parenting is such a ride sometimes. there are moments we look at our son, whose DNA we share, as someone we barely recognize. chris and i are cautious people. sometimes i think that came with adulthood, but the more i think about it, i always remember being afraid of something. getting hurt, getting in trouble, getting lost, the dark.
chris is the same way. we sure can bend a rule, but we rarely break them. then there is ben. he shows no sign of this fear yet.
he runs full speed away from us into crowds of people. he hops on rides, having never ridden a ride before, by himself.  he rarely cares about a consequence.  thinking about him as a teenager scares us to death.
but for now, it makes us proud.  i am so grateful he is not the child clinging to our legs in fear.  he is ready to experience life head-on.  great memories are made that way.

* i have updated an album of pictures from september.  feel free to check them out here.

center for creative connections

wow. wow. wow.
ben and i spent my first day off since i started back to work at the museum of art.  our membership makes it incredibly easy to run up there for an hour or so.
the DMA just opened the center for creative connections.  i (we) fell in love with the space because: 
a) it is child-centered.
b) it allows the entire family to interact with the art.
c) it is visually stunning.
d) it allows the students to make art while observing art.  genius.

to be perfectly honest, ben might be a little young to enjoy all aspects of this space.  but it is sooooo exciting to me that a space like this exists.  i wasn't able to check it all out as much as i would've liked, considering taking a toddler to a museum is always a gamble.  my eyes are on him the whole time, not really on much else.  but i must say, practice makes perfect.  ben stayed with me (for the most part), held my hand (most of the time), and only touched one painting!  not too shabby.  we even enjoyed an outdoor picnic in the courtyard.  it was a good, good day.

hey ladies...

i cannot think of a young lady who could resist such a dashing young man wearing this ensemble.
pants are optional here in the bonner household.

and for this video, all i can say is that i hope he remembers to thank his mother and father in his oscar acceptance speech.


what the???


it feels like this outside.  it's too good to be true, really.
image via

it sounds like this inside.  plus the cowgirls are winning.
image via

perfect combination for a nappy-nap.  
too bad i don't have one of those slings.
image via


the great state fair of texas

it's finally here.  dallasites anxiously await for the state fair's arrival every year.  we associate it with cooler weather (appropriately called "fair weather"), livestock, blue ribbons, fried morsels of goodness, football, butter sculptures, and big tex.  children of north texas even get a day off of school with free admission to attend the state fair.  part of the dallas culture.

this year is a special one.  ben is old enough to eat his own fletcher's corny dog.  and my nan-nan won a blue ribbon for her blackberry jelly.  that's a big deal in these parts!!!  she is practically state fair royalty in our eyes.  she also won third place for a mosiac mirror she made.  i told her she should set up a table and sign autographs, but i don't think she's going for that.
yesterday was opening day and we went for a dinner that consisted of a corny dog, fried frito pie (DELISH!), fried texas "caviar" (meh), jack's fries, and a cinnamon roll.  yep, you heard that right.  i forgot to mention that our great state fair is also associated with weight gain and heart attacks.  but we don't mind.  we love it, and even though it just began, we are sad at the thought of it coming to an end.

greatest hits

can you tell i started back at work this week?!?!  i originally planned on writing my greatest hits the same day every week, but so far that's just not happening.  life happens, right?

i now present you with this weeks greatest hits:

1) chris makes a cappuccino on occasion as a little afternoon pick-me-up.  he steams some milk for ben and they enjoy their afternoon "coffee" together.
2) keaton's birthday party complete with balloon dinosaurs, t-rex face paint, and a surprise visit from elmo.  a toddler boy's heaven.  happy second birthday, keaton!

3) grandpa reading our little monkey a bedtime story.
4) feeding the geese at white rock lake.
5) my husband thinks he's shaq.  he entertains me.
6) meeting and snuggling brand new ella penrod.  ben was never this small, by the way.  what an angel baby.  congrats to tim, julie and avery!
7) yippee, yippee, yay, yay!  going to the state fair of texas on opening day.  more on that later.

8) a new favorite book, dinosaurs love underpants, illustrated by this cool guy.

until next week,
the end.


jesus loves him

ben is at a really fun age.  he likes to be silly.  and sometimes  silly turns into, well, goofy.  he learned the song jesus loves me at school.  here is his version (and the perfect example of said goofiness).  it's a version only grandparents (and jesus) can love :)

music twin

tim penrod is one of chris's best friends from college. he lives in nearby allen with his wife julie(one of my favorite people) and two precious little girls, ella and avery. chris and tim are on the same fantasy football league, so during football season they get to hang out every monday night. chris loves it because tim is one of his favorite people.

and as it turns out, tim is one of my favorite people as well. but for different reasons.

you see, tim is my music twin.

after getting to know each other through chris over the years, tim and i have discovered we have similar taste in music. and being the sweetheart he is, tim always lets me know what he's currently listening to because he knows that i'll like it.

we drove up to allen yesterday to visit with our sweet friends. they have a newborn that we (i) desperately needed to sniff and snuggle. not only did i sniff and snuggle a newborn, i also left with new music. that's what i call a good visit.

tim burned me the new ryan bingham album. tim is obsessed with him, but he is new to us considering we are some of the only people left in america who still haven't seen the movie crazy heart. ryan bingham is the genius behind the music in that movie. me likey.

i love me some ray lamontagne. and so does tim. i scored his new album as well. thanks, tim. i am a sucker for a good slide guitar.

my dilemma with new music is the simple fact that we are broke as a joke. the last thing i think of spending ten bucks on these days is an album on itunes. sad, but true. so i make lists. i write down songs i hear on kxt or artists that i read about while i wait for that magical day when i win the lottery and buy every song that tickles my fancy. and that's alot of songs, my friends. my list is LONG. 

these songs are on my radar:

i listened to this song on olivia's blog and fell in love. with the song, NOT the video. it's pretty bad.

my taste is all over the place, i know this. but you can never go wrong with the roots. and chris and i both have a thing for jim james (of my morning jacket). the new roots is on my list, as is monsters of folk. sigh.

let's just say that if i were twelve years old, i would have a serious case of "bieber fever". what a cutie-pie. and yes, kanye west is a jerk. but his music is gooooooood. it helps me run on the treadmill, therefore he is a miracle-worker. cannot wait for his new one.

what music is on your radar? i would love to know what is on your list. maybe tim and i have a triplet out there we never knew about!

i must sign out now. sesame street is over and my son is doing somersaults off of the couch.


greatest hits

*i now introduce you to my list: greatest hits, featuring the most memorable bits of my week. if i don't write them down, i just may forget them. see, aren't lists handy?

1) going to see the dave matthews band for the bazillionth time of my life (it's habit at this point :) with my sister, her husband, marcy and chris. can't you see dave in the background? haha.

2) yoga in the park for two of my bravest friends, marcy and emily. they are participating in the susan g. komen 3-day walk in november and have each committed to raising a lot of money and walking 60 miles in three days. this yoga class was a fundraiser and was lots of fun.

3) a test run of this year's halloween costume. unfortunately, it ran a little small.
4) grabbing a snack at the farmers market.
5) these women. mother and daughter. the only picture in existence where they are both smiling. this one is for the books.

6) my sweet cousin at her very first gymnastics meet. she came in seventh overall. way to go, kami!

7) this boy after a very successful trip to the museum. read all about it here.

8) meeting my husband for lunch here and splitting this wedge salad. oh, baby. so good.

until next week:
the end.



oh my goodness, this is just too, too good not to share.
there are those days, am i right?

image found via celia's awesome blog.

art appreciation 101

let's be honest. low blood sugar + a family outing to the museum of art = a recipe for disaster. last weekend we decided to put our museum membership to good use. as you can tell from ben's expression, he had a blast. that's what my face looked like, as well as the museum employees who were afraid that our son might bulldoze their entire collection of ancient mayan art. we left the museum after about 20 minutes of bonner family fun (or before we were kindly asked to leave).
and because i am a glutton for punishment, yesterday we went back. the museum offers toddler art classes free with the price of admission. each class has a different theme. this week the theme focused on those beautiful ancient mexican artifacts that ben had set out to destroy a few days earlier. i had my running shoes ready to grab ben and bolt out of the museum doors the second he tried to sneak under the barrier rope around the art.

but it never happened. he held my hand. he didn't touch the art. he listened attentively to the story about the ancient tradition of summoning the rain. he made rain noises with his body. he pointed out rectangles, circles, and triangles in the mexican sculptures. he learned the words "amigo", "hola", and "adios". he made his very own "rainmaker" and decorated it with markers and stickers. and then he shook the daylights out of it. hopefully it works...we could use some more rain.

as it was nearing lunchtime, i picked my jaw up off the floor and led ben through the museum toward the exit. he began begging to go see the elephant mask in the african mask exhibit. you see, on that terrible museum outing, chris and i tried to salvage ben's mood by taking him to see the african masks. we didn't think it actually worked considering he whined throughout the entire exhibit.
but he remembered. so with a grateful heart, i held his hand without fear of him running from my grip and we went to see his beloved elephant mask. and i had one of those golden motherhood moments as i was holding my child's hand in the museum talking about art:
this is how i always imagined it would be.


nina, naturally...

hi my loves,
photo via.

i am grumpy today. i am doing my best to break this funk by telling you about something really special (to me anyway) that happened yesterday.

i have a new best friend (she might not agree). her name is nina, of the blog naturally nina. and i don't know her. she's a pretty big deal. she has 874 followers, and i have 7, if that gives you any idea. her blog is charming. she writes from her heart and shares with her readers the highs and lows of her life (falling in love, getting engaged, quitting her job, changing careers, her insecurities, becoming a yoga instructor, planning a wedding). she is kind and honest and values her readers.

anywho, a couple of months ago she asked her readers advice (as she often does) as to whether she and her fiance should film their wedding. they, much like chris and i, tend to think that wedding videos are a little cheesy. and the idea of a cameraman in your face on your wedding day seems less than appealing. i never replied to her question, but i kept thinking about it. after feeling especially sentimental recently, i decided to finally reply with my advice. i told her to do it. i told her about losing kathleen and pop to cancer. and about how we would give anything to hear their voices again and listen to the kind words they spoke about us on our special day.

well, she wrote back. and this is a little of what she said:

i definitely want to have a record of the evening, just in case, like you said. and the speeches! i know i'll want to watch those over and over. thanks so much for saying such sweet things about my blog. you are adorable and i am SO flattered. off to read your blog! xoxoxo.
love, nina
i love her. she did not have to respond to me. she doesn't know me from adam. and she read my tiny little blog. her kindness made my day.

i started reading blogs when i was on bed-rest at the end of my pregnancy. i had a LOT of time alone with the computer. and there are only so many soap operas you can watch before you want to gouge your eyeballs out. i have found some favorites along the way. here are some and here's why i love them, just in case you too one day have too much time on your hands and can't bear another soap opera.

naturally nina: see above.

life according to celia: she is my age. she loves food. she is funny and sarcastic. perfection.

simple lovely: she is a dallas girl. and artsy. and well, really cool.

c jane: writes essays. hilarious and so, so real.

nienie: if you like blogs, you must, i mean MUST read nienie. go back in the archives and be transformed by her story.

my favorite and my best: she curses, she's a southern girl and just happens to be really funny. three of my favorite qualities in a person ;)

pioneer woman: she's the original. she is the best for a reason.

there are also bloggers whom i know and love. i live for the days these ladies post so that i can: see pictures of my nieces and nephew, see what inspires my sister, find out what's on marli's running playlist, see what miss avery is up to, and admire the way that michelle writes.

keep up the good work, girls. i count on it :)
and that's all i have to say about that. (in my best forest gump voice).

p.s. i need a little blogging etiquette advice. do i need to notify the bloggers that they are being mentioned on my blog? or do i just have to ask permission to use something from their blog? i'm so confrused.


greatest hits

this week's greatest hits was hard to edit. this week was just that good. and so were the pictures (not listed in order). here we go:

1) ben started school today. look at his best friend brody running to greet him! reunited and it feels so good...

2) an outing to the greatest mall on the planet where
ben became one with the art. it makes the art teacher in me very proud :)

3) a trip to the lake for labor day. pure relaxation. cooking out, over-eating, laying out, napping, watching ben play with his grandparents and great-grandparents, and riding in the boat. good stuff.

4) the third, and final going-away get-together honoring sarah and travis. they actually left yesterday, but ALL of their furniture left a few days before, so we invited them over to sit on ours. this time our friends came over, brought the kids, we ordered pizza and hung out. it was a blast watching the ben, maggie and baby ellie pop bubbles and read books to each other.
later the same evening, our friend kyle happened to be in town to play a gig. he lives in austin and is a professional drummer. he played at the really rad kessler theater in oak cliff (with this artist). us girls snuck away from the party to see our friend make some really good music.

5) my own personal yogi, melissa. melissa just completed her yoga teacher certification and is offering donation-only yoga classes in her home. she says she needs the practice, yet i beg to differ. marcy, melissa's husband bryant and i twisted, stretched, contorted, and sweat like there was no tomorrow for over an hour in a small studio. i am a sweaty mess as it is, so needless to say i almost flooded the room. i took a picture to prove it. it was awesome.

6) a trip to the park with the boys. we played, threw things in the lake, picked up sticks, spun in circles. you know, the usual.

7) a trip to the zoo with my little man. he was a little more interested in the bronze animal sculptures than the actual living and breathing animals. probably because he could ride the sculptures.

until next week,
the end.

the apple man

ben used to be a little skeptical about my pawpaw, and we could never really figure it out.

however, pawpaw had a plan. everytime he sees ben, he gives him treats of little cars, trucks, motorcycles from the dollar store. and apples.

once on a visit to my grandparent's house, pawpaw was out of apples. ben asked for one, and pawpaw's heart broke because he did not have one to offer him. after we left, pawpaw went to the store and later delivered a bag of apples to his little buddy.

ben loves apples AND his pawpaw. which turns this momma to mush.


for my friend

miss sarah~

we have been friends since the age of twelve and have known each other even longer. you were the other girl in sunday school class who, like me, wanted to be better friends with those pig-tailed girls (pictured below, minus the pig-tails). mission accomplished. next year will mark our 20th year of friendship. whoa nelly.

we rode the bus to each other's houses. we shared cabins, bunk beds, friends, and crushes on church trips. we slept on the same bench in the church van, and somehow our friendship survived. we led worship services and cried at all the same parts. we camped (back when we camped). i told you your tummy shirt looked great on you and you assured me that my dark brown lipstick complimented my leggings and scrunch socks perfectly.

we spent hours on the phone talking about all the important things sixteen year olds talk about (aka boys). we took family vacations together. we slept in the back of bessie, waking up only to eat chocolate chip pancakes with chocolate syrup and chocolate milk at ihop. we made up secret handshakes and nicknames for each other. we went skiing, and curled our hair before we hit the slopes. our make-up ran down our faces because we refused to wear goggles (because nobody looks cute in goggles, right?)

we traveled to europe together. twice. we moved to colorado and learned how to clean. and i mean REALLY clean. no hairs in the fridge! we roomed with complete strangers and made some great friends. we wrote in each other's journals. we have been there for each other through bad boyfriends, and when the good boyfriends did bad things. we went to college. we made new friends and assimilated them.

over the course of 19 years, you have eaten approximately 19 lbs. of candy from the my mom's candy drawer (12 lbs. being m&m's). you have borrowed and not returned approximately 19 articles of my clothing. we survived high school together, and even more importantly in my book, we managed to remain friends through some really confusing moments during our twenties. you stood up with me on my wedding day. and you were in the hospital waiting room the day my son was born.

i recently read this in an article about friendship in glamour magazine (of all places):
separation and distance are natural parts of the friendship life cycle. we grow at different rates and in different directions, and sometimes we are better apart than we are together. being out of step can be excruciating, but it can also push you to evolve in ways you otherwise wouldn't.
(from how to be forever friends, by emma mclaughlin and nicola krauss)

so what i am trying to say is, if our friendship has survived all of these things over the past 19 years, it can most definitely survive your cross-country move.

i'll end my novel-of-a-blog-post with this:

how to be a great friend (in 20 words or less) : always remind her that she's braver than she believes, stronger than she seems and smarter than she thinks. ~winnie the pooh

sarah, you are brave, strong and smart. i am sooooo proud of you. call me when you get to washington!