Tuesday, July 29

a check up and checking in

Alex went to see Dr. M yesterday for his 15-month well visit and indeed all is well. He weighs about 27.5 pounds and is about 31 inches long. Surprisingly that puts him below average for height. Not surprisingly he is well above average for weight.

We leave Thursday for a nice long trip to Minnesota so I thought I would leave you blog junkies with a few recent pics to tide you over until we get home.

"powering up" just like daddy

licking his plate - um I mean the table - clean after a particularly tasty pasta dinner

the aftermath of said pasta dinner

Monday, July 28

wet 'n wild

The Smith family came over yesterday for some food and fun. After dinner we took the kids outside to play with the water table and enjoy the "cool" (it was only 90-something!) weather. I think they had a pretty good time and we definitely got a few laughs out of it.

did somebody say airplane?


bubble time

Alex's idea of fun with the hose

Addy's idea of fun with the hose

um what is she doing??

Thursday, July 24

water in his veins!

Uncle Alex, Uncle Dan, Cousin Kelly, Ben, me, and now Alex... What do we all have in common? Swimming! Granted Alex is nowhere near ready for his first 100 meter freestyle but after 4 weeks of swim lessons he's well on his way. OK so maybe the class wasn't as progressive as some and maybe Alex only tolerated about half of it but it's a start! And today he officially "graduated" from City of Mesa's Swim Babies program. He's an expert bubble blower and can almost get out over the edge by himself (I'm sure he recites "elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist" in his sleep by now). He doesn't even mind going under (repeatedly) but the back floats are still going to take lots and lots of work. He loves jumping in so much I think he might be ready for the starting block by next summer although he won't get very far unless he figures out how to kick in the pool like he does in the bath tub. Anyway, here are a few pics Ben took last week when he came to watch...

Tuesday, July 15

to Africa and back

I thought you all might be interested in seeing some pictures from Ben's recent adventure. It's not easy to make it across the vast expanse of Atlantic that separates the Americas from Africa so they had to fly up over the top. Their final destination was Windhoek, Namibia which is a couple countries north of South Africa on the west coast of Africa but it took them 3 days to get there and 3 days to get back. On the way over they spent the night in Reykjavik, Iceland and then Casablanca, Morocco. On the way home they spent the night in Accra, Ghana and then London, England. There were also many, many stops in between. Unfortunately Ben was a bit preoccupied with everything that piloting an international extravaganza requires to take pics everywhere he went but he did a pretty good job of getting the highlights!

approaching Reykjavik

the plane in London on a fuel stop

views from Ben's room in Windhoek

apparently wild boar are to Namibia what the iguanas were in Costa Rica...everywhere!

one day Ben and his co-pilot Shaun took a little "safari" and got a good look at some of the local wildlife

Ben and this rhino got very up close and personal when she tried to nudge him off the box of food he was sitting on!

they also got to watch a lion feeding

this is where Ben and Shaun passed a few afternoons. our conversation when he first told me went something like this...

me: you play tennis?
Ben: I used to be pretty good
me: and Shaun?
Ben: apparently he used to be better

Ben in Ghana in his full pilot regalia

flying over the Sahara

and the Straight of Gibraltar

daddy's home!

Ben got home Sunday from a 20-day trip to Africa. That's right... 20 days. In Africa. Quite the adventure huh? OK well actually it was 14 days in Africa because it took them 3 days to get there and 3 days to get back. I won't lie, 20 days with Alex 24/7 took it's toll but we made it through. Poor Ben brought back a bit of a stomach bug with him so he's just now getting to enjoy being home. Boy did we miss him!

Friday, July 11

friday fun

Today Nancy and I took Alex and Addison over to our friend Jeanette's house for a play date. Her daughter Ava is just 8 days younger than Alex so we all had a great time being pregnant together and now watching our babies grow. We played inside for a bit and when the competition for the pink princess cell phone got too heated we decided to cool the kids off in the pool. Addison and Ava enjoyed taking turns in the lily pad and showing off their new swim lesson skills while Alex pretty much just did his own thing. I was really hoping to snap a pic of the three kiddos together but no such luck. Go figure.

Somehow I've earned a reputation as the baby bang trimmer. Have a baby who can barely see through her long wispy locks? Not quite ready for the production of a professional first hair cut? Too afraid to poke her eyes out yourself? Call Jenn! Addison was my first victim -- err, client -- and Ava my second. She may look terrified in this pic but I assure you she was a very satisfied (and easy!) customer.

Alex and Addison finished off the day with a tasty homemade pizza dinner followed by a little tv and a nice relaxing bath. These two are quite the pair!

Sunday, July 6

as requested, Alex and his "baby"

As Gramma Penny commented on my previous 4th of July post, Alex was quite smitten with a toy stroller he found in Aunt Debbie's awesome toy room. He pushed it all around the house, the patio, the pool deck, and even through the grass and some rocks. It really didn't surprise me since he loves pushing his own stroller around so much. That is, me holding him under one (eventually very sore and tired) arm as he holds on to the handles and "pushes" while I attempt to avoid collisions by steering as best I can with my other hand. Do you think we would get even funnier looks if I brought a doll stroller along on our trips to the mall for him to push around instead?

Saturday, July 5

fun on the 4th

Yesterday we went over to Aunt Debbie's for an impromptu 4th of July shindig. As is customary with family bonding events at the Bills' B&B, a great time was had by all. Alex, who just started swimming lessons this past week, was eager to show off his new water skills...blowing bubbles, getting dunked without crying, and getting out of the pool almost all by himself! And then back in, and out, and in, and out, and in, and... You get the picture.

We sure missed Daddy (this pic is for you Ben!) who's busy working. I doubt they had fireworks in Africa but if it's any consolation, we didn't end up seeing any either.

(his shirt reads "Dad's Little Firecracker")

Oh, and if there was ever any doubt as to whether this kid actually carries any of my genes this should wipe it out. Here's Alex "eating" a tomato (Gramma P was so proud)...

And here he is tossing it to the ground. That's m'boy!

Thanks again Aunt Debbie and Uncle Lloyd for a fabulous 4th!