Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Since Christmas

Since Christmas, the kids have kept busy playing with all of their new toys. Bennett thinks everything is hers, but she is getting better at sharing with Preston. Here are a few photos of them enjoying some of their items:

Bennett in her flapper dress (from Goo, Shell & the kids) twirling in the living room.

Okay, I know this isn't the best photo, but what is up with my kids and their tongues? They both have them sticking out. Are they descendants of Michael Jordan or something?

This is Bennett after she has applied and reapplied her own lip gloss from Aunt Shannon & Uncle Brian. I guess she doesn't understand the concept of "lip" gloss....
Preston playing the drums! In between hits, he chews on the drumsticks.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Three Christmas...The Final One!

Wow, we made it through Christmas! I hope all of you reading this enjoyed your Christmas as much as we did! It was so nice to have another relaxing day. Though our day began early once again, thanks to Pres, it was a pleasant one. Bennett awoke later than usual, closer to 8am, and we began our final day of Christmas. Steve went up to get Bennett and she came down and inspected her bowl that she left out for Santa. He ate all of the cookies, leaving only crumbs.

Both kids were timid about opening their first presents, but after a little assistance from Poppy, Preston was the first one to tear into one. He received a little tool case which was a hit with both kids. So much so, that they needed coaxing to keep opening presents (I guess this was a HUGE sign that they had received enough). Anyway, Bennett chose the biggest box under the tree with her name on it to open first and she was very excited to get a chest with three new princess dresses. Since she received several new dress-up items last night, we now had the perfect place to store it all!

Even Spencer got to partake in the fun and enjoy his own special treat....a big bone! He carried that darn thing around the house all day long he was so proud of it.

In fact, the other man of the house got a couple of new things himself. He was so generous with me, and though we gave him a new briefcase for his new job, I wanted to get a couple of things that he has been dropping hints about (a pocket camera and a piece of luggage). All three of these items will be perfect for his new job since he'll be on the road.

Even though fun was had by all, naps had to be taken so we could recharge and play with all of the toys! Preston fell asleep so hard on top of his stuffed animals in his bed...poor baby. But he felt so much better afterward, and really enjoyed his ride in Bennett's new car.

Now I think you can tell by my photos that these two kids LOVE their new car. Poppy did research on this purchase because he wanted to make sure the car had enough power to drive in the grass (since we really don't have much of a driveway). We only asked that it be a two seater, but this one has two speeds, goes in reverse and has a "trunk" in the back for Bennett to put all of her things. Since she always is carrying something, this works perfectly! Today she put her purse in the back while she gave Pres the ride of his life! It was so stinking funny to watch them drive in circles because Bennett does NOT know how to steer yet. We finally taught her how to take her foot off the pedal when we yell stop, but she doesn't quite understand that the fence, tree, tiki torches or people are not always going to be able to move out of her way.

After naps we went back to the Mizerany's house for a big feast. My parents came with us and we all stuffed ourselves. They left to go see a movie, while we stayed there and let the kids play with their cousins some more. When Preston started to show the signs of exhaustion, we packed up and headed home. Another great day spent with family, and watching my children laugh and smile. What more could I ask for?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Three Christmases...Part 2

Yesterday we had an incredibly lazy day...staying in our PJs all day long and just hanging around the house while it rained outside. The children played with all of their new toys and we just watched them. It was nice to not have any responsibilities for once. What was even better was the fact that I got a two hour nap! Our wonderful son has been getting up between 4-5 am, so I have been exhausted!

When there was a break in the rain, we loaded up the car with all of the gifts for Christmas #2 at the Mizerany's house. So we brought in the stroller and Bennett rolled it in front of the TV so she and Pres could watch one of her new movies from a comfy seat. After naps we showered and got ready for church. They do a couple of services on Christmas Eve where the children dress up and act out a nativity scene. This year Bennett dressed up as Mary, which worked out well since she didn't want to leave her new baby at home (he played the role of baby Jesus).

Afterward the chaos started again at Steve's parents with more gift exchanging. Both of the children got more wonderful things...Bennett got dress-up clothes, twin babies and a double stroller and cash, and Pres got a couple of trucks, a Nerf football, a mini karaoke machine and cash. We seriously should not have a third Christmas, but Steve and I had to get the kids a couple of things from us and Santa.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Pony Pride!

Tonight SMU beat Nevada at the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: 45-10!! For many of you who haven't known me very long, you probably didn't know that I graduated from SMU. Since so many of my blog posts are about Alabama and their amazing football team, I don't blame you. I actually am a VERY proud SMU alumni, but their football team has never recovered from the death penalty 20 years ago. When June Jones was hired last year, I recall Steve telling me that he will turn that program around because he is a good coach. But I never would have guessed he would take them to their first bowl game in 25 years (and come away with a victory) so quickly! I love seeing that they won, and to a decent team. They used to have such a wonderful program (and not just because they paid their players...they had talent and good coaches back in the day). So for those few mustang friends that read this blog...I give you all a high five! GO MUSTANGS!

Three Christmases

One down, two to go! Last night was like something I haven't seen before....presents stacked higher than the children and then wrapping paper that covered the floor of our living room! It was so crazy with the 4 little ones tearing into their presents, enjoying each one briefly before opening the next one.

Steve and I started off with a camera and video recorder in hand, but the chaos was too much and we had to step in and man our children. Bennett was the worst of the four, not sharing anything that she received, and claiming everything of the other's. Poor Preston kept crying because he wanted to look at some of her goods, but she wouldn't let him near it. Henley stood around in amazement of everyone, and Christian played each person their gift. There were a lot of sweet moments that I failed to get on camera, like Bennett and Henley sitting together in a chair holding their new babies from Nene and Poppy, Preston offering kisses to everyone, the smile on Christian's face when we told him the gift he was holding was actually for him, and then Bennett trying to steer her new motorized car in the dark with Christian co-piloting. Though it was a little much, when I sit down and just think about those little things, it melts my heart. I am so glad that my kids have all of their cousins in the same city, and that Christian and Henley are so close in age to my kids. We have so much fun in store!!

After the gift exchange, we sat down, drank some wine and had dinner. Steve and I made pork tenderloin, scalloped dijon potatoes and corn. Then we had chocolate cake and cookies for dessert...yummy! Anyway, I think all of the Banta's had fun, and it certainly put a different light on what our holidays are going to be over the next few years.

Tonight, we are going to the children's service at church, and then to the Mizerany's for Christmas #2! More stories and photos to come....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Baking Again

Today Bennett and I baked a chocolate cake for dessert. Or maybe I should say, I baked it while she licked the beaters...

After cake, we brushed our teeth. However I only have one child who LOVES to brush his teeth. Like I said in earlier posts, he is the cleanest person in the house. And thanks to our friend Danny, he now has his very own electric spiderman toothbrush (thanks Danny!)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sunday School Christmas Party

Last night, Steve and I attended our Sunday school Christmas party. I know we probably should have stayed home since both were sick

(and I don't think Steve would have needed to be talked into it), but mommy needed a break! Even though Steve stayed at home Wednesday night with the kids so I could meet some girlfriends for dinner, I had to get out of the house last night!
I get so stir crazy, and the constant coughing was driving me nuts.

I will probably pay for it today since I am keeping both kids home from their mother's day out program, but it was worth it. We feel so fortunate to have such a great group of friends to hang with, and it is always fun to get together! Ashley and Mary Michael, opened up their home for our large group and everyone brought a dish to share. We drank, filled our tummys and shared lots of stories!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Betty Crocker...I think NOT!

Today we were stranded in the house. Steve's car was getting some body work done so he took my car to work, leaving the kids and me with the stroller. I thought we might venture out, but after both kids woke up coughing and with runny noses...I decided it was best to just stay inside. As you know from previous posts, a day home with my two kids is torturous without lots of activities.

So after our breakfast routine, we showered (I was hoping that would help their didn't). Then Bennett and I made Christmas cookies. They were made for Preston's class Christmas party tomorrow, which I doubt he'll be able to attend. We made the dough and did the cut-outs and baking in the morning. Then napped and did the decorating this afternoon. As you can see, I am not Betty Crocker. Though the cookies look awful, they taste pretty good. Thankfully the audience tomorrow (a bunch of one year olds) shouldn't mind what they look like!

Two weeks off from our mothers day out program....what shall we do????

Monday, December 14, 2009

Updates on the Children

As 2009 wraps up, Preston is 15 months old and Bennett is 2.5 years old. They are both happy kids, and show obvious love towards one another and us daily. Though every day is not a walk in the park, they do play nicely most days and kiss and hug each other often (which are some of my favorite moments).

Bennett talks like crazy and her vocabulary continues to grow. She is singing several songs on her own (and fairly well): Jesus Loves Me, The ABCs, Twinkle Twinkle and now Jingle Bells. She still loves to read her books, and now enjoys "reading" to Preston before his afternoon nap. She has been potty trained for over 2 months now, and has very few accidents. She still has a pretty good appetite and eats most foods (with the exception of vegetables). She continues to get taller, but has become stagnant on the scale, weighing 28.5 lbs last week. She is very defiant and stubborn (don't know where she gets this from....), but is a very sweet little girl and makes me laugh every day with something she says or does. She LOVES to go to the doctor and doesn't cry when he checks her out, nor when she gets shots (she is very brave). Just so you know, we are letting her hair continue to grow, and I have given up with cutting her bangs every other week, so we are going to let them grow out too (just so you know in photos to come). If her hair continues to grow as quickly has it has been, perhaps she'll be able to be donate it to "Locks of Love" sometime in the future.

My little man, is shaping up to be a very good boy. Though he still has at least one night a week where he gets up in the middle of the night and needs to be rocked, he is so lovable and sweet. He loves to give kisses to everyone, and I love to tell him before bed to go give his Daddy and Bennett a kiss. He runs to them and kisses them and then runs back to his bedroom so he can get his "ba-ba." He loves to take showers/baths with anyone, and is definitely the cleanest person in the house because he baths with whoever is taking one! He is the WORST eater (I swear he thinks he could survive on crackers), but he does have a few staples in his diet and thankfully he enjoys breakfast. He typically only eats waffles, oatmeal, yogurt, mac-n-cheese, french fries, fish sticks, sometimes chicken nuggets, anything sweet, and of course any type of cracker! Because of his awful diet, we have resorted to giving him baby food for his vegetables and fruits (which his pediatrician says is just fine for those wondering). He weighs 26 lbs 1 oz, and his about 6-7 inches shorter than Bennett. He can say about 10 words, and is otherwise communicating by pointing, shaking his head or whining. We think he is starting to look more and more like Steve, and thankfully I think he has more of his personality than mine.

Both children have given us so much joy, and keep us busy (and tired). Thankfully they are both healthy and happy!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Miracle

It was a Christmas miracle this morning when we went to visit Santa and neither child cried. The line was somewhat long, so we didn't know what to expect since we had been at church all morning, and both kids were ready for lunch and a nap. But we were happily surprised when Bennett walked right up to him, and Preston just stared at him while Steve lifted him into his lap.

All was going well until Santa began talking to Pres, then he wanted down and fast! Bennett stayed up there while he tried to talk to her, but she became shy and clammed up. We had been rehearsing for a week what she was going to tell Santa, and how she was going to leave him cookies on Christmas Eve, but we got nothing. Oh least there wasn't a huge meltdown.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A New Year, A New Chapter

We are happy to annouce that Steve has accepted a new job that he will be starting a week from Monday! He was approached by his old mentor back in July, and the details and offer were finally agreed upon back in November. Though he had a great run with his last job at Brice Building, he is excited for the challenge that KBR will offer him.

KBR is a global engineering and construction company that bought out a local construction company (BE & K) a couple of years ago. They are based in Houston, but are starting up a power division that will be located here in Birmingham. Steve will be doing business development for that new area, something that he has done before and enjoyed. He will be traveling some, but his territory has not been hammered out completely so we are unsure how often and to where.

This new career change is something that should offer him many opportunities in the future, and we are all thrilled! For those few people who knew this was in the works, we thank you for your prayers and support.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


WOOO HOOO! Alabama beat Florida today (32 - 13) and became the SEC Champions! Now they are headed to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl! We may be going, but if not...we'll be there in spirit and definitely watching it! We are so proud!

Another Dusting

This morning we awoke to a light dusting of snow. It was only the 13th time in the past 109 years, and my third time in 3 years (so much for global warming). After we bundled up, the kids and I (including Spence) walked a couple of blocks to watch the Homewood Santa Parade. Thankfully it wasn't as long as Peoria's parade because it was colder here this morning than it was in Peoria.

As soon as we got to our chosen destination, Bennett wanted out so she could start collecting candy. However, instead of putting into a bag, she decided to eat each piece she picked up. After a couple of pieces, I told her "no more" which went over like a ton of bricks. Preston is my child with the biggest sweet tooth (not that Bennett doesn't like sweets, he just likes them SOOO much more), so when he saw what Bennett was eating...he wanted some too. So by 9:30 both of my children were on complete sugar highs (which was on top of their waffles and syrup earlier)!

Since they both enjoyed suckers, and the drool from them went all over their hands, face, coats, etc, we left as soon as we spotted Santa and came home to shower. Steve went to the SEC Championship game in Atlanta today, so we were on our own. Staying home all day doesn't bode well for my nerves, nor the kid's so we did a little Christmas shopping and then went to lunch. Bennett ordered a pizza, and ate the entire thing, while Preston slept on the seat of the booth through most of the lunch.
We made it home just in time for naps, and for me to watch the AL-FL game. Roll Tide Roll!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Polar Express

This year our Sunday School class reserved an entire train car and took our children to visit Santa at the North Pole on the Polar Express. They ask that you dress your kids in their PJs, since the train ride was in the evening. The railway is in Calera, about 35 miles south of us so we packed snacks to get us by before we had our dinner and drove out there. All of the children were running around and excited for the expedition!

The conductor of the train was a pleasant man, who Preston had an interest in and kept chasing up and down the aisle. Thank goodness we had the whole train car for our class because the kids were running wild! They told some type of a Christmas story over the PA system, but we couldn't hear any of it (which is fine). Once we arrived at the North Pole, the kids could see Santa and Mrs. Claus waving to everyone amongst the array of Christmas blow-up items (snowmen, reindeer, etc). I was expecting it to be more magical, perhaps throw some fake snow over the grass, make more of an effort than blowing up cheesy snowmen, but it wasn't. Thankfully Bennett and Preston weren't disappointed.

Bennett was so excited to see Santa, as we have been preparing her for this train ride for weeks. Once we arrived, a couple of elves walked down the aisles chatting to the kids and asking them what they wanted for Christmas. Of course, Bennett asked for a car and a vacuum (the same 2 items that she has been talking about for over a month). Though she talked to the elves, she was looking forward to seeing Santa up close and was more anxious for that.

Santa certainly didn't disappoint with his looks. He was a large, jolly ole fella with a bid rotund belly and shiny black boots. Bennett and Preston both just stared at him in amazement. We were expecting Pres to scream, but he was fixated with him. Since we were third from the end of the entire train, Santa and Mrs. Claus were running out of time so we didn't have much time to chat, just pose for a couple of photos.

So when they left the train to walk back to their post to wave good-bye Bennett started to cry. She was whining "bye bye Santa", and asking for her vacuum. I think she expected him to give it to her right then and there. I had to explain that she had to behave for another month to see if his elves would make it and he would deliver it.

Thankfully the tears were minimal and we were able to go meet some of our friends for a casual dinner before going home and to bed. A group of 25 of us went to grab my favorite...Mexican food!

Then when we got home, the kids got to admire our own Christmas decorations that Steve and I had put up while they were napping. Already Preston is messing with the ornaments on the tree, but this year we were smart and bought all shatter-proof ones. I must admit that I like the uniform look of our tree this year, rather than having all of the hodge-podge ornaments that have been given to Steve and me from our parents.