Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Olympics 2012

I love the Olympics. We don't watch too much TV in our house. But, when it's Olympic season, the TV is on all the time. Now with the kids, the Olympics take on a whole new meaning.  I printed off lots of maps and we would look up the countries as they would be on the podium or competing in the sports.  These maps and discussions we would have while coloring the maps took on some pretty great life lessons that I desperately want to pass onto my kiddos. 

It was a great lesson on how God loves the whole world, not only America and how He doesn't love America more than the other countries.

It was a lesson on how we have been given opportunities, money, and possessions that lots of others in the world do not have - we need to be thankful for those.  But, what are we, as the Smith family, supposed to do about it? How do we use all of that for the good of the world? 

It was a lesson to show Bella where the kids we've adopted from World Vision are from and who represents them in the Olympic games. 

It was a lesson to cheer on all contenders, regardless of what they look like or where they are from.

We talked about the symbolism in the Olympic rings and the colors of the rings. 

We talked about loving our neighbors, even if they lived in Somalia or Iraq or Libya or Europe.  We talked about how to we extend that love to our neighbors if we can't physically hug them?

We talked about God making each one of us special, lovable, and with a purpose.  We talked about how we are all the same and just because we live in America doesn't mean we are better. 

We sang "Jesus loves the little children" and talked about John 3:16. 

It was surreal to discuss these things with a 3.5 year old that would talk back and say things like, "Where do they live?" or "What do they eat?".  I answered honestly and we talked through the answers.  But, little children have a way of bringing into importance the things of life.  Questions like "do they have enough to eat where they live" and "what does their house look like" makes me question why I just spent $5 on a Starbucks coffee or $15 on a new shirt I didn't need when that money could have gone to those parts of the country. Out of the mouth of babes...

We also had fun those two weeks!  I printed off the maps of the world and after the kids colored them, she went to pack her backpack up.  We then set off to travel the world.  We went to Africa first in her room - hence the fun animals!
We made our way to China (JT's room), across the ocean (in a boat in the living room), and to our house again. She insisted on being called Dora the whole time.  When we got back "home", we made Olympic cookies. They were sugar cookies in the colors of the Olympic rings. So much fun!  Then we colored the Olympic rings and hung it on the front door.

Lastly, we made gold, silver, and bronze medals for all of us and practiced our podium poses. 
JT even got in the fun.  If these pictures had sound, you would hear lots of "YAYYYY" going on.

I'm so thankful for times like these to teach my kiddos that world is much smaller than we think. I'm hoping these lessons will stick to them.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Summer recap: July-August

July was full swing summer-time for us.  We had a routine. It was hot. We played in the water and gardened. It was hot. Again, we didn't "do" too much. I had grand plans for the summer to take the kids to all types of places and experience all sorts of things with them.  But, it was hard to even get out of the house sometimes with their nap schedules. Plus, I was outnumbered in arms needing to keep them from jumping into lakes or running away in the store. So, we stayed "put" at home.  Memories are made with people though, right? And, memories we did make!


JT became obsessed with his sister's chair and was very proud of himself for being able to sit in it.
I took the kids to Duke Gardens for lunch and to play (read: run and play a lot so you'll take a great nap).
My parents came to town!  Granddad is showing Bella the birds outside.
Neena is the bath-giver-extradonaire!

We went to eat in the fun-9th street district of Durham.  They have a bookstore that we always go in. So, of course, we had to show the parentals.

Dad and I built my garden area!  I will devote a full blog to this so stay tuned.
The ladies.
We played dress up alot!  Dancing and singing usually ensued these ensembles.
Academic princess. Love.It!

Grammy and PawPaw came to visit.  Sweet JT gave Grammy lots of kisses this day.

We gardened again.
JT got busted this day!  We had whipped cream on our dessert one Sunday afternoon and he found it when he woke up from his nap.  It got really quiet in the house, which is always an indication you're about to find some mischief happening.  Look at his face - He knows he's busted.
Daddy came home from work which usually meant wrestling matches within .5 seconds of him walking in the door.

And then smothering with kisses.
JT and I went running one Saturday morning since Bella was sleeping in like a normal person.  We returned to find her reading with her Daddy on the front porch swing in their PJs.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Summer recap: May-June

Hi y'all. Uhm....it's late September...and I haven't blogged much about the summer yet...so here we go...thanks for your patience!

This summer was fun and busy and stressful and busy and fun. With two kiddos at home that are very active and want attention, some days were exhausting!  But, most days were fun.  We didn't do many "big" things.  We mainly stayed at home because one kiddos would nap, then the other, then the first one again - and well, that makes it hard to go anywhere.  Our schedule was pretty consistent from day to day. I even made a "Daily Chart" to hang on the wall for our sanity and so Bella would know what to expect.  Breakfast, get dressed, put JT down for a nap, water the garden, Sesame Street, get JT up, lunch, put Bella down for a nap, play with JT, put JT down for a nap, get supper ready while they napped (or sit down for a while...), get both kids up, run some errands, daddy comes home, supper, bath, bed, pick up the house, and sit down!  Whew, makes me tired all over again.   Here's some photos of our happenings over the summer.


I've already blogged about our quick trip to Tyler but I had to include these pics.  Here's a picture of JT sleeping...don't let it deceive you though. This was 1 out of the 45 minutes he slept for 12 hours straight.
Bella was a trooper with all the movies she could ever want.
Grammy read lots of books to Bella.  Bella usually only gets 3 a night.  Can you count how many are in her bed?
I took Bella to the splash pad in Tyler and we had a great time.  She made friends with some school kids that were there and quickly played in their games.
And ate their snow cones.
Bella became a pro at pouring tea at her tea parties.
We all went to the zoo on a very HOT Texas day. I love this picture of the Smith Family!

Grammy and PawPaw with their two biggest fans.
And mommy and daddy trying to get a picture. Bella look this way, JT quit looking at the monkeys...

Another tea party before bedtime. Look at Bella's face. She was so thrilled to do this!  Susy bought this set before she had grandkids specifically to play with when she did have grandkids.  So, it was so much fun to use the set now!
Back in NC, we settled into our routine again.  And, when they got moody I would put them in Bella's room and open up her toybox.  You would have thought it was Christmas every time!
Bella and I enjoyed picnics in her room with snacks and books.
We enjoyed the lovely weather to paint outside.


We spent a LOT of time outside gardening or playing in the water while JT was sleeping. Little Bella became a pretty good helper too!
Jonathan and I enjoyed a day of shopping.  Nothing spectacular. Just shopping.  I am that mom that plays peek-a-boo in the store or lets her child scream when he's laughing.
We read and read and read some more.
We went to Daddy's work to eat lunch with him on his busy days. I love this picture!
This is at about 6:45ish when I got back from my run.  So cute!
Nearly every Saturday, we would go to the Durham Farmer's Market.  Sometimes, we would treat ourselves to a neat restaurant for pancakes the size of your face. yummo.
We gardened some more.
Our dishwasher had a leak under it, which meant not having a kitchen for 4 days, 3 large blowers and 1 air mover in the house, a new dishwasher and new tile floors.  It was a huge and LOUD inconvenience for those few days but it's so nice now.
We went to Duke Gardens when it wasn't too hot and always enjoyed our times there!

I ran. Next day, I ran.  Next day, I ran.  Next day, I ran.  Most days, I took both kids along for the ride.  A 30 pound stroller plus 60+ pounds of children equals a great, and sweaty, workout.  I love this picture!  Most of the time they would laugh, tickle eachother, or yell at anything that moved. Other times, I had to break up fights over the Cheerios.
Little Muscle man became enthralled with the pan drawer in the kitchen.
We made muffins for Father's Day for Daddy.
Jonathan learned to clap!
This is what my bathroom looked like when I tried to get ready most mornings.  It was loud and chaotic and I rarely got ready in silence or leisurely.  But, I knew I would miss those days when they are out of the house so I enjoyed it!

We gardened some more. Check out the loot!
We had VBS at our church where Mike and I did the skits.
We visited Daddy again and played his guitar.

Here's sweet JT looking for his Daddy.

We harvested our first, and only, bowl of blueberries.
We played more guitar.  What you can't see is Bella dancing all over the room!
We played in the water again...
and again...
Y'all stay tuned for the next post: July-August.