Friday, November 30, 2007

A Bonfire, Sledding and a Hayride...Oh My!

Theses are the pictures I have promised to put up from Thanksgiving weekend at my mom's house. We had such a blast staying with GiGi and Pop. Since my stepfather's nephew and his family were visiting from North Carolina, Mom knew she was going to have a houseful of kids. She decided to try to plan some outings that would be fun and get us all out of the house. All three of her little plans worked like a charm! The kids had a blast and the adults had a pretty darn good time as well!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I hear birds...

Anderson hears birds outside the window!

Anderson playing drums

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Baby I'm Amazed....

I promise to upload the rest of the Thanksgiving pictures soon, but I had to do a quick entry so that I wouldn't forget any of this. Please don't take this as bragging, because it isn't. I just want to share how quickly Anderson is developing. Trust me there are lots of not so positive things we still have to work on (car riding, and throwing random fits when I say no to something to name a couple!)

Ok, with that disclaimer out of the way...Anderson's vocabulary has been really exploding these last few weeks, but much to my surprise he said a sentence yesterday. You could have blown me over with a feather I was so shocked. I knew he could point things out and label them, a lot of things actually...but to actually get out a complete sentence that he clearly understood the meaning of...well let me just say it has been one of my proudest days as his mommy!

Yesterday we were playing in the backyard when the neighbor's dogs heard us and came to the fence line and started barking. You can't see them though the fence, but the barking was a little on the loud side. Anderson looked right over to the fence and said "I hear dogs bark, shhhh" and put his finger over his lips to make the "shhh" sound. I was astounded! Later that afternoon as he pointed out the car window to another car, he said "I see cars". Again...amazed! The books I have been reading say that 3 word sentences are usually made at 22 months and three words plus sentences after the age of 2. Anderson is only 17 months old!

When I took him to Mom's Morning Out, I asked his teacher if she knew he was doing this and she said that he had been doing it 2 weeks ago, but they weren't completely sure they heard him correctly. She also told me that his vocabulary is the largest of those his age in his class...if you know me this will not surprise you! I like to chat! Ha! This morning as Jeff left for work Anderson started waving Bye Bye and said "Bye Bye Father" We both just laughed (where in the world did he learn the word father??) ...And just this afternoon when he woke up from his nap we were looking at the Christmas tree in his room and he said "I see Santa Clause" and pointed right to a Santa ornament! Adorable!!

So here are a few words he says regularly and understands...
Mama, Dada, GiGi (learned that this weekend), grapes, nanna (for bananna), more, no more, gone gone, Dog, Kitty kat, out (when wanting to go outside), car, book, shoes, cup, juice, ball, (says choo choo when shown a train), bear (teddy bear), hands, fish, bird, water, Santa, Rabbit, shirt, Ho, Ho, Ho, hot, cold, hey, stairs, bath, eyes, ears, me (doesn't understand the concept of a pronoun, but will say "me" when shown pictures of himself), no, duck, quack, raffe (for giraffe), meow and probably several more that I can't remember right now!

I know some people may not find this a big deal; after all, toddlers are supposed to talk! But for Jeff and I to see this child, our child, our little tiny baby all grown up into a little boy and able to communicate with us is just incredible. Now, as my hubby just aptly pointed out....we have to really start watching what we say! Yikes!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

So much to be thankful for...

We had a great Thanksgiving holiday with my family. Anderson is not a very good car-rider at the moment, so anything over about an hour or so ends up being a nightmare. With this thought in mind we decided to forgo a trip to Tennessee to see Jeff's family since we are planning on making that trip for Christmas in a month. We missed them, but are looking forward to spending 3 or 4 days with them at Christmas.

My sister, Marcie, came home for Thanksgiving from Nashville a little early and was able to spend Thanksgiving morning at our house. We watched the parade and she spent most of the morning in awe of how much Anderson is doing and saying since she last saw him. Jeff fried his annual Turkey to take to dinner. I think he was in need of sitting outside and watching the turkey fry to feel manly, as Marcie and I were filling the entire house with estrogen while we watched the Rockettes and little vignettes of the latest Broadway plays as they were performed during the parade. She and mom are leaving Wednesday for NYC, so we had to watch everything sort of as a preview! Ha!!

About 4:30 we headed over to DeLane's house for our Thanksgiving dinner for dad's side of the family. DeLane is my dad's little sister, but they are 17 years apart in age...can you say "oooops"! HA! Anyway, she is only 6 years older than me, which is the same age difference between me and my sisters. All of this is very confusing for anyone who doesn't know my family! Delane and I have been like sisters all of our lives. My parents worked crazy shift work (as a nurse and a lineman for the Power Co) so I spent many a weekend with my grandparents and DeLane. Her boys, who are actually my cousins, call me Aunt because "cousins" makes it seem like a more distant relationship than it really is. To add to the dysfunction consider this...Jeff is older than DeLane...ha! I married a man older than my aunt! Also, my stepmother is only 6 months older than Jeff. There is a considerable age difference between Jeff and I...10 years, as well as between Dad and Martha 13 ish years...and my Mom and step-dad are actually 14 years apart. So, how's that for a family tree!

We may be a little weird, but we always have a good time when we are all together, which is pretty often for such a big family. It is getting harder now as Marcie and Jennifer both live out of state, but we usually get to see everyone at each holiday and those of us that live in Tuscaloosa and the surrounding area see each other more often than that. I am blessed to have family nearby! We did mss my sister Jennifer this year though. She was in Huntsville visiting with her husband's family. This is her first married Holiday season and they are trying to work in both families, which can be so hard!

John (DeLane's oldest son) at 10 years old...going on 25!

Mimi (Dad's wife) and Anderson...he became obsessed with this cooler that we brought the turkey over with. Trying to get him to stop climbing on it proved to be a fun game...for him!

Marcie, me and Delane

Anderson smooching on Aunt Laney

My grandfather showing Anderson his watch! I love this picture! Anderson is thinking so hard! ha!

Our little drummer boy!


I will write about our trip to Birmingham to visit with my Mom in my next entry. I have been waging a full fledge war on junk at our house and am in the process of cleaning out every it may be a while, but I promise to post them soon! It was a great long weekend that involved a bonfire, hayride and sledding without the snow! Enjoy the pictures!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

OK... NOT Yugoslavia!

Tuesday night was my turn to host for our bible study group. Since it is getting close to the holiday season we decided to take a break in between studies and have some fun social nights. Last week we had Thanksgiving Dinner at Laura's house, and let me just say some of us can REALLY cook! We stuffed ourselves silly. We like to think of it as a good warm-up session for Thanksgiving Day!Check out the adorable Turkey cookies!! So cute!!

Well last night we only had about 8 or so girls show up, so we ordered pizza and settled in for game night. Somehow (our conversation topics often change in the blink of an eye) we started talking about the song "Soulja boy." Dawn recently got married and told us that her nephews taught her how to do the dance that goes with the song during her reception...before you know guessed it...Dawn and Laura were teaching us all the dance in my kitchen. Anderson even let Dawn hold him while she did the dance. He especially loved the Superman part! Then we couldn't figure out what a particular lyric meant...something about "bathing apes", so we looked it up on and found out it is actually slang for a type of shoe....who knew? HA!! Well that internet stint led to a search on youtube for videos of other people doing the dance. Then we found that there is a Winnie the Pooh video version of the song....hysterical I tell you. At this point we were practically rolling in the floor laughing! Check it out here...

As if this was not fun enough...really we are pretty easy to entertain, huh?...we couldn't decide if we wanted to play a game or watch Dancing with the Stars and more importantly the "After the Final Rose" episode of the bachelor. We then decided to do both! Watch the shows and play Catch Phrase during the commercials...that was our plan! So...It was Kim's turn to describe her word for catch Phrase...the category was "Places". She got her item and quickly looked up with such confidence and blurted out..."OK...NOT Yugoslavia" and then just waited as if that clue alone really drove it home for any of us. We laughed so hard that we all had tears in our eyes. I mean seriously...Not Yugoslavia??? The word she was trying to get us to guess was Czech Republic! Wow!

I love these girls for nights like this (of which we have had too many to count). Sometimes we can get very serious and really dig deep into each others lives...and then there are nights where we learn a random dance in my living room! I am so thankful to have wonderful, Godly and FUNNY women in my life. What a blessing!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Is it Christmas Already? Bah Humbug! by Jeff aka "The Grinch".

Well this is truly one of the worst weeks of the year. No I am not talking about Alabama's pathetic Loss to Louisiana-Monroe, and upcoming beat down by Auburn. Yes the Holiday season is right around the corner and the chaos and stress of the season has already begun.

Now don't get me wrong I get the whole "birth of the Savior" part of the season (even if Jesus was not born in December)....but beyond that I HATE Christmas. That's right I said it, Christmas stinks. You run all over the place trying to please everyone, eating too much, spending too much, fighting traffic and generally stressing out. So here is how the season got kicked off at the Smith house. I spent Friday and Saturday deer hunting and enjoying the peace and tranquility of nature only to have it ruined by Alabama Losing to La-Monroe (some school nobody ever heard of). Then the weekend took a turn for the worse if you can believe that. Yes, my wife announced that "we" would be putting up the Christmas tree. Of course I was overjoyed! (actually overcome with dread) After missing my Sunday afternoon nap and weekly run to Sams and Lowes, I started pulling all of the Christmas stuff out of the attic. After lugging all 3000 pounds of it downstairs, I began attempting to assemble our artificial tree.

Several years ago I was hoodwinked into purchasing a "pre-lit" tree. (read rip off) Oh it looked great the first year, then last year half the lights burned out and this year there were about 5 lights that worked. After replacing about 20 bulbs my patience wore thin and I decided it would be easier to rip off the stupid lights and replace them with string lights rather than replace all 800 of the other lights. In reality, we should have taken the tree to the curb, and went and bought a new one. Of course I didn't have an extra 500 bucks to burn, so after 5 hours of stripping lights and wire off the tree until my fingers bled it was done. It was 10:00 and we had a bare tree! Thank goodness I had to go to work the next day or the Warden....I mean Lindsey.... would have made me stay up until 2 a.m. until it was finished (can you say OCD?) Of course when I came home from work today the tree was finished and the rest of the stuff was up and our house was all lit up. Of course Lindsey ran around like a crazy person all day and paid the maid extra to stay and help her finish, but either way it was finished. Christmas had officially come to the Smith house on November 18th!

I used to Love Christmas when I was a kid. I always set up our tree at home, then I would go and set up the tree at my grandmothers house as well. I really looked forward to doing it. My "Granny Rose" had the coolest trees. I would always spend an entire Saturday putting up her Christmas stuff, drinking all the Grape Nehi or Sundrop I could hold, and eating corn dogs or pizza all day. Over the years she had real trees, fake trees, and I can even remember setting up an all aluminum tree with bright blue ornaments. It even had the little rotating light that would shine on the tree and make it actually change colors.

My favorite thing was putting all the ornaments on her tree. Of course she had the usual glass balls in all sorts of colors, but my favorite were all of the odd ornaments that all of the grandchildren had made over the years. There were plastic animals with spray paint on them, paper mac he', cloth cutout stars, and of course lots of spray glued red and green glitter on just about everything. It really was special to be able to spend that kind of time together, just the two of us, laughing and talking about life. She was always interested in anything I wanted to talk about. Even though I might have only been 10 years old she would always listen to my "problems". (like a 10 year old has problems.)

She was such a sweet person. Even though she didn't have a lot of money for presents she always had something for everyone that came to her house for Christmas and I mean everyone. Whoever showed up got something. Of course the gifts were very predictable. Men got either Isotoner gloves, a Flannel shirt, or the latest cologne from Avon. Ladies got either Isotoner gloves, a night gown, or you guessed it.....Avon Perfume. (When she passed away, they found an entire wardrobe in her bedroom stuffed full of unopened Avon products. I guess she was planning on a lot more Christmases with us. If only she were still here to give me some Avon one more time.)

You know I would give just about anything to put up her Christmas tree just one more time, but of course once those days are gone you can't get them back. That's what Christmas is really all about. Making memories with the people you love the most. Not rushing around from party to party to see a bunch of people you don't really know that well, and buying a bunch of presents that people don't need. Its about taking time to just talk to the ones you truly love and showing them you really helping them put up their Christmas tree. Now that I think about it I might actually hate Christmas after all.....(Just don't tell anybody, it would ruin my image as "The Grinch".)

Now all we have to do is survive the rest of the season....

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree...

Christmas has officially arrived at the Smith House! I am usually one of those hard core traditionalist that refuses to put up the tree until after we celebrate Thanksgiving, but the older I get the more I realize how involved the process of decorating the whole house inside and out can be. This year I decided to get a jumpstart so that we wouldn't return from Thanksgiving with a full agenda of decorating to dread! I knew it would take longer this year because I bought all new ornaments for the tree in a new color scheme mainly to "Anderson-proof" it! All of our new ornaments are shatterproof plastic! Yeah!!! Anyway I knew since I had changed the garland and ornaments it would take me a while to figure out just how I wanted it. Plus our house keeper Karen was coming today to clean, so I got this crazy notion that if I could get all of the inside decorations done Sunday then she could sweep up all of the needles and glitter, etc that gets EVERYWHERE!!

So I convinced my husband (aka SCROOGE) to help me get everything down from the attic Sunday after church...well let's just say it went downhill from there! At 11:00 that night we had one tree up and the lights on it, but that was it. I'll let Jeff explain what happened in a way that truly only he can! HA!!

Anyway, this morning I took Anderson to school and then offered to pay my housekeeper Karen extra to stay all day and help me put up the decorations and then clean afterwards. She needed the money, and I needed the help so it was a great deal for both of us. I really wanted the entire inside decorated and clean before Jeff arrived home from work to make up for the fiasco from the night before. We did it! Karen left 10 minutes before Jeff came home! Yeah!!! Now all we have to do is the outside... Hee Hee! ;-)

Friday, November 16, 2007

This time last year...

I just read my sweet little guy 'Twas the Night Before Christmas before putting him to bed and it made me a little teary eyed to think of how big he has gotten since last year. There is nothing like a baby's first Christmas and that will indeed be hard to top, but this year has new and unique things to look forward to as well. Last year he was so small that he really didn't get that it was a special season.

Now, Anderson is really beginning to understand the world around him and communicate with us. He readily says "Ho! Ho! Ho!" when he sees Santa whether it be on an ornament, television, or a picture in a magazine. I put up a small Christmas tree in his room this year (and yes, I know it is early!!) and every night he stares at the lights in amazement. I just had to do colored is a kid's tree afterall. He is starting to learn his colors, and I think the tree lights have been a big help in working towards that goal...there is just one problem...the only two colors he can recognize and say are blue and orange! did this happen?? I know my sister Jennifer (an Auburn graduate) is loving this right now!! Don't worry I'll work on red and white soon!!

These last two pictures are from one of my favorite memories from last year. Jeff, Anderson and I were asked to portray Joseph, Mary and Jesus for our church Christmas Musical. Anderson was perfect and never cried even under the hot lights! What an angel!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fall Pictures....

I just happened to snap some shots of Anderson playing in the yard the other morning and some of them turned out to be just so sweet...I had to share!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Ghouls and a new cousin!!

The annual Ghouls party was Friday night and the theme was disco! Ghouls is a group of guys who get together once in the summer and once in the fall for basically a big party. It is sort of a counterpart to the ladies Mardi Gras Clubs. Jeff has been a member for a while now and each fall we scramble around trying to find a costume! The Fall party is usually right before Halloween, but this year the guys couldn't quite get it together (sometimes happens when males are in charge of planning social events! LOL!) so it was a couple of weeks late!
Luckily, they chose a theme that made it super easy! DISCO...aka...Jeff's era!! He loves to remind me that as I was skating around at Super Skate in late elementary school/ early middle school to Bon Jovi he was out defending our country in the army!
HA! Sad, but true! We had a great time as usual. Check out our groovy costumes!!

Also this weekend I went to visit our newest cousin, baby Elliott. My second cousin Quinn and her husband Hunter welcomed another little girl on Friday morning. Big sister Avery is so excited about being a big girl now! Elliott Reece was born at 9:30 on November 9th weighing in at 8 lbs. 1 oz! Congrats Quinn and Hunter!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Out of the mouths of Babes...

Every once in a while our precious son does or says something that makes us realize that he's much more aware of what's going on in his little world than we think he is. It seems like everyday he comes out with a new word that we didn't even know he could say! Just today he said cloud and light. A month or so ago I was going through a car wash with Anderson in the backseat. He looked right at me and did the sign for bath and then said first I didn't get it. After a minute I realized that he was telling me the car was getting a bath! Another example happened this morning when I was drying a pan at the kitchen sink. He started babbling away and after a second I could hear that very determined tone he takes on when he is trying to communicate something specific. So I turned to him to pay attention. He was saying "hot" over and over again. I replied back...that's right pans go on the stove and it is hot! At the grocery store the other day he kept pointing at the scale over in the fruit section and moving his body back and forth. Finally he was able to get out what he was trying to say..."tick tock tick tock." He thought the scale was a clock. Hey, afterall it's round with a lot of numbers on it!

This is a fun time, but it is also a challenging one. See there is a dirty little secret that no one tells you when you have a baby...those terrible two's don't start when they are two...they start before ummmmmm....let's say.....16 and 3/4 months. Anderson is trying to assert his independence a little more everyday. From screaming and twisting and turning when I am changing his diaper to bucking his back when I'm trying to put him in the carseat...these days are challenging. I have gone into full-on school teacher mode with research on the topic of toddler discipline. I am finishing up On Becoming Toddler Wise by Gary Ezzo. I am re- reading Bringing Up Boys by James Dodson. I read it when we found out Anderson was a boy...somehow I think it will all seem a little more relative now that he is here and not in the womb!! I also have on my nightstand (but haven't started yet) Sheperding the heart of a Child by Tedd Tripp. It comes very highly recommended from several moms I know from church.

I know we will have rough days, but I just want to know the best way to deal with them. I don't get parents who don't read or research or seem concerned or have specific goals for their children and the kind of person they want them to turn out to be. Seriously people...that doesn't happen by accident! It takes work and consistency. I taught too many kids whose biggest problem was their parents lack of parenting. I am not talking about inner city kids...these were the "good kids" who had the nice homes and two parents, etc, etc...I guess I just feel like you only get one shot to raise them pressure, huh?? :-)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

E-I-E-I-O sometimes confused with HO HO HO!

I have been working with Anderson on recognizing pictures of Santa and that Santa says "Ho! Ho! Ho!" Well apparently farm animal week was a couple of weeks ago at his school and they learned the Old Macdonald Song. When I asked Anderson what Santa says he got a little confused and said...E-I-E-I-O!

Feeling Better...

Thank you to all of you who have called to check on Anderson. I am so thankful to report that his follow up appointment resulted in good news! The pneumonia is clearing and respitory wise he is all clear. He does still have a small ear infection in his right ear, but the Doctor said it should clear up in the next few days as Anderson finishes up his antibiotics. We have to go back in a month for yet another chest x-ray before we are given a completely good bill of health, but the Dr. said Anderson can resume normal activity now. As Jeff likes to say...beware of the 25 pound tornado! He'll be back in action now!! Now if we could just get these molars in he would feel much better! He has broken three through the skin in the last 5 days. OUCH!!!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Anderson has Pneumonia!!!

That's read correctly. This is one of those cautionary tales about listening to your motherly instinct. I am so glad I did this time or we may have ended up in the hospital! It started last week as Anderson developed a little cough on Monday afternoon. I called the pediatrician and spoke to the nurse who recommended that we try an over the counter cough suppressant for a few days before coming in. I really felt like he should have been seen, but didn't want to be difficult. He was still very active, so I said OK and we tried the O.C. Robitussin. Then it seemed better on Tuesday, but Tuesday night before bed it seemed to turn into a wet cough. I called the Dr. again only to be reassured that it was now a "productive" cough. It was good for it to be that bad because it meant stuff was coming up and out.

By Thursday morning Anderson was running a 102 fever, and I knew something wasn't right. Our pediatrician's office just started a new walk in clinic from 8-9:30 every morning for acute illness. I was there by 8:15 only to be told they were full. I was furious! I told the nurse he was running a high fever and had a wet cough...she insisted they were full and told me to sit in the hallway next to a phone so that the appointment nurse could call me on it and let me know what time to come back that afternoon for an available appt. I wanted to scream! They wanted me to sit in an open hallway with no way to contain a 16 month old and wait for a later appt! I was livid, but I knew Anderson needed to be seen, so I waited hoping that they would realize they needed to take us immediately. After 20 minutes of chasing a sick baby and the phone never ringing I told the front desk that we would be in the sick waiting room so that I could at least keep him in one room and for them to please come and get us when they had their appt. time ready. She rolled her eyes and acted like she was going to be doing me some big favor to come and get us. Finally after about 25 more minutes they informed me that I could be seen at 3:30 that afternoon. I just sneered and nodded. I had them book the appointment, but I knew in my bones that we had to get to a Dr. before then. I could feel Anderson's fever getting higher. On the way out I ran into a friend with her baby who had also come in trying to be seen as a walk-in. I told her they were full, so she went in to try to make an appointment. Later that afternoon she informed me that they took her as a walk-in...literally 5 seconds after we walked out the door...nice, huh?

So once in the car, I decided to take Anderson to Medcenter. I had a friend who was the office manager and felt like if I needed to call in a favor I could. It turns out they took us right away and agreed with me on the seriousness of him needing to be seen.The Dr. came in and examined a screaming Anderson. He told me right off the bat that both of Anderson's ears had infections and that his throat was irritated and he was in need of a breathing treatment pretty much immediately. He also told me that I might want to call my husband because they were going to do a chest x-ray to check for possible pneumonia. I thought my legs were going to come out from under me. I sat in the floor with Anderson trying desperately to calm him as I held a mask with mist coming out of it over his face. He was crying and now I was crying too. This was incredibly hard since the motor was so loud. This is a child that still cries when you turn on a blender or a vacuum. At one point he cried so hard he lost all color and stumbled. I thought he was going to pass out. I called Jeff and told him to drop everything and meet us there. Luckily he did and was there to comfort our son and myself in just a few minutes.

Long story short, they did the x-ray, which was equally as traumatic for Anderson as the breathing treatment. He had a spot of Pneumonia in his right lung. If we had waited until that afternoon to see a Doctor, it would have been much worse! He was put on prescription cough medicine and antibiotic drops. He has been one sick puppy! To make matters worse he also managed to cut two back molars this week and develop a nasty case of diaper rash. We are on day 4 now and he is feeling much better. We go back tomorrow for a follow up xray, so please pray that it is all gone!! Needless to say we are changing pediatricians, and I have told pretty much everyone I know in Tuscaloosa not to go there and why! I can't believe that happened to us. We love our Doctor, but have long had issues with the front office staff. However, after this we are gone. I'll be getting Anderson's charts this week, and I believe Jeff is scheduling an appointment with the office manager and our Dr. to talk about what happened and why we are leaving.