Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Tradition

In the Smoot family we have a Thanksgiving tradition. We take a family picture each year.
It used to be a lot easier to get a picture, but since Chandler's arrival it has proven to be slightly more difficult. Why? Because she's Chandler. :) No, it's usually because we have to drag her away from playing with her cousins to pose for 1 (or 20) shots. That's not fun for a kid!

We've been doing this for as long as I remember... here are some shots from Thanksgivings past:

2002: Pregnant with Chandler
left to right: Friend Ryan, My Sister (Aunt Erin), My Dad (Squire), My Mom (Grammy), Me and Brandon

2003: Chandler's 1st Thanksgiving


2005: This picture always makes me laugh. It was the most frustrating year ever, but I can laugh now. Chandler and I weren't feeling all that great and I think we waited later than we normally do (the sun was SO BRIGHT!!). Honestly, this was the best picture of the 3 of us... that's just SAD! I think Chandler even got spanked in the middle of all this because she flat out refused to listen to what anyone was saying!

2006: Pregnant with Riley...Miles Family shot. Much better this year! I didn't care for the location much. At the time it seemed great, but (as you will see in the next photo) once we saw the pictures we realized how bad the shadows were.

2006: Pregnant with Riley...Whole Family. See the nice big leaf shadow on Brandon's head?

Now, these photos as I mentioned go back MANY years... Unfortunately, I don't have a scanner (I hope to get one soon) so I can't share the horror that is Thanksgiving photos during the middle school and high school years!

Be on the lookout for Thanksgiving 2007!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Birthday Blues! **Not for the faint of heart or queasy stomach!

A few days ago we "celebrated" Brandon's 28th birthday. I know, you are probably thinking, "This girl posted 3 entries about her nephew's birthday and is 2 days late even mentioning her husband's birthday!!"

Here's the reason for my delay...

Sunday, November 18th was going to be a BUSY day at the Miles house. It was not only a Sunday (which is busy enough), but also Brandon's birthday AND I was scheduled to help hostess a baby shower that afternoon as well.

Well... 12:00 Saturday night/Sunday morning I woke up and had THAT feeling. You know the feeling... the one that's border line sick... the one that makes you think, "oh no... I can't get sick, not today!" Yep, that's the one.

I said a quick prayer, "God it's Brandon's birthday and you know how much I have to do today... PLEASE oh please don't let me be sick!!!"

1:00 am... SICK! VERY SICK! I crawled (that's pretty much a literal "crawled") back into bed only to hear Chandler coughing. Brandon (who had previously been "helping" me in the bathroom... my hair is too short to need anyone to hold it back for me!) jumped up and ran to check on her. The next thing I hear is, "Hurry Chandler! Run to the bathroom!!" Yep, she was sick too! Unfortunately we were too late... It was EVERYWHERE! Brandon and I had to strip the sheets off of the guest bed and spot clean the carpet... She has been sleeping in the guest room for about 2 months now because, "[her] bed is not comfy." I got her all cleaned up and put her in my bed.
It was then that I realized that when she went to bed she had PJ pants on... when I found her in the bathroom she didn't have PJ pants on. I asked her where her pants were and she replied, "I took them off because they had frow-up on them." I felt HORRIBLE. Apparently, when Brandon went in to the guest room she was on the floor at the bottom of the bed... best we can figure, she was attempting to get to the bathroom before she got sick and didn't make it so she was trying to clean it up all by herself! POOR BABY!

Brandon decided to leave us sick folk in our room and he went and slept in Chandler's bed in the girls' room. It hadn't been slept in for a while. :)

3:00 am... Same thing all over again! I got sick, crawled back in bed and awoke 10 minutes later to Chandler coughing and throwing up in MY bed! UGH!!! Brandon didn't wake up this time... I cleaned Chandler, got another set of fresh PJs, put the guest bed sheets in the dryer and put my sheets in the washer.... NOW WHERE DO WE SLEEP?!?! We were all out of beds so we went to the sofas. Chandler on the sofa, me on the love seat... makes sense right? since she's so much taller than me? :)
I was a little smarter this time. I put sheets and a towel under her and a beach towel on top of her, just in case.

Neither one of us was keen on the idea of sleeping only to be awaken in a similar fashion so we poped in a Veggie Tales movie (Josh and the Big Wall). I dozed in and out of sleep for the next little while.

5:00 am... Almost the same story... I got sick, Chandler got sick, Brandon woke up and came to check on us. We were able to avoid changing the sheets (thanks to the towel!). Since Brandon was up we wished him a HAPPY BIRTHDAY and gave him his gift. We bought him The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Chandler wanted him to watch it with her, but I convinced her to let him go back to bed for a while... it was his birthday after all! We put her back on the sofa with a clean towel. Since she was so sick, Brandon gave her permission to watch it without him. I don't think Chandler or I made it past the first 20 minutes.

Sometime between 5:30 am and 8:00 am Chandler got sick 2 more times... dirty towels were really starting to pile up!

8:00 am... Brandon starts getting sick. Have I mentioned that it was his birthday? We are obviously NOT going to make it to church much less the baby shower. I made the calls that I needed to make: the choir line to tell them not to expect me in the choir and Melanie to tell her that I'm not going to make it to the shower.

8:30 am... We all crashed in the living room.

By this point the only positive thing we've got going for us is that Riley is still sleeping!

She woke up sometime later (I have NO idea when) and was quite pleasant and not as clingy has she has been. Thankfully that meant we didn't have to touch her very much. She spent most of the day in her excer-saucer watching Baby Einstein movies while we laid anywhere that we possibly could... remember all the beds are dirty!

About noon I ran to Walmart to pick up Pedialyte for Chandler. That's the best to avoid dehydration in kids... it's not to bad for grownups either.

Chandler and I avoided what Chandler calls, "the frow-ups" for the rest of the day... Brandon, not so much.

He decided that it would be better to go to Chattanooga, pick up his laptop and work from home on Monday than to get the whole office sick right before Thanksgiving.
About 4:00 he felt a little better so he started getting ready to go... we ate some applesauce (the first solid thing we had had all day) and he got dressed. It was at this moment that Riley decided to get sick!
We took her to the tub and stripped her naked. It wasn't even worth washing the clothes she was wearing... I threw them away! We bathed her and Brandon headed off to Chattanooga.
While he was gone Riley got sick again. Chandler was a real trooper, she helped me get Riley washed, dried and changed without complaining once! She actually even came in the bathroom and said, "what can I do to help, Mom?" I looked at her stunned and then remembered poor Riley and knew I couldn't stop to ponder this transformation long... I had to take advantage of it!

This has been extremely long, but it doesn't even begin to do justice to how incredible LONG the day was!! We kept saying, "Is it still Sunday?"

Riley got sick one more time before bed. I managed to save the clothes that time.

We all slept ok... no middle of the night bathroom dashes.

Monday, Brandon stayed home. I felt better, Chandler felt better, Brandon felt a little better, Riley got sick 3 more times.... That made 6 baths in less than 24 hours!!!

I'm praying that next year for Brandon's birthday we are all sick-free and we can really let him enjoy his day!
Notice that I may not have spared any written details, but I didn't include pictures... you can thank me for that later! :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Think you can top this 1st birthday celebration?

I love kids, parties and birthday cake. Those are facts. So if you combine all 3, I'm a pretty happy camper.

This past weekend was full of GREAT kids, a FUN party and YUMMY birthday cake!

My nephew, Colten, celebrated his 1st birthday in STYLE. Kudos to Marie and Aunt Lainey for all they planning they did to make it such a success.

Here's a recap of our weekend in Warner Robins:

We arrived late Friday night

The girls discovered that Gran (Brandon's mom, Debbie) had bought a few new toys for her toy stash. The piano was a HUGE hit!

Saturday was the big party day. It was a John Deere theme... that explains all the cowboy hats and overalls.

Sheriff Colten

Chandler LOVED riding on the John Deere Power Wheel.

The girls: Left to Right: Brandon's sister, Amanda; Me; Sister-in-law, Lainey

This is my buddy Payleigh. Payleigh's dad, Caleb, has been a friend of Brandon's and Ben's (Brandon's brother) since childhood. We were so glad that he could come and we were really excited to meet Payleigh for the first time.
* I've decided that I need a brown eyed, brown haired little one of my own. It would be nice to finally have a kid that looks like he or she belongs to me!!

One of Colten's gifts was a John Deere wagon. Steve (his grandpa) hooked it up to the back of his riding lawnmower and gave the kids rides around the yard. They loved it!

Horse rides were next... We are really glad that Amanda was there to ride with all of the kids. I've ridden enough to be fairly comfortable on a horse, but not any time recently and I'm not about to get on a horse I don't know with someone else's precious little one!

The birthday boy got the 1st ride

Chandler got her turn

Here's Riley's age-appropriate horsey!

The birthday boy and his parents: Aunt Lainey, Cousin Colten, and Uncle Ben

Chandler and Mommy

Riley and Aunt Lainey
Aunt Lainey doesn't mind carrying Riley around. She weighs nothing compared to Big Boy Colten!

It was really windy on Saturday and it got pretty cool outside. We snuggled down while everyone was busy filling their plates full of yummy food.

My blue eyed girl

Time for presents!!! I have never seen so much John Deere stuff in all my life!

Here's a non-John Deere gift. Gran and the Chief (Brandon's parents) got Colten a Fisher Price Little People Animal Sounds Farm.

Brandon's mom decorated the cake. The vegetable row markers say, "Happy First Birthday Colten". Everyone thought it was adorable (it was pretty tasty too!).

As we were leaving the house that night, Marie (Lainey's mom) said, "Bye Riley" and waved at her. To our surprise, Riley waved right back. So Marie, it's now in the baby book... you got the first official wave.

We were wiped out Saturday night. We kept looking at the clock and saying, "I can't believe it's only..." It felt SO late!!!

Sunday was full of family and GOOD FOOD. We celebrated Thanksgiving with the Miles Family. Pappy (Brandon's grandfather) was able to come into town and Caleb and Payleigh were able to have lunch with us too.

Monday morning before we left to come back home we took Chandler to Monkey Joe's.
Last time we were in Warner Robins, Debbie and I took Chandler there and we had a blast. In fact I was so taken with it that I was convinced I should open one here in Cleveland! According to their website, one should be opening in the area soon.... I missed my big chance!

If you ever get a chance to visit a Monkey Joe's, DO IT!

Even the parents can play! Chandler wore me out the first time we went so I let Brandon have all the fun this time!

The drive home is NEVER fun, but we were all so tired from such a busy weekend that it wouldn't have mattered if we were driving 3.5 hours or 3.5 minutes... ok, 3.5 minutes would have been MUCH BETTER!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Birthday Bash Sneak Peak!

My house is a WRECK from unloading the car last night so I can't in good conscience sit at my computer and blog about the weekend without first attending to the mess. Well, once we can find the furniture in the living room I won't feel so bad, but until then... here is a sneak peek at the birthday party weekend!

Riley and Mommy getting geared up for dinner, fun and CAKE!

Chandler's 1st time on a horse... Thank goodness Aunt Amanda was there to ride with her!

Colten diggin' into that cake!

I PROMISE to give a full report soon! I hope that will tide you over until my house is back to "normal"... whatever that is!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Happy Birthday Colten!

My nephew, Colten, is 1 year old today! Happy Birthday Colten!!

We are headed down to Warner Robins tomorrow for the huge 1st birthday bash. I've been told there will be pony rides. That's pretty impressive for a 1st birthday! My sister-in-law, Lainey (Colten's mom), told me that Ben, Brandon's brother, was worried that birthdays would always be such a big production. She assured him that you MUST go over board for the 1st birthday, but not every birthday is as big.

That's VERY true....
We had 3 1st birthday parties for Chandler. Riley won't be getting as many, but we'll still do something extra-special! :)

Unfortunately, we haven't seen Colten since our trip to the fair, so I don't have any recent pictures to share, but I'm sure I'll have plenty when we get back on Monday.

Chandler and Colten (Nov. 2006)

Riley, Colten, and Chandler. Riley was only 22 days old and yes, Chandler is wearing a bathing suit in March! (March 2007)

One of my favorite pictures from our vacation this summer! (July 2007)

Another beach picture (July 2007)

And another! (July 2007)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY COLTEN!!! We are excited about seeing you this weekend!!!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Pretty In Pink

Today I decided to dress the girls alike. I don't do this too often... I don't want to be one of "those moms". :) Actually I always said that I wouldn't be the mom that buys matching outfits for her girls and dresses them alike against their will, but I think I'm slowly becoming one! It's just SO cute! I even went so far as to make them matching hair bows... My friend, Kristy, has told me that I should use my blog as an opportunity to showcase some of the bows I've made... be on the lookout... you may just see a blog all about hair bows in the near future! :)

Since they were dressed alike I decided to get a few shots of them together. I should know by now that that is MUCH easier said than done!!!!

Chandler gets it right on the 1st take, but Riley isn't cooperating just yet! (but it is a good shot of Riley's hair bow!)

Riley looks right, Chandler looks left!

I abandoned group photos and went for some one on one shots. Riley still didn't really feel like working with me!

Grass is more interesting than mom!

When Chandler feels like it she can be quite easy to photograph, but she doesn't always feel like it! Today wasn't too bad.

That's the REAL Chandler!

Here's why I'm happy with these pictures...
Today at 1:45 we were at the doctor's office. I noticed, over the course of the last few days, that Riley had a few lumps behind her ear. Fearful that she may have more dermoid cysts, I decided to take her in and have them checked out. Good news... they are not cysts. Bad news... double ear infection!
Some of you may remember that Chandler battled ear infections the first 14 months of her life. We had tubes put in when she was 15 months old and that seemed to fix the problem. The funny thing is, Brandon and I were just saying we are SO glad that we haven't had that problem with Riley!!! I hope and pray that this is not a sign of things to come.

Anyway... while we were at the doctor I asked about Chandler's kindergarten physical (She's scheduled to have it in January.) and when we should get flu shots. January is too late for a flu shot (as a part of her physical) so the doctor said we should just do it today. :(
YIKES! We go to the doctor for a few knots on Riley's head and Chandler ends up with a shot!! Needless to say, she was pretty mad at me, but I promised her ANYTHING (within reason) that she wanted as a result of the trauma I was about to put her through. She did as well as can be expected when a 4 year old is surprised by a last minute shot.
We headed to Wal-mart and she picked out a Sleeping Beauty Magic Wand (complete with sound effects) and a Robin Hood DVD. She's happily watching Robin Hood and playing with (and sharing with Riley) the magic wand as I type.

SO... taking in to consideration all that my girls have been through today and how they are probably feeling, the pictures aren't too bad!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

8 months have come and gone...

Yesterday, Nov. 2, marked Riley's 8 month birthday. I made the mistake of telling Chandler that it was Riley's "birthday" and she got really upset and exclaimed, "But MY birthday is 1st, then Riley's!!" I had to then explain that it wasn't really Riley's birthday, but she was now 8 months old.

I know you've all been waiting for it... here's the 8 month picture.

Sure, she looks happy and smiley, but here's what we got when we tried to take pictures earlier this morning...

This was about the 10th picture. When I saw it I decided that she had had enough and we would try again later.

After some food and a good 3 hour nap she was in much better spirits, but we still had to work for these pictures. Most every other month it has been pretty easy. She smiles and I take the pictures, but this month Brandon had to keep her happy while I shot the photos.

Ahhh, the magic toy that made it all possible...

Riley did not have a doctor's appointment this month, but I know she is growing! She easily finishes off a 4oz. stage 2 jar, an 8oz. bottle and a few puffs at each meal.
Her new favorites are Cinnamon flavored Applesauce, Sweet Corn Casserole Baby food, Apple Juice, and stuffing her face full of puffs.

Here are a few other pictures from this past month's adventures:
We had a family date night at Logan's. Chandler ordered a salad with her meal. It made me laugh, but that's what she wanted. Basically she picked off the things she liked and left the rest. Here's Riley enjoying our night out...

She spent most of the meal scarfing puffs and tugging on Brandon's shirt.

A few weeks ago Chandler, Riley and I were at the mall. We were passing Claire's and I asked Chandler if she would like to get her ears pierced. She was very interested in the process of ear piercing... especially the part that might be painful. I told her about when I got mine pierced and when Aunt Erin got her ears pierced. We ran into one of the girls from the church and Chandler asked her about it. She decided after all of her "research" that she was not ready, but probably would be when she is 5 years old (in January).

We headed to the car (after some other purchases) and she asked me, "Mom? What does it feel like to get earrings?" I told her again that it hurts a little, but it goes away after a while. Then I told her that we weren't going to talk about it any more (I was growing weary of the topic already). I told her that I wasn't going to bring it up again and that when she is ready she will have to tell me and I'll take her to get them pierced.

I loaded Riley into the car, folded up the stroller and got it into the car (not an easy task!), and got Chandler into the car. As I was in the middle of buckling her seat belt she looks at me and says, "I'm ready." My response, "We can't go anywhere until I get you buckled in."
"No mom. I'm ready to get earrings."

Ok, at this point it is already after 5:00. I KNOW that Brandon will be home any second and be wondering where we are, BUT I did tell her that when she was ready we would do it. I unloaded EVERYONE and EVERYTHING and we headed back into the mall. I asked several times if she was SURE she wanted to do this and she assured me that she did in fact want her ears pierced.

We headed into Claire's (I had already made sure they could do both ears at the same time.) and she walked right up to the lady and said, "I changed my mind. I want red January earrings because my birthday is January 7." The lady looked at me and said, "Ok. Let's do it!"

After much squirming and lots of tears Chandler came home with her red January earrings and here's the proof....
It's not the world's best picture, but it was the best I could do. She was terrified that I was going to touch them!