Friday, April 29, 2011

That's my kid.

A few weeks ago, a friend of ours told me the following story about Caleb in Primary. (The equivalent to Sunday School for the kids age 3-11 in our church.)

Teacher: And we don't say bad words.
Caleb: You mean like Damn?
Teacher: Yes, Caleb, that's an example of a bad word that we don't say.
Caleb to a friend: That's my favorite word!!

According to our friend, Caleb's teachers did not laugh at this.  Our friend on the other hand was highly amused. It takes a special person to appreciate Caleb's awesomeness.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Photo Book for you!

Dear Mom and Elaine, 
Happy Mother's Day!  This will be arriving in the mail shortly for you.  If you are bad about checking our blog, then it will be a surprise.  ;)

Thanks for being the fabulous and wonderful mothers and grandmothers that you are.  We love you lots and lots.

The Smithly Horde (My friend, Heather, called us that today.  I like it.)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Crazy Hard Diets

We Smiths are embarking on a huge elimination type diet next Monday, May 2.  Caleb's birthday is the day before and there was no way I was going to make him go without cake on his birthday.

This was first recommended to me last summer when I started seeing allergists with regards to my hands.  There was too much else going on at the time for me to even consider such a thing.  But since then, life has gotten a little easier and my hands aren't nearly as bad as they were then, but they still aren't better.  Also, a few other members of the family are suspect for some food sensitivities.

So, starting Monday we will be eliminating dairy, soy, all artificial flavors and colors, gluten, corn, eggs, sugar, citrus, yeast,  strawberries and peanuts.  Also, no red meat or pork.  The artificial stuff, beef and pork are very rarely present in our diet anyway, so that will be the least painful.  The most painful?  My guess is sugar.  It's in everything!

If anybody has any recipes they can recommend that doesn't have any of those things in it, I'd be grateful.  In the meantime, we'll be eating lots of chicken, rice, and veggies.

Right now, breakfast is the trickiest to think ahead about.  No eggs, gluten, or dairy eliminates a lot of traditional breakfast foods.  I do have some yummy smoothies that we will have, and maybe just some fried potatoes.

I hope this helps some or all of us.  When Todd and I first got married, we did a similar type of diet.  We felt great.  Todd was able to gain weight, I was able to lose weight, food tasted better in general.  But it's difficult to maintain.  The whole family is committed for at least a month.  Though it may take several more weeks to phase things back in.

Wish us luck or pray for us or whatever it is you do.  We'll take it!  ;)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Quick trip to NJ

Back in February the father of one of my dear friends from college passed away.  It happened to coincide with a long power loss in very cold temperatures here in Ohio, so packing up 4 kids and driving to NJ for a weekend seemed like a very reasonable thing to do.  My boys were thrilled because they were excited to see Grandma and Grandpa Smith.  (Read eat sugary cereal, wrestle with Grandpa, and watch Cartoon Network.)  Here is a fine example of that Cartoon Network thing:  

I left the boys in the capable hands of my in-laws and headed up to North Jersey for the wake and funeral.  The experience of that weekend could be a blog post all alone, but I can't put it into words in a way it deserves.  To sum up, my friend Dr. Dan is an amazing human being and clearly his father was as well.  I am a better person for knowing Dan and getting the smallest glimpse at his family.

This, however, is where Lilyanna and I spent the majority of the funeral mass.  The foyer.  At least she's consistent.  The foyer is where we spend most of sacrament meeting, too.

This is Grandpa Smith bribing Lilyanna into being his friend.  He fed her ice cream right out of the container.  Greg, the Grandfather in this case, once said to me, "Do you know why grandkids and grandparents get along so well?  They have a common enemy."  It worked, btw.  Lilyanna was his friend following the ice cream incident in a way she just wasn't before.  ;)

It was wonderful to visit with so many dear friends, both at the funeral and at a luncheon my Mother in law had for some other visiting friends, and at church as we were on our way back out of town.  But it was also nice to return home to Todd and our dear friends here

.  It's interesting to me that the way I feel about going back to NJ is the way that someday my kids will feel about coming to Ohio.  This is home to them.  They are Ohioans.  Right down to the accent.  I'm sure my father (from Wyoming) was similarly horrified by my NJ accent as I was growing up.  (Which by the way, I grew up pronouncing as "harrified".  Also, that fruit that is also a color is an "arange".  And people retire in "Flarida".  It's okay.  I don't do that anymore.  I try to comfort myself with that idea when I listen to my kids speak.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

MS Sucks!

I saw that phrase on a T-shirt at the MS walk on Saturday.  I think it sums things up nicely.  First of all let me say a HUGE THANK YOU!! to everyone who donated to Team Smith for the MS walk this year.  We raised $791.00 thanks to the incredible generosity of our friends and family.

The walk itself was delightful, which is saying something considering I had broken? fractured? sprained? one of my pinkie toes the day before and my eyes were badly allergic to all of the lovely flowers and trees in bloom.

The walk was at the zoo before it opened which meant all of the animals weren't just out and awake, but frolicking!  We saw animals as we walked by that we have NEVER seen awake in all our years of going to the zoo!  The red panda actually does more than sleep.  Who knew?

We met back up with Todd, Lilyanna and Caleb a little earlier than the finish line because Caleb was being a pill.  We slowed our pace and finished all together.  Because there were so many people with MS participating in the race with various mobility abilities, we were able to also stop and ride the carousel before we finished and we still came in ahead of lots of people.  I'll have to remember that for future races.  I just need to find a bunch of people who have a difficult time walking and compete against them in a race if I want to win!  No?  Oh, well.  It seemed too easy.  Which is why they don't give out any placement awards or anything like that.  This is purely a walk designed for everyone who wants to participate and to raise money for support and research.

We will make this a regular part of our spring from now on.

Thanks again to everyone.  We really appreciate all of the incredible support, both financial and emotional you gave us.  <3

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ten Things I Learned from Benjamin's First Dance Competition

1.  I am really grateful for the age appropriate costumes that our studio director insists upon.  One word to describe the majority of the little girl dance outfits there:  Prosti-tot.  Also grateful for the age appropriate choreography that our director insists upon.  Watching 8 year old girls do pelvic thrusts and shimmies is just a little awkward for everyone.   One of the Moms next to me said, "Well, someone has to train the future strippers of the world."  It was that bad at times.

2.  Benjamin is very chill in the face of a big deal when there are lots of girls watching him.

3.  I am not very chill in the face of a big deal for my baby!  I stood and fidgeted for almost two hours before he even came on stage.  Only then did I sit down.

4.  I NEED to pack ibuprofen for the next competition.  I had a headache and the loud and blaring music combined with shrieking girls was no fun.

5.  I am so lucky to have a boy because it means I don't need to mess with the crazy eye makeup and false eyelashes that everyone else in the studio has to worry about.

6.  Simply having a boy in your dance gets you an extra 3 points in competition.  It's not much, but every little bit helps, right?

7.  Apparently bronze, silver, and gold are passe.  Instead we now have gold, high gold, and platinum.  Ridiculous.

8.  When you own a studio and know a few neat little tricks and have like 80 numbers from your studio performing on the same day, PLEASE don't put those few neat tricks in EVERY SINGLE DANCE.  I wanted to throw rotten fruit at the choreographer every time the girls from that studio did the same move in every dance.  I should bring rotten fruit next time.  And buy a program so I know who the choreographers are.

9.  The kids at our studio are really kind to one another.

10.  Benjamin is a good dancer.  I don't know where it comes from, but I'm glad he got it, and I'm glad he's really enjoying it.  Next year he wants to compete with the tap company also.  And be an assistant for tap and hip hop classes.  I'm glad he's loving this right now.  I don't know how long it will last, but the social and physical skills he's learned over the course of the last 6 years will be an asset to him forever.  

Friday, April 8, 2011

Tomorrow I will...

plant the peas and lettuce!!!  After I clean out the garden bed and add in the compost that's been brewing since last summer!

I will also make a stab at cleaning out the garage.  Because it's terrifying.

I can FEEL spring coming!  I'm all energized about doing projects and getting dirty and that's after a week of my kids being on spring break while my husband was on a business trip and my dishwasher being broken!

I'm ready to do a happy dance out in the sunshine tomorrow!!

Did I mention that we got a light box this winter for Light Therapy for all of us?  It helped.  It really did.  I could tell the biggest difference in Caleb if he used it in the morning.  But that light was NOTHING compared to the real honest to goodness SUN!!  Caleb and I are both bouncing off the walls full of energy and ready to GOOOOO!

What are your plans for Spring?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


This is a picture of Nathaniel dressed as a ketchup bottle.  No, it's not Halloween.  No, he's not going to a costume party.  A friend brought over a box of stuff they were getting rid of and it was in there.  He put it on and wore it for the rest of the morning.  And today.

Nathaniel is a genius.  They spent about 6 weeks at the beginning of the school year testing him to see if he needed to be in an accelerated math group.  Every day he had the tests I would ask him after school how things went.  His response was always the same.  "Fine.  I knew all the answers."  Todd and I would smile at one another in that oh isn't he so cute thinking he knows everything when he really doesn't kind of way.  And then we saw all the test results.  It turns out that he really did know all the answers to all the questions.  So, they skipped him ahead a grade.  It would have been ahead two grades, but he hadn't yet learned long division, or any division for that matter, and they thought that socially two grades might be too much.

Last night at dinner there was a discussion about the biggest number.  Googol was being thrown around by Caleb.  Benjamin said Infinity.  Nathaniel said Duotrigintillion.  Todd and I smiled that smile again and then said, "but that's not even a real number, Nathaniel!"  Nathaniel assured us that indeed it was because his friend Jacob had seen it in a book in the EPP teacher's room.  So, Todd whipped out his smart phone.  (how did we ever solve family disputes at the dinner table before smart phones??)

And it totally is a number.  Nathaniel even corrected Todd's spelling before Google could.

When will we ever learn?

By the way, Googol is 1 with 100 zeros after it.  Duotrigintillion is 1 with 99 zeros following.  I think, though, that Benjamin's answer was best.   How do you argue with a quantity with no end?

Although, I'm sure that in a few years, Nathaniel will figure out an argument.  

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Annual Smith Family April Fool's Day Letter!!

April 1, 2011
This year has been a little crazy for the Columbus Smiths. You may recall we had some trouble last year. The robot council had us banished to an asteroid. That hasn't undermined our holiday cheer. And we know it's almost springtime by the marks we make on the wall. That's our favorite time of year.

April Fools’ Day!
Okay, so that didn’t really happen to us.  We stole the lyrics from Jonathan Coulton.  The boys thought it would be funny to use this as our holiday greetings.  Here’s a link to a video of the song.

But it has been quite a year for us.

Lilyanna turned 1 in January. At about 9 months she discovered she could walk. She’s hasn’t stopped running since. She loves shoes and playing dress-up with the laundry Emilia has just folded. It seems the Smiths have been blessed with a girl. Lilyanna also loves all music, especially VeggieTales and spends her waking hours trying to get her parents to play every VeggieTales album all day long.

Caleb turns 7 next month. He loves first grade, especially art and science.  He took a couple of sculpting classes this winter and really enjoyed exploring that medium.  He has decided to channel his daredevil streak and wants to join the summer diving team.  Emilia is already practicing watching him do dives through her fingers that she slaps over her face every time he does some crazy backward twist into the pool.

Nathaniel, 8 years old, started second grade this year, but he was bored. So after winter break, Nathaniel moved up to the third grade.   Nathaniel also decided to join his brother in dancing and is now a student of the Boys Hip Hop class at our studio.  Nathaniel was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints this summer while we were in Wyoming.  Nathaniel is doing a very good job at being an 8 year old by telling everyone all the jokes from Boys’ Life as often as possible. “What has 6 wheels and flies?”

Benjamin is 11. His parents are in denial about his age. Benjamin just finished the fifth grade play, Rats: The Pied Piper of Hamlin.  He played the Head Rat. This year Benjamin joined his dance studio’s junior hip hop company and loves it.  He’s also still doing tap and this year started taking ballet.  (It’s one of the requirements of being in company, so he HAD to, but has discovered he’s great at it.  Emilia and Todd are very confused as to where he inherited gracefulness from...)  Benjamin also crossed over from Cub Scouts into Boy Scouts and earned his Arrow of Light Award in scouting.

Warren, 18 this past fall, is a senior this year. Warren played Harry Brock in the high school production of Born Yesterday and then Alfred P. Doolittle in the musical, My Fair Lady.  Now Warren is excited to be living the Thespian dream, working at a restaurant, while he finishes high school. He currently plans to attend Columbus Community State College next year sometime.  This past summer Warren was sealed to our family in the Mt. Timp Temple where Todd’s Grandpa Clay is a sealer.  He also got to go horseback riding for the first time in his life when we were in Wyoming. 

Emilia was recently released from being chief oompah of the church ladies. (That’s Relief Society President, in case you’re unfamiliar with our more colloquial titles.) This allows her to be more full-time soccer mom, not that any of our kids play sports. (Really she’s a dance mom and at the studio 4 days a week, but someone please slap her if she becomes the stereotypical dance mom.  In the summer time she becomes a swim/dive team mom just to mix things up a little.  No slapping required, as it’s seasonal.)  Emilia is also still enjoying teaching piano lessons to neighborhood children.

Todd still works in the marketing department at Chase bank. (And Emilia still has no idea what he does, though it’s amusing to listen to her try to explain.  As mentioned in last year’s letter Todd switched responsibilities last year. His new job has something to do with Strategy, whatever that means.) In the church Todd is still the secretary in the Young Men organization. Any free time Todd likes spending with the rest of his family.

Send us an email, drop us a line, stop by and visit if you're ever in or around Columbus!  

The Smiths