Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Join Tobin for his first Christmas

Here is a collection of videos of Tobin's first Christmas weekend. It includes his first trip to the beach, shows him opening his first presents, and playing with wrapping paper on Christmas night.

Christmas with Tobin

Tobin's first Christmas season has been wonderful. We celebrated our arrival in Florida with a trip to the beach last Friday. The weather Christmas day was partly cloudy and high 70s most of the day. While it was just a little disappointing to have no chance whatsoever of a white Christmas, it's pretty hard to complain about a Christmas day that includes shorts, t-shirts and fresh citrus.

Tobin was better than I expected at unwrapping presents, but was usually much more interested in the wrapping paper than the gift itself. He is especially taken with his Spider-man toy that sings the Spider-man and Friends theme song and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." We've taken myriad photos with multiple cameras and I'm sure Allison or I will be glad to show them all to you when we're together. For now, I've uploaded a few pictures to our
flickr site. You can click the link above or the photos below to be taken to that page. I'll be posting a video as soon as I can upload it.
a Merry Christmas indeed.
a new book to read
actually yes, i do like blocks.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Mama's musings

There are some reasons for so little activity on the Toblog of late. Mr. T suffered his first ear infection last week. It all started with one of his teachers calling me at work a week ago Friday to tell me Tobin was running a 102-degree fever. Matt left work promptly while I made the call to get him into the doctor. Our pediatrician saw him and tested him for RSV, which fortunately he didn't have. But he had fluid on his ears, and the doctor told us he might be starting an ear infection. We were able to treat his fever with Tylenol the rest of Friday and Saturday. Saturday night was one of the worst nights he's ever had--just wouldn't stay asleep for more than an hour. Tobin and I spent a good bit of the night cuddling on the couch by the Christmas tree, because he was most comfortable sitting up. He was still fussy enough on Sunday (but without running a fever) that Matt called in sick on Monday and took him back to the doctor. She confirmed that he had an ear infection, but described it as healing. He was doing so much better on Monday that we opted not to fill his amoxycillin prescription. Our thinking was we'd prefer to avoid an antibiotic if he's already healing plus Matt has an allergy to that one, so we worried about Tobin having an allergic reaction. Our little guy finished the week strong. We got great reports from his teachers at school. He appears to be back to his happy, healthy self.

While all of this was going on, I was incredibly busy at work. It was really hard for me to not be the one to pick him up from school and take him to the doctor and stay home with him. But his wonderful dad filled in brilliantly and even commented that the two of them had such a great day on Monday he almost felt guilty for staying home from work. Almost. I am so thankful for my Matt.

This is the first weekend in a while that we haven't spent with family. We were in Louisville for Thanksgiving, then my mom was in town, and then Ash visited last weekend. We should be in Florida by this time next weekend (my work permitting), which will be so nice. I think being parents has made us especially appreciative of our families--particularly our own parents. I know after my mom left I was pretty homesick to see her again soon. Matt & I really love the home we've made here, but I think all of the Walsh-Smith clan wishes we weren't spread out over five states (not counting our close extended family which would add at least another three states). We're all very thankful for the holidays and looking forward to some togetherness.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Six-month stats

Tobin has had a lovely "vacation" over the last ten days or so. As you know, we traveled to Kentucky last week, where he spent time with Grandma and Granddad Smith and his extended Smith family. Then, shortly after we arrived back home on Monday, his Mamaw Walsh flew into town and has spent the week with Tobin while Mama and Dad work. Even at such a young age, he seems to understand that grandparents are fun fun fun. Lots of smiling and laughing . . . and naps.

Today was Tobin's six-month doctor's appointment. He continues to thrive physically and remains in the very top percentiles for his age group. And he's not really eating much solid food yet (although Mamaw Walsh has been more successful at getting him to eat rice cereal). Anyway, here are the numbers for our big, strong boy:
Height: 27.25"
Weight: 20 lbs. 7 oz. (!!)
Head circumference: 18"

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Thanksgiving Pictures

I've added a few pictures to our picture page. Below are a couple of my favorites. I'll be posting a few more later tonight and over the next couple of days. We really enjoy reading your comments here on the blog, and I'd like to encourage you to leave comments on our flickr site, too. All you need to do is start a flickr account (instructions are on the site), add us as a friend, and you may comment to your heart's content.
kisses from grandma
table tummy time
Thanksgiving was wonderful. We enjoy any time we can share Tobin with people, but it's especially wonderful to share him in a place where he is so clearly loved. Tobin might not remember everyone's names from the weekend, but he knows what family feels like.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Funny Sleepy Boy

This is something Tobin does when he's sleepy. Click on the picture below. I won't try to explain it any further. Just watch it.

Won't You Have Something to Eat?

Tobin has begun the transition to solid food. I thought "solid" food was actually solid--which is apparently naïve. I've since learned that "solid" food is solid in the sense that saltwater is solid compared to rainwater. But semantics aside, it has been a fun week or so trying it out. Click the below photo to see a few scenes from our first week with "solid" foods. The movie is about 5 minutes long, so it might take a little while to load. Enjoy and feel free to post comments.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

6 Months!

Tobin is six months old today. Celebrate with us by looking at some of our new pictures at our flickr site. All of us are getting excited for the holidays. Tobin is quite the little man now--you'll see what I mean. Here are a couple of the new pics. You can click on them to be taken to our photo page.
fold the laundrywhat a nice mom

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Playtime Video

Tobin loves his new activity center. Click his picture below to launch a video of him playing in it. It may take a while to load because the video is around 3 minutes long.

Friday, November 03, 2006

New Pictures

New pictures are up at our flickr site. This one is the one I'm personally most proud of. Can you guess why?
daddy's boy

The Leaves are Changing

Time has been flying by lately. I feel like I just went back to work, but we're 1/4 of the way through the school year. Tobin is growing and developing so fast that even Allison and I marvel at it, and we're here in the house with him every day. He can sit up by himself for a few minutes at a time, but when something above his shoulder-level catches his eye, his balance tips and he falls to the opposite of the side he was looking. He is bright-eyed and curious about everything around him--especally Hannah.

Hannah knocked him over for the first time yesterday. When I get home from school, the three of usually play on the floor. Tobin loves to watch Hannah fetch her rope and play tug of war with me. Since he was doing so well at sitting up, I put him on my left side while Hannah and I were playing. On one of her return trips with her rope, she took a detour to give T. a sniff and pushed him over with her snout. In the fraction of a second it took for him to roll onto his back on his playmat, I already had visions of us in the Emergency Room and the interview with Child Protective Services about my delinquency as a parent. Tobin's reaction was nothing like mine: he flopped onto his back, awash in giggles. He thought being pushed over was hilarious. When I pulled him back up to a sitting position, he was smiling and giggling so hard that he hunched forward. He would have rolled forward to complete his tumbling routine, but I intervened and set him between my legs for the rest of playtime with Hannah.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Five months old

Can you even believe it? Tobin Lee turns five months old today. (I actually didn't remember/realize it until about 2pm today, after a busy morning of oral arguments at the court . . . even though I've been waiting for the date for a few weeks now.) I suppose six months will be a bigger milestone since he'll probably be trying solid food and sitting up. Plus it's half-way to the big one-year. But for some reason, five months old sounds so much older than four months old to me.

Recently, a friend asked me if it felt like he was growing up too fast--whether I was mourning him becoming less and less of a "baby" each day. It's a mixed experience for me. Matt and I often remark how we hardly remember our life (and home) before him. But then it's seems not too long ago that we felt him kick inside my belly for the first time. I was a little sad tonight as I was nursing him and thought about the fact that I really only have about one more month of my milk being his only nourishment--a loosening of a certain, exclusive bond we have. But there are so many upsides to him growing older. I feel we get to know the little person he is a little better each day. And that's so much fun. It's great to feel like we actually communicate well. He "talks" a lot now. We can't even imagine what's going to come out of that little mouth once he starts using words. Very important, entertaining things, I'm sure.

His timing always impeccable, Tobin rolled from belly to back for us tonight and practiced sitting up. Even more precious were the smiles and squeals we got during our family time this evening. We are incredibly blessed people, Matt and I, and our little Tobin counts as the greatest of our blessings.

(Here are a couple of pictures of Tobin on his five-month birthday, performing the aforementioned tricks.)

if you asked me if i can sit up yet, i might say yes.

i just rolled over

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Mr. Personality

Tobin turns five months old next Wednesday. Allison already noted below how he's grown physically. Even more amazing than his phsical development, though, has been the emergence of his personality. He's a happy baby who can appreciate quiet time and loud playtime.

He has recently discovered the joy of bouncing on the bed. I hold him under his arms and bounce him up and down. He never seems to get tired of it. I say "seem" because my biceps get tired of lifting him repeatedly before he tires of the jumping feeling. He smiles from ear to ear and sputters out giggles.

His Aunt Ashley visited this weekend and discovered that he enjoys putting sunglasses on (picture below). He, his mom, and his aunt were in the car in a failed attempt to attend the North Carolina State Fair. While they were stuck in traffic, Ashley made faces at Tobin and put her sunglasses on him. I don't know how he did it, but apparently the sound of his laughter even made the gridlock on I-40 and surrounding areas tolerable.

nice shades

Tobin is almost always easily consoled. I can't say he understands language yet, but he seems understanding when I explain "The bottle is warming up right now," or "I'll be glad to check your diaper." His crying is communicative, not demonstrative, for which I am very grateful. A few kids at his preschool are always loud when I'm there. Tobin, on the other hand, always seems engaged in an activity or quietly observant, thoughtful in what he is doing.

A good example of his temperament was Allison's swearing-in ceremony. I took the day off work and took him to Raleigh so we could be with Allison while she became a member of the Bar. It was held in the State Capitol, in the original Senate chamber, and was the closest thing to a formal event that Tobin has attended. I was worried about him making noise or needing to be changed while we were there. Instead, he sat quietly in my lap while other lawyers took their oaths. He would startle a little when the gallery applauded each person, but he never protested. When it was Allison's turn, the three of us stood at the podium while the Chief Justice administered the oath (see picture below). At the reception afterward, numerous people remarked that they'd never seen such a well-behaved baby. A few of the justices made a point of remarking on how handsome and well-behaved he was. And while I can't claim he's always that quiet and well-mannered, it really wasn't that surprising to us. It fits perfectly with his personality.
swearing in

Monday, October 02, 2006

Still livin' large

Our sweet not-so-little man continues to thrive. He's dropped down a bit in his percentiles (hovering at 90% instead of 95% and above) but is still a big, strong boy by every measure. He had his 4-month check-up today. For those of you counting months, he's actually four and a half months at this point. Here are the stats:
Height = 26.25 inches
Weight = 17 lbs., 11 oz.
Head circumference = 17.5 inches
As noted previously, Tobin has had a remarkably smooth transition to life with both of us working. He's a big hit at his school and has even picked up the nickname Toby. (It was inevitable, was it not?) Plus, he seems to like it there quite a bit. Of course, he's at a very social age where he smiles indiscriminately--never seems to meet a stranger. And he's obviously doing okay with his eating, even though he eats about half his meals from a bottle now. I'm happy to report that he's still eating exclusively mama's milk, due in part to an awesome breast pump and a more relaxed working mom. We're planning to hold off on solids until around six months.

On a more general family note, I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers for us during this transitional period. For those of you who I haven't had a chance to talk to or email, I wanted to let you know that things seem to be getting better with each week that passes. While each day presents its own challenges, we are certainly adapting to and more at ease with our new routine. We're all pretty tired at the end of the day, of course. Speaking of which, I'm going to go join the sleeping boys.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Roly-Poly at 19 Weeks

This is the text of an email I sent to Allison this afternoon:
From: matt
To: allison
Date: Sep 28, 2006 3:45 PM
Subject: mark it down

at 3:40 PM on thursday september 28 2006, i watched tobin lee smith, from a position lying flat on his back, roll completely over onto his belly.

he celebrated by drooling, spitting up, rubbing his face in his spit-up, and then crying because he was on his tummy.


-proud dad.
Tobin and I were on the floor--he was on his playmat--listening to Willie Nelson's Red Headed Stranger like we've done every day this week (Yes, he seems to like Willie Nelson). He began to rock onto his side like we've seen him do before, then he tucked his knee underneath him and rolled all the way onto his stomach. At first, his left arm was still pinned under his chest, but another grunt and arch of the back brought both arms out. I was much more excited than he was. He stayed up for a while, then drooled a little. What happened after is described above, so I'll skip here to the part where I was so excited that I scooped him up and danced around the room.

He did a repeat performance for Allison when she got home from work a little later. I'm pretty sure our reactions were encouraging enough that he'll make rolling over a normal part of his routine. Tobin Lee is 19 weeks old today. Next step: crawling.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Best Intentions

Tobin was making really cute faces today. He was sticking his tongue out and blowing bubbles. It was adorable. Since it was just the two of us, I decided to try to take a picture to share with other people. As if by instinct, he would retract his tongue whenever the flash would go off. So, instead of getting "cute" photos, I got really funny ones, like these:
making faces
tobin, or is that winston churchill?

Since I wasn't getting the still shot I wanted, I decided to get the video camera out to record his face-making. Without the flash, I thought I'd have a better chance of catching the elusive tongue-wagging. Instead, Tobin was so intrigued by the camera that he just breathed heavily into the microphone and tried to grab the lens cap. No tongue-wiggling, no funny faces, just a cold stare into the lens of the camera punctuated by little grunts. He's a pretty funny kid already.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

New Pictures!

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind, but I feel like I'm beginning to get my feet back under me a little bit. One of the things that hasn't gotten its due attention is the Toblog. To catch up, I posted quite a few pictures on our Flickr account.

Hopefully, as I get used to the new schedule, I can find time to post pictures and updates more often. It's a little easier to find blogging time during my summer schedule. So, for those of you that still check the site every day, I'll be making an effort to send out more news. Even if it means I neglect a few essays written by my students. Thanks again for reading. Below are some of my favorite new pictures at our Flickr page.

sir smiles-a-lot

excited for aunt bethany

uncle al is funny

press kit photo

Monday, September 11, 2006

Tobin's Daycare

I don't know much about daycare. I've heard really bad things before [thanks Local Eye-In-The-Skywitness News], and I've heard good things before. But nothing I've heard has done justice to how nice everyone is who I've encountered at Tobin's daycare. The workers there are always friendly and seem genuinely excited about seeing me pick T. up. We chat for a while every afternoon, and they brag about his day in a way that has really made it feel like leaving him for the morning with family and friends.

I definitely have the better end of the daycare responsibility when Allison is working. She drops T. off in the morning, so she has to leave him. I get to scoop him up and take him home to play and take Hannah on a walk after I get done with school. Allison mentioned that Tobin had taken the transition to Allison working again the best of the three of us. I'll second that -- he is happy and healthy and wonderful. We think he's near 17 pounds now, but what's more fun than his growth is his level of alterness. He often seems to be on the verge of saying something. He tracks people and Hannah and laughs at himself in the mirror.

I continue to be thankful for the blessing he is and has been. And I've added to my list of thanks the people that he spends part of his day with Monday through Friday.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The grind

So it begins . . . Today was my first full day of work and thus our family's first real day of what will be our daily routine until Matt gets out of school in June. We did a few test runs last week, but it goes something like this . . .
Matt gets up first (at 5:00) and showers and then takes Hannah out. When he gets back in, I shower while Matt makes coffee, eats breakfast, and listens for Tobin, who is still sleeping peacefully. Then I try to get as much done as possible while Matt is still home and Tobin is sleeping: put on my makeup, eat, pack a lunch, fix Tobin's bottles and diaper bag, etc. We try to make sure Tobin is up to eat by 6:30. Matt leaves shortly after that. Then I dress Tobin, finish dressing myself, walk the dog again, pack Tobin up, and we leave between 7:15-7:30. I drop Tobin off at school and start my 40-minute commute to Raleigh. Matt picks Tobin up shortly after 3:00. I get home around 6:30. We hang out with Tobin, he goes to sleep, we do a little extra work, and then go to sleep ourselves.

It's been a long day. Fortunately, I think Tobin handled it better than any of us, Hannah included. He seems happy and content, even though his parents are a bit overwhelmed by it all at the moment. We're hoping time will help the routine go a little more smoothly, but for now it's quite different from our relaxed summer days.

Friday, September 01, 2006

TL Smith, Stormhopper

In an escape worthy of a B-movie, Tobin and his mom and dad left home 2 hours before Ernesto hit North Carolina. As exciting as that sounds, it was actually a planned trip, not an evacuation. We're all spending Labor Day weekend with Allison's side of the family in Florida.

It's been a long time since my last blog post becuase it's been hard to prioritize it in my list of things to do. The beginning of school has gone really well. It's been fun to talk to old students of mine about Tobin and the excitement of the last few months. And like any good dad, I keep a stack of photos in my room for anyone who provides the slightest opportunity to show him off.

While it isn't the most productive thought, I find myself thinking ahead to future time off that I can spend with Tobin. I wouldn't have thought that spring and summer breaks could be more eagerly anticipated than they already were. For now, we're enjoying a few days in Florida before getting ready for Tobin's first experiences with chilly weather.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


The big news around here is that Tobin's mom passed the NC Bar. So it's official, I will be a real lawyer quite soon, once all the licensure stuff is complete.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


I have very few memories of the dog my parents had before my sister was born. I remember her name was Sasha and that she was enormous. Of course, that memory is from a time when I could barely reach the top of a yardstick. I remember when she died and that my parents were sad. The explanation I remember being given was something along the lines of "A mean man put out poison for her and she ate it." Now that I think of it, I don't even know if that memory is accurate.

Our next dog was named Buttons. I remember holding her in my cupped hands when we still lived in Tennessee, which means she was really small when we got her. After Buttons, we went a while without a dog until we got Roxy, whom I blame in some part for Sarah not liking dogs very much. She (Roxy, not Sarah) was a rambunctious German Shepherd who never . . . quite . . . had it all together. She went away to someone with a big yard because she shredded the wood molding in a bathroom in our house and she knocked Sarah over frequently. In Roxy's defense, it was pretty easy to knock Sarah over back then--she was still hammering out the whole center-of-gravity concept. After Roxy was Spooky: the most reserved, least animated dog the world ever knew. But she would burrow under your back on the couch and snuggle for naps on the sofa.

I was thinking about them because I've been wondering what kinds of memories Tobin will have of Hannah. When I was trying to remember my dogs growing up, one thing that struck me was how short dogs' lifespans are and that losing a dog can be really difficult emotionally for a child. Allison and I talked recently about how that can be a good way to teach important lessons about life and what's really important in life. Allison and I are dog people. Even though some people have made fun of us for the way we treat her, Hannah was (and is) our first baby around the house. It will be really hard for me (hopefully a long time from now) when she dies, but I realize that I especially dread it for Tobin. The balance of that dread is the excitement I have for when he can recognize her and call her name and take her on walks and play with her and love her. She's ready for the play part now, and he's catching up quickly.

I guess the relationship between people and dogs doesn't make any logical sense. We have a four-legged animal living in our house whom we feed without asking any work from in return. She barks at our friends and family, and requires extra time and money from us that we might use elsewhere. But the relationship isn't a logical one. And really, of the things that I count most important in my life, very few would fit into Spock's pragmatic epistemology. Our relationship with Hannah is a snuggly, playful one defined by unconditional love and timely kisses. When my grandfather was ill last winter, I remember one night when I just sat on the couch and cried. Hannah, who normally sits on the other couch, jumped into my lap and licked the tears off my face until I couldn't help but smile and laugh. She didn't make the hurt go away, but I feel like she let me know in the only way she could that she wanted to help. I hope Tobin has similar experiences with his "big sister." If what I've observed so far is a true indication, I think theirs is the beginning of a wonderful friendship.
hey kids

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Dad returns to work

Tobin & I are a little sad today, because Matt started work again. His students don't come back until a week from Friday, so he'll have shorter hours until then. But still. It's the start of a transition period for our family. It's the beginning of the end of our wonderful summer of nearly-constant time together. I start work in two & a half weeks (Sept. 5), at which time Tobin will start going to day care.

Although there will be some changes & possibly difficult adjustments, I would be remiss not to mention all the blessings God continues to give us. Matt is starting his fourth year teaching at a school he absolutely loves. He won't be coaching baseball this year, which he will miss but it will allow him to spend more time with Tobin & for Tobin to spend less time in day care. I will be clerking for a justice on the NC Supreme Court, which is a wonderful opportunity (& exactly what I wanted to do right out of school) & will provide more family-friendly hours than most legal jobs. Tobin is enrolling in a our first-choice day care center. That was a huge answered prayer for us, because most of the good centers we had visited had waiting lists to enroll infants. We were not expecting to be able to enroll him in a center we liked, so we had started interviewing nanny candidates. While we liked the idea of a nanny, we were worried about being able to pick the right person for Tobin. Then around the time I was taking the Bar, we got an unexpected call from the center we liked the most, telling us that a spot had opened up. I can't underscore enough how good we feel about this place. It was highly recommeded to us by a person we trust, it's less than 3 miles from our home, & the director & teachers have been nothing but impressive in our interactions with them thus far.

Naturally, neither one of us looks forward to spending so much time away from Tobin but we are thankful that, since we have to work, we both have good jobs & are able to leave Tobin with people we trust. We appreciate your love & prayers which have carried us this far & solicit your continued support as we begin this new leg in our journey as a family.

new family at the table

(I love this picture of us taken a couple of weeks ago in Kentucky. Thanks, Aunt Sarah.)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

So much to see

Watching Tobin has given me a real appreciation of how amazing everyday objects can be. I wish I could remember a time when ceiling fans were absolutely the most fascinating object in the room. I can vaguely remember lying on the floor trying to track the blades of a ceiling fan on high speed, but that's a different kind of experience: one that has accepted the premise that fans are more or less everyday objects. To Tobin, the fan is a constant surprise and delight. A rough paraphrase of the look on his face is: "Wow! Look at that; it moves so fast but it stays in one place and no one has to push it and it blows breeze on my face and it's just splendid. Thank you ceiling fan for the air you move and the grace with which you do it."

In addition to the wonder of the fan, Tobin seems to have noticed his feet for the first time in the last couple of days. He has enough involuntary movement that they seem to operate independently of the rest of his body sometimes. This morning, I was holding him in a sitting position when his feet caught his eye. He was tranfixed until he would slightly lose his balance. Then his foot would twitch at the movement he had to make to correct his balance. When his foot moved, he would smile at it and his eyes would get big. Then he would stare so intently that he would lose his balance again, causing him to wobble, causing his foot to move, causing him to smile . . . and so on.

I don't wish that I could be so easily distracted by my own appendages. How would you explain that to the officer after you rear-ended another vehicle? "Sorry sir, but my left foot caught my attention and I stopped looking at the road. LOOK LOOK, it's moving again!" But I do wish that I could see things with new eyes again. There are some pretty magical things around the house that I take for granted: toilets, fans, stereo equipment, television, electric light, the microwave, books, the clothes dryer, running water. The list could go on. I envy Tobin the perspective that everything is full of wonder and new. I really look forward to hearing his explanations of where the water in the faucet comes from or why the sky is blue. I'm sure his answers will be more fun than the real ones.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

12 weeks & 3 days

I missed posting exactly on Tobin's 12-week birthday, which was this past Thursday. Twelve weeks seems a significant milestone. Most working parents are ending their maternity/paternity leave at 12 weeks. Matt & I are so blessed to have more time than that. Matt returns to work next week & I start in a little over 3 weeks. We have had a wonderful summer, NC Bar Exam notwithstanding. The last few post-Bar weeks have been especially fun, since Tobin now has two parents who can give him undivided attention. He loves to interact by cooing, gurgling, and smiling, so it's been so fun.

At 12 weeks, he continues to be very verbal & even more engaged. We were shopping at Target the other day with Tobin strapped to Matt in the BabyBjorn & I looked back at them & Tobin was tracking me. I stepped closer & smiled & his face lit up, making me feel like the MOST important person in the world. I am super lucky to have two men in my life that make me feel so special on a daily basis.

Tobin has also discovered his hands & his tongue, which he tries to get together A LOT. He loves to blow spit bubbles & stick out his toungue & then try to eat his fist. It's beyond cute, even if his dad is a bit put off by the drool. (Kidding, he's not too put off but he does feel the need to wipe it away more than I do.)

Tummy time is still more of a chore than fun. We're supposed to let him play on his tummy to develop his neck & back muscles, since he sleeps on his back. Tobin doesn't much like being on his tummy. He grunts in protest & will often just lay his head down & frown, which of course we cannot tolerate so we turn him over rather quickly. But he has made some progress & can be "tricked" into holding his head up like a little turtle if one of us puts our hands under his chest & then slowly removes them. He doesn't seem to understand that his arms can help him prop his head & chest up. He almost always puts his arms to his side & THEN tries to lift his head, which is hard for most anyone to do. It's all terribly amusing.

People frequently ask me about his schedule. For the most part, I would say it is: wake at 7, eat about every 3 hours, go to bed at 7 with one or two night wakings. But then lately he seems to be changing that. For example, he's napped more than an hour & a half past his 10am feeding. And last night, he was happy & awake until about 8:30pm. He's seemed to want to stay up later the last few nights. This is after weeks of going to bed rather consistently between 6:30 & 7:30, which was really nice because Matt & I could have dinner after he went to sleep. But I'm content to let him tinker with his schedule. He's been so easy that I can't complain. And even though he wakes at night, he's very easy to get back to sleep & is often kind enough to let Mom & Dad sleep in sometimes. It will be interesting to see how his routine goes once we start working . . .

Speaking of Tobin, he is now waking from a gigantic nap (for him, more than 2 hours) & I am sure he is a hungry boy.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Family? Tobin. Nice to Meet You

a warm welcome

You can click on the picture to see a larger version, but for those of you that don't know everyone, I'll attempt a caption:
Front row (couch) left to right: Grandma Yardley (Matt's maternal grandmother), Allison, Tobin, Matt, and Grandmother Smith (Matt's paternal grandmother).
Second row: Becca Stephens, Matt's mom, Vivian Stephens, and Britt Stephens.
Back row: Matt's dad, Ashley Hultman, Bob Hultman, Dan (Sarah's husband), Beckie Hultman, Andrea Hultman, and Sarah.
Vivian and Beckie are Matt's dad's sisters.

It felt like it had been a long time since everyone had been together, so it was fun to catch up. It was especially good to see Dan and Sarah.
We're looking forward to them being within a day's drive again. We were worried about how Tobin would do on the plane and in a new environment, but he did a good job overall, and even felt comfortable enough to express his discomfort or displeasure a couple of times. I'm can't say for sure if he did, but his parents definitely sensed the love and excitement of his extended family.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Terra Firma

We're back home. Tobin slept hard right after we got home from Kentucky on Monday. All of us were a little tired after our weekend, but it was great to see family and introduce Tobin to so many new people. Pictures and more will come soon. Among many other things, this weekend was a wonderful reminder of how blessed our family is. I wish all children were welcomed so warmly and completely into the world.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


I suppose this post is a bit overdue . . . Nearly a week ago (last Wednesday), I finished the NC Bar Exam. The best part about it is that it is over. I spent 5 weeks cramming and then 12 hours actually taking the test. Quite an ordeal. Tobin spent the two days with his dad, drinking every drop of each bottle offered to him.

Speaking of Tobin's dad, there are many reasons why I am thankful for my husband. But this summer, he has been exceptionally helpful. He was my nanny/housekeeper/cook/best friend while I studied a riduculous amount of law. I quite simply could not have taken the test without him--much less avoided being miserable while doing it. He allowed me great flexibility in balancing my study time with Tobin time, all while providing constant encouragement.

Tobin and I are so blessed to have Matt.

With the exam behind me, I can spend my time doing more pleasant, more important things. What have I been doing? Mainly, hanging out with Tobin. I've indulged myself by taking a nap with him each day since the test. It's been wonderful. The next few weeks are full of family time as Tobin will take his first two plane trips to Kentucky and Florida and entertain visitors like his Mamaw Walsh (yes, her 3rd visit in as many months!) and Great Aunt Bethany. And there will be a lot of time hanging out with Dad and Mom. Life is good in the Smith home.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

But how's the traffic?

I just wanted to share a picture with you. We've had our website here for a couple of years, but I think you'll notice that we've had a sudden surge in traffic in the last few months. Here's the pic:
traffic spike
It represents the traffic on our website in the last 12 months. The most recent month is on the far left. Take a wild guess when Tobin came to live with us.

Fatherly Explanations

Tobin gives us looks sometimes like he needs things explained. I admit I feel some level of responsibility to explain all I can. Since Allison and I are are both pretty good with sports (the stereotypical realm of the dad), I've been trying to figure out which topics I can weigh in on as "Expert Dad." I've gotten pretty good with stringed instruments, so I feel ready for any question he could ask me about those. And I've learned a couple of things around the house that I feel like I could explain with some degree of certainty. By degree of certainty, I think I mean the level of comfort I would have talking to a hardware-store employee. Example:
Comfort level high:
"Can I help you sir?"
"Yes, I need to replace the seats and springs on my kitchen faucet. Could you direct me to home plumbing?"
Comfort level low:
"Can I help you sir?"
"Yes, uh . . . I think my refrigerator isn't . . . well, there's a smell that I . . . and the electricity seems to--um--on and off a lot. Sometimes."
And what about the things in the world that are inexplicable? For an adult, that's a difficult concept. But how tough is it for a kid to realize that the people who decided to bring you into the world can't even explain it? I imagine Tobin asking me about a laundry list of things that I can't explain or even understand myself.
"If it's the Holy Lands, why do they hate each other so much?"
"Why are people mean to each other?"
"Why do some people live in the streets?"
"Why would you have pillows on a bed that are only decorative?"
"Why are half the sitcoms on TV about a chubby guy and his implausibly attractive wife?"
I don't have any problem saying "I don't know" to my students at school. I know I'll say that to Tobin a lot too, but there's a significant part of me that wants always to be able to explain everything to this face.


Saturday, July 22, 2006

What nice eyes you have . . .

So. From the very beginning, we have been quite taken with Tobin's eyes. Compare then (May 18, less than an hour old) and now (today, 9 weeks & 2 days old).

what just happened?

you don't say

Friday, July 21, 2006

Two-month stats

At 2 months and 3 days (or 9 weeks and 1 day), Tobin Lee measures 24.25 inches long, weighs 14 lb. 5 oz., and has a head circumference of 16.5 inches. He ranks in the 93rd, 97th, and 95th percentiles for each measurement, respectively. Since birth, he has grown 3 inches in length, gained 5 lb. 3 oz., and grown 2.5 inches in head circumference.

Most importantly, he is healthy (not even a cold yet) and happy (smiles more each day). We remain slightly perplexed by his giant proportions, given Matt's and my sizes. But we wouldn't have it any other way, since he is so obviously thriving. We remain immensely grateful and humbled by the blessing God has given us in our son.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

My day job

While Allison is diligently studying for the bar exam, Tobin and I spend most of the daylight hours together. One thing that I'm grateful for is the front row seat it gives me for his development. Allison described his independence really well in a previous post, so I'll just add that it's fun to see him choose his own activities and express his will beyond the original "I'm hungry" or "I'm sleepy."

I got a look today that can only be interpreted as "You're boring me. What else can we do?" In his defense, I probably was boring him: I had been showing him how I reset the bridge on my mandolin to lower the action and try to reduce pressure on the headstock. Allison gives me the same look sometimes when I say things like "I've been trying for an hour to figure out the correct attribute to standardize the margins and spacing on our website."

After the "boring" look, I put him in his crib under his mobile, which held his rapt attention for 25 minutes before he slipped away to Napland. After he wakes up, I'll go over his appointment schedule for the rest of the day before letting him check over drafts of Toblog posts. He picked up a keen eye for detail in utero when Allison1 was editing the NCLR2.

final edit

1. More commonly known as "Mom" since May 18, 2006. See previously published articles of Toblog. Digital archives availabe since May 2006 at Toblog, published by Smith, Smith, et al.
2. the North Carolina Law Review.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Well, it isn't Fellini . . .

We have more video to share. When I first edited the below clips from this week, the video came in at over five and a half minutes. I thought that was a long time to pay attention to one thing (Tobin has taught me that extended concentration on one object is overrated anyway), so I cut it into two parts.

But more than cutting it in two, we're going to make a game of it. You can view each clip by clicking the pictures below. The one with the picture of Tobin and me will take you to a video where I'm the one holding the camera. The picture below that one will show you the part of the video with Tobin's mom controlling the camera. I'll check the download files and data transfer to see which video is more popular. And, of course, I'll take that as a sign of which of Tobin's parents you like better. :)

I think you'll notice we have similar directorial style and focus. Be sure your speakers are on. Tobin talks it up.

tobin video capture

tobin video capture

The pictures are captured frames from each of the videos. I think they are hilarious. In fact, I imagine Kung Fu movie sounds when I look at them, like Tobin is in attack mode.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Tobin turned 8 weeks old at 5:32pm today. It's hard to believe he's been living here that long and also hard to believe there was a time when he wasn't here.

At 8 weeks . . .

He smiles a lot. His face lights up with a smile regularly when Matt & I put our face near his and talk to him.

He talks. Okay, it's just a lot of "coo"s, "gah"s, and "ah"s but it's pretty amazing. He's communicating in ways other than just crying and rooting. We spend a lot of time echoing back to him. He also seems to love it when I start the cooing. His face lights up, he smiles, and most the time he coos back. Perhaps his dad will post some video evidence soon.

He's showing some independence. He doesn't like to be held and cuddled that much during playtime. He prefers to sit in his bouncy chair or lay on the floor or bed, so he can kick and move his arms and turn his head. He still likes naps on Dad's chest and snuggling in the morning. Another new development is that he's been putting himself to sleep at night. We've been putting him in his bed with his mobile and soothie and he coos at the mobile for a while and then drifts off . . . with the occasional squeal of protest to tell us his soothie has popped out of his mouth. We're against letting him cry it out, but we're also thankful that he doesn't need to be coaxed to sleep every night.

He sleeps through the night . . . sometimes. For a big boy, I think the expectation is that he sleep through the night consistently already. He's been waking only once a night since he was like 3 weeks old, so I have no complaints. And then this week, he's been waking twice a night. But oh well. For some reason, nighttime waking has never bothered me much because he just eats and goes back to sleep. What I would like him to work on is not wanting to get up at 5, which has been the case the last two mornings. :)

Friday, July 07, 2006

Study break

It's been way too long since I posted. Alas, I am studying for the North Carolina Bar Exam, which is just 18 days away. (It made me wince just typing that.) I go back and forth between being stressed that there's so little time left to study and being thankful for the same. Come the evening of July 26, the bar exam will be behind me. Hopefully, for good. I could at this point share my musings about what happens if I don't pass the bar, but that's really only so interesting and I need to remain positive about it all. Writing about Tobin is much more interesting . . .

So here are some things that have been happening with Tobin. You can pick up a lot with our pictures. For instance, he smiles. For real. A lot. And at least twice, I've heard an almost-laugh. He's quite unpredictable and yet quite consolable. I feel like he has a new trick a week. Like last week, his trick was falling asleep in his bouncy chair. We would have him in there for playtime, listening to music; we'd walk a way for a sec and return to find him just dozing. This week is totally different. His chair is a very active place from whence he laughs and "bicycles" his arms and legs.

The other on-and-off again thing for Tobin has been his relationship with the pacifier. We gave him one kind which he took in the evenings during his "fussy" periods (which also come and go--so it's difficult to call them regular). We were reluctant to give him one because of the whole nipple confusion thing that affects some babies' breastfeeding. But since Mr. T is gaining a pound a week, it seems that feeding is something he has down pat. The first few times we tried it, he flatly refused. He either wanted my breast or Matt's pinkie. Then one night, he was fussing for no apparent reason, so I tried and he took it. And then just peacefully observed his mobile and then the ceiling fan for a while. That pacifier lasted for about 3 days. Then he refused--acting as if I was asking him to suck on a lemon if I put it near his lips. About a week ago, we introduced him to the "Soothie" brand pacifier. And he likes it. It's been consistent naptime/fussy time/night time companion for him. It's a rare night that Tobin isn't nursed or rocked to sleep, but he's had a few nights and naps where he can be put in his bed with the Soothie and drifts off on his own. All the while, it's comforting for me to know that he will refuse it if he's hungry.

Here's a recap of Tobin's and his parents' last week, since I haven't been too good about keeping a daily account:

July 1 - Matt & I celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary by going on our very first post-Tobin date. My parents were in town, so we went out for a one hour and 45-minute (who's counting?) dinner at Bocci, an Italian place around the corner. It was quite nice. Tobin and his grandparents had a lovely time. He showed them how much he likes his new mobile and then took a nap.

July 3 - Tobin meets his Granddad Smith for the first time. He greets him with a cozy nap.

July 5 - Tobin takes his first bottle. He gulps down four ounces of expressed breastmilk with aplomb. Okay, with a little too much air and some spills . . . but he was satisfied until his next feeding.

July 6 - Tobin turns 7 weeks and goes to his first baseball game. I can't capture it any better than his dad did in his earlier post.

In the past week, Tobin has seen both sets of grandparents and his Aunt Ashley. Tomorrow, he will meet Amy and Travis, friends who are coming up from Charlotte to see him.

All in all, Tobin has a very good life, just seven weeks in. And his dad and I continue to be amazed by and are completely in amoured of our sweet, strong little boy.

Sadly, I must return to studying the rules of evidence. Fortunately, Tobin is also due to wake for a feeding in about half an hour, so that will be another study break.

Oh, here's my favorite picture of late. Tobin and his sister, chillin' on the love seat.

siblings and friends

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Baseball with Tobin

Tonight we took Tobin to his first baseball game. The Durham Bulls beat the Richmond Braves 8-2. His parents and Walsh grandparents had a nice, pleasantly cool night at the park. Tobin was great. He seemed to like the music -- and he even slept a little.

tobin's first baseball game
I tried to explain to him that Richmond's starting pitcher was struggling with his location because of poor mechanics on his drive leg, and as you can tell from the picture and the look on his face, he seemed to appreciate my fatherly nugget of wisdom.

It meant a lot to me to take him to a baseball game. I think of Papa (my mom's dad) a lot when I watch baseball, and when I coach it. I've decided to take a break from coaching for a while. As much as I have loved coaching, it's not a difficult decision to give those 20-25 hours a week to Tobin instead. But tonight, being outside with the game in front of me and my son beside me was unspeakably good. Walt Whitman wrote about baseball before it was blown out of proportion by the big leagues. I looked it up to be sure I quoted it correctly:

Baseball will take our people out-of-doors, fill them with oxygen, give them a larger physical stoicism. Tend to relieve us from being a nervous, dyspeptic set. Repair these losses, and be a blessing to us.
Before I thought about it tonight, I always ascribed that "Repair these losses" line to the Civil War, but tonight it made me think about how much I loved--and love--Lee Yardley, and how much I love Tobin Lee. And to a much lesser, though still significant degree, how much I love the game of baseball.

Monday, July 03, 2006

When the grandparents visit

Tobin has gotten to see all of his grandparents in the last 3 days. We're having a good time, and as you can tell from the clip below, Tobin seems to be enjoying himself too.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tobin's Second Video

Tobin and I just finished editing his second internet-ready video.

You can watch it here (or click on the picture above). Please feel free to download it to your hard drive and watch it whenever you'd like [edit: moved to YouTube]. We had fun making it. And since we're getting better at putting video together and uploading it, maybe it won't be four weeks until video #3.

Monday, June 26, 2006

This music makes me sleepy

Lately, Tobin has seemed to be resisting sleep more after feedings or after being up for a while. One of his amusing/frustrating habits is the timing of his startle reflex. He'll be newly asleep, maybe a light sleep, and then startle as if he was being dropped off the bed. I know it's natural (yes, I looked it up), but the timing of it is uncanny. It looks like this if I try to put it into words:
Peaceful, sighing, drifting, drifting, peaceful -- I'M FALLING OH MY GOSH! . . . two minutes elapse.
Sighing, peaceful, calm, I am a cloud floating on the -- WHOAH! AM I BEING DROPPED OR WHAT?! . . . two minutes elapse. And so on for between four and twenty minutes.
Today, after one of those sessions, I brought him into the living room and put him in his bouncy chair. I was reorganizing some CDs and put the final movement of Brahms's first symphony on while I was doing it. Tobin was calm and peaceful almost immediately; he was asleep by the time the woodwinds took over the main theme. I like to think he's processing the music personally and finding it soothing, but I know it may just be a confluence of other soothing factors, one of which is probably the ceiling fan that was directly over his head. At the very least, it was nice to associate a piece of music I really like with him finding the rest that had eluded him for a while.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Height and Weight, Please

At Tobin's checkup today, he weighed in at 12 lbs., 12 oz. He's been gaining about an ounce a day since we brought him home. He's 23.25 inches long. His doctor assures us that he's 97th percentile and above pretty much across the board -- not that his parents are surprised. In fact, if he maintains his current pace, he could rival the Colossus of Rhodes (pictured) by the time he's 20.

Yes, we know his dad is a nerd for thinking of the Colossus at a pediatric appointment. And yes, you can click on the picture to learn more about the Colossus (the Toblossus?).

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Father's Day

I have a history of being a little let down by "milestones." When Grandma, Papa, Sarah, and I crossed into Canada (my first time in a different country!), I was struck by the sameness. Maybe if our family trip had been to, say, the Gulf of Oman I might feel differently, but I remember being a little disappointed that Alberta looked just like Montana. I also remember distinctly my tenth birthday (a decade!), my thirteenth birthday (I'm a teenager!), and my eighteenth birthday (I'm legal!) more for how I felt the same than any feeling of a milestone reached or passed.

The only time I had really felt the milestone-ness was on our wedding day. That felt like a real, significant event -- a line of demarcation at which I knew that everything after would be different. So as Father's Day approached, I may have been guilty of a little skepticism. But there was something really magical about the day. Tobin and I didn't really even do anything. I spent most of the morning and afternoon with him on my chest while I watched World Cup matches and the US Open. His naps were punctuated by diaper changes and feedings, which means that it was really just any other day for him. But for me, there was a different feeling to the entire day. And maybe most remarkably for me given my history of over-anticipating "milestones," it was a really special day. I felt a heightened sense of the blessing that Tobin has been in his month here with us, and humbled at the role I've been given on this side of Father's Day.
one month old
Tobin on Father's Day, the day he turned one month old.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Archives Fixed

There hadn't been any great clamor or anything, but I noticed this morning that our archives for the Toblog weren't working. I fixed them. You can now review all the way back to the beginning of the Toblog by clicking on the drop-down menu on the right ("The Time Machine") and selecting the date range you'd like. Toblog posts never die, they just get archived on our webserver. Hey -- it's like a scrapbook that I can get into.
[insert witty title here]
What? The archives were down? Get with it, Dad!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Dad is home

Yay! Tobin and I are very happy because today marks the first day of summer break for Matt. Tobin's glad to have an extra person around to hold him and nap with him. I'm thankful for the help, which means I can eat my meals and shower at more regular intervals. I also was able to start studying for the bar today. Ughh.

i think i like this music.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Word association with Tobin

"B" is for . . .

naptime with dad

Baseball = Dad.
Breastmilk = Mom. (Yum.)
Blue-gray = my eyes.
Buddha belly = mine.
Big beautiful baby boy = me.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Some random reflections

Four weeks ago today was a rough Tuesday for me. I had not slept well because I was having early labor contractions, but they weren't regular enough to make me think it was time to go to the hospital. I was uncomfortable, confused, and frustrated. I remember crying as Matt left for work--which certainly didn't make it easy for him to go teach all day and then coach a playoff game (which, sadly, his team lost). My friend Danielle stopped by and spent several hours with me, which was a tremendous help. (Thanks, DMW.) Tobin came two long days later.

So here I am on this Tuesday, filled with gratitude about the present state of things. Tobin is about to wake up from his second nap of the day (and it's only noon--what a life!). I feel that Tobin, Matt, and I are growing more in sync with each other with each passing day. I am feeling more confident in my role as Mom and, consequently, enjoying it more. Tobin is helping a lot by sleeping really well. Most of the last week, he has only awakened once between 11pm and 5am. He seems to be developing more of a routine with his sleeping and eating habits in general. The amazing part about all of this is that we haven't tried to "train" him to do this. Mostly what we've done is try to figure out what he needs or wants and give it to him--regardless of the time of day. My baby books say that babies fuss a lot during these first few weeks because they're getting used to life outside the womb. I'm hoping that Tobin is feeling more and more comfortable out here each day. Matt and I sure like having him in our world.

Tobin's great-aunt Louise just left after a five-day visit, which was really nice for all of us. It looks as if we won't have another visitor until June 30, when his Grandpa and Mamaw Walsh stop by on their way to a mission trip in Kentucky. It's been really wonderful to have so many family members visit our corner of the world and we look forward to more. In the meantime, we'll enjoy a nice stretch of alone time as a family.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

This smile is a gas

Allison took this quick snap of Tobin smiling the other day. Everyone we talk to seems to say that at three weeks old, it's probably just gas. But then, not everyone has such a strong genetic disposition for wry humor and knowing grins. Me? I think he knows more than he's letting on. Maybe he's smiling at his gas and the reactions he's about to generate with it. There's just too much evidence in this picture for me to chalk it up to gas alone.

a wry smile

Friday, June 09, 2006

Three weeks and a day

So it's been 3 weeks and a day since Tobin joined our family. These past 22 days have gone by quickly but have been filled with so many different experiences. It's hard for me to recall what it feels like to sleep through the night. (Honestly, I don't know that I did much of that after my seventh month of pregnancy.) For some reason, nights haven't been that rough for me. It seems late evening is the tougher time, which we've read is a classic fussy period for young ones. It's also hard to believe that Matt was quite nervous about holding a newborn and sqeamish about changing diapers (the latter of which he had never done before Tobin was born). He's now quite adept at both.

We continue to be amazed by and so thankful for our strong, healthy boy. At his doctor's appointment this week, Tobin weighed in at 10 lb. 14 oz., which means he gained 2 lbs. over the last 2 weeks--about double the target rate. Already an overachiever, I suppose? Seriously, his healthy weight gain was happy news for me, because breastfeeding is such an inexact science. After reading so much about breastfeeding and all the different feeding philosophies, it's easy to be nagged by some self-doubt. Empirical evidence is always reassuring. :)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Product Placement

For a long time, I've heard commercials in which a person writes in and says "I love your product . . ." I'm pretty skeptical about whether people can really be that passionate about Gold Bond Medicated Powder® or some kind of slow-cook rotisserie, but I think I'm ready to make my first endorsement.

I love our Baby Björn
®. I'm not as cool-looking or fashionable as the guy in the official ads, but I love strapping Tobin in and taking walks or hanging out around the house. I'm looking foward to when I can turn him around in it. He's probably looking forward to it more.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A friend of Tobin's is a friend of mine

Tobin doesn't realize it yet, but there are lots of people excited about him. We love to have people visit and share in the excitement of watching him sleep. That bit about "watching him sleep" should be an oxymoron, but one of the surprises I've had in two weeks of being a dad is that watching him sleep is one of the most enthralling experiences I've ever had.
another allison visits.

elizabeth says hi

Monday, May 29, 2006

Night time

Night time is my time with Tobin. During the day, with two grandmas, a grandpa, a dad, and usually a friend stopping by, I feed him and hand him off. My job is pretty easy during everyone else's waking hours. It's been really nice. At night, it's Tobin and me. Matt does wake up to help change a diaper or help position Tobin for nursing, but I usually have to be up anyway so I'm hesitant to wake him. The first few nights were kind of rough, but lately Tobin's been sleeping longer. I've also tried to re-frame my thinking about day and night. Tobin will sleep from 10pm to 9 or 10am. Of course, he wakes up anywhere from 3-5 times during that span. But I just try to think about how this is our time and be thankful for the time I have (kind of) alone with my son. It's a sweet sweet thing to have him fall asleep on my breast and watch his breathing change as he slips into deep sleep. Sometimes I'm not as thankful at 3:30am, but for now I am trying to treasure this time . . . I fear it will be too soon that I am worried about him being out past his curfew.

And all things considered, last night was a really good night. Tobin slept from 12:00 to 3:00 and 4:30 to 7:30.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


and he was a big baby?
As if I could feel any more joy after only 10 days with Tobin, it's been great to see him around his grandparents this weekend. In a week that I've been continuously reminded how blessed we are as a family, having them here has only added to that feeling. I don't worry about how our family will get along or worry that someone shouldn't be around the baby. Instead, it's just a feeling of love and . . . well, family. At least, what I've known and expect family to be.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Tobin Lee, the name

Many have asked about Tobin--how we came up with that name. It sort of just came to us. We tended to like Hebrew names, because many of them have Biblical ties and nice meanings. So one night we were looking at a list of Hebrew boy names and ran across the name Tobias, which means "God is good." We both liked the name a lot, but we worried that Tobias Smith sounded too much like a nineteenth-century fire-and-brimstone preacher (not that there's anything wrong with that), so we started looking at various forms of the name. Tobin seemed the perfect fit. One of our sources suggests it's a more Anglicized, modern version of Tobias. Plus it just sounds nice. And once we met our son, we knew it was right.

Tobin's middle name is in memory of Matt's maternal grandfather, Lee Yardley, who we lost shortly before last Christmas. Matt's Papa was a gentle giant who we miss tremendously and wish could have met his first great-grandson. We look forward to telling Tobin all about his great-grandfather Lee . . . and think that his wrinkly forehead favors him.

Friday, May 26, 2006


The website and the Toblog have been a lot of fun so far (if not as much fun as Tobin himself). I can't take all of the credit, though. I have to give some to my assistant art director.
tobin helps with the toblog
All entries here have passed muster with Tobin, who is quite the expert at passing muster -- among other things.

Speaking of that, I changed my first diaper (yes, ever) on Friday, May 19 and lost track of how many I'd done by Saturday night. I attribute my early successes to the on-the-job training program Tobin has instituted. He's a creative coach, using different techniques at irregular intervals to keep me on my toes. "Partial reinforcement" is a psychological concept I didn't learn about until well into my teenage years, but Tobin apparently practiced and mastered it in utero.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Professional Help

We're readers. In general, I find books and manuals helpful, but it seems like there's a theme among baby books that I've been consulting. Last night, Tobin was either fussing or eating for a four-hour stretch -- seriously fretting or ravenously eating. So . . . I check a couple of baby books. It seems like the books always say something like: "If your baby is fussy immediately after a filling meal, it could be an early sign of tripeptobribeosis, a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention or, he could be fine and especially hungry at this time of the day."

Hmm. So, it's either a) something really serious for which we should pack the car and call ahead to the hospital OR b) just relax and live with it because it's normal. I think I could write that book. Maybe I'll let other people ask me questions. Maybe the exchange could be something like this:
Worried Parent: "My baby has spit up three times in the last hour and has filled two diapers since I started looking for your email address in the helpful book you published."
Dr. Matt: "Hmm. Spitting up and pooping could be serious signs of a predilection for obstrepsopsis of the ductal tract. Of course, it could also be that he ate a lot and is merely going through normal digestive cycle. Beats me. Thanks for buying my book."
I guess that's part of parenting. Worrying and fretting over what is probably and hopefully nothing to worry about.

out cold

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tobin's First Video

We've posted video of Tobin's room at UNC on our website. This was taken when he wasn't quite two days old. To save it to your hard drive, you should right-click on the link and choose "Save Target As." You can try watching the video live in your browser or streaming from our site, but I won't promise our server can make it stream evenly [edit: we uploaded at YouTube].

Here it is: Tobin's Room at UNC

Tobin's state 50% of the time

Monday, May 22, 2006

Feel free to leave comments.

One of the nice things about the Toblog is that you can leave comments for us and others to read. Just click the link that says "comments" preceded by a number. You don't need a blogger account. You can just list your name or post anonymously. That's the way most of the kids in my classes do it on my work blog.

In case you were wondering.

Hannah seems to be getting along fine with Tobin so far. I'm not sure she understands that he's here for good, but she's been really nice. Plus, in what I hope is a good sign, he's been able to sleep through her barking.
I think you can tell she's a little unsure by her face in this picture. All in all, ours is a happpy, sleepy excited family.