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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Operation Big Girl Bed

The thought of when the best time to transition Henley into a big girl bed left us torn.  When we looked at her in her crib, we saw this little girl that felt safe, secure and comfortable.  She never once tried to climb out, although she did prove its sturdiness with all her jumping and free falling - which she still likes to do! There were times we would walk in for a late night kiss and notice that she was starting to look long and possibly a bit scrunched depending on the position she was laying.  So I started browsing the internet in search of the next step up.  Her current crib does convert into a toddler bed, as well as a full size bed, however, we chose to preserve it for baby number two - don't read into that statement, it will be awhile!

I was not far into my searches when Brandon said, "I would like to make Henley's bed."  Although crafty in his own way, he had never made furniture - wait...a coffee table in high school, but we won't count that.  It sounded cool to me, so my next stop was Pinterest!  I found this great instructional website that basically laid it all out.  He seeked the help of our close family friend Dan (our babysitters husband) and off they went with the plans!

We stopped by for a visit as Brandon and Dan we busy playing workshop!  The smell of freshly cut lumber and shavings all over the floor reminded me they had started this special project from the very bottom.  They made a few engineering changes that really strengthen the bed, just in case a monkey were to get jumping.  The assembly of the bed went amazingly quick, I was so impressed with the outcome and so was the girl in shades! 

The bed was then transferred to our garage where Brandon put his sweat into each piece...literally.  The temperatures were over 100 degrees and it was HOT!  He sanded each item down, then primed and eventually finished it off with a nice coat of white paint.

He had put several hours of time, not to mention his heart into this project and it was time to bring it in the house.  As Brandon disassembled the crib, it quickly took us back to the day we had anxiously assembled it.  Different emotions today, but still exciting as I knew we had something special to replace it with.  I couldn't pack it away without capturing the work of Henley's first two teeth.  It's engraved as a reminder that we are so thankful they no longer use lead paint!

Our goal was to convert her room over nap time, but the noise of the power tools couldn't keep her still.  She wanted to be apart of this transformation, so we welcomed her help.  Her excitement could barley be contained as she had talked a lot about this bed her Daddy was making for her.

I was excited to get her bedding washed and placed as I had spent quite a bit of time searching for the perfect duvet to fit what I was looking for.  It was found and I am in love!  Just walking in her room makes me smile, its full of life!

Room for all of her friends either on her headboard or in bed.  It always amazes me how this child can sleep with 2 books, a few snakes, a horse flashlight, several pillows and who knows what has been stashed?!

Operation Big Girl Bed is complete! We walk away with many memories, not to mention a fantastic bed that was built with her Daddy's hands and her heart in mind.  It was built for his Daughter who we hope finds the same amount of joy as we see in her every day!

I am happy to report after two successful nights, our monkey has followed the rules and has stayed in bed!  Each morning we ask her how she slept in her new bed.  
This morning her response was, "I sleep good, I had sweet dreams!"

Monday, July 9, 2012

Pulling the Plug

Literally.  The pacifier is officially gone and although if feels great knowing we have moved on from that phase, a part of me is a little sad.  Sad I suppose that this piece of hardware that was given to our baby the day she was born has been taken away.  Taken away by her mean Mommy & Daddy...so we felt the night it was gone. 

We knew it was only a matter of time before we had to become creative and think of ways to get rid of.  Just a few nights leading up, I was online browsing Baby Center hoping to find good advice on what worked and what didn't.  Much to our surprise, Henley kind of took her own initiate one morning so it made perfect sense to play along.  A new baby started up at daycare about a month ago.  On a Tuesday morning, just as we are getting ready to walk out of the door Henley says, "I would like to give baby Jace my paci's."  What, whoa!  What a perfect idea, so we bagged up all her paci's, leaving one hidden "just in case" and off to daycare we went. 

No mention was made until evening fell and bedtime routine began.  I had been nervous all night, just wondering how it was all going to go down.  Was this going to be a simple done deal or would we be up in the night fighting off the addiction?  She asked for it and we reminded her that she had made a very big girl decision and that was to give them to the baby.  The tears started, my heart felt heavy and she became very sad.  For an hour we listened to the sadness fall over the monitor, it was a cry that was almost as realization cry.  We went in several times to reassure her and to reminder her how wonderful she was and what a big girl she had become.  We were too far into this game to reach in and grab that back up, so we stayed strong.  Okay, I stayed strong while Brandon rallied me on.

Fast forward a few days, as we are getting our jammies on, she proudly says "I don't need paci, I big girl!"  Mission accomplished!!!  She got it, gets it and is paci free!
Sweet dreams!

Monday, June 25, 2012

In Loving Memory

One week ago today, we lost a very special person in our lives.  Brandon's Grandma Joyce passed away unexpectedly and it left us with heavy hearts.  The past couple of days we have celebrated her and the joy that she had brought to our lives.  The many smiles that were brought to her face when she was around her family, especially her great grandchildren.  We will miss the late night visits on school nights, the inappropriate emails and the stories of her life with Lavern and their friends.  She always followed our blog, so tonight Grandma...this one is for you!

4 Generations

We thank you for the lasting impressions you have made on our souls!

We LOVE you!

Monday, June 18, 2012

All About Daddy

This past week Brandon was lucky enough to spend his days entirely with Henley.  Our daycare provider was on vacation and he didn't take a second thought in the idea of 5 full days with his girl.  They spent most of their time in the back yard, splashing in the pool, organizing play dates and doing whatever they wanted to do. 
Photo: Fun day in the sun

Photo: Another day at the pool.

Photo: Henley had a pool day with her friends.
Benesh Clan

Photo: Best friends

Ah yes, taking care of babies was on the agenda too. 

 Friday our friends the Eddins hosted us and the Holub's over for a BBQ.  We thought it would be a great way to kick off Father's Day weekend.  One thing is, the Daddy's didn't know the kids had a very special surprise for them!  Decorated in matching outfits, a cake and home made cards we may our way out to the patio and they yelled "Lets Go Racing!"
They were ALL surprised, especially Brandon!  He was excited about the thought of going to a race until he re-read his card and realized he was going to be suited up and taken for a thrill ride by a professional.  We look forward to October, Newton Race Track!

Nom nom
Saturday night found us in Vinton cheering on a few of our friends who played in the Center Point/Vinton alumni football game.  The team was built of men of all ages, with an award given to the oldest player who's graduating class was 1978! Despite the initial dreary weather, we were there to cheer on the black & gold!  Center Point took the win and we were thrilled for them!

The girls arrived unexpectedly in the same shirt! They thought that was pretty funny!

Sunday found us at home enjoying us as a family.  At the request of Henley, we ate our meals outside on the patio!  She loves to push up the big chair and eat underneath the umbrella. 
 Over the past few weeks, Henley and I were busy working on a very special Father's Day video!  It wasn't easy working around Brandon's schedule, but we seemed to pull it off.

We salute our special guy, Happy Father's Day Daddy-O!

Love, your girls!

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Today we celebrate the most important man in Henley & my life!  He is an incredibly loving father and being married to this man is an honor.  To confine us to only one day to celebrate would be a shame, we must back up to last weekend where the birthday celebrations started. 

Tyrone Wells tour stopped in Iowa City last Saturday night at the Mill.  We packed a limo full of band aids and headed out, starting out downtown at White Star for dinner.
The Hahn's
The ladies
My sister Rachel joined in on the fun, attending her very first ever concert (okay, seriously what is wrong with this girl?!)  I think it was only appropriate TWells allowed her to check off an item on her bucket list.  Speaking of firsts, our little Henley girl was at home...with her cousin Jasmine!  My sweet little niece, whom we always joked would one day babysit my kids.  That time had come and I was in complete awe!  The girls had so much fun together, we are always reminded how important our family is to us, but this was really a special moment.  Jasmine, thank you SO much!!

Sunday morning we woke up to Mother's Day! 

Wait, isn't the mommy supposed to be served in bed?!  So funny!

We started the morning off with a yummy brunch casserole then off to pick out our flowers and veggies. I love this yearly tradition, we buy from the same small town nursery and love it.  Brandon was busy planning his garden while Henley was choosing flowers for our pots.
So many options

Big helper

Gardening clothes on and ready to plant

The remainder of the afternoon was spent outdoors with dinner off the grill.  I am so proud when I look at the our sweet, loving and yes defiant little girl, knowing that team Brandon & Monica are doing something very right!  I sure hope she doesn't make me retract that statement in a few years!

Daycare was closed last Tuesday, so Brandon took the day off with Henley. The weather was so warm it allowed an afternoon of pool time! Jealous from my desk at work, I was getting picture updates of their day. 
Once I walked through the door from work, there was no time to spare the excitement of her pool, she dove in without a suit.  Oh well, she was free as a bird surrounded by a privacy fence!

Friday started the weekend off with a pretty huge accomplishment, Brandon passed the Cicerone Servers test!  Fleck has required their management staff to complete and pass this test, bringing their group to an elite level.  Here is an overview of what it all covers

"Cicerone" is pronounced "sis-uh-rohn"
The Cicerone Certification Program seeks to ensure that consumers receive the best possible beer and enjoy its flavors to the greatest extent possible. To facilitate this, those who sell and serve beer need to acquire knowledge in five areas:
Beer Storage, Sales and Service
Beer Styles and Culture
Beer Tasting and Flavors
Brewing Ingredients and Processes
Pairing Beer with Food

A job well done, and no better way to celebrate than with a beer & wine tasting!  Our friends the Whitehead's opened their home last night and it was fabulous.  Good food, good drinks and good company!

So all this celebration has lead us back to today.  We had no plans, the way we like it best, but the day kind of turned into a bit of a challenge.  You see, yesterday Brandon was very busy helping prep for the evening festivities, while Henley and I played outside in the sun.  We were going to lend our patio table and chairs to the Whiteheads for extra seating.  Just as Brandon was returning to pick up the patio set, the wind caught the umbrella, and we are guessing picked up a side of the table which in turn lead to this damage.
Shattered glass everywhere

We were on the hunt to replace this table that we use almost daily.  No such luck so far, but we will keep on hunting.  So here we are, wrapping up the evening with burgers off the grill and some family time.  I should mention, the birthday celebration continues just one more day.  Monday is dedicated to golf in the morning with an afternoon of...well, probably golf!  We love you so much Daddy-O and have had so much fun today celebrating YOU!!
xoxo, your girls

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


This past weekend we had the pleasure of hosting my niece Naomi for the entire weekend!  Brandon and I were really excited about the extra company but you should have heard the excitement out of Henley when she learned her "Noni" was coming to sleep at her house and ride in her car.  Friday night started out with dinner out then home to start a bon fire.  I thought the girls were excited to roast marshmallows, that was of course until I saw the excitement shine in Brandon!  The night was beyond perfect, it was so peaceful on the patio and the temperatures were suiting.  We all dressed in our comfys, pulled out the bag chairs and prepared to roast. 

It was then we realized we had no roasting tools!  

So the girls and Brandon pulled out their flashlights and went searching, just like they were in the woods. They were successful and so were the smores!

Saturday morning, we gave Naomi a taste of what weekend mornings look like in our house.  Snuggling in bed watching Henley's choice of show.  Its typically Yo Gaba Gaba or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  The girls snuggled in and giggled as I made cinnamon rolls. 

Henley kindly asked Naomi to change her dirty diaper, how sweet of her.  I think Naomi wanted to say GROSS, her face said it all so we just stuck to shirts and pants.

Off to Vinton after breakfast as I had a special place in mind.  Welcome to CreARTtivity Studio!  We had such a good time making our selection, there were so many choices. 
The girls choose to decorate their initials. 

Henley was fast out of the gate but her stamina eventually fizzled - which means I was busy decoupaging while she was eating raisins!  Naomi however was very patient, tearing her tissue paper and placing them just so.  Her N looked fabulous! 
Watching the girls interact with each other was priceless. 

We browsed Vinton then headed back home for a much needed nap, for the youngest that is.  The evening found us at Naomi's favorite restaurant, the Olive Garden. 
Most of my pictures look like this!

After we filled out tummys we headed next door to Barnes & Noble where the girls, including myself, got to pick out a new book.  We read Henley's new potty book a loud on the ride home and thought it was pretty funny.  Naomi found interest in her new book right away, so Henley started to daydream about the American Girl dolls. 

After tubby time, books and more snuggle time,

Henley was fast asleep after a full days worth of fun. 

 Naomi and I started a movie and ate popcorn with M&M's, yum!  Here we were together, watching a movie and I couldn't believe how much my little niece has grown up.  She has this sense of humor that cracks you up on the spot, she is not to mention beautiful and so respectful. 

Naomi we love you very much and hope you come back to stay with us again soon!! XOXO