Saturday, August 28, 2010

A love letter to my son....

Dear Anderson-

This summer you have turned four...FOUR years old! How that is even possible is beyond me! I still remember the night that I took my pregnancy test like it happened yesterday! Sometimes it seems very natural that you have grown up so much, but then on some days I catch myself looking at you and listening to you and I simply can believe that my sweet baby boy is standing before me and talking to me like such a big boy! Didn't we just spend our days working on tummy time and watching Curious George like- oh, I don't know- 2 seconds ago! So here are a few things all about you...

- You are an absolute joy to your Dad and myself! We consider you and your sister our greatest accomplishment and thank God for you all the time. I seriously think you gave us both a purpose to life that was missing before you arrived.

- You are a very serious, observant little guy. You really always have been! You tend to be quiet and take things in...then before we know it you are talking about things we had no idea you could comprehend!

- You love to figure things out. Curious George has always been your favorite show, and I think it is because it is math and science based. You love tinkering (a true Smith trait) and putting things together...figuring things out. Transformers toys are huge for you right now. Your Dad and I can never "transform" them as good as you can! I can totally see you becoming an engineer or something along those lines.

- The down side of your "tinkering" personality is that you can become hyper-focused on something and have trouble letting go of it if you can't figure it out or get it to do what you want it to do. Your temper sometimes gets you in trouble in this area, but you are getting better the older that you get.

- You LOVE animals!! Seriously- if I had a second guess on careers for you it would be a vet or some other type of animal-type career! You are so tenderhearted when it come to them that it often breaks my heart. When our cat Mable wandered away over a year ago you were devastated and prayed for her EVERY night. Just last week on the way to school you told me that you had a "big" idea. You wanted to write a note and leave it on our door to tell Mable that this was her house in case she happened to walk by that day while we were gone. It makes me sad to see how much you miss her, but it makes me happy to know that you have such a love for animals. Your Gigi is like that too, and I see that part of her in you.

You also just love to watch discovery channel and read books about animals. You aren't satisfied with just a general "That's a monkey" . In fact, you corrected me at the age of three by saying "that is not a monkey, mommy- that is a Pygmy Marmoset". You want to know their diet, their habitat, if they are nocturnal, etc... It's crazy how much you know about different species, etc.

-You are smart. I know this is my blog and that everyone thinks their child is smart, but you are really smart. Your teachers always comment on how crazy expansive your vocabulary is for your age. You spoke in full sentences at 15 months old- at the time we didn't know that was abnormal, but now comparing Lydia's verbal skills we realize you were different from most kids very early on. You talk about concepts that a lot of four year olds don't understand- things like toxins, plasma, electricity...all sorts of crazy stuff. You never know what is going to come out of your mouth, but it almost always surprises us or crack us completely up!

- Along with your smarts, you have some struggles- in the last year we have really worried about your attention span. We watched you in group interactions and school situations and it just seemed that you sort of zoned out quite a bit and sometimes could be a little difficult to engage in a group setting. We couldn't really tell if it was the start of a bigger problem or if you just needed time to grow up a little. As a former teacher I certainly had ADD in the back of my head, but after talking with your teachers and really watching you and waiting for you to mature and develop we think that this is just really more to do with your personality. You just aren't a cheesy, all grins, front row, all up in the activity, kind of kid. You are more serious and pensive and tend to be a bit more independent. We are keeping an eye on it, but we know that we will deal with it if it comes...lucky for you you have two parents who love you more than anything on this earth and will move mountains to make sure you succeed in whatever you try!

- You are getting into that "boy" stage of thinking anything to do the word "potty" or "tee-tee" or "poopie" is funny.! I came from a family of three girls, so this whole potty-humor thing is new to me. You get corrected for it a lot, but hopefully we will grow out of this fun stage soon!

-You have a love/hate relationship with Lydia. You love her 90% of the time, but every once in a while she gets a toy you wanted and WWII ensues...we are officially to the stage of having to buy two of everything the exact same! I had to ask for two boy happy meals the other day so that you two would have the same exact toy! Lol! You do love on her an awful lot though. You always ask to wake her up or argue with us about putting her to sleep before you. You can't imagine not being with her all the time, and I love that. I hope you are always close and supportive of each other.

-You have had a tough time adjusting to Mommy going back to work. Although my work at the studio is still flexible, I have been working a lot of overtime this past year to get everything up and running. I feel like I am on the cusp of being able to work less and possibly take a morning or two off to spend with you and Lydia soon, but this time of getting the business up and running has been a tough adjustment for us all. You ask why you have to go to school everyday now and it just about kills me every time the words come out of your mouth. Talk about Mommy guilt! You are so used to being home with me that going to school full time is a big change, but you are LOVING school and I am so thankful for that and your wonderful and loving teachers. That gives me piece of mind when I am working long hours!

- You LOVE church. It is the best blessing to your Dad and I to see you soaking up the word! You ask to go all the time and rarely let us play hookie without asking - "Hey when do we go to church at night time again?" I have a feeling you will be keeping us straight on this issue!
- You require VERY little sleep. Even though we put you in your room at 8:00 or 8:30 at the latest, you are often still awake at 10:00 when we go to bed. You just talk to yourself and get up and ask us for EVERYTHING under the sun and just refuse to close your eyes in general! It is challenging to say the least because I would like to just be able to watch a movie with your dad or talk to him/hang out...but we are too busy putting you to bed for three hours! Lol!
-You are a really good eater. We don't struggle with this part, and I am so thankful because your sister is another story entirely!! You love crazy things like sushi- a sign you are your mother's child! You enjoy salad and lots of other vegetables and generally clean your plate for most meals. You have started a unit at school on healthy foods. Your commentary on your Dad and my diets is sometimes comical!
-You say things that crack us up all the time, but you can be very sensitive about us laughing. You feel like we are making fun of you and it makes you M-A-D!!
-You love to play outside and particularly in your sandbox and you love digging in the dirt and playing with Hotwheels!
- You still love Curious George, but are more into Diego and Superfriends. You love the movies Pete the Magic Dragon, Bolt, and Cars. We have been really trying to limit your TV, so you aren't watching as much as you used too. We've replaced that time with playing CandyLand, Memory, Go Fish and making crafts that have to do with your letter homework from school.
-On the day of your actual birthday. You played hookie from school and we went on a just Mommy and you date! I drove you to Birmingham and we went to Build-a-bear where you created a Jaguar dressed as Batman (named Batcat). We then ate lunch at chick-fil-a and then caught an afternoon showing of Toy Story 3 in 3d. I loved every second of our alone time together.
Happy Birthday Anderson! I love you so much and can't wait to see the awesome young man you are going to turn into!
Love- Mommy

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Back to school!!

The Fall semester started on Thursday at our preschool. The kids have been out for almost two weeks between summer and fall, so they were starting to get bored at home!

Anderson is in PK-1 with Miss Eileen and Mrs. Susan and Lydia is headed to the red room with Mrs. Heather and Miss Megan. I do not tell a lie when I say how grateful we are for our wonderful school! The children LOVE it. It is always clean and bright and filled with adults who really enjoy their job. I have no doubt that we will have an excellent year!

This is a big year for Anderson since his class will really be starting to focus on school readiness. He will have homework and more responsibility in the classroom! He thrives off of structure though, so I think he will love the new challenge. When I told him we had a project to complete for Open House he was so excited! Basically we had to color in a sheet that looked like him and fill out a questionnaire about hi likes, dislikes, etc... They are hanging them on the wall this week. He colored his clothes without too much passion, but when we got to the shoes he stopped and dramatically gasped- "Mom! I have to have cool shoes! They have to be Sketchers!!" I nearly died laughing...who says advertising isn't powerful- even for a four year old!

Here he is signing in for the day. Everyday they come in to a question like "Are you wearing green today?" and then have to find their name magnet and put it under the answer.

Here is Lydia attempting to sign in on her first day! She is in a great classroom with the beloved Mrs. Heather who was Anderson's first teacher at that school. I can't wait to watch Lydia do all of the fun activities that Anderson got to do in that class just two short years ago. Heather told Jeff that Lydia sat in her lap and brushed her (Heather's) hair with a baby doll hairbrush and told her she was "pity" aka... "pretty". That's my sweet girly girl!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Birthday Bash!

With Anderson and Lydia's birthday being less than a month apart I decided to try to combine their party this year. It was a tough decision because it really limited me on tea party party for Lydia or super-hero party for Anderson. It had to be unisex. After a few weeks of mulling it over I decided that a carnival theme would be a great way to compromise!

I love the way all of the little details turned out, and most importantly the kids had a BLAST! We had lots of carnival themed fare to munch on and a face painter. Jeff was in charge of the inflatables and went a little overboard by renting a 28 foot slide. Seriously.....28 feet! But the children stayed in a constant line to go on it all morning long! Even our little dare-devil Lydia was going down by herself by the end of the party!

Ready to blow out our candles!!

Our fabulous cake came from Sarah at "It takes the Cake". She is so talented! I also ordered these cutie cupcake wrappers online to match our carnival theme and we created these yummy "popcorn" cupcakes! They were a hit!

I do love a good party favor!

I decided to do carnival themed candy as centerpieces for all of the tables.

We were so blessed by all of the friends and family that came out to celebrate our big day!

And last, but certainly not favorite image of the day...Auntie M going down the slide with my precious babies. Looks like fun to me!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Resurrection of a nearly dead blog...I'm Back!!

Is there anyone still out there?? Anyone?? HA! I apologize for being such a BAD blogger, but getting my photography business off the ground took every ounce of spare time and energy I had. Now that it is up and running I am trying to get back to recording the daily ins and outs of our life at the Smith Casa! I have kept a journal full of things I want to go back and record and post-date, but for now I'm just going to start fresh....

Lydi-bug has a birthday coming up Sunday ya'll. She's TWO! Can you believe such a thing...TWO??? How is it possible that she is such a big girl?? For fun I have posted for your amusement a picture of me on my 2nd birthday and a pic from last weekend's BLOWOUT joint birthday party for her and Anderson. Another post on that soon- I promise! Meanwhile feast your eyes on my mini-me!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Valentine's Day!

Sunday morning was Valentine's Day and with so much craziness and sickness going on - I hate to say I feel like I dropped the ball a little. I did get the kids two small gifts each, but that was it. I usually like to make heart shaped pancakes and make a card, but it has been a rough stretch lately. I still think Anderson enjoyed his Spiderman coloring book...Spiderman and Batman are his newest obsession. It's all we see, talk about, hear about and watch around here these days. I absolutely love having a boy! He is so cute walking around pretending to "save" me and Lydia! I also got him a set of Walkie talkies, which he LOVED! He has been having trouble coordinating when to push the button and when to let go and when to talk, but I think he finally "got it" yesterday!

Lydia got a sweet little play tutu and a new princess crown. She loves anything girly and frilly, so she really enjoyed her gifts and spent most of the morning twirling! Ha!

We went to church and when I picked her up from the nursery she had a fever. She had been fighting a cough for a couple of days, but never ran a fever, so I didn't worry too much about it. Well when we got home and put her down for her nap, I thought I heard a tiny rattle in her chest. Sure enough when she woke up her fever was even higher, even with a dose of Motrin. Jeff decided to take her to MedCenter, and I stayed home with Anderson. By the time they got to Medcenter and got checked in, her fever was 105.3. Four hours later they had ordered a complete CBC which resulted in 4 nurses and 7 sticks trying to get enough blood for a blood culture, Three swabs-one for strep and two for the flu- They also suspected Pneumonia and ordered a chest x-ray. She was stuck, poked and prodded to the point of tears and complete exhaustion! Jeff- who used to be a combat medic in the Army said watching his baby girl go through all of that was one of the hardest nights of his life. The final diagnosis was Pneumonia in her left lung. We started Antibiotics and she is feeling much better with everyday that passes! Maybe next Valentine's Day will be a little more fun!

Happy Birthday Mimi!

We had my grandparents, Dad, my step mom Martha, and my stepsister Erin and her family over last Saturday night for a little birthday celebration for Martha! In true dysfunctional style- we celebrated Martha's 43rd birthday- yes you read that correctly- she is quite a bit younger than my Dad and happens to be the SAME age as my husband who is quite a bit older than me! Ha!! We have a running joke about Martha who is 43 and a grandmother and Jeff who is 43 and has an 18 month old! It reminds me of that new ABC show Modern Family. If you aren't watching it- you NEED to be. We laugh to the point of tears every time we sit down to watch it!!

Pop and Mimi with all their Grands...
The birthday girl!
Martha and her daughter Erin
Of course my children enjoyed some cake- and as a side note- Thank you Auntie M for teaching Anderson how to cross his eyes on his last visit to Birmingham! Just remember one day you too will have a child payback is just around the corner!

Happy Birthday Mimi- Thanks for all you do to help us out!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Well Tuscaloosa shut down the town for a whopping 2-3 inches of snow today. All of the schools closed including the kids pre-schools and forgive me while I have a pity party here- but this Momma is T.I.R.E.D! Between fever viruses, stomach bugs, colds, sinus infections and a 22 day stretch in January where someone in this house had a a 102 degree fever or higher every day- a consistent school schedule has not been in the cards! For the entire month of January the kids only actually attended school on the same day two times for THE. ENTIRE. MONTH!

My photography business, which I thought would be dead for at least a couple of months before Spring portrait season rolled around has inexplicably taken off. I am busier than ever and it is the dead of winter! I am not complaining, but it has been a little challenging without consistent childcare!

Throw in a hours and hours of Mardi Gras Skit practices and a husband who is desperately working late as much as possible to try to catch up on work he missed when we were all sick and you have me- nestled firmly at the end of my rope! HA! I need a trip to somewhere warm- Key West perhaps? So without further delay- enjoy the pictures from my slightly bitterly embraced snow day!

The kids loved watching the snow fall in the trees of our backyard.
Then we decided to venture out! Luckily I just purchased Lydia's Hello Kitty rain/snow boots this week at Target!

Anderson was anticipating snow so deep that he would need a walking stick! HA!

A view of our backyard complete with a tiny little pansy hanging on for dear life! It reminds me of me and my mental state! Ha!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Happy Love Day!!