennett, who had been completely fine all day, suddenly climbed into my lap and said, "I toad (cold)."

And that's when I knew he was sick.

Not because he told me he was cold, but because my very independent mover-child was voluntarily letting me hold him. (I'm pretty sure this phenomenon has only happened one other time since he was four months old.) Since that night, Bennett has had this weird fever thing that would spike about every two hours or so. Between the fever spikes he would be completely fine to the point of healthy, but then the fevers would hit again and he would be out like a light. Not a bad sickness, as far as sicknesses go, but what it left me with was an extremely tired, unhappy boy who had no idea what he wanted most of the time.

As a result of Bennett's wonderful attitude, I went to bed each night at a ridiculously early hour, grateful that I had held it together for as long as I had, and praying with all my might that I would make it through the next day with my sanity still in check. I know poor Bennett didn't feel good and I really tried to be as understanding as possible. But honestly. I can only take so much whining before I start to lose it.

So that is why I am posting this video on here. Because today, for several blissful moments, my sweet Bennett-Boy surfaced once again and I remembered why it is that I like him so much. And after a week like the one we've had, I really needed a reminder. (Anybody who has had the privilege of being the mother of a horribly grumpy and sick two-year-old knows exactly what I am talking about right now.) And to make things even better, I am pretty sure that this fever thing is gone for good. So we should be seeing much more of our "Happy Bennett," versus whatever child has been visiting in our home for the last several days.

(Just as a side note, we baked these cookies at a really high temperature so they would still be sanitary to eat after all of Bennett's "helping.")

I really do just love this boy. We have our ups and downs, but he truly makes me so happy each and every day. I feel so blessed to get to be his mom.

Yes. Even on the sick days.

Monday, February 14, 2011

One Very Happy Girl

Warning: In honor of Valentine's Day this post contains material of a "mushy" content. Read at your own risk.

One night last July I decided to design Bennett's dream room. It was done mostly out of boredom, because Matt was at mutual for the night and Bennett was already asleep, but a little part of me truly loved the items I was picking out and I secretly hoped to one day own a few of them. When Matt got home from the church I showed him my Word document where I had copied and pasted all the pictures of what I wanted, but after that night I never really thought about it again. It is highly unlikely that we will ever earn enough money to drop thousands of dollars on our toddler-aged son's bedroom, and I am much to realistic to cling to the idea that we could win the lottery. So I let it all go.

Except one thing.

That night I fell in love with this fabulous toy storage cubby, and I have never been able to forget it completely. Especially after Christmas, when I realized that Bennett's toys had successfully taken over his room, spilling out from his closet and into the hall. (Did I ever mention that we have only bought Bennett a small handful of toys since he has been born? We are very blessed to have a son who is younger than several other boys in our ward, and they generously give everything they outgrow to Bennett. And not to mention loving grandparents on both sides who spoil this kid rotten.) So when I found myself beating back unruly amounts of toys with a shovel, and swearing that if I stubbed my toe one more time on that dang truck/action figure/dinosaur I was going to lose my mind (and possibly my toe), I remembered the beautiful storage cubby and coveted its organization with all my heart.

But alas, it was not to be. For I have rather expensive taste and a rather small wallet, and it would take months to save up for such an item. And despite my best efforts at setting money aside for this dream, something always came up that was much more important, and I would find that yet another month had gone by with no luck in the toy organization department.

But today all of that changed. Because three years ago I married the best guy in the World.

Apparently while Matt was home for R&R, he hijacked my Word document from all those months ago and took it back with him to Iraq, where he secretly acquired money I had forgotten we had. And today, I received an email from my Mattie, saying this...



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I guess you could call this a brag blog, because I just have to say, I married one heck of a guy! I have indeed been smiling all day. But not because I got my dream toy cubby. It is beautiful and I love it, but in the end it is just a thing.

No, I am smiling because my husband is my best friend. Because he listens to me, and loves me, and supports me. Even in the the little things that don't really matter that much. He keeps me realistic, but also lets me dream, and he does his best to fulfill each and every one of those dreams. What I ever did to deserve a guy like this is beyond me, but all I know is that I am one very happy girl.

And my toes are happy, too. :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Estrogen Bowl

Every year Matt and I throw a Superbowl party to help cheer on whatever team we feel like supporting at the moment (neither one of us are very into sports, but we really like to eat chips and yell at the TV). We usually invite over a few dozen friends to help us celebrate, and we all spend a rousing night trash-talking, making bets, and feeling guilty for doing it on the Sabbath.

This year, however, Matt is gone. And, because I live in a city where 98% of the population is military, pretty much all of my friends' husbands are gone, too. But did that stop us from throwing the best Superbowl party ever? No way, Jose.

Several women came over. They brought their children. We ate like queens. Successful party.

However, I have found that when you watch the Superbowl with a room full of women and children, the game sort of takes a back seat to much more interesting things. Like talking about pregnancy. Honestly, I think I saw about three minutes of the game, seven minutes of the half-time show (which Bennett seriously loved because it was his favorite group performing) and maybe half of the commercials. I did see the end though, because most of the kids there had earlier bedtimes than the game allowed for, so after everybody went home and Bennett went down for the night I actually sat and semi-focused for the last twenty minutes.

And I cheered on the inside when the Packers won. Not because I really like the Packers, but because I am awesome at predicting who is going to win the Superbowl and I have never been wrong.

Luckily, we have DVR so I recorded the whole thing and I plan on going back and watching it one day to see what actually happened...or to just watch the commercials again. The Advertising Major in me loves commercials. And next year we will do it all again...except maybe with a little more male influence.

The helper. Bennett took it upon himself to set the table for me before everybody came. He has the basic concept down, now we just need to work on his spacing.

The women. I believe we were discussing the difference between Jazzercise and Zumba when I took this picture...oh, and there was some football going on in the background.

The children. We put a Disney movie on in our room for the kids to watch. Mostly, though, they just liked jumping on the bed.

The Food. One corner of the food, actually. Everybody brought something and we all ate everything. It was delicious.

And this is just a little video about nothing. I took this because Bennett wanted to "see" the camera, but I had just erased everything off the memory card so there wasn't anything on there for him to watch. So I created this twenty-second beauty so Bennett could be satisfied. My plan was to just erase it after he had seen it and lost interest, but for some reason I fell in love with his deep little voice repeating everything I am saying, and I had to keep it. A long explanation for a short video.

Go Packers!

Something Interesting

So I saw something interesting today. We were teaching a combat lifesaver class on the Iraqi compound that we call or neighbors and that's when I saw it. The electricity went out (of course, it always goes out). So we are teaching the Iraqi Soldiers in the dark and I hear the sweet sound of Soldiers marching while singing cadences. It doesn't matter that I didn't understand what they were saying it was the feeling you get when you can hear the discipline. I know that sounds a little weird to anyone that has not served, but those that have know what I'm talking about. It was great to watch the officers and the NCO's direct and lead. Awesome to see the Soldiers responding with such exactness. Then when I thought to myself, hey even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and again. I saw something else that surprised me. I saw a young, new doctor randomly go out to a Soldier that was walking by and he checked his first aid pouch. Again it may not seem like much but the thing is he didn't have to do that. He didn't have to make sure some random Soldier walking near his Aid Station had the correct equipment. It's the little things that count. Something my parents used to tell me and all my church leaders was its the little things that will keep you out heaven, most people do pretty good on the big stuff, but get tripped up on the little things. I have tried to apply that to my work, and to everything I do. I mean I will, myself randomly walk around the base and check Soldiers medical gear, making sure its current and not looking to worn, and replacing it when needed. So giving what I used to know of the Iraqi Army and its people it was amazing to see the pride, and attention to little details that was so inspiring. It made me feel like we made a difference. All those years, all that money, all that blood that was spent. To see a once oppressed people stand on there own it makes it all worth it. Regardless why we came to this country this Soldier believes that we did good. We did something for someone that they could not do for themselves.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Everyday Crisis

Crisis One: The Blue M&M
(Not really a crisis, but it went with the theme.) Matt called me on the way home from story time Monday morning. Bennett was being a little grumpy in the back seat, so I gave him ONE blue m&m to keep him happy until we could get home. What a mistake.

Seriously, what are those Hershey people putting in that dye? Bennett's hands and face were blue for the rest of the day, despite the amount of ruthless scrubbing I subjected his poor cheeks to.

Crisis Two: The Storm
Wednesday morning Bennett and I woke up and started our usual routine of scrambled eggs and Micky Mouse Clubhouse. And then we got a call from our friend asking us if we had water. I said yes, a little confused. Then she asked me if I had electricity. I said yes, right before the entire house went black. OK, just kidding. Make that a no. But we did still have water, something only one other person in our neighborhood could claim due to severely cold weather and a plethora of frozen pipes.

I really don't know why we were so lucky to be spared, but we made use of our good fortune by supplying a host of people with drinking water, dish water, and hot showers and baths over the next several days. Our electricity was on and off most of the first day and the next, but thanks to our fireplace we were warm, and thanks to Matt's paranoia of impending disaster we were well stocked in food and other necessities...although our water bill is going to be HUGE this month.

I have said it before and I will say it again. Give me Rexburg cold any day over the gross, gross, freezing humidity cold of Texas. Burrrrrrrrrr. (This, by the way, is Bennett's new favorite word after the week we've had.)

Crisis Three: ER Visit Number Two
Yes, I will probably be served child protection papers any day now, since Bennett has been to the Emergency Room twice in about as many weeks.

Friday night we made a quick trip to Walgreen's to get some supplies and, more importantly, get out of the house that we had been trapped in for way too long. I was feeling generous and let Bennett play in the toy isle a little longer than usual, but when it came time to go he decided to voice his disapproval by violently throwing himself on the ground. (Did I mention Bennett is very close to turning two? We are very excited.) When I went to pull him off the floor with my only free hand, he played the "dead weight" card, and then next thing I knew there was a little "pop" in his shoulder. At first I thought he was still just mad that we were leaving the toys, but when I went to put him in his car seat I realized he wasn't moving his right arm and I knew what had happened. Man, talk about feeling guilty.

Anyway, to make a long story short, we ended up back in the emergency room. They admitted us right away this time, and after an extensive visit to the radiology department where they took several x-rays of Bennett's little arm, they sent us back down to wait for the doctor to come in and see us. Of course, by the time the doctor got to us Bennett was running all over the room, pulling up on the bed, crawling on the floor, and using his arm as though all were well in the World. Apparently, the x-ray technician had accidentally popped Bennett's shoulder back in place while he was moving it around to get his pictures. So besides being exhausted (it was nearing 11:00 at night by the time we got home from the hospital) Bennett had a clean bill of health and I learned that there are probably better ways to transport a young child than by pulling on their poppable arms. (Did I mention the guilt?)

Crisis Four: My Little Boy Is Growing Up Way To Fast
The kid I babysit has begun potty training, and Bennett is fascinated with the whole idea of the potty. He regularly asks to sit on it, and then insists that I sit on it. And then we both go to get "Potty Teets" (Potty Treats). The other day Bennett was outside playing while I was making dinner (the weather warmed up a little. Yay!) and suddenly he came running in the house, yelling "Potty! Potty!" I asked him if he had to go potty, and he got so excited and ran to the bathroom, where I took off his diaper and sat him on the toilet. Of course, nothing happened after that, but the mere fact that he wants to sit on the potty is very encouraging to me.

Encouraging, and a little sad. Because this is my baby boy we are talking about! Who gave him permission to grow up so fast? Don't get me wrong, I would love it if Bennett was potty trained. And the fact that he seems to be doing it without my help is also wonderful. But really, it is a very bittersweet thing. I guess I'll just have to enjoy his being little while I still can.

My big boy, all grown up and singing songs at the top of his lungs.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Back Again

Well back in Iraq. Leave was awesome. When Haley asked me what I wanted to do I told her, "I want to go to church, and stay at home with family. As Haley so eloquently put it "2 weeks and 2 days in heaven". You know the old saying is true, "you don't know what you have until you don't have it any more". It was great being with my wonderful family even for a short while. It just makes me happy to know I'll get to see them again soon. Just want to say thanks for everybody that has helped take care of Haley and Bennett while in my absence. I know a lot of people have been worried about Haley since I left and how she is dealing with everything but let me tell you she is doing amazing. She takes care and maintains the house, pays all the bills, organizes play group with friends, family home evening groups, and not to mention doing a fabulous job raising our little boy. We have received a lot of compliments on how well behaved our little man is and its all Haley! I just earn the money and she does it all. She is quite amazing. I remember reading a story about Pres. Hinckley and Sis. Hinckley and how he always let her soar and was her greatest supporter. I have always tried to do the same for Haley, and believe me she does soar. They are the true hero's in all this.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

This Laugh Gets Me Everytime

This is just a little video clip I found of Bennett playing with my dad over Christmas. I know it's a little late in posting, but it was just too good to ignore. Just try to block out Bennett's wardrobe. I'm not really sure what it was doing...

Maybe I should be worried that inflicting pain on others seems to bring great joy and satisfaction to our little boy. But on the other hand, it's really funny.