Monday, October 02, 2017

September 2017 - Recap

My sweet love,

Whelp, once again I forgot to write last month's recap so I'm pulling double-duty this month.

A few weeks ago, you took your second-but-you-were-too-little-to-remember-your-first trip in an airplane. We flew to Texas to go to our dear friend's wedding outside Austin and to see another set of dear friends in Houston. Flying is not my favorite thing in the world. I never feel well when I fly - it's a combination of a headache and queasiness and discomfort-from-being-six-feet-tall-and-jammed-into-a-tiny-space. When I fly, it's definitely about the destination; the journey can go jump in the lake.

But this journey included two kiddos who had never been on an airplane before - and things are always better when you see them through the eyes of first-timer. On the first leg, you and I sat next to each other and Daddy and Charlie sat next to each other. We switched kids on the way home.

We parked the car in long-term parking and waited for the shuttle to take us to the airport. You were fascinated and thrilled during the entire three-minute ride. You couldn't stop giggling and kept looking around with your mouth open. I love that you're easily impressed. It makes life so fun.

We got through security and boarded the plane without any issues, and you immediately buckled up and started reading the safety information card. That's typically your M.O. Whether we're at a public pool, a playground, a trail, or really anything with a set of rules, you immediately read them. ("Mommy, this sign says the playground is for kids who are 3-5 years years old. Charlie is five-and-a-half. Is that OK?")

You looked a little nervous as we sped up for take-off, you ooh'd and ahh'd as Nashville got smaller and smaller, and you giggled as we rose through the clouds. It was such fun to watch you react to everything. Flying with you definitely helped to distract me from feeling queasy.
And despite my pleading for you two to NOT have to go to the bathroom for the four hours we'd be in an airplane, nature came a'callin' during our flight home. I warned you beforehand that an airplane bathroom was ridiculously small and you got to see for yourself. 

One of the coolest things was when the pilot of the flight to Texas let you and Charlie sit in the cockpit as we were exiting the plane. He encouraged you two to play around with the steering wheels (is it called a steering wheel in a plane?) to get the whole 'pilot experience'. Southwest, you're top-notch.

School is in full swing and this year has already surpassed last year by leaps and bounds in terms of your excitement level and enthusiasm. We've had a few tears, of course (what would homeschool be without tears?!). But I feel like we've hit a good groove this year (whereas last year was fairly groove-less and frustrating). So thumbs up to you, Third Grade. Please don't punk out on me.

Hugs and smooches,
Mommy & Daddy

Headlines for October 2, 2017:
  • At least 58 dead, more than 500 injured in Las Vegas shooting
  • Tom Petty, legendary rocker, dead at 66
  • OJ Simpson: What's next following prison release?
  • American trio awarded Nobel Prize for Medicine
  • Equifax Made Major Errors That Led to Hack, Smith Concedes

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Month 68 - Recap

My best bear,
So I don't even think you know I do these recaps. Or don't do, as has been my normal for the past few months, but that's neither here nor there ... But since your darling older sister called out my slacker tendencies on keeping up with your recaps, I got back on the wagon with hers. But I can't very well recap her life and leave yours out (I mean, I can - #secondchildprobs - but I won't).

So you're now a graduate of K4 at First Presbyterian Preschool in Dothan and are now enrolled as Student #2 in the Smith Academy of Occasional Learning and Constant Cheese Consumption. I'm still working on our school's name, but the point is that I'll be homeschooling you for kindergarten. I'm both nervous and excited to be teaching you both. This will be a year of growth, full of laughs and tears, lasting memories and occasional eye rolls. But let's stop talking about me.

We got you a new bike. I don't expect Daddy and me to receive an award for Most Observant Parents for When It's Time to Upgrade Their Child's Bike. See, you've had the same Cars bike for pretty much your whole life. It's not like your bike has grown with you through the years so I'm not sure why it really never occurred to us to get you a bigger bike. With each inch you've grown, your bike looked more and more ridiculous. But you know what's funny? Daddy and I didn't even realize it (until a few weeks ago). I mean, we sort of did, but not fully. I guess we didn't realize how much you had grown (newsflash, self: a kid grows a lot in three years *facepalm*). 

Nashville is anything but flat, so we're all getting used to riding bikes over these hills (the only hills we encountered in SE Alabama were a speed bump or two). After our 2nd or 3rd bike ride, Daddy and I realized that you were struggling a lot to keep up. And it wasn't for lack of trying; you were pedaling like a mad man. It was because your bike was made for a wee baby child. So we upgraded you to the size of bike that Natalie had and upgraded her to the next size up. And wouldn't you know it, your legs aren't a blur anymore on our bike rides. Now we just need to work on our endurance. Because, oof.

A few days ago Daddy gave you and Natalie the task of bagging all the leaves from the backyard. Because of having longer arms and three years more focus, she finished bagging her piles that same evening. You, however, only finished half of your piles. It was supposed to rain the next day so I wasn't counting on the job getting finished. But after breakfast the next morning, you got your socks and shoes on and informed me that you wanted to finish you job. You were outside for an hour, bagging up the soggy-from-the-overnight-storm leaves. Never once did you complain (except for when you saw a bug. I tried to tell you that it's normal to see bugs outside, especially in leaf piles, but you were having none of it).

You finished your job without me prompting you. You knew it had to be done, so you did it. No fuss, no whining (minus the bug, of course), just hard, sweaty work. And it was probably the most proud I have ever been of you in my whole life. What may have seemed like a simple action speaks volumes about your character. I pray integrity continues to be a habit, that it becomes fully ingrained into your very person. I don't want you to shy away from hard work because it's everywhere. The Lord has given you a sweetness and compassion that's incredibly endearing - and couple that with a desire to work hard? My boy, you'll be a force to be reckoned with.

Hugs and smooches,
Mommy & Daddy

Headlines for August 9, 2017:
  • North Korea Mulling Plan to Strike Guam, State Media Announces
  • Google may face lawsuit alleging gender discrimination
  • Ex-Astronaut Offers Bold Three-Step Plan to Put Humans on Mars
  • Paris Police Hunt BMW After Soldiers Rammed in Levallois-Perret
  • 'Rhinestone Cowboy' Crooner Glen Campbell Dies at 81
  • Disney removing content from Netflix to make way for its own streaming service

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

July 2017 - Recap

My sweet girl,

So your super-slacker momma has lived up to her prestigious title and failed to do a recap for the last few months. If you were younger you'd never know. I'd just be a happy little slacker going about my happy slacking business. But nooooo. You're a voracious little book worm who reads everything she can get her hands on. This also includes your monthly recaps. You love reading about how you threw up all over me when you were a baby. You giggle endlessly about the funny things you said when you were a toddler. You delight in going through your Yearly Recaps to see if your Top 10 Lists have changed. I say all that to say this - somebody has noticed that somebody else has neglected her recap-writing duties and has been quite vocal about that failing. Very well then.

You did fun things.
You said funny things.
You ate food.
You slept in a bed.
You read a billion books.
You drew a billion pictures.
You had to write sentences because you were a sassy little potato.

And that about sums up the last few months.

Oh! I almost forgot. You had a solo in our church's musical and I sobbed all the tears (in case you didn't know by now, I'm that mom). You finished second grade (barely ... ha). And let's see, what else ... what else. Oh yes, that's right. We packed up our stuff and moved from Dothan to Nashville. A pretty boring few months, I s'pose.

So, Nashville. It's fantastic. It's busy and fast and gorgeous and delicious and full of fireflies. We're renting a two-story house; finding a one-story house isn't easy, I've come to find. I'm not a super fan of stairs (being the Queen of All Things Clumsy) but you and Charlie were thrilled when we picked our rental and you saw that it had stairs. We're almost two months into this house and we've had zero broken bones and zero tumbles down the stairs. The only injuries have been rug burns on Charlie's belly (from sliding down the stairs without a shirt on - Momma ain't got a whole lotta sympathy for that kind of injury) and a sore booty for you after your flattened cardboard box sled slipped out from underneath you and you bumped down a few stairs on your rear end. (*Note: this was not my idea. This was a Daddy activity. I was on stand-by with keys in hand should we have to make a quick trip to the ER).

Out of the two kid bedrooms, yours is noticeably bigger (Older Sibling Privileges for the win!). You have a little nook in one end of your room where we've put a desk and some of your art supplies. When Daddy and I showed you the final result (the desk with its shelf filled with blank paper and five metal buckets full of markers and pens and colored pencils hanging on the wall) you squealed and jumped up and down. "I FEEL LIKE A GROWN UP KID NOW!!!"

And I have to admit when I see you at your desk, working on your latest masterpiece, you do look so grown. It's pretty awesome. And slightly heartbreaking because you're not so little anymore. But mostly it's awesome. Because as you'll remember from previous recaps, when you were little, you threw up on me all the time. And that was most assuredly not awesome.

Hugs and smooches,
Mommy & Daddy

Headlines for August 1, 2017:
  • North Korean missiles may reach US, but lack effective re-entry: analysts
  • Scaramucci removed as White House communications director after 11 days on the job
  • Los Angeles Awarded 2028 Olympics In Deal With IOC; Paris Gets 2024 Games
  • Jailbreak: Inmates used peanut butter to fool guard
  • 'Smoldering': Historic Heat Wave to Hit Northwest
  • World's Longest Pedestrian Suspension Bridge Opens in Swiss Alps

Sunday, April 02, 2017

March 2017 - Recap

My darling dollbaby,

You got a part in our church's musical! You have two lines as the Mayor's wife. You reeeeeally wanted a speaking part and you've been praying super hard that the director would give you a part, regardless of how big or small. What impressed me the most, though, is that you also prayed for God to keep you from being grumpy if you didn't get a part, that all you wanted was for the director to make the right decisions - and that if you weren't the best choice for any parts, you wanted to be OK with it. You were just excited to sing and dance with the rest of the kiddos. But you did get a part! And I can't wait to watch you shine as Mrs. Mayor.

The biggest news of your eight-plus years of existence occurred yesterday. YOU LEARNED HOW TO RIDE A BIKE WITHOUT TRAINING WHEELS! You've been trying for years (literally) to figure out this whole balancing thing. It's confounded you each and every time, and most every bike riding session ended with you in huffs and wails and sighs of epic proportions.

But yesterday. Yesterday. Daddy took you outside to practice again and he came in a few minutes later telling me that you were close. I came outside to see you teetering and tottering down the driveway. I walked back into the house fairly impressed. Not ten minutes later, you ran into the house screeching at me that you just rode down the street and back by yourself. I was all, whaaaaaaaa?

I walked outside and, sure enough, you hopped on your bike and zoomed off down the street as if you've been riding for years and years. Seriously. Once it clicked, it clicked hard and there was no turning back. No wobbling, no hesitation, no nothing. You fell once into the grass when you turned into some loose gravel but that's been it!

I'm so proud of you.

I love how your timing is uniquely you. It may not be typical, but why would it be? Why should it be? You are anything but typical and I love that about you. I pray you'll always be unique, always maintaining your own timing for doing things, always striving to be the best you can be. You are such a treasure, my rad little Boss Rider.

Hugs and smooches,
Mommy & Daddy

Headlines for April 1, 2017:
  • The Coolest Parents in the World Celebrate Their 11th Anniversary
  • Texas Church Bus Crash: Witness Account Highlights Dangers of Texting While Driving
  • Sen. Schumer Says It’s Unlikely Gorsuch Will Reach 60 Votes
  • Chicago Police Make Arrest in Sexual Assault Shown on Facebook
  • BeyoncĂ© Is the Top Pick to Voice Nala in 'Lion King' Movie
  • National Parks Could See Budget Cuts
  • New Images of Tennessee Teen Allegedly Abducted by Teacher Give Hope to Girl's Family

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Months 63 & 64 - Recap

Hello second child,
Whoops. Forgot about Month 63. Well, I mean, I didn't forget about Month 63. We did things, you built Legos, you aggravated your sister, you ate lots of carbs and cheese - it was a good month. But I forgot to document that month on time. Soooo yeah. My bad.

Know what else I forgot? I forgot to check your school bag one Friday in Month 63 that informed me that you were scheduled to be the Start Student for the following week. I didn't check your school bag until five minutes before we left for school the Monday of your Star Student week. I read the letter informing me of this Most Highest Honor in K4 and telling me the necessary supplies (five photos of the aforementioned Star Student and a questionnaire) and was all "Oh SNAP. I stink at momming." I told you how I messed up and you looked positively brokenhearted. But you mustered up all the maturity a five-year-old could muster and told me "It's ok, Mommy. Don't worry about it. I don't have to be a Star Student." And I was all "Oh no way, Jose. You're going to be a Star Student. This was my fault so I'll fix it." And your darling teacher did indeed fix it. You got to be the Star Student for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (you had a dentist appointment on Tuesday) and the entire next week. You were beaming from ear to ear. Your teacher is the cat's pajamas.

You've been doing magic tricks lately. And darn it if your magic tricks aren't some of the cutest things on the planet. Your showmanship is an A+. Your slight-of-hand, however, is a solid D. For your "pick a card, any card" trick, you fan out a stack of cards. We pick a card, look at it, then hand it back to you. Then you (oh-so obviously) put that card on the bottom of the stack. You make a dramatic show of saying abracadabra and waving your magic wand then you pull the bottom-most card while you say "Is this your card?" And, shock-of-all-shocks, it is our card! You're so pleased with your magic trick that you run back to your bedroom to bring out another one.

This trick involves a hat. You bring out your baseball hat turned upside down (so the open end is facing up). You wave your magic wand over the hat and say "I'm going to make a ball appear out of the hat." After a few abracadabras, you turn over the hat and, voila! A ball falls out! Amazing! Stupendous! You love explaining the 'secret' of how there was a ball in the hat THE WHOLE TIME! Who woulda thunk it?! NOBODY, I tell ya.

You've turned the top of your dresser into a one-of-a-kind Lego city. At any one time, it has a church, a school, a jail, a construction site, Batman fighting Spider-Man, and various assortment of cars and boats. It's beyond fantastic. And you're so proud of it.

My momma heart is often at the verge of bursting when it comes to you, sweet boy. You're simply one of a kind.

Hugs and smooches,
Mommy & Daddy

Headlines for March 9, 2017:
  • Texas woman uses social media to give homeless man new lease on life
  • Trump Admin Ups Drone Strikes, Tolerates More Civilian Deaths: Officials
  • Fierce Nor'easter Goes Easy on Most Big East Coast Cities
  • Kids Crash Professor's BBC Interview on Live TV
  • Somali pirates demand ransom for oil tanker, EU force says

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

February 2017 - Recap

My sweet princess,
You're in our church's musical, and if there's ever been something that seems tailor-made for my singing-and-dancing-and-twirling-and-flair-for-the-dramatic little peach, it's a musical. To say I'm excited to see the performance is a huge understatement.

I love that you like to talk about things. Recently you've wanted to talk about your dream home. So while we eat dinner, we go around the table and we each say one thing we'd love to have in our dream home. So based on this game I learned this about you: you'd like a big backyard with a swimming pool and a swingset. And you want a big desk in your bedroom full of your pens, pencils, markers, and crayons - all organized into cute little bins and buckets. In case you were curious, Charlie's dream home would also include a pool, but it would be made completely out of Legos. And he, too, would have a big desk, but, again, it would be made completely out of Legos. And one of the drawers in the desk would be filled completely with --- you guessed it --- Legos. Mommy and Daddy both want a big kitchen, I want an actual laundry room, lots of crown moulding, and a giant shower, Daddy wants a big(ger) yard.

I so treasure the time you and I can have our one-on-one time. The older you get, the more important and precious (and perhaps rare) this time will be. I love hearing your thoughts (that you want lots of fun bins and buckets to organize your craft supplies made my heart sing), your story ideas, your original songs, how to handle difficult (but inevitable) situations - I love it all.

You are fascinating, my dear girl, and I pray that one day you and I can spend a lazy afternoon in our pool, talking about everything and nothing, then dry off with towels we got from the dryer located in an actual laundry room, then go eat some yummy snacks in the big kitchen of our dream home. But for right now, I love talking to you while we eat snacks in our not-so-big kitchen, and look out the window and watch the silly squirrels play in our pool-less backyard.

While a giant shower, a big kitchen, and a laundry room would be nice, a dream home is wherever my people are. So my dream home is right here with you three.

Hugs and smooches,
Mommy & Daddy

Headlines for March 1, 2017
  • PricewaterhouseCooper Accountants Behind Oscars Flub Booted From Show
  • Lego Making 'Women of NASA' Figures
  • Two Women Charged in Kim Jong Nam's Death by VX Nerve Agent
  • Oprah Hints at White House Run Against Trump
  • Dow Soars 300 Points, Closes Above 21,000 for the First Time

Thursday, February 02, 2017

January 2017 - Recap

My sweet eight-year-old,
You decided this month that you were going to learn how to roller skate. We went to the local skating rink before Christmas with some friends and you managed to stomp and inch your way around the rink a few times but there was very little actual gliding (in other words, very little actual skating) going on.

So Daddy walked with you up and down the driveway as you slowly got your balance. And once school started back up, you used the incentive of skating afterwards to focus on school (and not daydream about unicorns and rainbows - ahem).

The first day of skating lessons, you and I were a hot mess. You spent more time on your rear than on your feet, despite my attempts at holding you up (#momfail). It happened to be trash day that day and the trash collectors had a good time watching us go (fall) up and down our street. We considered it our good deed for the day.

The second day didn't see much improvement. But by the third day, you insisted I let go of your hand while we were in the driveway. And suddenly it felt like you were 18 and leaving for college.

Never in my eight years of being your momma have I been overly concerned about you getting hurt. I figured a broken arm or a twisted ankle is a part of growing up. In fact, you and I often talk about what color you want your first cast to be. See? I just don't think a broken bone is that big of a deal. Now I don't encourage you to be foolish, but I'm not going to discourage you, for instance, from climbing high on the playground equipment for fear you may fall. I will caution you to watch where you put your feet, but I want you to gain confidence in trusting your body to do the awesome things God created it to do. But for some reason, I wasn't prepared to let you go. I didn't want you to get hurt. I didn't want you to grow up and not need my hand. I didn't want any of that. WHERE DID ALL THESE FEELINGS COME FROM?!

You insisted I let go of you and I flat out told you no.

You: Momma, let go!
Me: No way, man! You're not ready to skate on your own!
You: Of course I am! I'm never gonna learn if you keep holding my hand!
Me: I don't have plans to go to the ER today, so I'm not letting your hand go. Sorry.
You: But I won't fall! And even if I do, we've already talked about it - I'm getting a purple cast. It's not that big of a deal, right?
Me: [super annoyed that you used my words against me] Fine.

I let go and you proceed to almost fall about 200 times. And you actually fell about 5 times. And each time I felt my heart leave my body and slam on the ground right beside your fanny.

Fast forward just three short days later and you can skate up the street and back again all by yourself (meaning without holding my hand - I'm still walking beside you). You're slow going and you've got the benefit of the rough asphalt to keep you from going too fast, but you're skating. I'm so proud of you. Seeing your focused face, seeing your determination when each time you fell down you immediately popped back up, and seeing the joy when you figured it out was such an awesome experience for me.

My reaction completely surprised me, and although my heart has finally returned to a normal rhythm, I imagine there will be many more times for my heart to jump out of my chest. But please know my hand is always available for you. You may not need it (or even want it) but it will never not be here for you to hold.

Hugs and smooches,
Mommy & Daddy

Headlines for February 2, 2017
  • Democrats Fuming Over Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch Backed Him in 2006
  • Lady Gaga says her Super Bowl concert is 'for everyone'
  • Police Use Backhoe to Breach Prison, End Standoff; 1 Dead
  • Protests, Violence Prompt UC Berkeley to Cancel Milo Yiannopoulos Event
  • Donald and Ivanka Trump Make Unannounced Trip to Honor Fallen SEAL