Monday, December 31, 2012

The Smiths' 2012

Mostly in pictures, I offer you our year in review.

We hosted our annual, fun Super Bowl gathering with the Mitas-Boohers.

pizza picnic

We enjoyed great spring time visits from Mimi and Ashley and Caleb.

lala w/her mimi

ash, tobin & evan

lauren & caleb

Tobin went to his first Tar Heels basketball game--a NCAA tournament game, no less. (Not pictured: we celebrated Kentucky's national title!)

carolina boys

We spent a lovely Easter break in Louisville.

the smiths, easter 2012

Tobin graduated from Kindergarten.

kindergarten graduation

The kids and I had an amazing week with Mimi and Granpa (and Ashley too!) in Florida.

3 babies on a slide

We celebrated Tobin's sixth birthday with our first trip to the North Carolina zoo and cake.

zoo! birthday! giraffes! zebras!

he was pleased.

Tobin lost his training wheels.

big big brother biker

Evan learned to use the potty.

meanwhile, in other family news...

Lauren turned one!

swinging in her birthday dress

Evan turned three!

it's a bird! it's a plane!

This summer, we took an Epic Road Trip, visiting family and friends in Georgia, Louisiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin.

the cottage crew

Tobin started first grade.

big boy, big school

Lauren started walking.

sunday walk

Tobin lost his first and second teeth.

welcome, tooth fairy!

tooth fairy affidavit

We were lucky to host Mimi and Granpa as well as Ashley this fall.

mimi & granpa w/grandkids (sept. 2012)

leaves are funny!

We had a fabulous Halloween.

punkins with pumpkins

Thanksgiving was cozy in Kentucky.

grandma & lauren

Our very merry Christmases were spent with family in Georgia and Kentucky.

impromptu family photo: merry christmas!

We are grateful for all that we have, especially sweet memories of Nana and Grandmother, who we bid farewell this year.

four generations


Sending you and yours love and light in 2013.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Evan at 42 months

42 months

Yesterday we woke up to a pretty snow at Grandma's house in Kentucky. Evan was immediately fascinated and ready to go play. We've had a couple mild winters in a row in North Carolina so it seems like the last time we had a good snow was three years ago when I was still carrying baby Ev around in the Ergo.

sleet or chinstrap?

During breakfast Evan was telling Grandma, Sarah and Dan that he was going to make a snowman and throw snowballs. Tobin chimed in and told Evan that he was going to throw snowballs at him. Evan said, "Yes, you will throw snowballs and you will miss me, Tobin!" Indeed, both boys threw a lot of snowballs but Evan threw more simply because he stayed outside the longest of all the kids and technically outlasted even the adults because Matt, Sarah and Dan had to come in to have lunch and get ready to depart for an early afternoon movie. Evan helped build three snowmen and a snow fort and still wasn't ready to come in. Here's hoping North Carolina treats us to at least one snow this winter so Evan can further hone his snow enthusiasm.

snow enthusiast

The snow was the continuation of a fun Christmas for our family and especially for Evan. He loves spending time and playing with our extended family. He didn't quite understand Santa, maybe in part because we don't make a huge deal about him. Still, we do talk Santa up somewhat since Tobin is at an age when it's fun for him. Evan wanted nothing to do with Santa at the mall. When asked what he wanted Santa to bring him, he usually wouldn't answer but would tell us that he wanted a Perplexus like Tobin's. Well, Santa didn't have a firm request from Evan so he got him a Star Wars action figure set. At first Evan squealed with delight to have his own "Dark Mater" but then decided "that's not good" because he really wanted Perplexus. Ashley and Donnie bailed us out and gave him a Perplexus so he was back to being happy, except when he was frustrated by said puzzle. (As it happens, in this picture Evan is playing with Tobin's and vice versa.)

perplexed by perplexus

Of course he's also been enjoying his Star Wars figures and new Lego sets, spending lots of time playing with Tobin, Daddy or just by himself.

darth vader v. luke skywalker

Evan is increasingly independent in life and in play. Most recently, he decided that he wanted to take a bath "second"--i.e., not with Lauren. So our progression on bath night goes: Lauren, Evan and then Tobin, who bathes himself while we get the younger two in their pajamas. While at first it seemed inconvenient to bathe them all separately, we realized that it might actually be quicker because there's less splashing and playing and we can at least conserve water by letting them use the same water with the occasional warm up. It's a new routine, initiated at Evan's insistence. His independent play finds him entertaining himself like he did for most of the afternoon today. I was in the den reading and watching football while Tobin chatted me up and Lauren insisted on snuggling and/or nursing at what seemed like 30-minute intervals. It occurred to me that I hadn't seen Evan in a while but he was happily in the living room, absorbed in a game on his LeapPad. And while he likes quiet play, he was later happy to lead the post-dinner dance party in the kitchen, much to everyone's delight. He remains the life of our party--whether holiday, snow day or everyday.

enthused ev

Monday, December 24, 2012

Tobin at 79 months

79 months

Tobin lost his second tooth a couple weeks ago. The tooth was perilously loose and the permanent tooth was about halfway in. Matt and I would try to get him to let us he but he insisted on pulling it himself. One Friday night after pizza and a movie, Tobin was enjoying a piece of peppermint bark and suddenly exclaimed "My tooth, it's gone!" We search all around for his tiny tooth and never found it so we assume he swallowed it. He was disheartened at the prospect of not having a tooth to place under his pillow but Matt smartly assured him that the tooth fairy would accept a note:

tooth fairy affidavit

So the tale of Tobin's truly lost tooth makes for a fun memory and even better story. He loves telling it. He also loves telling jokes, some are ones he's heard before but most are originals. My favorite of his jokes is "What kind of robot am I? A Nibot!"

perplexus pro

We are currently in Georgia with my side of the family, celebrating Christmas. We are so grateful to be here and that's enhanced by the kids' excitement about being with their grandparents, aunts and uncles. Of course, there's much discussion of Santa and Baby Jesus. This morning the five of us were all in bed together as we tried to wait until 7:00 before we started the process of waking the rest of the household and we talked about how it was Jesus's birthday tomorrow. Tobin declared we should direct our "Happy Birthday!" to the sky because that's where Jesus lived. (Evan noted that Jesus wasn't just in the sky but in an airplane!) Santa elicits a mixture of excitement and questions from Tobin. I was a bit hesitant to take him to visit the mall Santa for fear he would question how Santa was already in Durham but instead he responded enthusiastically: "I knew Santa was real! Well, actually I knew that last year since Ashley and Donnie heard his footsteps and 'ho ho ho.'" Then the next day, he was explaining that he just couldn't figure out how Santa could be real. I tried my best to evade and explain with something fairly incoherent about magic, mystery and superpowers. I finished by saying that we'll just have to see if Santa eats our cookies and leaves a present. All of this is a reminder of how he's this wonderful mixture of emerging maturity and seriousness mixed with curiosity and innocence. For instance, he can tell you vultures are birds of prey but he still colors them pink and purple.

pink & purple vultures

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Lauren at 18 months

18 months

Lauren loves standing on chairs these days. Depending on how chaotic things are at a given moment, I sometimes let her eat her breakfast like this or color a picture.

proud artist

She's ever independent these days. Trips to the grocery store or mall are a tad more challenging as her tolerance for sitting the shopping car or stroller is increasingly short-lived. I get this. I mean she has two big brothers to keep up with and she loves to run.

I let her explore when I can but since she doesn't really like to hold our hands when walking, sometimes I have to just let her protest her stroller confinement, which usually passes quickly enough ending with her sulking and adorably sucking her thumb. She is prone to tantrums these days when she doesn't get what she wants--whether it's playing with my cell phone or staying outside on the porch to throw the rocks in Tobin's "collection" or staying up instead of going to bed. While frustrating for both of us, there are amusing aspects to these mini dramas. When she's still at the point of resisting comfort, she'll sometimes assume the yoga position of downward dog and yell/cry. (She also will fling herself backwards onto the floor, which is less charming.) When she cries and is finally willing to be comforted, she'll point and say "eyes" and then press her eyes toward my face so I can kiss away her tears.

baby girl

So Lauren's world is so very exciting--sometimes not in the best ways--lately. But for the most part, she's handling growing up well. She's gone down to one nap this past month. I made the change after several weeks of afternoon nap resistance coupled with more night waking. While I usually dread changes in routine, this one's gone really well for all of us. We're less rushed during the day since we only have to plan around the one nap and I don't have to shorten the afternoon nap on days I have to pick Tobin up from school. Her night wakings remain a little iffy but she does a good job staying awake in the morning until her midday nap and most days sleeps two to three hours. Then she's just fine until bedtime, which I've tried to push a little earlier but ends up being close to 8pm. One of her favorite afternoon/evening activities is reading with Dad.

reading w/daddy

As she talks more and more, she particularly identifying animals in books. Sometimes she says the name of the animal but more often, she prefers to bark like a dog, quack like a duck or howl like a wolf.

howling w/daddy