Monday, April 26, 2010

Musical Monday

Todd thinks it's creepy that I sometimes sing this to our daughter as a lullaby. In my defense, I'm usually just humming it to her.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Three Months

Miss Lilyanna is now three months old. I have no idea how much she weighs or how long she is, except that she looks longer, and her cheeks are a little fuller than they used to be. She just learned to roll over (back to front) and is very determined to scoot herself around once she makes it on to her tummy. I don't remember my other kids trying to scoot so early, but maybe they did. It's all a blur.

Speaking of blurs, I can't believe that it's been three months already. I've never begrudged the passage of infancy before. It's not my favorite time of child development, honestly, but I'm enjoying this so much, that I hate to see these months slip by so quickly. I could seriously just sit around all day and stare at her.

In other news, it looks like we are going to have a thumb sucker on our hands. I haven't decided yet how I feel about that, but it doesn't really matter. She will do it, regardless.

This little winter baby is loving spring! She likes to lay on a blanket in the grass while I get in 5 minutes of gardening at a time. And then she wants to eat again. I'm learning to do everything in life in 5 minute intervals.

Lilyanna is loved. All of her brothers are convinced that they are her favorite brother. But Nathaniel is pretty sure that he's winning:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Black and White Cookies

The problem with living in basically one place for nearly 30 years is that I wasn't really aware that the foods I grew up enjoying were regional and not national. I've explained before the culture shock (for food) I experienced when I moved to Ohio. But Black and White cookies were something I didn't even realize I couldn't get here. (I have actually found them at a pizza place in Pickerington, but it's owned by people from Pittsburg and so is just slightly off on both pizza and black and white cookies.) Some friends of ours mentioned them a couple of years ago when they were talking about a trip they took to New York City, and it was like waking up. I looked around and realized I'd not seen a black and white cookie in Ohio.

Anyway, one of these same friends mentioned to me a few weeks ago that he was travelling to NYC and asked if I needed anything while he was there. Nobody ever wants to bring me back a pizza. Believe me, I've asked everyone. So, since he was going to be in Times Square anyway, I asked him to go Here:
And to bring me 7 of these:
And he did.

And the Smith family loves him for it.

Thanks, Eldon!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Competition of Cuteness

Who is the cutest one in the land (or Smith house, as the case may be) ?
Or her?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Seven Habits of Mildly Effective People

As per request...

7 Habits of Mildly Effective People

Today I wish to speak out against a serious vice that plagues our world. Ladies and Gentlemen, I feel an urgent need to address an addiction growing ever more prevalent in our society. I speak not of drugs or alcohol, not of gambling, smoking or Krispy Kreme donuts; I speak of our perverse addiction to succeed. This desire to reach for the stars, to be "all that we can be" is extremely addicting and adds unneeded stress to our lives. I am here today to say, we can overcome this addiction. By cultivating modest habits we CAN train ourselves to be content with doing the bare minimum.

I have discovered and would like to share with you today the 7 Habits of Mildly Effective People. Mastering these habits will help you achieve greater levels of mediocrity. But before sharing these habits with you, let's be totally realistic: Mastering seven habits? It's probably not worth the effort. So let's settle for one or two. And mastery? Come on! How about proficiency!

First, to reach our true average selves, we must develop the habit of procrastination. Procrastination has gotten something of a bad rap from self-help gurus, like my friend Steve Covey. But let me say, procrastination is totally different than quitting. When the going gets tough, losers give up. Mildly effective people, however, commit to press on… later. Why start that hard exercise program today when you could wait until New Years? After all tonight there are Facebook quizzes to take: "Which Harry Potter character are you?" "Which Beatle do you most resemble?" "How long would you last if attacked by a tribe of cannibals?" Yes, procrastination is key to successfully overcoming our desire to succeed.

The second habit in becoming mildly effective is proper goal setting. Now you might be thinking, "Goal setting? I thought goal setting was something only high achievers do." It's true. Achievers teach that we should set SMART goals: goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, blah, blah, blah. If you want to shoot for the stars, SMART goals are for you. But if you are content to watch lift-off from the comfort of your couch, then I suggest you set SLUG goals.

First, the S in SLUG teaches us that SLUG goals are SMALL. Big goals are for big dreamers, like Rockefeller or J.P. Morgan, not the Smith's of the world. Set small goals for average success. For example, if you wanted to add culture to your life, you could set a goal to master the Spanish language by the end of the year. But that would be a lot of work. Instead why not set a goal to eat more chimichangas? Not only is that less work, it's tastier too.

Next L. SLUG goals are LEISURELY. Honing that first habit, procrastination, really helps you set leisurely goals. For example, if your manager asks you to change a light bulb, don't say, "I'll get right on that." Instead explain that you may need to do a feasibility study and then do cost comparisons between bulb brands. End by announcing that you may be able to get to it sometime next month. You may even exceed expectations if you change that light bulb sooner. Which reminds me: How many Toastmasters does it take to change a light bulb? Five. One to change the lightbulb; one to welcome everyone to the light bulb changing; one to time the light bulb changing; one to evaluate the light bulb changing; and… ah… um… oh yeah, one to count the ums and ahs.

But back to SLUG goals. U. SLUG goals are Unchallenging. For example, with this contest and 6 contestants, I have set a goal to place no lower than the top 10. As long as I'm in the top 10, I'll have achieved my goal. Set unchallenging goals and avoid stress.

Finally, SLUG goals are General. For example, you could set a goal that says "I will read 10 pages of Moby Dick every night." However, if TV Land is showing back-to-back-to-back episodes of Kojack, you might just skip Captain Ahab. And then you get depressed because you've missed your goal. Instead change your goal to say "I will read more." Then in the checkout line at the grocery store, reading the headlines to this week's National Enquirer counts as meeting your goal. Look at that, Jon and Kate and Brittney Spears have helped you achieve your goal.

In short, SLUG goals, goals that are Small, Leisurely, Unchallenging, and General coupled with proper procrastination can help us overcome our tendency towards over achieving. Let's strive to be more common. Let's try harder to be more average. Let's start… tomorrow.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Learning of Sarcasm

An email exchange with Benjamin who is beginning to display those "I'm inching out of childhood and into tween" characteristics:

Dear Benjamin,

I just wanted to let you know that your Dad and I are really proud of how hard you've been working lately. You've been really diligent about getting your homework done and earning money for your hedgehog. You've also been a really good helper with your sister. We love you a lot and appreciate the sweet spirit that you bring to our home and family.

Love you,


His response:

So does that mean you're raising my allowance?