Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ben on the Farm

The stables are just a short walk away and Ben has already become friends with most of the ponies, the deer, Clyde the Clydesdale, and the bunnies. He hasn't quite warmed up to the pigs and goats yet, but there's always tomorrow. Hmmm...does this mean that watching Animal Rescuer Go Diego Go counts as educational?


We've got a regular Ron Howard on our hands...not only can you enjoy Ben's rad dance moves, but also his direction from behind the camera. Merry Christmas from Hilton Head!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009: The Pilgrimage

Just in from our whirlwind week...some cold and wet days in Hilton Head with lots of friends, then back to Athens for less than 24 hours before we hit the road for a grand tour of North Carolina. Finally home and unwinding a bit with some Karate Kid II.

Hilton Head...went there with some Columbia friends and met up with some Miami kids too. It was lots of fun being social butterflies. Note in Ben's picture that he was fully-clothed and knee-deep in the didn't take the sniffles long to catch up with him.

Asheville...Team Hoffman treated us to a fabulous turkey. Greg (dressed here as a lumberjack) cooked one heck of a bird and the Graichen Nation voted all 47 of Ali's desserts as her Thanksgiving specialties. Ben mashed the potatoes, we listened to "Alice's Restaurant," toasted those in NJ, and ate way too much. A very happy Thanksgiving indeed.

And Durham...The World's Best Godchild (TWBG) celebrated her first birthday, Ben (in an attempt to have all eyes on him all the time) showed the full force of all two of his years, and we were surrounded by lots of NY and NJ extended family, none of which we're actually related to. Definitely good times. I fired my photographer for slacking on the job on this leg of our trip...would love some pics from our hosts (maybe of the finished-product-Minnie-cake and the Birthday Girl herself?!) so for now we have to settle for Todd's handiwork in crafting Minnie Mouse's bow for the birthday cake.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Halfway Through November...Already???

The conversation accompanying the photographs:

Ben (who had run away): "Mommy!!!" (shrieking)
Jody: "Ben...this way!"
Ben: "Mommy!!!" (shrieking)
Jody: "Ben...this way!"
Ben: ""Mommy!!!!" (shrieking)
Jody: "Bye Ben...I'm going this way!"

Ben thinking he's being left alone at the park.
Run, run, run...
A fabulous family hike that did not result in us leaving Ben behind.

Mommy, 1. Independent Ben, 0.

Mr. Fix It

For Ben's birthday, his good friend Jen gave him some very impressive power tools. Since then he's fixed everything in Athens...and he's given Todd a hand here and there too.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Busy Ben

Waiting for dinner to be ready...Ben's hard at work.

John & Melinda's Wedding

Absolute perfection!
The only comparison Teddy missed in his toast was to Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi...but Jeter and A-Rod was clever!

Photo credit, once again, the Fabulous Uncle Nick

Wedding Highlights

All of the good photo credit goes to Uncle Nick.

Ben's 2nd Birthday

Ben celebrated a full-fledged Birthday Weekend for the Big Elmo cupcake in Island Heights and Graichen Family Dinner in Toms River. Lots of sugar, so both birthday celebrations were successful! Ben now has more trucks than we can keep track of and some new DVDs to keep us entertained. Plus, a pirate hat from the World's Best Godparents. Happy Birthday Ben!

And in an attempt to stop the relentless demands for more video footage...more birthday magic. It took Ben awhile to realize that he could eat Elmo but once he did, poor Elmo didn't stand a chance.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween #2

We didn't trick or treat, but Ben dressed up as the Man of Steel...cape and all.

Impromptu Road Trip

Graichen Nation hit the pavement for an impromptu weekend road trip to Hilton Head over Halloween. The weather was perfect and the B's were well-behaved...totally worth the drive. Saturday morning was super foggy at Tower Beach but the afternoon was a 10...all photos here were taken on the same day at the same beach.

The water was cold, but Ben was still ready to go in all the way...surprise, surprise.
Plus, he became a hopscotch pro...with a little coaching.

For our next road trip adventure...NJ for The Wedding.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Feeling Kinda Sunday

More hiking (but forget the "wilderness" because we found the greenway/asphalt path!) today and it was great...nice and cool, pretty leaves, lots of energy burned. And of course, back in time for football.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Our trip to get a pumpkin was a success, and we came home with two tiny pumpkins for Ben and one big pumpkin for Todd ~ this year's design is a pirate ship so we'll be talking like pirates around here for the next week.

Fire Fighter Ben

Today was "Touch a Truck Day" at the park, so Ben was in his glory getting to sit inside a fire truck, police truck, dump truck, garbage truck, you name it. Lights were flashing, horns were honking, the park was crawling with boys, it was...noisy.

Ben's favorite was the fire truck, just like in Columbus.
Today's next stop: the pumpkin patch.
More to come...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Greetings and Salutations

Todd had Ben say hello to everyone under the sun, then said, "oh wait...I just realized the camera was on standby instead of record." So, so fired.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Random Park Zoo

Ben and I now take regular trips to feed the ducks at this crazy park that also boasts a zoo featuring such animals as a bald eagle, bears, armadillos and turkeys. Ben only likes the alligators (and really only likes seeing the water at that), the deer, and the scary turkey, who oddly enough, lives with the deer. Early wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ben and His Buds

Ben decided tonight that all of his most favorite toys needed to be on the chair with him while he watched his most favorite Backyardigans episode. He was up for the day at 3:30 this morning, so by dinner time tonight we didn't care what he did with the toys and long as he was happy.
So tired...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

And We're Back...

What better way to welcome back our filming and photo capabilities than with Ben eating...because really, that's what he does best.

Rain, rain, and more rain in Athens today; so rainy that Ben stayed in jammies all day. Cabin fever has definitely set in...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ben's Trip to the Mall

The Georgia Square Mall is practically a carnival ~ just in from Todd getting measured for a tux...while Todd was busy, Ben and I rode the escalator no less than eight times. Up and down, up and down, exclaiming "up!" and "down!" each time. Such fun, until we had to leave. Ben had to be carried out while he screamed bloody to say the Graichen Nation created a scene.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Tuesday Update...

Not much going on here today; beautiful, beautiful weather in Athens. On the Ben Front...this photo is from August, but basically shows his daily attitude. Photo credit: Ben's godmother who fears for how her own kid will act when she's Ben's age.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

For all the fans...

Though there haven't been any postings of late, know that more will be up soon...I'm hopeful that the camera is on its way back from repair (woohoo!). Not much has been happening in the Graichen Nation...Ben and I spent a week in Hilton Head and are back up to no good exploring the parks and playgrounds of Athens. Todd's been swamped with work and had a three day roadtrip to Stone Mountain (bizarre Confederate homage outside of Atlanta). Beckham has been his usual self except for a rogue "I think the balcony is my toilet" incident. Other than that, the Graichen Nation is much the same.

More soon...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Uh oh...

It's not even noon and I think Ben has eaten 3.5 bananas. That can't be good.
And has anyone else noticed that Eric Estrada is now following the Graichen Nation? Love it!

Friday, August 28, 2009

What Up

I guess I can still post without pictures, but it's not nearly as fun. Ben and I have explored and almost conquered the State Botanical absolutely beautiful park with loads of fountains for Ben to try to swim in. Ben has been rising early again which is no fun at all, and yesterday my Feat of the Day was applying a band-aid to my right hand (which meant using my left!) after I removed a splinter with said left hand all while Ben was screaming and tugging at my leg. Since I generally can't do much of anything with my left hand, this was an accomplishment indeed.

This weekend will be low-key as we hang in Athens between jaunts down the road to Hilton Head...hope we can manage to pass the time!

Monday, August 24, 2009

HHI, Part 2

Two August weekends have been spent at the beach...not quite the same as living there year round, but the closest thing we've got here in Athens and not a bad situation at all. The good news: no rabid jellyfish, no sharks (a fear since watching this year's Shark Week), fun with John & Melinda, tasty cocktails. The bad news: I was reminded the hard way that our camera isn't waterproof. Todd, John and I also learned that we're not very good at Scattergories...and Melinda is a little too good. (but come on...a linguini sandwich? that was a gimme)

After the Hurricane-Bill-Induced Wave (which also knocked down Ben incidentally, but he, fortunately, was saved) the camera worked but now seems busted. We'll have to see what our warranty says about all of this...future posts could be iffy.

For now, enjoy a pic of Ben diving into his first real slice of pizza (real = triangle shaped slice). We tried to show him how to fold it, steps.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Note Beckham hiding under Ben's bed...poor guy needs a new safety zone!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It's Time For...

Another Birthday Shout Out! Happy Birthday to Ben's favorite Godfather...make it a good one Justin!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Georgia's Own Johnny Marzetti

Ben definitely liked dinner tonight more than we thought he would, but he shared a lot with Beckham too. Mmmmmm...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Graichens Great Outdoors

We took a two hour hike this morning...mostly because we may have missed a trail or two. Ben let us do most of the work, but he did learn to duck from low-hanging branches pretty quickly. Definitely a fun morning...even with the extra 30 pounds we each got to lug around.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Birthday Shout Out!

And a Birthday Shout Out to our friend Dave in Seattle celebrating the Big 30! Hope he sees this soon and let's this cover for the birthday card we forgot to mail.

Ben's Fan Club

Ben is getting ready for the Premiere League; no doubt this will be priceless video footage when he goes pro. Greg & Ali were super impressed...mostly that Ben was able to concentrate even with the distraction of Greg's insane ensemble.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Most Pitiful Ever...

Poor Beckham has taken to hiding under Ben's bed in any hopes of getting even the shortest of naps. Now that Ben considers him his very best friend, our poor pup doesn't get a break. And of course, Ben found his buddy 10 minutes after I took this picture.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pasta Party

Mmmm...fettucini alfredo.
This counts as expanding his culinary horizons, right?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Graichen Nation Goes on Vacation

Just in from Hilton Head over the weekend with friends Justin, Aimee, and Baby Taylor. So much fun and a much-needed get-away for all of us. Five hours in the car is absolutely worth it from Athens, GA or Durham, NC.

Highlight of the Trip: Todd got stung by a rogue, rabid, man-eating jellyfish and by all accounts, is lucky to have made it out alive.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ben of the Future

Round Two for Ben in the Haircut Game wasn't pretty. He screamed, he flailed, he kicked...he ended up with a pretty uneven cut, no fault at all of the barber. That poor guy didn't stand a chance.

An "after" pic to highlight the uneven and now pretty straight hair revealed something else...the fact that Ben now looks ready for college. Talk about changing everyday.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Best Pizza Deal in Town

Who doesn't love Pizza Tuesday? Since no one with our genes could ever possibly fall asleep while in such close proximity to pizza, have no fear for Ben...he was simply savoring every bite. Clearly not much is going on in Athens except for the heat, which I'm starting to believe might just be the norm. Today we hit Storytime, we hit the playground, and we hit Gymboree...hard. The pizza was an absolute necessity. Bad news for Beckham...he wasn't able to sneak a bite when Ben wasn't looking.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Downtown with UGA

Since we moved here I've been trying to get a good picture of Ben atop one of the many, many Uga's throughout Athens. This was right after a trip to the playground and some Graichen Anniversary Ice Cream...this visit with Uga made for a Monday perfection trifecta!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Headed Down the Atlanta Highway

A rainy day in Athens led us on a family adventure to Atlanta today. We hit the Children's Museum and Centennial Olympic Park with lunch in the CNN center in between. Ben loved the museum and the playground and got lots of energy out...mission accomplished!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

My Roadtrip

Was off to Asheville last night to do some research and visit with Greg and Ali at Hotel Hoffman's North Carolina branch. The research went fine...the real story is Greg's River Race Adventure. Here's Greg with his team's "boat"...anxiously awaiting the results!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Our Gymboree Adventure

Ben attended his first Gymboree class today and he was kind of into it. Not so much into making new friends as he was climbing all over everything...until the bubbles came out. After Gymboree we hit the Castle Playground hard...until the rain came out. We got a little wet, and just a little coated in mud/Georgia red clay that looks an awful lot like mud. After that, lunch with Dad.

All in all, a good morning. Especially since it started with that VCR incident.

The Best Laid Plans

I thought it was a brilliant move to sneak in a quick shower while Ben was soaking in some Go Diego Go, but little did I know that Ben was making a parking garage out of the VCR.

Lesson learned: just because he let me shower yesterday, doesn't mean he will everyday.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Ben Dance

Athens is known for its music scene and it hasn't taken long for Ben's dance moves to move up a few notches. Who needs to go out when we have entertainment like this at home?

Bath Time Fun

If bathtub snorkeling ever becomes an Olympic event, Ben's guaranteed a gold medal. He's a water-rat through and through, and since we didn't get to the pool today (scary clouds, rain every few much for the sun always shining over Georgia) the fins came out in the tub. Not a bad end to a gloomy day.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Park with the Zoo

We're exploring Athens and hit a city park yesterday with a zoo...Ben liked the Black Bear the best. Parents of the year we're not.