Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

Here's the first of a few posts on Christmas 2008. We spent Christmas Day in Vero with Grandpa and Mimi, Louise, Bethany, Ashley, and Al. We'll write more details about our activities later when we post some of the still photos. For now, enjoy the video!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


One of my favorite father-son moments came this past summer, shortly after Tobin had visited the pediatrician for his two-year-old checkup. He was playing "doctor" with Daddy, listening to Matt's heart with a stethoscope (um, actually a dog leash). Matt said to Tobin, "Can you hear my heart beating? Listen closely. It says 'To-BIN, To-BIN, To-BIN.'" Tobin smiled and said, "It say "Tobin'"?

Yesterday, Matt, Tobin, and I all heard another sweet heartbeat--that of the littlest Smith, due to make his/her arrival around June 21! Everything is going well, and we are all so happy. Tobin seems pretty excited and can tell you that he's going to be a big brother; that Mama has a baby in her tummy and it's going to get bigger, bigger, BIGGER; and that he is quite sure he's having a little sister.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Easy as 1, 2, 3

Thanksgiving was really nice this year. For a lot of reasons, it was special. One fun aspect of it was Tobin's newfound enthusiasm for performance, which was lovingly encouraged by the Tennessee, Ohio (and D.C.!) parts of our family who made the trip. He plays music for us at home a lot, but with a captive audience and a baby grand piano and an organ, he really took off. I'm planning on posting videos of him on the piano and the ukulele in the next few days. Here's the first: the ABC song arranged (quite abstractly) for organ.

Thanks to Aunt Sarah for shooting the video. And no, I don't think it loses anything that he skips the letters H, I, J, and L.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Traveller's Wisdom

We're on our way to Kentucky this morning. Here's a parting thought for any of you on the road this weekend. At 4:45 this morning, Tobin offered this nugget of wisdom: "A house doesn't have a mouth, so it can't say 'bye' to us."

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Tobin Bread, a recipe

Tonight, dinner was a pasta bake. Allison made penne with a ricotta-spinach blend and red sauce. While we were eating, she asked me if I'd like some bread. After I said no thank you, Tobin asked both Allison and me if we would like some bread. I asked where he might get the bread to give us and he said "From my little oven." He explained that when our oven "be little" that he could use it, since he isn't allowed to touch it as it is. The following exchange occurred:
Matt: Would you make some bread for me for breakfast tomorrow?
: Yes, when oven be little I use it.
Matt: What kind of bread will it be? What will it have in it?
Tobin: (Very seriously) Peaches . . . spinach (pronounced without the "s") . . . onions . . . peppers . . . brown sugar . . and flour.
With each new ingredient, he would hold up another finger to keep track of how many ingredients he had listed. I asked him to name the bread and he just listed the ingredients again. I'll be sure to save you a slice if our oven "be little" tomorrow morning.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


This was Tobin's first real Halloween. When he was 5 months old, we were caught off-guard by all the kids in his daycare class who were dressed up. Last year, we went with a jack-o-lantern onesie but not much else. Allison and I aren't usually big on Halloween, which is probably why we haven't really done anything before. But this year, I'm really glad we made more of an effort. We even carved pumpkins. For me, an interest in participating more started a few weeks ago at work. A friend of mine has a son who's about 10 months older than Tobin. We were talking one day about our boys' love of trains and cars when she offered their old Thomas the Tank Engine costume for Halloween. We've had it in the house for a few weeks but didn't show it to T until this week. The first time I saw him in the costume he yelled "I Thomas! I Thomas!" with an exuberance it would be impossible to accurately relate.

We met up with Bryon, his wife Allison, and their 19-month old son Miles (the mouse, below) for Halloween night. A park in Durham had hayrides, a haunted millhouse and other things to see and do. With all there was to see, it seemed to me like Tobin liked the luminaries that lit the paths most. The hayride was fun, but we were seated next to a kid with an Elmo costume. I've added a picture to the right of the kind of costume he had. Now, Tobin loves Elmo, but he seemed concerned. During the hayride, he kept asking something I couldn't understand. I finally realized he was saying "Elmo have in his mouth?" It didn't occur to me until then that, to Tobin, the costume looked like Elmo was about to take the last bite of a little boy he was slowly eating. I'll be curious whether this comes up the next time we see Elmo on TV.

The event we went to was pitched to families and kids, so we weren't expecting scary scary. Still, I did a test walkthrough of the "haunted millhouse" before we let T go in. I was pretty sure he would like it, but any worry I had was eliminated when a little girl jumped out near Tobin and tried to scare him. The exchange went something like this:
Little Girl: RAAAAAAAH!
Tobin: Hi!
Little Girl: Um, hi.

We also confirmed, in case you were wondering, that Tobin likes candy. Smarties especially. His most frequent response to "Did you like Halloween?" was "Tobin want more candy." Here's a picture of Tobin and Miles, followed by T blowing his train whistle on his way to the car and the park. There are more pictures at our flickr page.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

"When Tobin be big..."

Tobin is developing an awareness of little and big, or youth and age. We often explain to him that he can't do certain things until he is bigger. For example, he's quite interested in knives, which he's encountered by watching meal prep, spread butter, cut up his food at the table, etc. We've warned him that knives are dangerous, so he can't touch them. He always asks, "When Tobin be big, he can touch a knife?" We tell him yes, and this seems to satisfy him. A few weeks ago, we were over at some friends' who have two preschool-aged daughters. They had a kitchen play set and Tobin came over to me with wide eyes and a smile, holding a yellow, plastic play butter knife. He said, "This is a knife?" I said, "Yes, and you can touch it because it's a play knife." Just to confirm, T asked, "Tobin can touch it?" I told him it was okay, and he walked away looking at the knife with a big smile on his face. Since then whenever he tells me he can't touch the knife I'm using, he informs me that he CAN touch "the yellow knife." I suppose this little story could sound a bit creepy--a two-year-old fascinated with knives--but we find his interest quite entertaining and innocent, especially since the most dangerous thing he's seen a knife do is finely dice celery.

Tobin's sense of big and little isn't exactly, um, linear. He told Matt once, "When you be little and cry, Daddy, Tobin hold you." (Sniff.) And just this evening at bath time, he asked Matt, "When Mama be little, you give her a bath?" Matt smiled and said, "Well, no...but Mimi and Grandpa did." The other day, Tobin saw a picture of me pregnant with him and he was quite fascinated. I explained that was Baby Tobin in my belly and then showed him pictures of him as a newborn. I went on to tell him that he was very little in my belly and grew bigger and bigger and then Daddy and I went to the doctor and came home with Baby Tobin. I think this was satisfactory, although he looked a little confused. Tobin continued the conversation by telling me he would keep getting bigger and bigger and then "be so tall," while holding his hands way above his head. And then he explained that he would get smaller and smaller until "I be like a sandwich." !!!

As always, we're having fun. Matt and I often joke that it's not a matter of IF he'll be smarter than us, but WHEN. And then we wonder how we'll handle that. :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Catching up

Over the next few days, I hope to upload some pictures from this summer on our Flickr page. We're a bit backlogged, and I fear we've relied a little too much on our cell phone cameras. Our apologies. I've already put up some from July, when we visited with our Katie, Caleb, and Mazie, and also enjoyed a nice long visit with Grandma and Granddad in Kentucky.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tobin Lee Smith, M.D.

I have a wicked bruise just above my right knee from an unfortunate encounter with the corner of our coffee table. Tobin comments on it everyday, usually starting with something like, "Mama, you have a bruise?" This morning, we were reading a book and he asked to look at the bruise. I noted how it was turning green in parts. (Sorry if that's too graphic, but it's worth it, I promise.) Tobin's eyes lit up and he said, "After green, it turn blue. After blue, it turn gray. And after gray, it be white!"

Oh, and last week, when Tobin was trying to read me a book while he had the hiccups, he matter-of-factly told me: "Pick-ups make Tobin's talk go away."

Monday, September 15, 2008


Things have been mostly quiet around here lately, as we adjust to our new routines. I must say that I am enjoying my time at home. I was somewhat prepared for this, but it IS surprising how much I don't get done that I think I should, even on days when we don't even leave the house except for our morning run. I've been trying to focus on keeping my to-do list simple: playing with Tobin, making food, exercising (a little), and cleaning (even less!). Tobin likes to help, so he helps me with things like making bread, granola, cookies (for Aunt Ashley's visit this past weekend), and dinner. I could write a whole post on how he "helps," so I'll save those details for later . . . except to note that T loves to eat bread dough, and would do so by the fistful if I let him. Tobin does not seem to enjoy vacuuming or otherwise cleaning floors, so I figure that suffices as my reason why those items are well past due. Nonetheless, I do feel a sense of order in our home that I haven't felt in a really long time.

We also have taken steps toward a certain toddler milestone. Yesterday, we bought Tobin a training potty. He had previously expressed some interest in trying to use the toilet, but sitting him on there was awkward, of course. For months now, he's shown some signs of physiological readiness. He rarely wets his diaper overnight. And he, quite hilariously, seeks privacy when having a BM. In fact, if Matt or I walk into our bedroom, his usual place of retreat, while he's in progress, he'll tell us to "go away." Tobin thinks his potty is quite neat. We spent a good deal of the morning returning to the bathroom to see it, sit on it, and sometimes try to take it apart. (I'm realizing in retrospect that it was probably not a good idea to assemble the potty in front of T, since now he knows that various parts lift and pull apart. Which could be problematic once it's actually being used.) Tobin's timing when trying to use the potty seems a bit off. For example, after he pooped today, he protested as I directed him to the changing table, telling me he wanted to poop on his potty. I let him sit on the potty after I'd cleaned him up, and he was happy with that, proudly announcing that he was "all done," even returning for a "little bit more" and even though the only poop that was deposited was in his diaper. I know he'll figure this out eventually, and we're not going to rush it. For now, we're focusing on praising him whenever he expresses interest, and trying not to laugh at his inevitable potty antics.

On the Hannah front, we are seeing small signs of progress. We hope. Matt reminded me of how her surgeon explained the important of the "two's." Surgery for this type of disc injury should be performed within two days. Within two weeks, you look for signs of improved mobility. In two months, you hope that the dog will be walking again. Hannah was in surgery within eight hours of her injury, so we feel good about the first indicator. Yesterday marked two weeks. Well, over the weekend, Hannah first delighted everyone by wagging her tail for Ashley, who was visiting. We hadn't seen her do this up to that point, even when Matt comes home in the afternoons. And then also on Saturday, she appeared to start bearing some weight on her right hind leg. By the end of the weekend, she seemed to have some control, however slight, of both legs. Today, we went to our local vet (remember, Hannah had surgery in Louisville, so this is not the same vet) for a two-week follow-up, and while he didn't seem impressed with her progress, he at least didn't tell us that she was hopeless. It appears that we're still waiting for the two-month marker, when we'll have a better indication of her long-term outlook. For now, we're happy that she's showing some improved mobility, has her full appetite back, and is otherwise her old self.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Taking a deep breath

Last week officially commenced a new phase in our family life: "Mama not going to work--stay home with Tobin?" as he would put it. Some have asked me how it "feels" to be home, and I guess I would say that what I feel most is relief. But that's only based on two days at home, last Thursday and Friday, following our extended holiday weekend in Kentucky. So maybe ask me at the end of this week, when I can give a more comprehensive answer. For the most part, I've been doing what the usual unpacking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and meal planning I do after a stint out of town--except that I didn't feel the time pressure I usually do. Our weekend was really nice, because I didn't feel rushed to do too much, since I have more time during the week to manage our home. So we played with Tobin, watched a lot of football, and got Tobin's haircut. I also did some superfluous baking.

The timing of this change is interesting because of how it coincides with the end of what has been, to put it gently, a stressful summer. I guess it was only fitting that the summer ended with our dog Hannah having emergency back surgery over Labor Day weekend. While we were in Louisville. After we had just spent a month away from her while we had been traveling for my mom's surgery in August. The surgery (to repair a ruptured disc) has a high success rate (90-95% of dogs regain mobility), so we are hopeful. And honestly, the much graver human health crises we've encountered over the past year help give us perspective. Still, we are sad that our little dog can't walk and sometimes struggle with being patient with the recovery process. Tobin and I have been thankful to be home to tend to her during the day. And he is terribly sweet, frequently stopping by her bed or crate to say, "It's okay, Hannah." He is also quite impressed with her boo boo, which he describes as "kinda long." (It's actually a very neat 4-inch incision.)

And, oh yes, Tobin is talking in complete sentences these days. His grammar is not perfect, and he often refers to himself in the third person, including telling us that "that boy" is tired, or has a boo boo on his thumb, or is funny. So true. He continues to be fascinated with categories, particularly boys and girls. He knows that boys have a scratchy face. And that boys have short hair and girls, long. Well, except for his Uncle Dan, but Tobin was able to categorize him correctly this past weekend. :)

I think I can speak for all of us and say we're thankful to be home. And I feel especially fortunate to be "home" in a more literal sense. I hope to share more about this new adventure as it unfolds.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Explanation by Tobin

A scene from our house on August 19, 2008.

Tobin and his dad are sitting on the couch having a snack of yogurt and banana while watching the Olympic baseball game between USA and Chinese Taipei. USA is batting.

Dad: Look look! Home run!
Tobin: HOME RUN!
Dad: Over the fence; see it?
Tobin: Over the fence; he's running.
Dad: Yes, he is running. You run after a home run.
Tobin: Yes. Go get baseball.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I've been hesitant to write about this here, but most of those closest to us know already that we're anticipating a major change in our household come September. No, I'm not pregnant. I mean that would be little outrageous, not announcing that on this blog until I was 7 months along, right?

Actually, the big change is that I will be staying home. My clerkship ends in August, and we have decided that what we want is for me to be home for a while. To spend more time with Tobin. To hopefully take care of a younger sibling for him sometime soon. To feel less pulled in too many directions. To have more flexibility in our schedules to spend more time with our extended families, who live too far from us. To simplify our lives and focus on what is really important.

We've been talking about this for a while now, thinking it over, praying, and trying to plan. I don't enter this new phase in our life without some trepidation. I mean there was a time (pre-mamahood) that I never really contemplated not working. I have no illusions that this will be a breeze for me. I know too many women who do the hard work of being home with their children full-time to think that it is somehow less challenging than working outside the home. On the practical side, it will obviously take some sacrifices for us adjust our lifestyle to one income. Still, we believe it's what's right for us at this point in our lives. I've recently made a transition to really just looking forward to this new phase, instead of worrying about it, oh about 65% of the time. Of course, that's just how I process things: I usually have to fret awhile before I embrace the positive side of upcoming change. Hence, my hesitancy in writing about it here.

So my last day on the job is August 29. Put another way, Tobin becomes my full-time boss August 30. :) Not that he isn't already increasingly "in charge" of our lives already...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Two-year stats and stories

Tobin finally had his two-year wellness check-up today. We've been traveling a lot this month, so we weren't able to get to the doctor until today. He weighed in at 27 lbs. 13 oz., measured 34 inches long, and had a head circumference of 20 inches. Everything checked out fine. His doctor was particularly impressed with his verbal skills. She said something like it was "uncanny" that she could have a conversation with him, which apparently is unusual for two-year-old boys in her experience. Tobin finished off his charm offensive by saying, "Thank you, Tobin's doctor" to her as she left. She responded by telling him he could date her daughter (who's about 10 months younger) anytime.

Earlier this week we made the 11-hour car trip home from Tampa. I've written about it before, but I can't get over what a great traveler Tobin is. He is seriously better than I am in the car. I don't want to jinx anything but I also don't want to take it for granted. Our son is wonderful on the road.

Summer officially started for us June 13 with the end of Matt's (eighth!) school year. As we usually do, we will travel to see family, but this summer will be a different kind of traveling. Since Memorial Day, we've covered thousands of miles as a family, most of them in the car. One of these trips involved Tobin and me traveling alone to Atlanta and back (about six hours each way, picking up Aunt Ashley en route to Tampa). Again, he was just about perfect. Tobin has developed a fondness for Chick-fil-a ("Chicka-bay"), particularly for their indoor play areas and apple juice boxes.

When I think about what we're going through as a family right now, I wonder what Tobin will remember about this time. Has he noticed that since late October of last year, when we learned of his Granddad Smith's cancer diagnosis, that we have been to Kentucky more than usual? I know he's missed his daddy, who's been back and forth without us a few times. Did he have any sense of the importance of his birthday celebration to the combined Walsh-Smith family--with Granddad making a tremendous effort to make the long hard trip when he was quite sick and with us also learning only a couple weeks earlier that his Grandpa Walsh also has cancer? Will he have memories of this week in Tampa: visiting fun places with his dad during the day and then making brief visits to "Grandpa's doctor" (actually, Moffitt Cancer Center) each evening?

I don't know what Tobin will remember of these experiences, but I do hope that he will always understand what a blessing he is to us. How he lights up our hearts and lifts our spirits with his wonderful smile, funny syntax, and lyrical laughter.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Support staff

Tobin, Allison, and I are in Tampa this week to be with Allison's dad during his surgery and recovery (both of which have gone according to plan so far). During the day, while Allison is with her family at the hospital, Tobin and I have had lots of time together. When we're inside, we read books and play, but we've also taken advantage of some of what Tampa has to offer. Yesterday we went to the Florida Aquarium. I planted the seed of interest by telling T we were going to "see big fish." This video was taken right before we walked in:

While we were in the aquarium, Tobin would regularly squeal with delight "Big big fish!" "Ohhh, turtle!" (he pronounces is "tull-lull") "More big fish!" and so on. We saw sharks, lobster, bass, carp, koi, alligators, owls, egrets, heron, and hundreds more that I can't even remember. Tobin got to touch the fin of a ray in the "Touch tank." He saw penguins walking around the room in the coral reef exhibit. He even got to see divers in the shark tank. When we visited the gift shop, he picked out a little clownfish tchotchke. When we left the giftshop, he wanted to do something, but I couldn't tell what. He kept repeating something that sounded like "More fish orange fish." So we headed back upstairs to the big tanks. He held his clownfish up to every tank we passed. He wanted to show the real fish the fish he had picked out at the giftshop. This is a picture (not a great one) of T showing his clownfish to some of the clownfish in a tankToday we headed back to Lettuce Lake Park, where we visited yesterday morning. The big attraction for Tobin is the boardwalk ("big bridge") that winds for a about a mile through the park and along the lakeside. There is a three-story tower from which you can see most of the lake. Tobin loves to climb the steps himself (holding hands) and when he reaches the summit he says "Up high!" He enjoys pushing his own stroller, which seems to give him a great sense of responsibility. He points out the Spanish moss ("gray moss") hanging from the trees and is close to being able to tell the difference consistently between an egret and an ibis. On our first day in the park, Tobin saw a family of wild turkeys walking along the water's edge. He explains to anyone who asks that he saw "Mommy turkey, daddy turkey, and baby turkeys in the grass." I've put up more pictures at our Flickr site of our adventures the last couple of days. We're hoping the weather cooperates enough to take a trip to the zoo this weekend. Here's a picture of the view from the top of the observation tower at Lettuce Lake Park:

Monday, June 16, 2008

My third Father's Day

I guess Father's Day should be old hat to me by now, but it's still novel to celebrate it both as a father and a son. I definitely feel like the father of a little boy these days (see the video below for a glimpse into the way I spend my afternoons). I think everyone reading this is aware of the conditions of my dad and Allison's, so you'll understand my perspective in some of these thoughts. For me, the apprehension that necessarily comes with facing the prospect of losing my dad has also brought a more acute awareness of the importance of the father-son relationship. But it isn't a quantifiable entity. If I tried to label the relationship I have with my dad, I would call it an organic, breathing one that has grown up along with us. And while I might once have thought that my dad knew everything about being a parent, becoming one myself has made me keenly aware of the guesswork and anxiety that comes with the weighty (and joyful, and daunting) responsibility of having a son. I think my dad may have done a better job convincing me he knew what he was doing than I may with Tobin. Or maybe Tobin thinks that I know the answers to every question he could ever want to ask. I'd kind of like that to be the case, at least for a little while.

While my dad and I don't always share interest in the same things, one thing that I've always been able to count on--and at times take for granted--is that I'm loved and supported unconditionally. Even though our interests might have at times seemed at odds (my taste in music has in many places deviated significantly from my dad's), I can't think of a time when I didn't feel like my mom and dad were my biggest fans. I see a parallel in my philosophy of teaching. Students of mine like to ask when I knew I wanted to be a teacher or who my best teachers were. That usually gets followed up with the question "What makes a good teacher?" Attention to content, while important, isn't the most important component of teaching. The teachers that meant the most to me and were the most instructive forces on my life were the ones that made me feel important and encouraged me to push and pursue and discover for myself in addition to covering the curriculum of the course. I don't remember the list of books I read in my freshman English class in high school, but I remember that my opinion was valued and that my writing was encouraged. That encouragement, beyond the nuts and bolts of growing up, is what I see as the critical component of parenthood. My parents' encouragement is what allowed me to be a cellist who played varsity baseball and a youth-choir-member with a collection of hip-hop and rap CDs in my bedroom. I wasn't pigeonholed into a preordained "You should be like your dad" mold. It's taken me some time to realize it, but I've been my own person for as long as I can remember.

That's what I hope I can provide for Tobin. Even if he (shudder) takes a liking to Broadway musicals and Brontë novels, or grows to dislike baseball, I hope I can support and encourage him to find his own way, defining himself by his interests and myriad talents. He is a joy for more reasons than I can count. But one of the unexpected joys he has given me in an emotionally difficult time is a truer insight into my relationship with my dad.

Not only that, but he has remarkable skill hitting a ball with a bat (couldn't end on such a heavy idea; that's not my way or my dad's):

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Two. Years. Old.

This evening at 5:32pm, my baby officially turned two. Today he has been especially delightful, talking and playing and singing and EATING. Even now he is running around the house playing with his new golf club and chatting happily to himself. And I'm not even worried that it is a good 45 minutes past his bedtime. His grandparents are still here, so I think staying up late is to be expected.

Yesterday was the big party. In attendance were Tobin's greatest admirers, other than his parents: Grandpa and Mimi Walsh, Granddad and Grandma Smith, aunts Ashley and Sarah, uncle Al, and great aunts Louise and Bethany. They traveled from Florida, Kentucky, Georgia, and Louisiana. We ate and laughed and played and celebrated.

In the days leading up to his birthday weekend, Matt and I would tell Tobin who was coming to see him. He would listen and repeat their names and tell us where they were coming from. My parents were the first to arrive in the wee hours of the morning Thursday, and when they emerged from the guest bedroom (also Tobin's room) later that morning, Tobin wasted no time in engaging them in play and showing off his myriad verbal and physical skills. He hadn't seen Mimi and Grandpa since Christmas, but Tobin acted like they were old friends. And our normally shy and slow-to-warm-up son did the same with each new wave of visitors. It was special to see how he truly has a familiarity with his extended family, even though he doesn't see them regularly. Last night, as many of our guests were saying goodbye to travel home today, Tobin willingly was passed from one person to the next, giving everyone a big hug and kiss.

I am so grateful that our loved ones traveled so far to celebrate Tobin. And it's really special to have so much of the Walsh-Smith family in one place. I hope that Tobin will continue to understand how much he is loved and adored by so many and that he will also be mindful of the light and joy he brings to each one of us. Especially in times like these. This was an important time for us all to be together, and I feel as though it couldn't have been more wonderful.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Today kind of sneaked up on me. This day marked my second official Mother's Day, although I count it as the third since I was four days from birthing Tobin two years ago. I had a good, ordinary Sunday. And these days that is worth its weight in gold. I spent much of the day cleaning our home, tending to my boys, and making food. I also reveled in the sounds of a little boy walking around saying a newly learned phrase: "Happy Mama Day!"

Of course, I was presented with gifts to remind me that I am the most important woman in TWO fabulous boys' worlds. Tobin "commissioned" a crayon drawing by his dad, who drew a car, a red truck with a stick-figure me riding in the back, and a bike. T added some scribbles around a "Tobin T," and alas it was the perfect Happy Mother's Day card and is hanging in a place of honor on our fridge. I also received a new water bottle (stainless steel aluminum since we're starting to re-think plastic receptacles around here) and a new paring knife that is oh so delightfully sharp, making quick work of the vegetables I cut up for our pasta primavera.

We're gearing up for the big second birthday next weekend, so we took Tobin to get his hair trimmed. I was worried I wouldn't be pleased with the summer cut I thought necessary for Tobin to get (because it is so hot here and he sweats a lot!), but I actually like his short hair quite a bit. But wouldn't you know on the very day we get his hair trimmed so that most of his forehead is exposed, he trips in the kitchen and bangs his forehead on a cabinet. So he is all set to pull off the well-coiffed, rough-and-tumble two-year-old look.

On this Mother's Day, I am thinking an awful lot about my mom and Matt's. And also an awful lot about our fathers. I am incredibly thankful for the double blessing of my life: being born to my parents who have loved and taught me so well, and then marrying into Matt's wonderful family. These are challenging times for all of us, especially our parents, and I am grateful that we will be together later this week to celebrate one Tobin Lee.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Parenting skills

Earlier in the day, I was folding some laundry and Tobin was "helping" by playing with the dryer light and pulling the lint trap out, which is just inside the dryer door. Well, I didn't want him playing with the lint because, I don't know, doesn't it seem like that would be especially bad for a toddler respiratory system? Anyway, Tobin pulled the trap out and I said, "No, don't play with that." He left it alone for a minute but then pulled it out again. So I said, "No, Mama's serious. Don't play with that." Tobin's eyes widened and then twinkled as he said, "Mama's serious." Hmm, seems my message wasn't getting across because T thinks it's mildly amusing and I'm starting to agree with him because he just said "serious."

So I continue folding and Tobin pulls the lint trap out again. I guess I decided to up the ante: "Tobin, if you do that again you're going to time out." This time, Tobin actually smiled and said brightly, "Time out?" As if I said some other fun activity like "walk Hannah?" or "ride in Daddy's truck?" So I promptly closed the dryer door, which I should have done about five minutes earlier, and Tobin moved on to something else. And I was left wondering why he thought time out was fun. Could he remember that ONE time a couple of months ago when I made him sit in his rocker for a minute and called it time out? And he just smiled and rocked and generally thought it was neat? Do they use it at his school? Does he think it's something fun because he's never been in time out, because surely his teacher would have told me they used it? I was stumped.

About ten minutes later as we were walking out the door to make a Target run, Tobin said "No, Mama serious. No, Mama serious." And said it a couple of more times at the store.

Clearly, I have some work to do with the whole being stern thing.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Playground ethics

Last Friday, I got off work early, so I picked Tobin up from school instead of Matt doing so. Tobin and his class were still outside, and their teacher was passing out little cups of water for them to drink. This made for a hilarious scene with little ones milling around and, among other things, spilling water, on purpose and not; pointing at ice! in each other's cups; and sitting down cutely on a little bench to politely sip water next to a friend. Tobin, by the way, did all of these things. A couple of the kids were pestering each other, and Tobin's teacher said, "Conner, be nice." And there was an echo of this in a familiar little voice. Then his teacher said, "Angus (yes, a serious name for a little boy but this kid is really cute), be nice!" And, again, the little echo. Yes, Tobin had taken it upon himself to repeat his teacher's mild reprimands. I asked Tobin if he was telling Angus to "be nice," which he confirmed by saying it again. I thought this was adorable. So when we were hanging out with Hannah later and she predictably started barking at some unknown threat to our safety (a squirrel! a car! our neighbor!), I told Tobin to tell her: "Shh, Hannah, be nice!" Which he did, repeatedly.

Fast forward to yesterday when Matt picked T up from school and spent a few minutes playing outside by throwing a ball to Tobin and a few of the other kids. At one point, Matt threw the ball in Tobin's direction and Angus tried to intercept this pass. Unsuccessfully. Oh yes, Tobin, who is developing catching skills of late, caught the ball instead. Then my sweet, little, cherubic son gave Angus a hard shove in his chest. (Gasp! Sniff.) Angus stumbled backwards but didn't fall, and seemed miffed but not upset. Matt immediately scooped T up and said something like, "No, we don't push our friends, Tobin." Sensing this was probably a good time to leave, Matt took Tobin inside his classroom to wash his hands before heading home. While at the sink, Matt asked, "Tobin, do we push Angus?" Tobin did this thing he's started to do when admonished: rolled his eyes. It's not an annoyed eye-roll but more like an attempt to avoid eye contact; he does a similar thing when strangers try to talk with him. (Ha!) And then Tobin answered his dad's question (about whether pushing Angus was appropriate behavior) with a drawn-out "Noooo" while shaking his head. T then added: "Tobin, be nice!" At which point, I imagine Matt lost his attempts at being a stern disciplinarian and cracked a smile. And might have even laughed. And, of course, praised Tobin for an excellent answer!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

To the zoo we go

We're in Louisville for my Spring break. Last week, when we were planning our trip, my mom mentioned that we could visit the Louisville Zoo. They have a 1-year-old elephant named Scotty. I don't remember how Tobin first heard the phrase "baby elephant," but it's been a regular part of his vocabulary ever since. After some rain in the morning, the skies cleared Monday afternoon for our trip. Tobin, his mom and dad, and his granddad and grandma all piled in the van and headed off to the zoo. We had such a good time we stayed until the zoo closed for the day. The weather was perfect and Tobin was in good spirits. Below are a few pictures and a couple of videos we'd like to share with you.

First, we saw giraffes, which Tobin loves because of the song "Joshua Giraffe" by Raffi. Tobin kept saying "Big Josh!" when we saw them.
big big josh!
After that, we saw the elephants. Tobin correctly identified them (ep-pitants & baby ep-pitant alike). He pointed to them and even remarked "Pee-yew poop" when one of the elephants deposited significantly.

where's the baby elephant?

We were in for a treat next when we heard a lion roaring as we rounded the corner from the elephants. Here's what Tobin had to say:

On our way to see the gorilla exhibit, Tobin saw monkeys and zebras and then had his first adventure: a cut-through off the sidewalk called the "Hippo Trail." Tobin (with some encouragement from me the first time) had to duck under a log to rejoin the path on the other side. He loved it, even after falling down and getting himself dirty once. His face does a better job communicating his feelings about the Hippo trail than I can:

T crouches

After seeing gorillas, we saw lorikeets in an open exhibit. According to their keeper, they're very social birds. It took them only a few minutes to show it:
grandma snack?

Shortly after, Tobin found the concrete tortoise that he loved as much as any real animal in the zoo. We have a few pictures of him on the tortoise at our flickr site. After climbing on the tortoise for a while, Tobin noticed the birds: ducks and peacocks. He chased them around for 10 or 15 minutes. I was lucky enough to get him on video:

Tobin brought home a stuffed giraffe and a stuffed turtle from his first zoo trip, but the memories I'll keep from his first trip to the zoo are my souvenirs. Granddad suggested a dinner out, so we left the zoo for a nice meal (see Allison's previous post).

Monday, March 31, 2008

Notable dinner

I hesitate to label Tobin a picky eater, because I don't want the perception to become the reality or whatever. But. He is quite opinionated about what he will and won't (even try to) eat. And sometimes those opinions don't make much sense.

Tonight we went to local Tex-Mex place for dinner with Matt's parents, who we're visiting for spring break this week. We had a lovely afternoon at the zoo, and when we were in the car on the way to the restaurant, I offered Tobin snack options since he hadn't eaten for a while: Cheerios or a strawberry cereal bar. He said a definitive "no" to Cheerios, which are usually a perfectly fine eating option, and "yes" to the cereal bar. T finished the cereal bar, and before he could finish chewing the last bite, he started signing "more" with his hands. I asked if he wanted another one, and he nodded, so I gave him another, and he ate it all. So another thing you should know about Tobin is that this amount of food is a ton for him to eat at one time. When we got to the restaurant, I didn't worry about trying to order something for him because he had such a "hearty" snack. I figured he could just eat some of my tortilla or beans (he's taken to black beans lately) if he seemed interested. As it turned out, Tobin was interested in neither, but he did enjoy dipping a tortilla chip in salsa and licking the salsa off. The salsa was really mild, and he would only occasionally make a face and spit out a cilantro leaf. He never really ate a tortilla chip--would just get a new one when the one he was using got too soft. We all got a kick out of the salsa-eating-chip-licking boy. Then I gave him the lemon from my water because I wasn't sure if his grandparents had seen him eat a lemon. He likes lemons and does not even make the slightest sour face. Of course, tonight he topped previous lemon-eating feats by (a) dipping the lemon in the salsa AND REPEATING and (b) eating a chunk of the rind. Tobin washed down this dinner of salsa and lemon with a few sips of Matt's "Ashley juice," which as you may remember is supposed to be sweet tea but Matt drinks unsweetened tea. I thought T wouldn't want anything to do with the unsweetened variety (because I sure don't!), but he drank it as if it were no big thing. I kept trying to sneak him sips of water instead, because the tea was caffeinated but he would catch me. Fortunately, he didn't drink too much.

So let's recap. For dinner, my son ate two cereal bars, a few tablespoons of salsa, most of a lemon wedge including the rind, and a few ounces of unsweetened iced tea. I could feel guilty about this, but I'm choosing mostly to be amused. And also hoping he doesn't wake up with a tummy ache.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Second Easter

We hope to post some Easter photos soon. (Thank you, Matt, for posting the video to tide the masses over.) Prepare yourself for cuteness. Tobin went a little more casual with this year's Easter outfit (no sweater vest), but maintained the level of adorableness. Actually, I think he gets more endearing by the day, so I'm gonna go ahead and just say that he is cuter than he was last year.

Of course, we believe that Easter is about more than eggs and clothes and candy, but I think those are all fun ways to introduce Tobin to the larger idea that Easter is special and important. We were so happy to have Aunt "Ackley" and Great Aunt "Weez" with us for the long weekend, visiting from "Ju-ga" and "Weez-i-hannah" respectively. (T is killing on the geography these days--even knows that "allilators" live in "Fo-ri-duh" just like Mimi and Grandpa.) We all went to the Easter service at our church, where Tobin seemed to enjoy the music before succumbing to a nap while sitting in his daddy's lap. As we were leaving the sanctuary, our pastor noted how adorable just-woken Tobin was and Matt quipped that Tobin found "peace" in the service. Our pastor then said something, "Ah, I have that gift."

The rest of the day was spent just hanging out: eating, watching basketball, egg hunting, Tobin taking a second nap in mama's arms while she watched basketball, decorating cookies, and then eating the cookies. Tobin loved the Easter eggs, especially finding exciting things inside them, which in this case included jelly beans, chocolate eggs, and pennies! We even let Tobin eat one chocolate egg and probably like four jelly beans. He has developed quite a fondness for jelly beans, but not in the way you might think. We've given him one (just one) each night at the end of dinner and he holds it between his fingers and says over and over "jella beany!" (imagine an almost Italian inflection). Last night, he had licked the jelly bean a couple of times but was just carrying it around after dinner, and I was kind of unsure about how to get him to relinquish it before he got in the bathtub, because I didn't want him taking it in there. Food and baths don't mix, even for toddlers, I'd argue. Fortunately, right as I was offering to keep the jelly bean safe on my dresser until after the bath, Tobin popped it into his mouth and happily chewed it "all gone jella beany."

So Tobin's second Easter was really lovely, replete with family, church, naps, and probably too much sugar.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Eggs Eggs Eggs

Tobin was given an Easter egg last weekend by a neighbor. Since then, "egg" has become a regular part of his vocabulary. Yesterday Allison hid a few eggs in the yard and gave him a basket. As you'll see, he did a pretty good job in his first hunt.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I remember reading a baby book (imagine) sometime last year to get a sneak peak of what I would be in for when Tobin neared 2 years of age. There was an anecdote that struck me as especially ridiculous. I don't remember the exact wording, but the gist was this: Toddlers can be so particular about food that they may refuse sandwiches or meals made differently than the way they expect. For instance, if a kid likes a PB& J with the peanut butter spread first and you offer a PB&J with jam spread first, he might refuse it.

I laughed this off like so many other accounts of tantrums and behavioral eccentricities that Tobin seemed to have eschewed in his development. But Tobin has developed elements of this particularity. For example, Tobin no longer eats "yogurt." But he loves it when it's called "big big yogurt" and comes from the pint-sized container. Oh, and it has to be served in his yellow bowl. Allison made the mistake one afternoon of fixing yogurt (excuse me, big-big yogurt) in a red bowl. It was summarily refused until I transferred it o the proper bowl. The same is often true for cups of juice: Purple cup with red lid? Acceptable. Yellow cup with blue lid? Unacceptable.

Similarly, Tobin is particular about his favorite toy, the Hot Wheels racetrack. This weekend, he and I were playing together nicely when he grabbed a car and left the room. It was time for Mama to play, and she was given a specific car to place on the track. This car is the one that we're given most frequently. It's called "Mama Cheerio car" and "Daddy Cheerio car" alternately according to who is called upon to place it. (I don't think it's a coincidence that it's also the slowest car of the regular half-dozen that race, but I'll save that for another post someday.) When it's time for Mama to play, Daddy had best not touch the track or the Cheerio car. When it's time for Daddy to play, Mama may watch but not touch.

Also this weekend, I introduced Tobin to a soccer ball and basketball. Saturday we were playing with both on the deck when Tobin asked for a walk. Because Allison was busy, I could only manage one ball and Tobin on the walk with certainty that I could protect all involved from car danger. It was a lot to ask of Tobin when I said "One ball; either soccer ball or basketball." Twice we made it to the bottom of the steps on the deck when T changed his mind. The compromise was two walks: one with the soccer ball and one shorter one with the basketball. Later in the day, we were playing again when I was suddenly not allowed to play any more. This was communicated to me with a simple "Daddy no basketball. Bye bye basketball." Any touching of the basketball afterward elicited protest. When I misinterpreted "bye bye basketball" to mean "Put that away, please," I was met with fat tears after closing the storage room door. All tears abated when both balls were out on the deck and Tobin could wander between them like an indecisive bee torn between pollinating two flowers.

Tobin has more funny particularities. Which song may play, whether the TV may be on, dismissing everyone from the dinner table, and who reads which book are just a few of the topics on which he expresses his opinion strongly. The neat thing is that I don't mind it at all. T is rarely inconsolable. It's fun to watch him ordering his world and categorizing likes and dislikes, even if it seems to defy logic or reason every once in a while.

Friday, March 07, 2008


A recent exchange between Matt and Tobin while reading Curious George and the Puppies before bed:
M: What color is the man's hat?

T: Lellow hat!

M: Yes, yellow. What color is the man's tie?

T: Lellow tie!

M: Yes, yellow. What color is Daddy's shirt?

T: Lellow shirt!

M: Yes, yellow. What color is your moon light?

T: Lellow light!

M: Yes, yellow. Very good. Now what color is a banana [eaten earlier as a snack]?

T: Bwoo?

[Followed by lots of laughing.]
In T's defense, he was having to remember the color of the banana since it wasn't right in front of him. And four out of five isn't too bad, right?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

We do more before 8 AM than most people . . .

Allison's last post does a better job than I could hope to do of describing Tobin's current interests and development. I offer you a video of a "normal" morning at our house.

Lately, T has been waking up early. The night before this video was taken, I had shown him a program I'm using to record and modify audio.We danced to it. When he woke up today, he said "More dance?" when I offered him breakfast. I didn't show him how to replay the music on the computer; he figured it out himself, much as he has figured out the fork and his new racetrack (picture below the video).

ready, set . . .

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Oh how I would love to establish a regular posting routine, but alas the best laid plans . . . Nonetheless, I shouldn't let the absence of regularity keep me from posting some random Tobin tidbits on a particularly slow day at the office for me.

"T" is for Tobin: Among the many objects Tobin can identify are letters ("lellers"). Matt and I made an effort of pointing out T's on Tobin's alphabet blocks, books, and magnets, as well as on book covers, sweatshirts, and T-shirts. We always say, "T for Tobin." Tobin caught on and now looks for Tobin T's ("Munna T's") whenever he sees "lellers." In fact, about an hour before waking this morning, we heard Tobin say "Munna T, Munna T" in his sleep.

Nodding: Tobin now nods to indicate an affirmative response or to otherwise let you know that what you're doing pleases him. Occasionally, he'll even say "yes." The nodding is adorable and a welcome change from the emphatic, yet still mostly polite, no's we hear. No's still outnumber yes's and nods about 4:1, but we'll take what we can get.

Giving direction: T is increasingly willing to let us know what he would like for us to do. Some might call this being bossy, but we try to think of it as confidently communicative. We also feel extra special because we are routinely being instructed/invited to play along side him. Examples of such requests/instructions include:
"Mama, bed?" (Time to go to sleep.)

"Pweez get down." (All done with a meal. Often followed by "Mama/Daddy, all done?" to prompt one of us to leave the table to join him in play.)

"Bwack car, Daddy?" (Please go get my black car over there and bring it to me.)

"Ouch head? [Sniff.]" (Please kiss my head because I accidentally ran into something, if ever so slightly. "Head" can be interchanged with various injured body parts. This request will be repeated until it feels better.)

"Hat?" (Please put on this hat, or pull on your hood, or do you have a hood on your jacket?)

"Big Josh?" (Please play my favorite song, "Joshua Giraffe.")

"Monstas?" (Can we read my new favorite book, Where the Wild Things Are.)

(Again, this list is illustrative, not exhaustive.)
Geography: Tobin knows that on a normal day Mama and Daddy go to work ("wok"), Hannah stays home ("ho"), and he goes to school ("skoo"). He also knows that Aunt Ashley as well as Aunt Sarah and Uncle Dan (still "Dee!") live in Georgia ("Ju-ja"). We're working on Florida (Mimi and Grandpa) and Kentucky (Grandma and Granddad). We haven't yet tried Louisiana (various including Uncle "Ohll") or Tennessee or Missouri or Texas . . . Goodness, this kid has quite a list of multiple-syllable states to learn!

Ashley juice: We learned this past weekend that Tobin likes sweet tea. He named it for the person who let him have a sip of hers and he has since requested it most meals. We're okay with him having it, watered down and decaf. And when this pitcher runs out, we probably won't have it around, so I can stop worrying about giving him such a sugar-laden beverage. But, seriously, he's a Carolina boy, the son of a Georgia girl and a Kentucky boy (who oddly enough doesn't like sweet iced tea) so we feel this fancy was entirely predictable.

Life with Tobin is indeed an adventure. Half the time Matt and I feel like we are trying to keep up or figure out what's going on. And for at least the rest of the time, we are simply marveling at our amazing little boy.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

He says his name, kind of.

Just recently Tobin started saying "Tobin." He's been saying it for a few weeks now, but Matt and I were a little slow to catch on because he pronounces it "Munya." In the last couple days, he will say something that sounds a little closer with a definite "oh" sound: "Monya" or "Monyo." I get where "oputus" (octupus) and "epitant" (elephant) and even "big Josh" (giraffe, undoubtedly Joshua from his favorite song) come from, but I'm a little perplexed by this particular pronunciation.

Obviously, Tobin has known his name for a while, but it was always intriguing to us that he wouldn't say it, especially when he would at least try to say anything you asked. We would ask him to say "Tobin" and he would proudly pat his chest. We'd ask again, and he'd pat his chest more emphatically and look at us like, I already did that. But lately, he's been doing adorable things like patting Matt's chest and saying "Daddy!" (always with the exclamation point!) and then patting his own and saying "Munya." Or looking in the mirror with me, pointing to each of us and saying "Mama, Munya, Mama, Munya." He'll even count Tobins--"Munya, one, two, one two"--when looking in the double reflections created in our closet door mirrors.

Now that I think about it, "Munya" is terribly close to "munka" (monkey). Given his love of his Curious George and the Puppies book, this might not be a coincidence.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Second Super Bowl

Matt and I were just remembering that we mark last year's Super Bowl as when Tobin started crawling. Just crawling. It blows my mind to think about how much he has changed in just the last twelve months: from crawling to walking to dancing, running, and almost-jumping; from cooing to babbling to talking, singing, and "reading"; from purees to Cheerios to eating whole bananas, devouring pancakes, and, lately, enjoying veggie burgers.

I know we've posted a lot of pictures and videos recently, and those are probably a great way for you to see the rapid pace of T's development. But I've also been meaning to sit down and write about what life with Tobin is like these days. To say it's delightful is quite an understatement.

He loves to read. Tobin has displayed a renewed interest in books. When he was really little, he used to love to sit in our laps and listen to us read. He would sit through a whole Dr. Seuss book; Fox in Socks was our favorite. Then we went through a stretch when he was just too busy to sit still for a book. I know I felt rather like a bad mama because I wasn't following the advice to read to your child everyday. But then around 18 months, Tobin suddenly showed great interest in looking at his books and learning new words and labeling the things he already knew. His favorite book right now is Curious George and the Puppies, which his [Great] Nana Yardley gave him for Christmas. He'll even warn George ("oh no George!" with hands to cheeks) about letting the puppies out of their cage. George doesn't heed this warning, but it turns out all right in the end.

He sings. As we would expect because Matt is his daddy, Tobin loves music. Most afternoons, he and Matt play guitars, with T on the ukulele and Matt on the bigBIG guitar (lately his 12-string). Tobin also loves the Raffi song, "Joshua Giraffe." He sings the "oh oh oh" part, which actually doesn't come until about two minutes into the song, as soon as the song starts. We may have to post a video just with him and that song. He'll also join us lately when we sing "Row Row Your Boat" ("row row row row") and "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" ("ee-oh-u ee-oh-u"). And yes, he does dance, even spinning when he's really inspired.

He likes to count. Tobin is highly amused when we count our five fingers or the bath toys he lines up on the edge of the tub or the dogs on the front of his Curious George book. At this point, his counting goes something like this: "one, two, one, two, two, two" with the occasional "four?" thrown in. For now, he is really good at counting to two. He'll count his shoes or Mr. Potato Head's ears or a pair of plastic animals (a "moo-cow" and a "neigh-horse") he likes to carry around. Matt and I find this especially intriguing because of our respective professions, neither of which have anything to do with math or numbers. Okay, maybe sometimes, I do secretly think I might have enjoyed being an accountant because of how I like to balance our checkbook and file our tax returns. So maybe that's where this interest is headed.

He watches ESPN. Well, as much as any toddler "watches" TV. We certainly don't encourage TV watching, but we will sit down and watch "Sesame Street" with him some afternoons, always trying to talk him through the show. He likes Elmo and especially the Count. And Matt and I admittedly have a mild ESPN dependency. Most mornings, "SportsCenter" is on, and most weekends lately, there's a basketball or football game on. Tobin especially loves football and will sometimes whine when the game cuts to a commercial or the highlights switch to another sport. And he does know the difference between sports: football ("fu-ball"), basketball, ("bika-bika-ball"), and even hockey ("hocka"). Matt and I think this bodes well for the three of us, because it would just be awkward if Tobin wanted to, say, watch Dora the Explorer when there was a Kentucky basketball game on. :)

He's finally eating more protein. For months, it seemed that the only things Tobin would eat consistently (and that's a generous characterization) were Cheerios, bananas, and yogurt. Lately, he's taken to chicken (okay, usually Morningstar fake chicken but he does eat real chicken at school and we occasionally go to Chick-fil-a) nuggets and veggie burgers. In fact, the night before last, Matt and I made ourselves a meal of veggie burgers, roasted potatoes, and broccoli. We gave Tobin half a veggie burger (like we usually send with him to school on days they're serving things like cheeseburgers, Salisbury steak, or sloppy joes). He surprised us by removing the bun, devouring the veggie patty and cheese, and asking for "more burger." We gladly obliged, and he ate the other half. Matt and I are stoked by this recent interest in protein, even if we wish he would express similar interest in, say, anything green. But we think that will come with time. Tobin also likes pancakes and muffins, both of which I try to make healthier by making from scratch and using mostly whole grains. He still won't drink cow's milk. However, he's still nursing regularly when we're together, so I've decided not to fret too much about his disinterest in the other kind of milk. (I could write more about him still nursing, and maybe I will, but I will just say that it seems like the most natural thing in the world for us.)

He's still as sweet as can be. Although he daily shows more signs of being a rambunctious little boy and keeps us on our toes, Tobin still has a very sweet and gentle spirit. We are humbly grateful to hear that he is the "happiest" and "best-behaved" kid in his preschool class. And we personally love that he is generous with kisses, hugs, and snuggles. Of course, we have the occasional misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and boundary testing, but overall ours is a peaceful household. Tobin is even mostly gentle and loving with Hannah, and she with him. They do occasionally have their run-ins, usually him bopping her on the head or nose and laughing and her running into him and knocking him over; but we're able to keep the "sibling" rivalry mostly in check. Most importantly, they genuinely enjoy each other, even if Tobin may enjoy Hannah slightly more than she cares for him. :)

I always mean to write more posts than I do, but hopefully this one will nicely supplement the videos and pictures of late. I'm one proud mama--so thankful for and totally in love with my (increasingly not so) little boy.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Big boy hair

Today, at 20.5 months, Tobin got his first haircut. Yes, his hair was quite long. But we had to wait until we were ready. Especially me. And today was the day.

As we drove over to the salon this afternoon, my stomach felt a little funny because I was nervous. I wondered how sad I would be to see his long, golden locks trimmed away. I also worried about the process. How would Tobin, who can be very shy at times, feel about a stranger doing something as odd as cutting off his hair?

We went to this (somewhat pricey) kids salon near our house. As emotional as I was about this haircut, I wasn't going to compound that by trying to do it myself. The salon was great. Tobin sat in a car and watched "Dora the Explorer" while the stylist worked quickly and gently. He did really well. Now, there were some tears. He did not want to wear the smock. And he did not like having his head sprayed with water. Nor the electric clippers used to finish the cut. But as with most Tobin protests, those were short-lived and not too intense. With a little reassuring from us and some help from Dora and the fishes! on his smock, he sat still through the whole thing and told us about what was happening on Dora's show.

He looks so handsome still. And so grown up. I am a little sad because I miss his wild, sweet longer hair. But it's also fun to look at him now and think, That's my big boy. (As I type this, he is looking in mirror and rubbing the back of his head. Too cute.) Please enjoy the pictures we have over at Flickr.

Sound check

Tobin is an explorer. He's testing limits everyday and learning more about his own coordination and abilities. One thing that he's taken to doing lately is testing the limits of his own voice. Below is an example. He isn't angry or upset in any way in this clip. He's just being loud. Well, and trying to get a reaction from Mama or Dad. This is one video that we probably won't let him watch so this doesn't become a regular occurrence.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Rockin' block talkin'

This was taken Thursday, January 24 2008. Tobin is 20 months old. We think he's pretty amusing. We would love for your to share your reactions in the comments on this post.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Tobin's Aunt Sarah and Uncle Dan brought bubbles [and a bubble-blowing bear] to Louisville for Christmas. Tobin loved them. He would hit them with a bat sometimes, chase them, and catch them on his tongue [OK, that only happened once]. His mom tried to get him to say "bubble" for the camera. Here are her ultimately successful results:

Friday, January 11, 2008

Remember this?

New Tobin
I've uploaded a few old pictures from my cell phone at Flickr. I've been a little slow on the uptake with getting my cell phone pictures over to Flickr--just figured it out a couple of months ago. Anyway, I took some time to send some of my favorites from the past year and a half, so that they can be saved for posterity, or whatever.

This particular may be my favorite of all time because it was taken by Matt with my camera phone the morning after T's birth. It was the first glimpse most of our loved ones saw of Tobin Lee. I think it captures so beautifully what we were seeing: our angelic, bright-eyed, golden, perfect little boy. I almost tear up every time I see it.

The other pictures are ones that have been favorites of ours that we've never shared. So, please enjoy.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Christmas with Tobin

If you go back in time on this blog, you'll see that I posted video of Tobin's first Christmas on the 26th of December 2006. I think we can all agree that's an impossibly high standard. Even though Holiday-2006 Matt makes Holiday-2007 Matt look bad, you should go back and watch the old video after this new one (or vice versa).

I really enjoyed putting this together. I hope you enjoy watching it.

Download the Windows Media version
Download the Video iPod version

Saturday, January 05, 2008

So how was your year?

While I still don't have a video to post for you yet, I've made some progress in sharing with you more of our recent North American tour (also known as Christmas season 2007). Before that, I thought you might like to see how much Tobin has changed in the last year. The first picture was taken December 24, 2006. The one immediately below it was taken December 24, 2007. Since Allison and I live with T year-round, it takes this kind of contrast to make me realize just how much he's grown. See for yourself: it's been a busy year at our house.Until I upload video, please enjoy our pictures on our flickr site.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


We'll feel up to posting holiday photos and videos soon, I'm sure. We arrived home yesterday after 13 days of traveling, including driving over 2,000 miles from here to Florida to Kentucky and back. We loved our time with family and were blessed as usual by their generosity. But, for now, we're a little tired.

We wish all of you a blessed and happy 2008. And you'll hear more from us soon.