Tuesday, June 29, 2010

finn's first birthday!

(a photographic journey...)

(note his top snaggle-tooth! his 1st tooth popped through on his 1st bday!)

a special thanks to everyone who made finn's first birthday so special. we so appreciated the calls, cards, gifts and visit (duke!) and it made his birthday so memorable. thank you!

and finn's first birthday cake experience...
(my apologies for the length of the video!)
it never ceases to amaze me how different my two children can be from one another...lily's 1st birthday cake was gone in less than a minute.
not so for the chief...

Untitled from courtney smith on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

happy birthday, chief!!!

(photo courtesy of lisa smith)

happy birthday, sweet finn!

we can hardly believe you entered the world a year ago!

you have added a whole new depth of joy to our lives and made them so much richer over the last year.

your smile is contagious and your laugh warms our hearts.

it is such a blessing to be your parents and we thank the Lord every day for you.

we adore you, finn!

happy birthday!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

taking his time...

our pediatrician said that "finn is on his own timetable."

i think this was a true statement.

at almost one, he has no teeth and has yet to truly crawl.

but we are making progress and we think he couldn't be cuter.

Untitled from courtney smith on Vimeo.

(sorry about lily's exuberant cheering! she started by saying "go get 'em"...which somehow got changed midway to "go hit 'em." she is finn's number one fan.)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

happy father's day and congratulations!!!

happy father's day, to my amazing husband and to my wonderful dad!
i adore you both and you mean the world to me!

and to ryan, congratulations on becoming a 4th year! we have made it to the "golden land" of residency and i am so excited!

you never cease to astound me with your diligence and commitment, both to work and to our family. you work so unbelievably hard and then come home ready to love and serve your family. and you do it all without complaint. you are absolutely perfect for me and i am so honored to be your wife. hooray for 4th year!

and to ornob, behfar and parviz, congratulations! the department just won't be the same without you. you will be greatly missed!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

::lessons learned::

things i've learned today:

1) why do i buy toys for my kids? seriously.

we've had an influx of boxes arriving at our house with father's day and finn's birthday on the horizon. the last two days, my kids have been playing in/with the boxes for hours. literally hours. today lily and finn spent the bulk of their waking hours in the box together. and i loved every minute of it.

2) why do i buy new fabric to try to sew things?

when we were home, my mom and dad both gave me some clothes. my mom gave me some skirts she wasn't wearing often and my dad gave me a beloved pair of seersucker shorts that had gotten a hole in a place that was beyond repair.

i was inspired today to turn some of the clothes into things for my kids. lily got three new skirts and finn got a very broken in pair of pants. and sewing from clothes is SO much easier than sewing from raw fabric! half of the seams were already taken care of and the lines were already straight! i added some lace to one skirt, an extra layer to another (from a thin tea towel) and created some fun new garments!

ash and i have made a few pairs of pants for our boys from upcycled shirts, but i am going to have to do this much more often. i turned out four clothing items in under two hours, thanks to the bulk of the work already having been done for me! it was a great way to reuse something and i think that thrift stores and our closets are going to be seeing more of my business for sewing needs now! yaay!

3) why do i fret about our menu so much when i should just let the foods that are in season lead the way?

we have a bumper crop of green and yellow beans thanks to the farm co-op we joined this year. i had no great plans for dinner tonight, but after picking up our veggies, i was inspired by our fresh foods and by a recipe kathy made for us when we were home. it is so true that fresh food of the season are so much more delicious than foods that are out of season. i need to try to remember this simple lesson when planning our meals.

it's the small things! :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


ryan has always says that lily "throws just like her mom."

and sadly, that is not a compliment.

you see, lily and i can both be wildly unpredictable when throwing a ball is involved. she (and i) often let go too early, too late, or just miss the target by a long shot.

well, this morning, we headed outside to do some gardening.

as i was weeding our front bed, lily started playing with the rocks in our driveway. she started off by just dropping them and listening to the sound they made. then, she got a little more rambunctious and started tossing them.

as i was bent over pulling weeds, i was socked right in the forehead by a rock. and it came at me fast and furious!

i was so startled and i let out a loud yelp. lily didn't even realize that the rock she was throwing had headed in my direction.

but once she realized what had happened, all she thought to say was:
"mama, i think i was david and you were goliath."

awesome. how do you respond to that? :)

i think ryan is right...lily does throw just like me.

Friday, June 11, 2010


ryan just finished a 19 day stretch of working...and after about day 12 of his chaotic schedule, we decided it was time for the kids and i to make an impromptu trip to indy. so, i packed things up and we headed west for a few days with family. we missed ryan intensely, but it was great to be surrounded by family for a couple of days.

sadly, i was incredibly negligent in taking pictures while away. however, whit and my mom did manage to capture a bit of the trip in photos...

a little apple crisp action

lily and her old navy family...

a four person deep piggy back ride. not the smartest thing we've ever done, but we did manage to hold it for a millisecond.

some special time with grandma pat. lily loved every second of it!

thank you to our amazing family for always making so much time for us and making us feel so cherished!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

one step forward. two steps back.

lily has been potty trained for quite a while.
she has done well with it.
her bladder control is impeccable.
but, as of late, we've slid backwards a bit...

after weeks of being dry at night, we transitioned to underwear. well, for some reason, we are unable to remain dry anymore...i think it is because she knows if she is dry in the morning, she will have to get up and go to the bathroom. so, it is way better to get up in the morning without any obligations, right? back to the drawing board...

then, the other day during naptime, she was suddenly hysterical. i go into her bedroom to find that my child had gone right ahead and pooped in her bed. what?!? how is that possible?
well, let me tell you...she decided to take her underwear off and squatted. yes. squatted in her bed. and how do i know that? she told me. DISGUSTING. it was a good thing ryan was not home because he does not deal well with poop. the joys of mothering.

and then, on friday we were traveling to indiana to visit family.
all was going well on the trip until it was urgent for my daughter to go to the bathroom.
well, we were in the middle-of-nowhere-ohio and i drove for several miles with a hysterical daughter with no bathroom in sight.
i certainly did not want a wet carseat. and, lily had proved she was worthy of squatting. so, why not?

i pulled over onto a well protected stretch of road and opened up both car doors to create a nice little barrier.
lily was having a hard time visualizing what i wanted her to do. so, what's a mom to do but demonstrate?
so, i dutifully showed her the art of squatting and got cleaned up with a baby wipe.

i stood over her shoulder waiting for several minutes before she asked for a little privacy.
so, i stepped to the side of the car door and stood nearby waiting.
lily started humming a little tune and i thought that we were definitely in business.
so, i peeked down to see how progress was going and noticed lily was detailing the interior baseboards of our car with my used wipe.

awesome, lily. awesome.

well, let me tell you, that was the end of our squatting endeavor.

parenting is never without little thrills, is it??

Thursday, June 3, 2010


when i was a kid, i remember MANY a summer evening or night spent in our basement while we would wait out a big storm.

i remember my mom's gentle demeanor as she would usher the five of us to the basement to play in the dark with flashlights and candles as we hid under the pool table.

and i remember thinking how brave my dad was when he would climb the stairs and look out the back door at the eerie, quiet, greenish sky to see the status of the storm and what damage had occurred.

and mostly, i remember the feelings that surrounded these times in our basement... i was always flooded with a healthy dose of fear and also a lot of excitement. it was exciting to feel a little bit of danger and to all be huddled together, breaking up the routine and talking in hushed voices as we waited for the next big clap of thunder.

i was always very relieved when the storm or tornado had passed, but also a bit sad that our sacred time all together in the basement was ending.

well, today, for the first time, i laid the groundwork for that sort of memory for lily and finn.

about halfway through their nap, a huge summer thunderstorm was pounding down on us. i sat at our kitchen table as the darkness overcame the room and watched our huge tree swaying more than i've ever seen before. and i thought, "what would my mom have done?" she definitely would have had the five of us packed up in a flash. so, even though it meant cutting naptime in half, i swept finn and lily out of their cozy beds and we headed downstairs.

i could see in lily's eyes the same excitement and fear i felt so often on summer nights. i could tell she was looking to me for reassurance, but was also loving this adventure.

and my heart was warmed when she repeated over and over, "it's okay, chiefy. it's just a little lightening."
"it's ok, finn. we are safe down here."
"don't worry, chief. we will tell daddy all about this storm."
i loved that she was protecting and comforting her little brother... and also herself.
what a sweet big sister.

(note: pictures not from today...just for viewing pleasure!) :)


once i became pregnant with lily, i began agonizing about what products to use when cleaning my home. i became acutely aware of the chemicals i was using to clean and i became much more skeptical about what i brought into our home. i switched over to "natural" cleaners, but let's face it...they are expensive!

so, i vowed to myself that once my last bottle of cleaner ran out, i would try to make my own. i've read so much about the wonderful powers of vinegar and baking soda, but i have just been a bit unsure (and a bit too lazy) to make my own. well, we have run out of all conventional cleaners and our baking soda and vinegar are getting a run for their money. and so far, so good!

it is a lot cheaper and i feel confident using these products around my kids. and vinegar is naturally antibacterial but won't promote drug resistance bacteria.

i mixed one part white vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle and added some essential oil. the oil is the most expensive part of the whole setup. but, i have been using one tiny bottle of tea tree oil to wash our diapers since lily was born and still haven't run out. so, i think our new little bottle of lemon essential oil will be worth the money i spent on it. for dirtier areas, i sprinkle a little baking soda and then spray with my concoction...and lily loves the fizzy reaction!

i must admit, our house smells like lemon AND vinegar. i was hoping it might just smell lemon-fresh. but, as the vinegar evaporates, the smell entirely dissipates as well.

and i feel much better about cleaning around the kids or having lily clean with me. before i was always leery of lily touching the wet counter tops and such. and for as often as finn teeths on the table while we eat, i feel confident that he might just get a little taste of vinegar!

(lily cleaning vigorously...when armed with a spray bottle, all areas within a three foot radius are found to be a bit damp!)