Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Little Miss Veda

She is quite the sweet little princess, and she scares me.  Today Steve and I took the kiddos to a bar for an open mic.  It is early on a Sunday, harmless, right?  They love uncle John and he entertained them while we waited and hoped a mic would be set up... which never was.  Weird deal.  But anyway...  On the ride home I mentioned to Steve how I noticed Veda sizing people up, strangers that would stop and talk to her, touch her hair and work for a smile.  I waited for her to look to me and check out if any of this was okay.  She didn't.  She carefully studied each person and decided for herself if they deserved a smile.  Her personality is really starting to evolve and it is fascinating to watch.  When we had a baby shower at our house for the lovely Auntie Erica she sat in her highchair for a good long time, completely content, just watching everyone around her.  She is also one tough cookie.  Nothing slows her down for long and Sawyer flattens her quite frequently while Veda doesn't look the slightest bit bewildered.  That must be what happens when you have an older brother.  When she wants something she is not afraid to stiff-arm someone to get it.  The girl also loves a sing-along and bumps up her one shoulder to the beat.  I love that.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Allergy Update

I am figuring out how to provide a dairy free yet well rounded diet for our little Veda.  Through this experience I am trying to broaden my knowledge on good nutrition in general and push myself to try new recipes.  Today I whipped up some banana "ice cream" made with whipped up chunks of frozen bananas, a dollop of peanut butter and cocoa powder.  I can't beat myself up for feeding that to my kids, which makes me happy.  Next I want to try making some hummus type bean dips that will appeal to our taste buds.  I gave some store-bought hummus to Veda recently that gave her the tell-tale red rash around her mouth.  I have crossed that particular dip off of the menu for the remainder...  I think maybe it was the Tahini.  So, making my own hummus may be a good move going forward.

The red rash...
Luckily, it doesn't seem to bother her too much! :)

We visited with some friends that have gone dairy free at times for their kids that were showing sensitivities. I took home some reading material, Go Dairy Free is really informative about various dairy sensitivities and allergies. I haven’t gotten to the recipes yet but Jen tells me there are some good deserts in there! I definitely will find try out some of those recipes as treats are rarely dairy free it seems. (However, Oreos are surprisingly dairy free.) We took the kids to the farmer’s market a few Saturday mornings ago and that place is a mecca of all that is freshly prepared and delicious. I became immediately aware of the fact that it was not easy to find treats that Veda could enjoy as we devoured our breakfast burritos and donuts. I hate the knot I get in my stomach when Veda reaches for something that she can’t have and I have to snatch it out of her grasp. It is a truly terrible feeling. I don’t want to have that feeling anymore. This means I will be doing more to be prepared for our ventures out and hopefully will have healthy and delicious snacks available that our whole family will enjoy.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Balloon Glow!

Imagine a perfect evening sitting on a beautiful lawn with live music while enjoying PB&J and watching as hot-air balloons are inflated before your eyes. Yes, this was our evening.  :)  We didn't know what to expect, but our friends the Richmonds told us it is a guaranteed good time for the family.  It really was impressive and we were early enough to see a balloon lift off and then watched as 5 more were anchored to the ground for us to take closer look.  Sawyer was giddy.  Veda practiced escape tactics.  It was perfect. Pictures could not do this justice.  The scale of everything cannot be captured by a camera.  The heat from the flames shooting up into the balloon, I cannot share with you here.  But trust me, it was awesome.  You will just have to go sometime. 
Feel free to caption this photograph... I look forward to all of the comments from my devoted audience.

Feel the heat...  

I promise to do some research on getting the most out of my camera before photographing any more awesome hot-air balloons.  Better pictures next year.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Busy Weekend Day 2

On Sunday we made a trip North to see Blake and Jen and there trio of adorable kiddos!  Blake and Jen are incredibly busy with 3 children ages 4 and under!  It was so much fun to watch our kids all play together and Steve and I were envious of their space just outside of Waterloo.  It was such a nice visit and left us wishing we could get together more often.  Jen shared some of her expertise on life without dairy since she has eliminated it from her diet a couple of times to accomodate their little ones.  Luckily, both of the boys have outgrown their allergies!  This gives me hope.  :)  Here are a few pictures of the kids enjoying the visit.
 Bo and Veda

Caitlyn and Sawyer

Brady showing Sawyer how it is done.

Kiddos racing!

Veda and Daddy getting in on the fun.  :)

Full Weekend!

It is so awesome that both Steve and I are teachers and can take time during the summer to really enjoy our family and friends.  We spent long days on the boat, go to swimming lessons, hit up the park, take road trips to see friends and go to bed late.  Life is good.  Luckily for us, our kids continue to be really flexible and enjoy playing with friends and going along for the ride.  Now that Ms. Katie is on maternity leave we are making lots of plans to fill our summer with great memories.  Here are pictures from our visit with Washington friends on Saturday.
Vetter, Sawyer, Mark holding Norah, Emma, Veda, Sydney, Nick holding Drew, and Grace

Hollie with Drew and Jaclyn with Norah
My baby looking so grown-up!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sawyer's Favorite Part of the Day...

He looks so little in the x-ray chair!
Getting his teeth cleaned at the dentist.  No lie.  He was awesome and handled the cleaning so well they decided to try for x-rays.  Sawyer has a very healthy mouth and one very positive dentist experience under his belt.  Sweet.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Special Little Dinner Guest

Sawyer is such a sweet boy and loves to be mommy's helper.  When Mabel spent a few hours with us on Monday, he insisted on feeding her.  I loved watching them stretch toward each other for each bite.  He was genuinely helpful as he fed her while I worked on making the rest of supper.  
Veda enjoyed being the big girl and kept pointing at Mabel saying "baba."  She doesn't realize that Mabel is only 5 short months younger than her, but she attempted to put her in her place.  I kept having to separate them because Veda kept bopping Mable on the head.  Luckily, she didn't really seem to mind.  :/  I hope that when Rebekah reads this post she won't rethink allowing her baby to visit again!

Father's Day Weekend

Sawyer is just as at home on the golf course as he is in papa's boat.  He was blessed to get the best of both worlds and Steve and I both got good quality time with our dads.  :)  I was not brave enough to take my new camera out on the boat, however.  Occasionally we do get some water on-board and it would be just my luck to end up with a drenched camera.  Perhaps later this summer I will take the camera near the water.  :)       

Papaw and Nana with their grand-babies.

Andrea's handsome hubby/Sawyer and Veda's Daddy.

What a sweet little face.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Allergies... Keeping Things Interesting

I often contemplate all of the things our kids will teach us as we raise them and wonder what interests they will pick up and how their personalities will evolve.  Our lives are so ordinary and our kids are so mellow and laid back, we weren't expecting any curve-balls.  We are learning about what it means to plan meals that are dairy-free for a little girl with a milk-allergy.  As it turns out, almond milk is delicious and quite nutritious as well.  It has plenty of calcium and vitamin D which makes a great substitute for cow's milk for Veda... mommy may be making the switch as well.  We shall see, almond milk is about 3 times as expensive as cow's milk.  Right now I am hoping that she will continue to love eating avocados since that is one of her main fat sources... unfortunately it is becoming a significant fat source for me as well.  Not good.  But truly delicious.  :/  

  Steve and I are meeting with a dietician next week to get more ideas about dairy free products, recipes and cooking with milk substitutes.  I am hoping the session will provide more answers than our visit with an allergist at the university.  That was just an odd experience.  Basically we were able to observe a clear reaction to milk after a scratch test that bubbled up on her back.  Luckily she is not allergic to peanuts, almonds, eggs and she did not react to soy either.  The doctor confirmed that she is allergic to milk and needs to avoid it.  I asked if she could have milk in baked goods and he told us to avoid it completely.  That about sums it up.  I understand that he is a doctor and not a nutritionist or dietician but I was hoping for more information as we left there.  We did receive a booklet on treating Eczema if anyone is interested in that.  Steve and I must have repeated 3 times that Eczema is really not a major concern and we know how to treat it but he really spelled that out for us over and over.  Great, really useful for us right now.  Thanks!  Anyway, we will keep totting our Epi-pen and do our best to keep Veda from getting ahold of Sawyer's chocolate milk and shreds of cheese that have been dropped on the floor.  Lord, we pray to never require the use of an Epi-pen. Amen.  

Here are a few pics from our visit to the allergist.  We were responsible for entertaining Veda without touching her back for a full 30 minutes.  It was interesting.



I promise to be more committed to keeping this blog up.  It is summer, there is simply no excuse for sloth in this area of my life!  Also, we got a new camera!  I will have to share some new pics and with all of the activities we are up to this summer there should be plenty.  As long as I get brave enough to lug the camera around with me.  :)

Worst Mommy-Blogger EVER!

Two birthday's have come and gone in this house with no reference in this blog...  Time to rectify the situation.  We now have a 3 year old and a 1 year old!  They are so darn cute and getting cuter and bigger every day!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bedtime conversations...

Bedtime is rough lately.  It is quite the process that seems to take forrrrrrevvvvvver!  The conversations that take place around that time are so priceless though.  There are frequent professions of love and silly attempts to not be sleeping.  Sawyer situates everything so perfectly and the blankets that total up to 6 some nights must be spread just right.  The Buzz Lightyear toys must be in their places and his lion and doggy continue to have important positions in Sawyer's bed.  For sleeping time, it sure is exhausting.  Occasionally I get glimpses into my future that cause me to pause a bit.  One night I was talking with him about putting his toy cell phone away or I would need to put it up where he couldn't play with it.  I startled myself as the words left my mouth and I realized their future applications.  I love it when I leave the room and I hear Sawyer giving the bedtime speech to his toys that insist on continuing to play after bedtime has begun.  It goes something like this.  "You need to sleep so you can heal up your owies and so you won't get sick."  I usually have to coach him with the reminder that they also need to sleep so they can get big and strong.

Sawyer has been reduced to bringing Veda into prolonging his bedtime, reminding me that she needs to brush HER teeth and needs another story before bed.  So sweet.  I know that these are the moments that seem so inconvenient right now and there will be a time in the not-so-distant future when I would do anything to have them back.  :)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Let's take a look back a couple of weeks!

There is snow on the ground :/  So... I decided to post some pics from Veda's first experience with grass.  Let's just say, she isn't afraid to get dirty.  Sawyer totally freaked out the first few times we introduced him to grass.  He preferred not to be near it not to mention putting his bare feet in it.  I sat Veda down in the grass on a 78 degree day without any socks on, anticipating the same reaction.  Surprise!  She started pulling out grass, trying to shove it in her mouth and in mine.  Soon she took off, crawling all over the yard and I mean ALL OVER!  It was fun to watch.  That is just her personality.  She is fearless which makes this momma a little nervous.  This little girl is going to teach me some things for sure!

Oops... Sawyer was a little sorry he shared that toy!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bath Night at the Smith House!!

Ugh... Work

This may not be the appropriate outlet for this discussion but I am using it anyway!  Today was such a sucky day at work.  We were desperately short of staff and I was so in over my head with the group I had today.  I held a discussion with a student I have worked with off and on over the last 5 years.  The first time I had him in my class he was a 7th grader.  He is not a little boy anymore and towers over me.  I like him, my heart aches for him, he has been dealt a tough hand.  He has come a long way since I first met him and he has experienced things in his life that I am so grateful I didn't as a young person.  Today he made my life harder.  He does this many days but today just about broke me.  I almost stopped caring.  I pulled him aside after many times of trying to redirect and encourage him.  I asked, "Do you know why I am upset with you right now?"  He responded, "Because I am not doing my work today."  I let him know that I didn't feel that really affected me, he was the one who needed to graduate.  I already have earned my diploma.  What I was concerned about was the fact that I felt I deserved more respect than what he has been showing me.  He had nothing but sarcastic responses to everything I pointed out to him.  I asked, "Have I made an effort to take care of every reasonable request you have made of me?  Did I stick my neck out to help you get classes at your home school?  Do I show you every day that I care about you and your future?  Do you think I deserve more respect than what you have showed me today?" Nothing but sarcasm.  I am doing my best to not take this personally and I hope someday he will wish he had showed me more respect.  Or better yet, I hope he will show others more respect in the future.  It is things like this that wear me down though.  I wish I didn't care.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Dreaded Hump

Sawyer has invented something to be afraid of.  He calls this monster "The Hump."  Said monster spends a lot of time menacing Sawyer from outside his window.  Mysteriously, he shows up whenever the furnace kicks on. Mom and Dad have told Sawyer the hum is just the furnace warming our house.  Without it we would be very cold...  As it turns out, with it, we are sleepy.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Veda 10 Months

She is officially on the move.  She should have some incredible upper body strength judging by her method of movement.  She pulls her self across the floor with her arms and lands with a thud with each push.  It is pretty adorable.  :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The life of Veda at 9 months...


Laughing at her brother when he splashes in the tub.
Gerber puffs
Spinning in circles on her tummy.
The floppy ears on her doggy.
Grabbing everything in reach.
Showing off her two teeth.

Reading books at bedtime.
Wiggling along to the music.


Having to entertain herself while mommy and daddy get ready for work in the morning.
Being set down on the floor while mommy makes dinner.
Finding that she has scooted herself into a corner.
     Notice a theme?