Rainiest Summer Ever

So we both turned 29, and we finally got around to celebrating this past weekend. We used the night’s stay in a “Jacuzzi Suite” that we won at the Jamaica fund raiser, Nic’s parent’s bought us dinner and a movie, and my mom stayed with the kids. We only went 20 minutes down the highway from home, but it was nice to pretend we were getting away. We ate a huge meal, watched a chick flick, and enjoyed our luxury accommodations — including sleeping in until almost 8:30!
We put mom back on a plane for Asia bright and early this morning. Ben said “Bye, Granna!” but seemed pretty confused about where she was going. We explained that she’d be on a plane, and that sounded pretty good to him.
At this point, neither Ben nor Abi will be getting on a plane any time soon. Their citizenship paperwork continues to be inexplicably delayed. When we call in, they can give us no information save that it’s “processing.” Its been “processing” for 16 months now, even though the longest it should have taken was 10. In a few short weeks, they’ll be passed the grace period on health coverage that they were given when they got here.
Nicole’s visiting our local MPs office today, to try and get things moving again. For all we know, someone accidentally shredded our paperwork and they’ve spent the last year taping it back together… what else could take so long?
The Jamaica team leaves on Saturday. We’d, of course, love to be going with them. There are few things more exciting in life than watching people on their first missions trip. But we’ll have to be content with sending them out with our prayers. We can’t wait to hear all about it when they return.
Just under two weeks until our cottage get-away!

Charlie Brown's Parents

Apparently we’ve reached that point in life where people are more interested in our kids than us. I guess we’ve gotten so boring that we now exist only as a function of our children. Perhaps we’ll rename the site www.benandabisparents.com.
Since I’ve been told that I need to blog about the kids more, I figured at least a brief update is in order.
Ben's "Bike"
Ben remains a bit behind on his speaking, but he’s really improved in the past month. He’s way more confident about trying new words, and does a pretty good job verbalizing what he wants/needs. He’ll often confuse his word order so “Ben’s blue car” becomes “Blue car Ben” but we get the idea, and we’re glad he’s using words. He usually refers to himself in the third person, but its awful cute and first person pronouns are tricky to teach.
Nic and Ben are going to a Kids Ability class on Monday mornings to give them some tips on how to help him.
His fine motor skills, and his problem solving skills, however, lack for nothing. If you don’t bring him a pickle when he asks, he’s perfectly OK with opening the fridge and getting the pickle jar out for you.
He also drove his first car this past weekend — an early, but surely not the last, flirtation with the joys of motorized speed.
Abi Napping
Abi is fairly advanced, we think, on her talking. She’ll mimic most things that Ben says, although she probably only understands the meaning behind her own repertoire of words and phrases. Its safe to say she’s firmly ensconced in toddler territory, and definitely not a baby any more.
She’s getting a little bit better at holding her own against Ben when he steals toys away from her, and recently added “MINE!” to her vocabulary — which is fine, because until now, Ben was sure that everything in the house belonged to him. We’re working on the concept of sharing, and taking turns, but that’s slow going.
It might be wrong to think it, but we wish Abi was a little more into TV. We don’t let either of them stare at the idiot box for too long, but there are moments when its nice to have them distracted for a bit while the floor gets swept, or a meal gets made or cleaned up. Ben calls it TT, and as soon as it goes on, he becomes immobile. Abi occasionally checks it out, but fairly promptly resumes pulling kitchen utensils out of drawers faster than you can clean up behind her.
Fortunately both of them like books — reading to them is great, but its adorable when they “read” to themselves.
Unfortunately, this has been about the grayest summer I remember, so they haven’t been outside as much as we’d like. But they love their sandbox, and they love the water, so whenever we get a chance, we find ways to enjoy those things with them. They continue to be beautiful, and generally well-behaved little monsters, and we’re lucky to have them both.

1 Year Down

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Hebrews 11:13-16

Nicole's New E-Mail Address

When I got my new iPhone, the old one passed down to Nicole. Since then its been buzzing every 15 minutes 24 hours a day notifying us of the spam she’s getting. She averages about 10 spam messages an hour.
GMail + Apple Mail does a decent job of filtering it out, but the iPhone always knows about it before it gets moved to the Spam folder. So it blings and buzzes all day long, and I got fed up with it.
Nicole now has a new e-mail address. It’s her first initial, followed by a period, then her last name at this website.com. Or, just send an e-mail to her old address, and if we know you, you’ll get a bounce back with the new address in it…

Best Long Weekend of the Summer — So Far

This weekend started with a late night chat, and continued being wonderful with 4 great guests in our home, two trips to the beach, one to a splash pad, two to a park, and two kid-free date nights — one just ourselves, and one with friends. I’m pretty sure we’ve O.D.ed on joyful satisfaction. And my back held out almost all the way through!
Thank you, God, for summer. Can it last all year?
Pictures in the sidebar and on Flickr. There’s a new video coming too.

Wedding Stuff

While Pam has been working and stressing for most of a year, the countdown really started getting exciting for me about 3 weeks before the big day when I got to pick up my finished dress and it got to hang in the hallway till the day of the wedding. Next was finally starting to work on my speech less than two weeks before the wedding, do I procrastinate or what! And next on the agenda was the bachelorette party, which besides the way too long wait to get our checks at dinner and another issue not to be mentioned, it turned out to be a pretty good night. With the speech done and finally all the place cards printed, stamped and bows glued on it was time to pack up our bags and leave for a weekend away and praying that it wouldn’t rain!
So Friday we woke up, ate breakfast and headed out the door by just after 9 and we were off to London. Jon dropped me off at Pam’s house and then headed to his parents with the kids. My sister and I, along with Nicole (Pam’s friend from college) headed to a spa where we were meeting all the other girls in the wedding party to get pedicures done! It was very nice and relaxing and we all had pretty toes when it was done. Then we were off to lunch at East Side Mario’s and talking about what was to go on for the rest of the day. Jess (Pam’s friend forever) and I then went to Shoppers Drug Mart to buy Pam some nail polish, to fix her nails, and ‘something blue’ since she didn’t have anything for the wedding the next day! LOL and Jess managed to cut off alittle piece of blue ribbon from a bow thing and shoved it in her purse.
After that was done we were to meet Pam and Nicole at the hotel and then head over to the golf course to set up but our plans got bumped back because the dress shop was behind and didn’t have Nicole’s dress steamed when she went to pick it up! So needless to say our mother was wondering what was taking us so long since we ended up being about 45 minutes behind schedule. So when we got to the golf club we started to put on the chair covers (& tie the back) and put out the place cards and a few various other little tasks.
Rehearsal was at 5 and we started late of course but things went pretty good except for one particular person, who had a few too many, was asking WAY too many questions about the ceremony stuff. Ben did pretty well at rehearsal but ran around a lot! We finally got back to Dana’s (Adam’s sister) and got to eat around 8, I was SO hungry and tired. Most of the girls were staying overnight at the hotel so we could get an early start to our day in the morning. I was the lucky one that got to sleep with Pam and Jess and Nicole managed to get their own beds!
On Saturday Jess had a wake-up call made at like 6:30am, ouch, which personally I did not like because I don’t need that much time to get ready to have my hair done! Oh and did I mention that it was raining when we got up! The girls arrived to do our hair at 8 and the three of them started away on our hair. Hair
There were 11 of us in total to have our hair done that morning and the photographer was coming at 12! Some of the girls were getting there makeup done but I decided to do my own to save money, and I don’t think I did too badly of a job! Not sure how but they managed to have everyone’s hair done by 10, amazing!
So all we had to do was to sit around and stare out the window at the rain while other got there makeup done and hope that it stopped in time for the ceremony. So 12 o’clock rolls around and the photographer comes and takes some picture of Pam while we all get dressed, then we are to head down to the foyer and get some pictures of the girls. Not too hard of a task, well getting everyone’s tails on the dresses pinned up the same was interesting and once that was all figured out we headed to the elevator. We got in and the photographers where going to take a different elevator so you know when you push the button too early and the doors open again, well that happened to us. And then the doors shut and we didn’t move and then they opened and we were like ‘what’ so we shut the doors again and nothing happened….we were stuck on the 18th floor, it was much funnier at the time! Well not really we eventually got out of the elevator and into another one and this one worked!
We got some pictures and the sun was finally shinning and we called the guys to take down the sides of the tent since it was nice out now, by the way the elevator was still on the 18th floor when we headed back up. At 1:45 we had two Checker Limousines pick up us girls and take us to the golf course. Our Limo, with Pam, Emma-Leigh (flower girl) and I, got stuck at a train crossing fortunately it was a short passenger train so we weren’t late. Pam then ran out the Limo and into the building so she would not be seen, it was kind of cute and then Emma-Leigh said ‘You made me get my feet wet!’, and that was kinda cute too! So now we are there and all we have left is to wait, again…I went in search of my kids since I hadn’t seen them since Friday morning.
When I found them they were just getting ready and boy did Ben look cute in his tux, I almost had a tear, but he wasn’t too happy to have it on though. After pinning on Nannie’s flower I realized that walking in heals, which I don’t do on a regular basis, was going to be very interesting since they sunk in the ground an inch or so.
Here she comes
Once we got in our positions it was show time and everything was going smoothly until Ben decided he didn’t want to walk down the aisle, but he eventually decided to go with Papa and Aunt Pam so it worked out ok in the end and then he came and gave me a big hug….tear.
The ceremony went very well except I thought I might blow away with the wind being so strong and Ben sat on Andy’s (my dad’s best friend) lap for the whole ceremony, it was great!
Finally they were hitched, papers signed and that was that and then it was off to do pictures of everyone.
ParentsSistersSisters 2AbiDad & Ben
Then it’s time to eat and to get them to kiss you had to tell a story about one of them or sing a song or say a poem about love, most people told stories so that was really neat! This about when I started to get nervous, since I hate talking in front of crowds, as most people know. So after the parents have done their speeches, it’s my turn…aaahhh…so I get up there and of course I’m very emotional, I start to cry….then I read about two paragraphs and it just goes downhill….I can’t get any words out and eventually Jon comes to help me out and I do finish the speech but only after making a big fool of myself, oh well it’s done! With speeches done it’s time to dance, which by the way took a long time to get started since we wanted our kids to go home soon!
So once the kids were gone it was time to party, which we did till like one when the DJ stopped. That folks was the end of the day and time to fall into bed and sleep till morning! And now my story is all told!!