Flirty Forty

The title of this blog post makes me laugh because flirty is not an adjective that I would use to describe Simon in any way – he is just not a flirt (thank goodness) but he is forty and who doesn’t love a little alliteration? I, for one, am a fan, just as I am a fan of my husband, no matter how OLD he is (I suspect, like my dad, he will forever be a child at heart).

Happy Birthday, Simon, so blessed to have known you since before your hair started to gray and your accent started to Americanize.
10672358_10152499477177955_2758441102351196946_nBut 40 is kind of a big deal so commemorate it, here are the top 40 things I appreciate about that hubby of mine…

1. He keeps the driveway clear of snow and ice (if you live in our neighborhood, you know his devotion to clearing the snow runs deep, making it appear like we have a heated driveway).

2. If he doesn’t know how to do something handy around the house, he will research it, find a YouTube video and learn how to do it; seldom do we have to call in outside help – even when it means he frustrates the heck out of himself (usually with a plumbing-related fix).

3. He is a man of his word – if he says he’s going to do it, he does it when he says he’s going to do it.

4. He is very literal (which can be foreign and sometimes maddening to his less-literal wife) but that makes him easy to understand and straightforward, no nuances or gray areas of confusion.

5. He loves entertaining as much as I do.

6. He is dedicated to coaching rugby and his team at Calvin.

7. He wears his CPAP mask even when he doesn’t always want to because it means I sleep better (and he does, too) without hearing his snoring.

8. He loves me no matter what I am doing, what I look like or what I am wearing.

9. He is unapologetic about his love for [bad] 80s and 90s rock.

10. He also loves Phil Collins.

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11. Looking at him, I can see what our kids will look like when they grown up.

12. He is open to suggestions and change – though it doesn’t come naturally – when it is something important to me, he makes the effort.

13. He opted to live here, in the snow and cold, with me rather than return to Oz.

14. He fits in well with my family – in fact, I think my brothers might like him more than me (no, I’m still their baby sister, but we could say equally).

15. He cleans.
16. He almost always takes out the trash.

17. He has never once (since we met) worn his silk shirt or Tasmanian devil tie that he owned when I met him.

18. We share the same entertainment habits – we love live music, watching movies and playing board games.

19. When I cook the food, he does the dishes.

20. He makes Vegemite sandwiches for Jack’s lunch and leaves them for me to put in his lunchbox each morning.

21. He asks my opinion about what he should wear to different events.

22. We have the same vision for the future of our family.

23. He happily signed up for the marriage course with me that our small group is doing all together. And he enjoys it.

24. He brings me coffee whenever he stops to get one for himself.

25. When we have a down weekend, he’ll encourage me to take a couple hours to myself and go to a coffee shop.

26. The transition to first shift – while an adjustment to be sure – has gone much more smoothly for both of us than I thought it would.

27. He is extremely NOT judgmental, of anyone.

28. He gets super excited about trips and vacation plans.

29. He has never met a stranger.

30. He excels at small talk, which is a fine balance because it’s not my strong suit.

31. He rarely wakes me up in the morning when he’s getting ready before the crack of dawn.

32. His favorite dessert is brownies with ice cream and chocolate sauce. While I love baking many things, knowing those simple things will make him happy is kind of nice.

33. He likes to share funny things with others.

34. He loves George as much as I do.

35. Church and having faith is important to him.

36. He values making memories and traditions with our family.

37. He makes pancakes for the boys (which Jack will rarely eat but still somehow enjoys the act of it) nearly every Saturday morning.

38. He’s supportive of my owning my own business.

39. He humors my seasonal decorating efforts.

40. He will always be older than me.

Golden Six

Another golden birthday to celebrate in our family – Jack is 6 on February 6! Six is pretty great – kids are just another thing that gets better with age (those of you waiting to tell me it also gets harder can just keep quiet). Six is also maddening – because stubbornness also seems to increase with age (now is the time the rest of you can tell me it gets easier). But, ups and downs as they are, I wouldn’t have Jack’s personality any other way.

Jack is:
1. spirited
2. witty
3. unapologetic
4. smart
5. tenacious
6. always surprising

From day one, my sweet baby, you have never lacked for personality or gumption. The side-trip to the NICU was hardly a blip on the screen, as was the return three weeks later when you had RSV – where the nurse noted you were quite chatty (still makes me laugh because you and your brother are both such talkers I think that’s one of the main reasons you get on each others’ nerves – both of you wants to be the one talking). Your fighting spirit is truly one of your defining characteristics… much to my joy and chagrin because tenacity cannot be turned on and off and often you direct that spirit at your dad or I and Lord help us, you will wear us down.

And you are so very smart. Always wondering about things, never letting us give a fluff answer to one of your inquiries and forever remembering what we have told you in the past. We had your conference yesterday and the teacher was laughing because she had just sent me an email giving you a glowing review after a visit from a gymnastics place, telling me how you were worried about your little hand and not being able to do things but then you were even able to swing on the bar and you were SO PROUD and realized yet again that you can do things you thought were too hard; but the teacher was laughing because literally seconds after she sent me that email, you were sent inside from recess for punching a female classmate (who also happens to be our neighbor). So that’s awesome. I asked her not to tell me any more good things until the end of the year, but she shared that you were also doing so much better with controlling your bad behaviors and were making excellent social choices (recess punching aside). Your father and I suspect that you – while definitely always instigating things – are also a little bored with kindergarten and would like more challenges (unlike your brother who would like everything to be easy, thank you very much).

You make me so proud, amazed, crazed and happy – I cannot imagine life without you in it – so glad you joined us six golden years ago! Now go eat a slice of cheese, a banana and a pancake – you promised you would start eating those foods now that you are six and I’m going to hold you to it (or not – we’ll see who has enough fight in them). Love you mucho!


Let’s take a quick trip back to December…
During advent we read The Advent Book with the boys and one night I was inspired to start my own advent meditations on Instagram for the rest of the season. I so enjoyed creating these little tidbits of the Christmas story and even though Christmas has passed, we can always use a little reminder, right? Merry Christmas!

















Best of the last six months of Instagram

I looked back to see when the last time was that I did an Instagram update and my-oh-my, six months have passed. So I went back and picked some of my favorite pics to share here. Again, gold star to anyone who makes it to the end.
Poor George. After seeing him (at times) relentlessly licking his paw for enough time to make me concerned, we took him to the vet to find out his nailbed was infected and that he would need surgery… when I picked him up, the surgery report called it a toe amputation. Amp.U.Tation. My dog is more high maintenance than your dog. Does he not look pathetic?

This sweet face… disguises quite the little imp.

And this moment of calm: a rarity.

Driving the neighbors boat… the one boating trip this summer that did not conclude with a bloody Jack (more on that later).

This kid’s ability to sleep through anything amazes me. As does his ability to wake up at 6 EVERY morning.

My little weirdos.

Showing off some killer dance moves.

My first pallet project.

Post-dental visit donut trip.

Amusing ourselves while waiting for Simon.

Mah baby got a grown up haircut in preparation for kindergarten. I still miss his mop of hair but I also love the new cut.

Playing at the school playground prior to school starting.

My boys. The very best part of my days.

First day of school.

First set of stitches – our last boating venture of summer ended before it began when Jack fell getting onto the boat and hit his head on the fiberglass, splitting his forehead right open. At the hospital he got some lovely medicine that made him not care one little bit about the pain or stitches – so much so that after they were done stitching him up, he said, “When do I get my stitches?” And after showing him a picture of his own gaping forehead, he said, “Oh, that looks like it hurts.” He was a trooper.

The granny square quilt before it began.

ArtPrize 2014 winner. Beautiful.

We had so much fun this summer at Gretchen and Bob’s pool.

Medals from their first taekwondo competition. So proud of those boys!

A stretch of craftiness… a chalk-painted cupboard door turned into Thanksgiving artwork.

A board, chipboard letters, fabric and a damaged clearance wreath turn into a little Christmas joy.

Applying craftiness I learned at MOPs to a Christmas wreath.

Life is better with fro-yo.

Our newest ornament…

Scenes of Christmas decor – my favorite time of the year!

Precious moments between Jack and Grandpa.

Girl’s night out with some of my favorite friends! 18 years of friendship!

The Dunkin’ Donuts by our house finally opened so we had to check it out with some neighbors… our mistake was asking them to pose for a photo AFTER feeding them sugar.

My sweet dad as a punkish kid. (both above and below)image

Finally checked out Grove to celebrate Christmas with my beau… the company and the food are some of the best around!

Annual family Christmas photo… the one time a year my boys don’t argue with me (much) over clothing choices.

The Brothers Bennett.

NYE 2014… everyone was up until midnight! Though clearly some of us were delirious with the reality of it.

Thanks for playing along and reading this far! GOLD star to the finisher(s)!

Books I Read in 2014

I was much better at reading in 2014 than in the years since having kids – thanks to Laid-Back Book Club and thanks to getting more sleep in general because the kids finally almost always sleep through the night. My crocheting habit has interfered with that slightly, but there is only so much time in a day. Here’s a rundown on what I read last year:

  1. Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walter
  2. April’s Fool – Blanche Marriott
  3. Picturing Perfect – Melissa Brown
  4. Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
  5. Mirror Image – Sandra Brown
  6. Mint Juleps and Justice AND Out of Focus – Nancy Naigle
  7. Life After Life – Kate Atkinson
  8. Hidden – Catherine McKenzie
  9. The Misremembered Man – Christina McKenna
  10. Satisfied – Jeff Manion
  11. Gilded – Christina Farley
  12. Driven to Distraction – Edward Hallowell
  13. The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty
  14. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
  15. The Interestings – Meg Wolitzer
  16. Wild – Cheryl Strayed
  17. Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell
  18. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  19. The Rules of Inheritance:  A Memoir – Claire Bidwell Smith
  20. Looking for Alaska – John Green
  21. And Life Comes Back – Tricia Lott Williford
  22. If I Stay AND Where She Went – Gail Forman
  23. The Hardest Peace – Kara Tippets
  24. Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
  25. Eternal Night – Carina Adly Mackenzie

My favorites: Wild, Eleanor & Park, If I Stay, The Hardest Peace, Me Before You

The worst: Hidden, April’s Fool

Here’s what’s on the to-read “pile:”

  1. All the books on the calendar for Laid-Back Book Club in 2015
  2. Tiny Beautiful Things – Cheryl Strayed
  3. Three Wishes – Liane Moriarty
  4. Paper Towns – John Green
  5. Far From the Madding Crowd – Tom Hardy
  6. Outlander – Diana Gabaldon
  7. This Is Where I Leave You – Jonathan Tropper
  8. Things We Set On Fire – Deborah Reed
  9. Still Alice – Lisa Genova
  10. The Girl You Left Behind – JoJo Moyes

What are you reading or looking forward to reading?