Sunday, August 31, 2008

First Day of Kindergarten!

Nathaniel's first day. He was SO excited. I only sniffled a little bit...until he got inside.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Day in Columbus

We were trying to go to the Santa Maria. But it was closed. So we went to the Main Public library which is AWESOME and totally worth a trip. Walking from Battelle Park to the library though takes a very long time when three boys must take advantage of EVERY SINGLE REVOLVING DOOR along the way. Seriously! Who knew there were so many revolving doors in downtown Columbus?!

Taking COTA downtown and back was the most exciting adventure. On the way home, though, we only got as far as Graceland before I had to call Todd to come pick us up. We were a pitiful sight by then.

To Google Transit I say:
You still got bugs, baby.

To the snarky bus driver I say:
Had there not been a sleeping four year old in my arms, I would have snapped in a z formation at you, dude. Don't you mess with a Mama bear and her cubs!

To my husband I say:
I love you.

To my kids I say:
Isn't life an adventure?!

Waiting and waiting and waiting for the bus. (Google Transit, I'm looking your way...)
The Santa Maria
Chillin' in Battelle Park
The Big City ;)
Our man Chris (Columbus)
This statue was apparently a gift from the people of Genoa, Italy to the city of Columbus.

First Day of 3rd Grade!

Conversation this morning:

Me: Benjamin, would you like me to walk to school with you this morning?

Benjamin: Nah, that's okay, Mom. I'm fine.

Me: But...! Are you sure?! Really.

Benjamin: Yeah, I'm okay.

Me: [sniff, sniff] um, okay.

I wish there were an in between for this growing up thing. Benjamin kind of went from hanging all over me/needing me to Mr. Independent. He's such a great kid, though. I'll miss him while he's gone at school all day. It's such a lot of hours away from home.

Tomorrow I send Nathaniel off to Kindergarten for the first time. This time I know to bring tissues. ;)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Caleb Story

I almost forgot my favorite Mount Rushmore story!

Caleb needed to use the bathroom while we were in the visitor's center at Mount Rushmore. As he walked into the restroom, he turned and said, "Hey, Mom! It's Mount Flushmore in here!"

Movie Fans

Don't bother reading this unless you've seen North by Northwest.

Being the rabid Cary Grant fan that I am, I became particularly excited when, driving across South Dakota, we saw one of these:

right next to the field we were driving by!!

And then on the way up to Mount Rushmore, I had to have my picture taken here:

Good times.

Mount Rushmore

This picture made me laugh. We were in one of the buildings reading plaques and realized that we were missing Caleb. I asked Todd, "Do you know where Caleb is?" He replied totally casually, "Oh, he's probably outside climbing the mountain." It's not quite a mountain, but we did indeed find him outside climbing up this rock and jumping off of it.
There is a big cracked boulder along the hike that gets you closer up to the heads. I couldn't understand why there was such a path worn in and out of the rock until I stepped inside and looked up to see this:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Smithy Updates

I'll get back to blogging about the ridiculously long trip cross country later. For now there are a few updates in the Smith house.

Every time poor Todd goes to the tupperware cabinet after dinner to look for a container to put leftovers in for his lunch the next day we can hear the following sounds from the dining room. "Ahhhhh!" [Crash, tumble, crash, shove, slam!] That's because until a few days ago, the cabinet looked like this:
It's funny how being away from home can change your perspective on things. This suddenly became unacceptable to me. So as of a few days ago, it looks like this:
Also, while we were away, my garden made THESE!!!:
Isn't that awesome?! This is the second year we have grown black beans. We let them dry on the vine and then I cook them up right away. Black beans are Nathaniel's favorite, so it's particularly exciting. Benjamin and Caleb willingly and happily harvested all of these for me yesterday. It was pretty fabulous.

Also while we were gone we received a wedding invitation to my littlest bro-in-law's wedding. It's black tie. Which means my hubby and boys will be trussed up in these:
And I'll be wearing this:
Okay. I won't be wearing this. I have no idea what I'll be wearing. I have lots of pretty Diva dresses from my college days, but they're either velvet (which somehow doesn't seem right for WPB, FL) or a bit lower cut than I'm willing to wear these days.

Gosh it's so sad to have to go dress shopping.

And shoe shopping.

And accessory shopping.

I'm really broken up over it. Can you tell? ;)

And last but not even close to least, I am in training to do this at the end of September:
That's it for now.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Our vacation west began with a quick day trip to Chicago. We left Columbus at 5am, arrived in Chicago around 11am, and dropped Todd off to work at the Chicago office for the day while the kids and I went to Navy Pier to have fun!
Navy Pier is like a Jersey Boardwalk. Touristy and overpriced, but I had to ride on the Ferris Wheel. My poor kids had to hear me explain the significance of riding a Ferris Wheel in Chicago about five times that day. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, you need to read Devil in the White City NOW!) The kids, however, took one look at how HUGE the Ferris Wheel was and flat out refused to go on it. So we started with something tamer. The carousel is always fun...
...Even when you are being very sly on your slightly evil looking rabbit...

We then moved on to mini golf. This was laughable. The people behind us laughed a lot.

I think it's because they don't have kids.

The people in front of us ducked a lot.

Benjamin assumed that since he had played mini golf on Webkinz, he knew how to do it. After hitting the ball over the heads of the people at the next hole THREE times, he realized that doing things in real life is a little different. Nathaniel was the most conventional putter. Caleb on the other hand, liked to use his putter like a pool cue and refused to speak to anyone who tried to convince him to do it any other way. After about 10 holes, the boys had decided they'd had enough. I was more than happy to indulge them in quitting at that point.

We went inside to get some authentic Chicago cuisine (McDonald's) and were able to enjoy a kids show. Caleb even went up and participated. He was thrilled because he got to "walk the plank" and get "eaten" by a small rubber shark.
After lunch and a show, I had sell the kids on the Ferris Wheel. So, I told them the history of the first Ferris wheel...again. Then I explained the laws of physics as best I could remember them. I cited safety statistics and the very small odds that anything could go wrong. I still had to drag Nathaniel on literally kicking and screaming, but the other two were convinced. And then we started going up. Okay, the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier is really friggin' high!!! Even I was a little quivery at the top. But the view is amazing and I could explain to my kids that it's possible to be nervous and still appreciate something at the same time.

Here's Benjamin, letting go of his death grip on the bars (with one hand) for a moment.

We figured when we started looking like this, it was time to go pick up Todd and head to the hotel. May I just say that I completely rock at driving in Chicago? I harnessed my inner NYC cab driver and sped through every yellow light and cut people off with impunity. It's lovely living in Ohio where people drive politely, but every now and then it's nice to get back to my roots.

And then we succumbed to exhaustion.

And Todd and Caleb wrote down their plans to take over the world! (Actually, Todd was still working. But it wouldn't surprise me one bit if that's what Caleb was doing...while wearing his Power Ranger underwear.)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


I decided to save a few bucks and get my highlights in Wyoming instead of waiting until I get back to my fru fru (yet fabulous) salon back home. My sister made the appointment with the stylist that she and our other sister use. I maybe should have taken that as a warning. I am currently....blonde. Well, a heckuva lot more blonde than I have ever been in my life. I have that weird "AAACK!!!" reaction every time I go past a mirror. Todd says it makes me look younger. My mom says it makes me look less pale. (I think these are supposed to be compliments, but what they imply about how I was looking before....) So far nobody has reacted by screaming. Though, my sons had that best reaction, I think.
"Mom. What did you do to your hair?"

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

TMI, I'm sure

This evening we are doing family pictures with my family here in Wyoming. You all know that I can hardly be bothered to brush my hair, let alone do anything to it. But for family pictures, I usually try to put forth a little effort. (Yes, I know I wore a baseball cap at last week's pictures, but I didn't realize we were doing pictures!)

Anyway, this afternoon I took a shower and then used my sister's hair dryer. I have probably blow dried my hair less than ten times in the almost ten years that Todd and I have been married. So it probably shouldn't have surprised me quite so much when I wandered into the bedroom wearing a towel to *ahem* wake Todd up from a nap.

I draped myself on the bed next to him as he woke up drowsily and we had this conversation:

Him: Why are you wearing a towel?

Me: Because I just took a shower.

Him: But your hair is dry.

Me: (Bemused) Because I used a blow dryer.

Him: Do you have a fever?

Me: (A little put out.) No.

Him: (Confused) Do I have a fever?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, Nathaniel!!

Nathaniel turned six today! This day was way more fun than the day he was born. We had a fun dinner party with grandparent, aunts, uncles, cousins, and Great Grandma Bradshaw, too! There was pizza and cake and a treasure hunt and a new webkinz! All sorts of fun!

The day he was born we were each able to hold him once and then he was whisked away and we were barely allowed to touch him for the next ten days. And then for months afterwards it was many tears and prayers and doctor appointments as we waited to learn what was making him so sick. All I can say is that I am so grateful that God inspired man to create such wonderful tests and treatments and medicines. Six years later you'd never know that he was once a very sick baby boy.

A few favorite things about Nathaniel:

1. His lisp. It's adorable. I can't help being undone by it whenever he speaks. (He lost his first tooth on Saturday and his second one today, so the lisp is even more pronounced!)

2. Nathaniel is able to encapsulate very big ideas into fabulous one-liners. He gets this ability from Todd. Personally, I'm all for using twenty words where only two are required.

3. I love how sensitive he is to other people raising their voices. We all use softer voices because of Nathaniel.

4. Nathaniel is unabashedly enthusiastic about things. And unapologetic about disliking things. We all know where Nathaniel stands at all times.

5. He makes me laugh a lot. I have a feeling that really Nathaniel is too cool to belong to Todd and me.

6. Nathaniel still has wonderful, kissable cheeks. And he lets me kiss them almost whenever I want to.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Twilight Fans

I had to try really hard to not fall asleep in church today because I was up all night reading Breaking Dawn. I'm not finished yet, so don't tell me anything! (I'm waiting for the sun to go down and the Sabbath to be over....not that I started the Sabbath at sundown last night, but in my head this is making sense. Don't judge me. ;) )

Anyway, friend Anne Marie provided this link on her blog which totally amused me. Read and enjoy. Then make your husbands read it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Holey Lessons Learned

An important note to self:

When you have an upcoming vacation that will heavily revolve around water, and you also have a bathing suit which is only going to make it to the end of this summer because it's so threadbare AND you hold your second bathing suit in your hand while packing your suitcase, DO NOT leave the second bathing suit at home.

If you do, you may find yourself in the pool at a family reunion swim party and suddenly aware of a little extra water in the backside of your bathing suit. When you reach to the back of your bathing suit, you may also discover that several holes have appeared smack dab in the middle of your bathing suit's backside, which will make it so you will have to back (very carefully) out of the pool and into your cover up as quickly as possible, mostly because you sense that your husband's Grandpa would not find your mooning everyone at the family reunion to be in the best of taste.

THEN, because the next day's family reunion activity is going to a water park, you may find yourself in the unenviable position of rushing from the swim party to Super Target at 9:50 pm while they are shouting over the loudspeaker "the store is closing in ten minutes. please take all purchases to the register." Which will cause you to growl as you realize that apparently there are no bathing suits in the adult section made for anyone smaller than a size 24, which will make it so you have to go to the juniors section and look for something that looks more like a bathing suit and less like brightly colored dental floss. Which may cause you to grab 7 different bathing suits off the racks and run up to the register (all while still in your dripping wet cover up which is still covering up the holey suit) with $150 worth of bathing suits that are incredibly unlikely to fit you.

THEN, you will go back to your sister in law's apartment to try on all of the bathing suits which are likely to be rejected only to realize that your sister in law doesn't own a full length mirror. Which means that once you try on one of the hideous bathing suits, you will have to stand balanced on a chair that you dragged into the bathroom from the kitchen and try to determine how the bathing suit looks while you can only see 1/3 of your body at a time in it.

Ultimately, you find something that you think looks okay, but you're not really sure because you could only see 1/3 of your body at a time in it, but it will be fine for the rest of vacation.

BUT (haha) as you trudge back to Super Target the day after the water park to return over a hundred dollars worth of bathing suits, you will probably reflect on the fact that had you just packed that second bathing suit, the family reunion would have been a little less exciting.