I cannot express how extremely thankful I was to spend time with both sets of families over the Christmas holidays. It was like one huge house of love - with lots of noise and two very happy kiddos (read: Mike and I...or JT and Bella). These pictures do not need many words. You can tell how precious they are in the faces!
This Christmas was really special. We traveled to Tyler, Texas to see Mike's family and my family met us there! So, it was a family-filled fest! We were greeted with lots of hugs and food and snow after driving all through the night!
I want to experience nature, even in the freezing snow. I get that from my dad. And, since he was there, we both bundled up and went outside for about 0.5 seconds until we were too cold to stay out!
We also took Bella out to experience the snow.
It was so pretty for a little while.
And, we were catching some big flakes. But, then a huge gust of wind came and... We ran back inside.
These are the words to my beautiful four year old on a cold, rainy day. We were coloring on some big shipment boxes left over from Christmas presents we had received. So far, we had colored clouds and houses and more clouds and grass. Then, she wanted to draw a flower.
I had already drawn a flower a little earlier in our coloring adventure. You know, the kind with six loops around a circle. Then, you draw a stem and a couple of leaves. It's not hard. And, it shouldn't be a big deal.
But, to my little girl it was a big deal. I saw her trying to do the final two loops and she just couldn't do it. So, she tried again, very intently. One big circle. Four loops around it and then - no luck again.
That's when the disappointment struck. "Mommy, I can't do it". I tried my hardest to encourage her. "It's ok honey. All you have to do is try."
As she ran off to her room crying, I was trying to think of what my reaction was going to be. Should I pretend like nothing happened and try to get her to laugh? Should I wait for her to stop crying and come out herself? Should I get upset because her expectations were too high?
I followed her into her room. And, sat on her bed with her. And, had no idea of what to say. Nothing I said would work. So, for a little bit we simply sat there together and I let her cry. Then, when she finally stopped I tried to tell her again - "It doesn't matter that you didn't get it perfect the first time. All you have to do is try. And regardless if you succeed or not, you tried."
You see, she is born to two perfectionists who struggled with what she is struggling with when we were younger. So, I can't blame her reaction. But what I want her desperately to know is that nothing at all is expected of her in regards to performance or achievement or success. We are going to be so stinkin' proud of her regardless of what she does or doesn't do.
Bella's daddy came into to talk to her after I had and gently took her back into the living room. While I gave Jonathan a bath, I heard little conversations happening over green and red and yellow colors and an old UPS box. I heard her daddy showing her how to make the loops and the flowers. I heard him encouraging her with "It's ok" and "You're doing great" and "There you go!". After about 15 minutes, I heard her running to the bathroom.
And in ran a very proud little girl. "Mommy I did it. Come look!". Mike and I traded places and I ran in there to see it. She had made a beautiful picture of a lopsided flower. And was beaming about it!
And, I was too. I didn't care at all what it looked like. What I did care about what that she let us walk with her through it - regardless of the outcome.
So, I cut that flower out of the old UPS box. I want her to remember that we will walk with her through times where you feel like you can't do it - the times she fails and the times she achieves. Parenting is hard sometimes when you yourself feel like a failure. When you lose your temper or don't want to play another round of candyland. Or you're distracted by an upcoming school assignment. Or your Pinterest casserole looks more like a sloppy mess of noodles and goo. Or simply don't feel like you're doing a good job. Don't we all at times?
I hung that flower on the refrigerator. In light of a very busy school semester and work schedule for us, it's also a good reminder to keep trying, to remember others walk with you, to measure success in laughters and hugs and achievements in time well spent. And, to remember a heavenly father that always is patient with us. And, even if our results are lopsided flowers on an old UPS box, they are treasures.
I never knew I could be so proud of anything. Forget getting my PhD - I'm more proud when my children learn their letters or can say "nose". So, Bella's first dance recital was nothing short than being proud of my little gal. She was so excited about it too. A sweet friend at our church watched JT so we could just enjoy Bella. Mrs. Cathy, Mr. Jimmy, and Mrs. Brenda came to see it too.
Here's the little missy right before she went to dance.
And here we are after.
I could have worn a "I'm Bella's mommy" easily that night. She really didn't do anything special or dance perfectly. She just simply was Bella. And for that, I love her.
The Christmas season is so magical with a child. And with two of them, it's double the fun! Little JT has always been a little cautious to anything new. So, this was as close as he would get the first morning we put up the tree. I will always remember this morning! It was just him and I up at 6:30amish to look at the lights.
Sweet Bella decorating our tree. And see that bag in her arm? That's where she is stashing her loot to take to her own tree. We had no idea what she was doing!
Again, little man simply looking but would not get any closer.
Awww, finally he got used to it and could start decorating.
Nearly every night, they would sit there and rearrange the tree - which would mean taking lots of ornaments off to look at and putting them back on. It was a haphazard decorating job and I didn't fix it. I loved how random it was because it was done in love and in a child's eyes of wonderment.
Remember Bella's loot? This is her tree she did all by herself. Notice the hammer and her shoe? Also, notice the painting at the bottom that pulled the tree over nearly every day. I just love this!
Another special morning with me and the little man.
Awww, Christmas time!
These are the presents from Santa in front of his cookie plate. Bella was disapointed the cookies were not all gone.
Merry Christmas everyone! Next up - the trips to the grandparents.
Howdy, Emily and I are glad that you made it to our blog in honor of Bella Grace Smith (e.t.a. 10.18.2008). We had a good time naming the blog. In the end, the choice was between:
1. the blog concerning the glorious child of Mike and Emily Smith 2. ittybittySmithy 3. Mike and Emily are awesome
After long and arduous consideration, we chose number 2 (although numbers 1 and 3 do seem appropriate). We (and by we I mean mostly Emily) will be periodically posting pictures and updates on the pregnancy and then infancy of little Bella. We'd love to hear from you.
This blog will take you all through the story of Mike and Emily from our dating stage at WBU to the current waiting period of the arrival of our precious Bella. Check out the older posts to see our journey! Enjoy!!