Sunday, July 26, 2009

Avalon 2009

Well, we made it to Avalon safely last Saturday and had a great time spending time with family

and playing! The trip out there wasn't too terribly hard (don't even ask about our return trip though), but we were all excited to finally arrive and get settled. The weather was perfect all week, except one day, but we spent that day shopping and napping, so it worked out nicely.

All of the kids had a ball playing on the beach, with the exception of the two little ones, Preston and Henley. I think they both enjoyed the people watching, and Preston enjoyed the surf. However neither did well with the sand in their face, especially Preston who didn't understand that when he kept putting handfuls of it in his mouth.

Unfortunately Alex (my cousin's eldest son) wasn't able to be there this year since he is studying with a Yale summer program in Croatia. But the rest of the family was there, and we had a fun time each day. My cousin Debbie planned a delicious menu for the week and did most of the cooking for our large group (thanks Deb!!). And when the rest of could, we pitched in with drink specials, appetizers or desserts. Though I always hate to say good-bye at the end of the week, I know I need to so I can get back to a regular eating schedule that doesn't involve so much food and drinking (my liver needs a break)!

During the week, we celebrated my Uncle Jim's 70th birthday with the annual joke telling by him and my father. It is always the same, we gather around and listen to these dirty jokes that the two older men tell. Some are inappropriate, but we all laugh regardless. Something different we did this year was "date night." However, it was only the 3 youngest couples that partook in the fun. We went to a great little outdoor restaurant that was BYOB, and had way too much to drink without our children! Thank goodness our little ones were in good hands with all the grandparents, Debbie and the older children.

But most of our vacation was the same as it always is...daily morning walks, big breakfasts, trips to the beach, afternoon naps, cocktail hour and delicious dinners accompanied by more drinking and talking! Of course we had to do the annual mini-golf tournament (Steve won the entire thing!), a trip or two to the Avalon freeze for yummy frozen yogurt, and way too many trips to the liquor store. Though I went out there with high expectations of reading a book, I barely cracked it. I guess I didn't anticipate how much of my time would be spent watching my two little ones run around and stay safe.

Thanks Mom and Dad for the great memories! As always, our family had a wonderful time and is already looking forward to our trip back next summer! People here always ask why I travel so far to go to the beach, but I always tell them I go there because the town of Avalon is so quaint and cute, and all of my family that I love so dearly is there at the same time! I love you all, and am so thankful we got to spend another great week together!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Preston at 10 Months

Happy 10th month birthday Preston! This past Thursday my little guy turned 10 months (hard to believe for me). He is slowly becoming more of a toddler and less of a baby and I hate it! I took him into the doctor on Thursday for his monthly vaccination and he officially weighed 22lbs. He has felt every ounce of it for several months, but wasn't quite there until recently. Though he has been a little cranky due to bad allergies and teething, he is still getting around good and entertaining himself pretty well.

He has been crawling for about a month, and pulling up for several weeks now. But just this week, he has begun pushing toys across the room and walking behind them, and walking around coffee tables. He is still not able to push his wagon (I think it is too fast for him), but items without wheels are his speciality. He is very strong, and he has pulled multiple things down on himself (but thankfully he hasn't done too much damage to himself, yet).

Overall he is eating well, and slowly starting to grasp the concept of table food, though he still prefers his baby food (and stage 2 at that). In that respect, he is still a baby....very lazy with his chewing and prefers for his feeding times to come easily.
He is still sleeping through the night (thank goodness), but hasn't been taking as long of naps as I would like. He still is taking two (a short morning one, and then a longer afternoon one), but he just fights them more. Overall, he is doing fabulous!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Kids Playing

I am too lazy to type anything, just posting some photos of the kids playing tonight. Bennett loves to push Preston around in the wagon, and he enjoys the ride (as long as she doesn't run him into anything). I love the photo of Bennett with her tongue out, and think it is so funny (because it is a Banta father and brother both do it too). She does this whenever she is concentrating on something, or doing something tough. Preston is just always smiling...such a happy baby!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Water Swim Camp

We have elected to enroll Bennett in some intense swim lessons this summer. Though Steve and I were optimistic that she would be a fish in the water sometime in the future, we elected to make it come sooner rather than later. So we enrolled her in watersafe swim camp.

This all started because I have been trying to take the kids to the pool this summer. I had no idea how difficult it would be to take both of them to the pool by myself, when neither knows how to swim. Preston is sometimes happy in his raft, but he also likes to get out and move around in the shallow end by himself. Of course Bennett is all over the place, and needs to be watched at all times. Though she isn't a dare devil in the water, and typically doesn't do things beyond her skill level, she also doesn't understand what she can and can't do near the water. For example, she loves to jump from the side of the pool to us, but we aren't always ready. So we decided that this was for her safety.

Water Safe is a national program that teaches skills and techniques to people ages 10 days to any age adult. The children go every day for 10 days for one hour. There are seven other kids in her class, and they each get about 4 turns to do the same things over and over again. The instructor teaches them to kick and move their arms, float on their backs (to relax themselves and rest), jump from the side and then grab the side (for safety of course), and as they become more confident swimmers, then breathing skills. For more information on the program, here is their website:

Bennett started the class on Monday and still cries every time the instructor grabs her from me, and sometimes when she uses the "sink or swim" technique. Though she isn't afraid of the water, she is timid around strangers, so I think the instructor scares her more than anything. In between each of her turns, she is happy and content watching the other kids. These videos are from today (day 3), and she has slightly improved since Monday. Initially she didn't move her legs or arms, and if she did, she moved both legs together like a mermaid. You can still see some of that in these videos, but she is slowly learning the correct way to move in the water.

We plan to post another video or two next Friday at the end of her 2 week course. We are hoping that she will love to swim, and actually know how to do it on her own... keep your fingers crossed for us!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Independence Day Weekend

This past Thursday night we headed up to Smith Lake for some family time with Steve's parents, his brother, Dan, as well as some cousins and their families. We had pretty weather up until today, but since we were leaving today, we didn't mind. Outside of Bennett bossing everyone around and Preston crawling and pulling up on EVERYTHING, there was nothing too exciting to report, so I am only going to post photos with a few captions.

Preston enjoying ice cream!

The kiddos on the 4th of July!

Snuggling with Uncle Dan

Bennett swimming with her Daddy (she was jumping off the side of the pier!)

Preston hanging out with Mimi