Saturday, February 21, 2015

Take that "t" out of "can't"

This is where it all started. My educator-parents started the love on learning early in my life. (My mom deserves a whole 'nother post just on who she is to me ...stay tuned for that.) My Daddeo was my fourth grade teacher and I vividly remember the "spaceship" chart he had above the water fountain. I don't remember how we were able to move our spaceships. But I remember it said "reach for the stars" and the students could move their spaceships up toward the stars, probably based on performance or achievement. The striving for learning and excellence continue occurred over a water fountain in 4th grade. Was reaching for the stars attainable? You betcha it was. It's funny what you remember as a child, isn't it?

I've always been an overachiever and a perfectionist. My book report on "Call of the Wild" in middle school was supposed to be 5 pages and have 3 or so references. What did I do? I checked out every book in the library, laid them all out of the hottub cover in our sunroom, and did research! What ensued was 12 pages, about 20 references, and hand drawings of every wolf species. Uhm, yep, that one was a winner! (ahem, and qualified as a nerd status.)

My science fair project could have been a simple presentation on one of those pre-made cardboard tri-folds. What did I do? My dad and I had a friend build a solid wood tri-fold, complete with two inner sections that rotated to put more information on. That puppy was huge and really heavy, y'all! But not one bit of complaining from my sweet family!

I wasn't striving for attention or love - I knew that was unconditional from my family. I think I just loved learning and researching.  Mainly, I also attribute this attitude to six words said at home and at school.

"Take that 't' out of "can't" " ....said by my father.

He wasn't pushing unfairly or didn't expect perfection. My parents just believed in my sister and I and wanted us to see that potential in ourselves. I never felt like I had to earn their love or acceptance through my achievements, grades, or works. I just felt empowered to be the best that I could be. And when I fail, I would have them to fall back on for encouragement (and they had to do that plenty!). Now that I'm older and a parent of two smart kiddos, I love their example and encouragement.

So what does this all mean for now? My parents came for the holidays and one of my most favorite memories was going to the UNC campus with my Dad. I had a really important meeting about my dissertation with one of my committee members. He drove, listened to me practice, and changed the slides on my powerpoint slides when directed the whole way to the meeting. He listened and encouraged and waited in the car the whole time I was in the looonnggg meeting. Then we went to Starbucks and celebrated. (ahem, that was our daily ritual...or maybe twice in a couple of days? We like our coffee, yall.)

We also walked on campus and dreamed about where I've come and I kept telling him, "I can't believe I'm here". A gal from Lovington, New Mexico. Granted, it was a lot of hard work and determination to get here. But, it was also largely due to this guy and those six words. I put my arm through his, tried not to cry, and encased that moment in my memory with thankfulness.

It's funny what you remember, isn't it? Spaceships, six words, and walking on campus where I'm getting my PhD with the guy who started it all. Precious memories, y'all. And the dreams continue!

Monday, February 16, 2015


Oh my, I'm so behind...

Bella had to dress up as her favorite book character. She was reading "The Wizard of Oz" with her Daddy at night time so she picked Dorothy. Before school, all of the kids in kindergarten had a Halloween Parade around the school. You would have thought the parents were taking pictures of Miss America! We were so proud and giddy! 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Catch-up pictures

Here are a few random pictures I want to make sure get in the kid's books for the year.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Christmas with Neena and Granddad

My parents came to North Carolina in late November for my sister's first baby. yay for Fischer! I'll have an entire blog about that. But, y'all, he's a cutie! After the sweet Fischer Hughes was born, my parents came to our house. And we had a great time! My Dad read the Advent book while he was here (yes, I teared up every time), we made cookies, Dad and Jonathan made a gingerbread train, and we all just enjoyed one another. We went to a Christmas Eve service where Mike preached one of the most beautiful sermons on Christmas ever and came home to get ready for Santa. We put the cookies and milk out. Bella insisted on putting carrots out for all the reindeer except Rudolph - because Rudolph wasn't real. ha! Then as we were headed to bed, JT got sick. Poor little guy and on Christmas Eve! So we spent the evening getting him settled on a pallet. After he finally went to sleep, we put the Santa toys out and waited until morning. He was much better, thankfully, but Bella got sick a few days later. So, we weren't able to go to my sister's house and all be together. We were still so thankful to have our family here for the holidays. It's just not the same without family!

Thursday, February 12, 2015


Christmas with kids is always magical! The lights and anticipation and decorating the Christmas tree. We started a new tradition this year in reading an Advent book every night. It then has an ornament that matches the story to put on a small tree. Those times were really special - especially when we would all pile on the couch together. (Most of the time - other times we had to send a certain three year old to time out). It definitely made the anticipation of Christmas focus in on Jesus and what it meant for Him to come to Earth. Enjoy the fuzzy pics from the iphone!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Our BFF's

If you follow this blog, you hear me talk about our BFF's, Mark and Gayla Partin. Y'all, we just love these two! They came for a quick visit and we squeezed in as much as we could - which really means we stayed inside and talked and talked and talked. Of course, I had to make cookies that we always made in South Carolina. Mrs. Gayla was definitely the book-reader-on call for the kids. And, both were commissioned by the kids to play or color or hug. I know I've said it before - but everyone needs a Mark and Gayla in their life. We are so thankful to have them in ours!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Updates on the Smith kiddos

These little kids are growing by leaps and bounds, physically and emotionally! They play really well with one another (most of the time) and it's loads of fun to listen to their imaginations take them all over the world! Here's a few updates on them:

1. They both still love books. Bella falls asleep reading them every night and is readying well above a first grade level. Jonathan likes to find his letter (the letter 'J') in all the books or make up his own stories to the pictures.
2. Look at that determination! He has a very serious look when he's busy working.

3. These kids built a train to go all over the world. They labeled the chair for all of us and Mike and I had to sit down while we were being taken to China and Africa. They even had a safari once we arrived in Africa.

4. We have plenty of pushes and pinches and fights. But sometimes, these two love to give hugs.
5. Jonathan was painting Bella's Christmas present from him. He bought her a wooden castle to paint.
6. Welcome to the safari in Africa!
7. These kids love the fun train at the public library. They will get in there and read until I say we have to go - this is usually followed by lots of "but moooommmm!"
8. They like to sit as close as possible when they are watching their PBS shows. Sweet kids - until someone pushes the other. But you know. They are siblings! That's what siblings do, right?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Nap time

Hi everyone!

Uhm, it's been a long, long time. But don't worry! We will play catch up. I thought I'd first give you a glimpse into what our house looks like at naptime.

Bella falls asleep reading books. And Jonathan...well?