It’s A …….

Nathan and I were lucky enough to see our baby this morning during our anatomy ultrasound. I’m exactly 20 weeks today…half way through my pregnancy. We got some good pictures of baby.

10JUL2015_14We even got to do a bit of the 3D ultrasound, and see a bit more realistic pictures. Here you can see the face with an arm up over the head.

10JUL2015.2_4This evening, we invited a bunch of family over to hang out, eat dinner, and reveal the gender of our baby.

Uncle Greg and Auntie Shaina called in for face time to see the big reveal. Here are the boys excited to see them on the phone.

P1230289 P1230290Then we got to the reveal. I purchased a present for the baby for each of the boys to open. So here you go. It’s a ……

 

It’s a……….

 

 

P1230291We are thrilled to be having three boys. Elias said he is “surprised and excited.” (He guessed it would be a girl). I can’t wait to have another little one tagging along with Elias and Simon.

Here’s one of the little feet that will be running around!

10JUL2015_9I promised my cousin Christine I’d give her credit on the blog for being the first to call it would be a boy…even before we were even trying for a third one!

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How The Smiths Beat The Heat

We’ve been in the middle of a heat wave for awhile now. The prospect of another really hot weekend was not exciting. Luckily, we had other plans! We headed down to the central coast to meet my parents in Florence. The forecast showed highs in the mid seventies with partly sunny skies. We couldn’t wait!

I have to admit…on Wednesday evening as we were desperately trying to pack in the heat, and on Thursday as we were trying to get on the road….I questioned the wisdom of trying to leave town with everything else we have going on. However, once we arrived, we knew that it was definitely worth it!

Thursday evening the drive went very smoothly. We arrived late in the evening, let the boys excitedly run around the hotel room, and then put them to bed. We got an opportunity to see Venus and Jupiter right out our window.

P1230197Friday morning we woke up ready to play. It was only about 50 degrees, though, so we decided to go to the pool and wait until the afternoon to hit the beach. The boys got dressed.

P1230206The pool was really neat! It had a kids water play section, and a small, warm pool for the kids as well as a bigger pool. We all had an absolute blast!

P1230217In the afternoon, we did finally get to the beach. Elias and the rest of the fam went while I stayed back with Simon to take a nap. Simon and I joined them an hour or so later. The beach was extremely windy, and very cold. Despite the beautiful sun, it was freezing. Elias had a blast both in and out of the water.

P1230226Simon had fun for about two minutes.

P1230230Then, he pretty much curled up in a ball on my lap and shouted over and over again. “Get me outta here!”

P1230231Saturday morning we headed to Cleowox Lake to play on the dunes. We hoped it would provide some sand and water play without the cold wind from the day before. It delivered! I have a lot of good memories playing on these sand dunes. It was fun to take the boys there to play! They started out with some sand castles.

P1230242P1230243Then, they got excited about running down the hill into the water.

P1230251P1230255Elias wanted me to go with him down the hill. I tried it..but I didn’t run. I did barely more than walk. However, I got a stern lecture from Nathan and was sent back up the hill to just sit and watch. I’ll have to go back someday when I’m not pregnant to join in the fun.

After all of the fun on the dunes, we had a picnic lunch, then headed back to the hotel for nap time.

In the evening, we went for another swim in the pool, had some take and bake pizza for dinner, and we took one more walk on the beach. The boys had fun running around, and writing in the sand.

P1230276It was the perfect end to our beautiful weekend. Thank you so much to my parents for taking us and sharing it with us!

This morning we woke up, and took one last swim at the pool. As we packed up, the boys got rid of some energy before the long car ride.

P1230281When we got home, it was super hot in our house, but I actually had enough energy to get unpacked, clean up the house a bit, and do a bunch of laundry. It was nice to have that burst of energy right when I needed it! Now, I’m sitting in front of the fan, preparing for work tomorrow, and relaxing. Our weekend away was just what we needed!

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A Bit of Down Time and Father’s Day Traditions

We’ve been go, go, go for days and days now. There are always ebbs and flows in life, and recently I’ve really felt in over my head. To top it all off, I start work on Monday so cue crazed mommy!

Because it is Fathers Day this weekend and because it is my last weekend before starting work, we decided to schedule in some down time this weekend. We got to go to a fun birthday party in the morning, get in some outside play and a leisurely lunch. Then, we went on our annual Father’s Day weekend tradition…swimming!

We went to the Conestoga Rec Center, which has a pool with a warmer temp, water features, and a water slide. All four of us had a blast. Both of the boys said they loved going down the slide the best. Elias went down all on his own, and Simon could be heard giggling on mine or Nathan’s lap all the way down the slide!

Here are my boys in their annual before-swimming pose.

P1230041My boys are so lucky to have a Daddy who chooses a Father’s Day tradition that we can all participate in together.

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Baby James’ Baptism and A Building Dedication

Today we had some really great events we got to attend. We woke up and headed to Ama and Baba’s church to see baby James get baptized. Afterward, we headed to my parents house to celebrate.

Here’s the man of honor:

P1220997I couldn’t get him to smile for the picture, but he was all smiles before this when I was singing and playing with him.

P1230002All of his cousins got to help James open some gifts.

P1230005After most of the guests left we stayed for a bit of swimming. The boys had a blast.

P1230015P1230024Baby James even got in for a bit. It was his first experience with a swimming pool!

P1230014He wasn’t too impressed.

P1230016 P1230019Simon was curious. He fell in from this position and splashed James. James let us know that he  preferred to sit in the shade with Mommy.

P1230022After much fun was had we all ate lunch in the shade outside.

P1230029We went home for nap time and pretty much wished we had popsicles or something else cool to snack on. Then we headed to our own church for the dedication of the new office building.

The church was so hot we pretty much roasted alive. Simon’s head was literally soaking wet from sweat. He looked like he had been swimming. And of course…both boys wanted to sit on me. Oh the body heat!

But truth be told we made it through the service with relatively little disturbance. The boys did great. It was afterward that was tricky. There was a reception. The boys were hot, tired, and hungry, and Simon pretty much had a meltdown. He was crying and screaming and throwing strawberries. Ugghh!

Luckily, we were able to calm him down with some brownies and broccoli. (Who would have thought?) The rest of the evening was relatively uneventful.

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Side Yard Craziness

Nathan and I, being home-owning rookies, didn’t really look at our side yard from about October until March this last year. Last summer, we grew vegetables over there and it looked ok. There was a bit of moss, some dead leaves and plant debris, but it was ok. Leaving it unattended for six months was not a good idea. When we went out there in the spring the entire thing was pretty much covered with weeds and moss. We even had some wheat growing out there. Nathan joked we should just let it grow and try to get a federal subsidy. The place was a mess and we wanted to have a vegetable garden again. But it was just so much work and we didn’t have time or energy for it.

We finally buckled down and decided that we were going to get that side yard fixed this weekend no matter what! And…we chose the hottest weekend of the year so far! Friday evening we had my parents over for dinner so that we could discreetly use their babysitting powers to entertain the boys and put them to bed while we weeded for hours and hours. I wish I had taken a before picture, but didn’t think of it until we were almost finished. Here was the last small area before we weeded. Just keep in mind that this is basically what the entire 10 foot by 50 foot area looked like:

P1220978Don’t judge me too harshly. Remember we are yard rookies?

Anyway, we worked and worked discarding weed after weed on Friday night. We got the area cleared and ready.

On Saturday after swimming lessons, we borrowed my dad’s truck, picked up some bark dust, and got to work. Yes. We were shoveling bark dust in the 90 degree heat. Actually…Nathan wouldn’t let me shovel it because of my “delicate condition.” So he shoveled it all and I raked and spread it all.

Here are the boys helping get the bark of the truck. They were so proud and happy to help.

P1220970 P1220973We didn’t let them stay out working for long, though. After the bark was offloaded we sent them inside for nap time and quiet time.

After many hours of sweat and discomfort, we were finished. We are very pleased with the results!

P1220988 P1220990I think I may have the boys make some pavers or something for the area. We even saved this hosta plant that was being eaten alive by weeds! We can finally plant a few vegetables. I know it is a bit late in the season, but I don’t think it is too late yet!

There ended our crazy side yard adventure. Let’s just hope whatever weekend we decide to do the other side is not this hot!

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Is It Summer Yet?

Who cares if it isn’t officially June 21st yet….I’m declaring it officially summer. Preschool has been out for a couple of weeks. Spring rec classes have ended. Our house is as dark as a cave because we have all of the windows and blinds closed to keep out heat.

But how do I really know it is summer? (Besides the fact that we pretty much just want to lay on the hardwood floor in front of the fan?)

1. Splashes!

Look at the fun these boys are having. You really just can’t get this kind of picture unless they are having some summer fun.

P12209562. Slides

The boys were trying to slide off the deck with the slide so instead I had them slide into the pool. They had an absolute blast. The pictures only capture about a tenth of the fun they were having. And….you know it was really warm out because the water was splashed out of there so fast I eventually had to just keep the hose running into the pool so there was enough water for it to be safe. That water was freezing, but they didn’t care with all of the fun they were having.

P1220960 P12209623. Trees

Little boys climbing trees. I knew it would happen some day, but I was surprised it happened so soon. Elias has been expressing interest in this tree, and has stood on it’s lowest branch a few times. Yesterday, Nathan and I were in the side yard working and the boys were playing in the back. All of a sudden we heard, “Look how high I am!” If that doesn’t cause worry, I don’t know what would! We rushed around to see him actually in the tree. He wasn’t actually high enough to cause me any worry, but please don’t tell him that!

P12209854. Sunbathing

Look at this perfect spot Elias found on my parents’ wading pool this afternoon after swimming and before lunch. Could this spot not be more perfect? I wished it was me!

P1230026So there you have it. It’s summer!

 

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Our Grand Adventure – Part VII – The Wedding

Well we finally made it to the best day yet…the real reason we even came on this whole adventure…THE WEDDING DAY!!!!

I had to be over to the brides room early with all of the ladies so that we could begin getting ready. The boys got to sleep in and have a nice leisurely breakfast and some play time. I guess that is just one of the luxuries of being a man.

After I got my hair and make up done, there were still hours to go and a bunch of the girls still to get ready. Since I was finished other than getting dressed, I decided to go hang out with my family. The last of us was getting married!

P1220726I checked back in on the bride, who had plenty of company and was still getting her hair done and figured I wasn’t needed so I went to check on the rest of the boys…my husband and children. They were doing just fine. The boys got to hang out in the tavern room all morning. There were snacks and drinks, a jukebox, shuffleboard, high-backed leather chairs, and much more fun. They were doing just fine. Greg was so relaxed he was even doing the Tunak Tunak Tun dance.

P1220738

Simon, however, was not having any of the make up. When I first walked in with  my hair and face all done up, Elias gave me a long look and then told me I looked beautiful. Simon, though, refused to let me hold him, and when I tried to kiss him as he was in my mom’s arms, he pushed me away. It was pretty heartbreaking. But I stole him away anyway and leaned him against my shoulder, and when he couldn’t see my face he was just fine. Eventually I left him back in the care of the men and went on my way.

I wandered around and took pictures of all of the beautiful decorations. I was most impressed by the arbor. This picture has bad lighting, but it helps you imagine how beautiful it was.

P1220741Finally, it was time for the boys to get ready. It was Elias’ first experience in a tux. He was so cute.

P1220742My mom and I stopped to pose for a picture together.

P1220751Simon, who had just woken up from a nap was not really into pictures, but we tried to get a few family shots anyway.

P1220759Then was time for the actual ceremony. It was beautiful and I admit I was holding back the tears pretty forcefully. I don’t have any pictures because I was a part of the ceremony, but I’m sure when they come from the photographer they’ll be great. After the ceremony we had pictures taken, and then the long wait began.

At first the boys were pretty good about waiting for the reception to begin. Although they couldn’t enjoy cocktails, they found ways to entertain themselves. Such as posing in front of the golf course.

P1220775Or finding a seat on a windowsill.

P1220779Nathan and I posed for a selfie…..

P1220783and while we did so the boys found a way to get dirty. It only takes a few seconds…but it was enough.

P1220782So we waited inside and enjoyed the company of Auntie Kristy’s daddy again.

P1220785Then, we were all told to head outside and down the street for another surprise. We did so and waited some more. Here is Auntie Kristy and baby James.

P1220790And the boys finding more ways to get dirty while waiting.

P1220792Pretty soon we heard a low hum in the distance.

P1220799Guess who it was!

P1220802Uncle Greg and Auntie Shaina making their grand entrance!

P1220803 P1220811 P1220812It was pretty cool to watch.

Look what Simon found while we all had our backs turned! Typical. At least one of the junior bridesmaids seems to have it under control.

P1220816We headed back to the reception hall and helped Shaina get ready for her entrance to the reception. She looked stunning on her wedding day!

P1220819While we were waiting for the wedding party to be announced into the reception, Elias got pretty nervous around the girls again. I was inwardly laughing and outwardly taking pictures. I’m such a mean mom.

P1220823Here he is being forced to hold hands. I overheard the flower girl tell him quite forcefully, “You have to hold my hand!” It was all a show he put on, though. I heard from people who watched him walk in that he was smiling and waving, and once he reached the dance floor he ran and slid on his knees to his spot amidst cheering and applauding from the crowd. Who would have thought?

P1220828After the wedding party was announced, the cake cutting happened first, then dinner.

P1220830During dinner there were toasts. My brother, Scott, gave a very heartfelt toast. I was very impressed and proud.

P1220836After dinner the boys took over the dance floor.

P1220853They had to give it up for the first dance, the father-daughter dance, and the mother-son dance. But then when dancing started in earnest the boys were very into it, and Elias got us all involved.

P1220867He took a turn with Uncle Greg.

P1220876And Uncle Scott.

P1220878No one took a picture, but I was out there dancing with him a bunch. He also got Ama and Simon involved.

P1220879And Baba too.

P1220882They even slow danced together.

P1220892Then after quite a while of exerting themselves, they sat down to rest. Look at those rosy cheeks and that glazed look in his eyes. This boy was tired!

P1220883There was still about an hour left in the reception, but the boys were pretty much expired. It was a beautiful day and went pretty much a smoothly as anyone could have hoped. We got to be with family and have fun too. We said our goodbyes and headed back to the inn for bedtime.

Congratulations Greg and Shaina! We love you!

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Our Grand Adventure – Part VI – Wedding Prep

After arriving in Westfield Center, Ohio, the next two days were the most relaxing of our trip. I hate to say so because my brother and his fiance were so stressed getting everything ready for the wedding while we were relaxing and having fun family times.

We started out Thursday morning by playing out on the big grassy field with some small bat and ball toys we purchased for the boys at the Pirates game.

P1220636We also spent some time climbing trees…something the boys have been really interested in lately.

P1220645We hung out with family.

P1220651We even got to enjoy some large chocolate coins we had purchased in West Virginia.

P1220660On Friday we visited a nearby strip mall that had a train ride. We weren’t quite sure what to expect but it turned out to be really great! It was a twenty minute ride.

P1220670P1220663After the train ride it was lunch time, nap time, and then time to get ready for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Here are my handsome boys.

P1220672Here is my brother unloading the doors he built for his future wife to walk through.

P1220676Elias was pretty nervous to walk down the aisle as the ring bearer, but he warmed up with some of the junior bridesmaids took him under their wing.

P1220682And my handsome husband at the rehearsal. We got to be partnered and walk together.

P1220685The location was beautiful and I couldn’t wait to see it all decorated on the wedding day. We headed to the rehearsal dinner. Here is Elias and Uncle Scott practicing a magic trick that Elias learned from Auntie Kristy’s dad.

P1220700Nathan was quite happy to receive this shaving kit from Greg as a groomsmen gift.

P1220704We had a lot of fun and were ready for the big day!

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Our Grand Adventure – Part V – Our Anniversary

We woke up on Wednesday, May 20th in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and it was our 9th anniversary. Most of our trip had been planned out well in advance, but we had about four plans for our anniversary day, and none of those was what we ended up doing! We had been wanting to see my brother’s house just outside of Columbus, but we never thought there would be time to make it out there. At the last minute, we were in touch with my parents and my brother and we all decided to take a few extra hours in the car to make a visit.

This excited Elias because he would get to see his Uncle Greg and Auntie Shaina an extra day, but also because it changed our route south enough that we would pass through West Virginia! Another new state!

We pulled off at a Cracker Barrel in West Virginia so that we could get out of the car, stretch our legs, and claim we had actually been there. Here we are overlooking some beautiful hills in West Virginia on our anniversary.

P1220566We timed our departure from Pennsylvania to meet up with my parents at this Cracker Barrel. They had just flown from Portland to DC the night before, and were also driving to Greg’s house. Elias and Simon were very excited to see Ama and Baba in the Cracker Barrel.

P1220573We ended up taking quite a long stop because after the Cracker Barrel we went to a nearby Target to get some much needed supplies (bread, etc.) and then we got hungry enough to eat lunch.

Finally in the late afternoon we made it to Uncle Greg and Auntie Shaina’s house. They just moved in a few months ago, and it really is a beautiful place.

P1220577The boys enjoyed fishing in the pond behind their house.

P1220581Elias and Simon, who are both pretty wary of dogs warmed up to Chesney when they played fetch in the backyard.

P1220595All the men had to go pick up tuxes for the wedding so the women and kids were left behind to relax at the house. Elias got to enjoy some cousin time. Uncle Scott, Auntie Kristy and James had also flown to Cleveland the night before and met us at the house. It was a family reunion!

P1220614Picking up the tuxes took forever, and by the time they got back we were all starving for dinner. We went to a pretty fun grilled cheese place called “Melt”, and then made our way to Westfield Center, Ohio, where the wedding would take place in a few days. We arrived so late that the boys were long asleep. We were exhausted (it’s the theme of the trip), but we were super relieved to finally be at a destination where we’d stay for quite awhile. We were also looking forward to all the family time and wedding festivities to come.

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Our Grand Adventure – Part IV – Pennsylvania

Our adventure continued on the shores of Lake Erie. We wanted the boys to be able to dip their toes in the water. The beaches were closed for just a few more days until Memorial Day, but we didn’t actually want to swim anyway. Just dip our toes. The day was beautifully sunny, but there was a pretty frigid wind coming off the lake. And the lake itself was absolutely freezing. But dip our toes in the water we did!

P1220486

I was a little worried with no sand toys and no swimming that the boys would get bored. That was silly of me! With rocks and sticks around, who needs toys? The boys hunted out the best rocks to throw into the waves.

P1220506 P1220513Everyone got into it.

P1220496After playing on the beach we found a nice park with a playground for a picnic. The boys had fun testing their skills on the big boy play equipment.

P1220532 P1220534Next, we drove down to Pittsburgh to catch a Pirates game. Nathan has always wanted to see PNC Park.

P1220543

The boys really enjoyed watching the game, and got a kick out of shouting “Let’s Go Bucs!”

P1220545 P1220555 P1220563Unfortunately, we didn’t get to witness a Pirates win, but we stayed eight innings and got to witness many home runs, including one that cleared the entire park! We got back to the hotel extremely late and tried to rest up before the next leg of our trip…Ohio and my brother’s wedding!

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