Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cheese, please.

I will readily admit that I am a sheltered Southern girl. The only thing that I ever thought of when I heard Wisconsin is Brett Favre, cheeseheads, and those commercials with the Wisconsin cows wanting to transfer to California! But one of my best friends, Tara and her family live near Madison, so we visited. We have been there once before, but we mostly stayed at her house for the Christening of my godson, Ben. (Aren't I so cool!) This trip was very spur of the moment. David was on a trip (gasp, I know you are shocked). School is about to start, so no more willy nilly traveling. AND the best reason of all: Tara had another baby! Yay! So my traveling troopers and I headed to Madison for the weekend.
We were so happy to get to spend some time with Tara and her husband Jay, and of course, their sweet boys. The funniest part was watching Ben (who is 2 and 1/2) try and figure out how to fit in to playing with my 2. They can fight with each other and drive me absolutely crazy, but they really are quite a team. AND Spencer is always the dutiful brother who obeys her every whim. Then there is Ben. He has older cousins, but he is used to doing his own thing. I am happy to report that after a few small incidents, Ben fell right in line. And they were so precious playing together.

I will share some highlights from our FUN weekend:
Each night before bed, Ben has a routine. After his bath and PJs are on, he drinks a cup of milk while he watches 2 "Max and Rubys." My guys were so funny. They hopped right into Ben's routine. Spencer,who is not even a big milk drinker, drank 2 cups - both nights! They all sat together and watched Max and Ruby. SO precious!

Another funny was Jessa assigning them parts to play. She would make one person the "evil doer" and the other would be her prince. She would tell Spencer to sit somewhere. He sat. At first Ben was not sure, but like I said, he fell right in line.

Such obedient playmates, just the way Jessa likes 'em!
Playing with a dinosaur family
We also went to the zoo in Madison. It was free to get in! And they were so precious riding in Ben's 2 seat wagon. Mr. Jay fixed it so they could all ride. Poor Jay - he was hauling more than 120 lbs up and down hills, but he did not seem to mind. Ben was so funny because whatever Jessa said she liked, he would chime in with, "I like otters, TOO!" Jessa never fully realized her power (I think we are all glad about that).

After the zoo, we went to the coolest place ever called Ella's Deli and Ice Cream Parlor. The initial attraction was the carousel right outside. But once we got in, we were in awe of all the cool things to see. I did not take nearly enough pictures (I don't know what was wrong with me. . .), but there was something to look at every where you turned. (The link above can show you how cool it was.) Mighty Mouse was flying over our table while we ate. Harry Potter was flying around by the front door. SO COOL! And the food was yummy, topped off with ice cream and a carousel ride. What's not to like?!

I was obsessed with getting pictures of our kids together. There is something so cool about the fact that when we met, she had not even met Jay yet, and now we have 4 children between us! We have come a long way since she and David were Lieutenants together in Mannheim, Germany in 2000!
Tara and me at a Change of Command in Germany
at Tara and Jay's wedding in 2004
Having pictures of all 4 of our babies was very important to me. The older 3 were pretty easy:

And we did get a few with sweet Eli. I am sure the next time we see each other that it will be easier to get Eli in on the photo sessions. . .

Jessa was in love with baby Eli!
Two more highlights:
Like I said before, the last time J, S, and I saw Ben he was 7 months old.

When we arrived for this visit, we overlooked formal introductions. We should have said, "Ben, this is Jessa." And had them shake hands. Then we should have said, "Ben, this is Spencer." And had them shake hands. We did not. So when we referred to the Key children, we just said, "Jessa and Spencer." Sweet Ben was so confused. He thought the oldest girl child was Spencer. And the youngest boy child was Jessa. Bless his heart, if you tried to tell him anything different, he would get so upset! So maybe next time we can get it straight for poor Ben. OR maybe J and S can just switch names every once and a while when we are hanging with Ben!

The last funny is that I have realized the my kiddos are kleptomaniacs. I knew they loved worthless plastic creatures, but apparently I had no clue how much. Ben had 2 plastic lizards that he loved. Jess and Spence were playing with them. At the time, I had no clue that Ben also loved these little creatures. At supper on Saturday night, after we had been gone all afternoon, Jessa reached into the top of her dress and pulled out one of Ben's lizards. She had secretly kept it with her all day! Then when I was packing up Sunday Morning, we could only find one of Ben's special lizards. I had looked everywhere. So I gave Ben 2 of J and S's lizards to try to make up for it, in case I never found his. But the next week when I was washing our trip clothes, I looked in the washer and saw this:

Oops! I have no clue which thief smuggled it home. . .
Poor Ben! We invaded his house, made him play our games, confused him with their names, and then stole his favorite lizards! I hope he will be willing for us to come see him again. . . I wouldn't blame him if he was not.


Michelle said...

You mean Brett Favre the wishy-washy traitor!!!!?? :)
But I'm glad that you guys had fun up there! Michael and I are headed up next week. We can't wait - except dreading the plane ride!
Good luck to Jessa on her first day of Kindergarten!!!

kate said...

Ha ha! I'm so happy you guys had a good time. I love the lizard "borrowing"...that is awesome.