Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Name Game and MORE Maternity Pics

My sister, Taylor, just took another bunch of maternity pictures, along with some fun pics of our family of four. I think she did a beautiful job. My favorites are the ones with Josh in them. (Tip: Adding a hottie to a photo shoot always helps pictures to turn out well. :)

We still haven't come up with any names for our precious girl who is due in several weeks. I'm not too worried about it. We will come up with something....eventually. I think we may have narrowed the search a little bit. I have been calling this girl a certain name in my head for months now, but am waiting on Josh to make a decision on the matter. He is still looking...

In the mean time, the kids have been enjoying playing the name game. They have PLENTY of ideas to contribute. None of their ideas thus far will be used, but I am glad to see that their little minds are thinking...and being creative.

Here are a few that Mary Alice suggested:

*Violet Jessica (She has been stuck on this one for a while...)




*Marilla (We've been reading Anne of Green Gables.)

*Agatha (a friend of Samantha from the American Girl books...She just loves this name!)

*Jessie (from The Boxcar Children)



*Lily (from Lily's Purple Plastic Purse)



And a few from Major:

*Boogley Googley Woogley

*Spiderman,Superman, or Batman (He informed me later that he doesn't really like these names, but was just playing a little joke.)

*Elizabeth (very pretty, but too much of a mouthful with Smith...Also happens to be the name of the stuffed pet elephant that he sleeps with every night. :)

*Emily (pretty, but too common for use with our last name)

*Ellie (a friend from church)

The names that the kids come up with remind me of when I was little. My brother was intrigued by the name "Ralph" and wanted to use it for one of my brothers or sisters. He had been reading that Beverly Cleary book about Ralph Mouse at that time. I am quite sure that all of my siblings are grateful that mom and dad decided to disregard his suggestion.

We continue to search through piles of name books in search for that perfect name. We have narrowed our search down a little bit at least with a few rules. No names beginning with the letters D, G, K, O, Q, U, V, W, X, Y, or Z. Nothing too common, as it can be troublesome with a last name like Smith. I love lots of "common" names (John and Jane), but those can't be used. Also... no names that end with a "s" sound or a "th" sound. One final guideline... no name that sounds like some kind of joke. I can always count on Josh to come up with a tacky nickname that someone might use. I am thankful that he thinks of things like that, because sometimes that type of thing doesn't occur to me. That is as far as we've come on the name game. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Don't Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Sweet little Major. I think he looks absolutely adorable in his little uniform! (Notice his tongue is out in all three pictures. This is his concentrating face.)

Ahhhh. Tee ball season is finally over. I breathe a sigh of relief.

I love watching my son play and be active as much as the next girl, but have been bewildered by the intensity of competition amongst these teams of little children who are barely out of the nursery.

We love Major's coach. He is so sweet and positive with the kids. We were blessed to have such a wonderful Christian man as Major's coach. The other children on the team are adorable. They are all so cute and funny. It is neither the coach, nor the kids that are the problem. Some of the parents in this league are another story.

The season could have been tons of fun, really. It can bring a smile to your face to watch a bunch of clueless 4 and 5 year olds pretend to be big stuff. It is exciting to watch these little guys doing things like running around the bases with big smiles, looking into the stands watching for their parents' thumbs up and cheers of approval. It is so neat to see them learn new things and make funny mistakes because they don't really have a clue about what is going on. I love to hear things like, "Good job, buddy!" and "Good try, big guy!" and "It's alright! Way to hustle!"

Here are the comments that are more likely to be heard resonating from the stands at one of Major's tee ball games.... (names have been changed, obviously...)

1) "GUH-O-O-OW Billy!" Billy's mom belts out his name again and again in an irritated tone that sounds more like yelling. "Biii-lly!" (irritated) "No, Bi-lly!" "STUH-OP! Billy!" Billy's mom stands up from the bleachers and screams at him again and again from the fence while she waves her arms erratically in the air. "UGH... BILLLLLY!!!!!!" I wish the mother of Billy would put her unhelpful remarks to rest and place her Daisy Dukes back on the bleachers.

2) "WA-KE UP Johnny!!!! What is WRONG with you? Open your eyes and start paying attention!!! You need to STOP playing around and start paying attention, ya hear me?????" "GO! GO! Now! NOW!!!!" "This is serious!!! DO IT!!! NOW! What are YOU thinkin'?" Johnny, who moments ago had a smile on his face and was kicking in the dirt, returns to the dugout where he receives a stern lecture on the "importance" of this game and how he'd better start paying attention....or else. The glowing smile that was on his face earlier is gone. He has now been educated on how "serious" this game is, and appears to be on edge throughout the rest of the game. He looks over at his parents for approval throughout the game, but not with a smile and a wave, but with a look of apprehension and anxiety.

3) (Perhaps the most disturbing comment of all...) "Timm-my! If you don't shape up and start paying attention, your bottom is going to be blistered with the belt when we get home!") WHAT?!? So sad. And SOO ridiculous!

4 It actually makes me nervous to sit around with people who are so high strung about a silly tee ball game. (and a game that is played by such little guys, at that!) I found myself hoping that Major would do well just so that he wouldn't be yelled at by a few of these parents. Major didn't seem too affected by all of the yelling, but at the end of some of the games that they lost, lots of the little boys were crying. Maybe they were just tired, or MAYBE they were afraid that they had disappointed their parents (or worse, were getting their "bottoms blistered".) I just found the whole thing very disturbing. Why must something so fun be made to be so unfun at such an early age? It stinks!

5) Josh and I kept shaking our heads over how many people got into yelling matches with refs about minor technicalities/rules. It just seemed silly that the kids barely knew what was going on, yet some of the parents felt like it was important to debate the nit picky rules in the league. The kids weren't learning anything from these tedious and time consuming arguments.

6) Last night, a fiasco happened at the ball field. It all started when something weird happened with the batting order. Our team had their batting order written down on a sheet of paper. According to Josh, (as I usually have no clue what is going on with the rules anyway), our team was following the correct batting order. The opposing team (who were also the record keepers) messed up somehow and had their wires crossed on who was batting when... Whatever. So...The record keepers accused our team of not batting in the correct order, which gave us some sort of a penalty (another out, I think). Mayhem ensued as our coach politely tried to explain how we had been following the rules and, in fact, we were batting in the correct order. The assistant coach politely tried to explain, in so many words, that their record keeper had made a mistake in the matter. The refs came in and started yelling something about the "rule book". Whatever. The record keeper had a sour look on her face and just kept shaking her head, not wanting to admit that she had, indeed, made a mistake. I was very impressed with how our coaches handled the matter, but thought it sad that such a minor detail caused such a stir. Seriously...for AT THE VERY LEAST... ten minutes, a big argument took place between the coaches, refs, and record keeper. (FYI- Josh said that this record keeper was really the one at fault and didn't know exactly what she was doing.) Several of the parents in the stands were also anxious and growing more and more competitive by the moment. Even I was annoyed by the mishap. I like justice. The kids, however, were oblivious to the goings on. They were just waiting to "play" again. Some of them were playing chase. One of them was picking their nose. I even pointed out to Josh that the opposing pitcher was making a sand angel in the dirt. Josh turned to me and said, "You need to blog about this..."

It is very interesting. Bad attitudes concerning sports are taught to the kids. The kids should be having fun, but instead they are having more and more pressure to perform placed on them than anyone needs, much less a four year old. The season could have been great if many of these parents had just calmed down a little bit and thought for a while about how old these kids were and the actual point of having them play tee ball. We thought that letting Major play tee ball would be a way for him to be active and to learn a few things about the game and working with a team. Josh decided that perhaps this sport is a little too intense for our family, for now anyway. Josh didn't start playing baseball until he was seven or so. That is three years from now. I am sad, yet also relieved (considering the circumstances) to announce that Major's tee ball career is officially over. I'm sure that we will let him play another sport at some point. He definitely enjoys it. For the Smith family, though, tee ball is O-U-T!!! :)

(Also....Totally unrelated, but completely important: My father-in-law,Grumpy Smith, will be at the Barnes and Noble at the Stonebriar Mall in Frisco this Saturday from 2-4. He, along with some local authors, will be signing copies of his new book, Everyday Christianity. If you live in the Frisco area, now is your chance to meet our family's newest author. I encourage you to stop by and check it out!)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Series of Unfortunate Events

At the Smith house, there is usually little cause for major drama. Things usually roll along pretty smoothly, with only an occasional crazy moment here and there. However, in the past couple of weeks, we have experienced more unexpected surprises than we usually have in an entire year.

I will start by telling you about the adventure that occurred at the tee ball fields a couple of weeks ago.... UGH! Major has occasional minor allergy issues. We notice that his allergies usually flare up a couple of times a year, for a couple of weeks at most. He was prescribed Singulair a couple of years ago by his pediatrician, but only takes it during a few weeks of the year. We have noticed Major's allergies flaring up when we are out at the tee ball field or when he breathes lots of dust or is in an environment with excessive pet dander.

A couple of weeks ago, Major was having a little bit of trouble with his allergies. He was sniffling and coughing at night, so we decided to give him a dose of Singulair. (This was on a Friday.) On Saturday, he was supposed to play two tee ball games. During his first game, he ran around the bases once or twice, then complained to Josh that his heart was beating fast. Josh jokingly said something to him like, "That's what happens when you exercise, Major." or something along those lines. Josh and I discussed how much Major likes to run/be active and how uncharacteristic it was of him to complain about his heart, especially when playing such an inactive sport as tee ball. Josh decided to take Major's complaint seriously and proceeded to check Major's heart rate. Josh compared Major's heart rate to the heart rates of the other boys on the team and noticed that Major's heart was beating extremely rapidly. (Josh clocked it at 180 BPM.) I FREAKED out. Josh was calm, as usual. I was about to fall apart. You could see Major's little shirt moving up and down where his heart was beating so quickly. Though we have never taken any of our children to the emergency room and generally take the wait-and-see approach before rushing them to the doctor, we both agreed that quick action needed to be taken.

Josh called his friend, Jonathan, who is a cardiologist, and asked what should be done. At Jonathan's recommendation, we first sat Major down in front of the television (a sedentary activity) and waited to see if his rapid heart rate would go down. It did....barely. About three hours later, his heart was still beating super fast. Jonathan's recommendation was to take him into the ER...just in case. Off we went to the ER. They ran every kind of test on him. All of the tests came back negative. Their diagnosis was that "some kids just don't know when to stop running and exert themselves too hard" at that this was related to his mild allergies, breathing difficulties. I wasn't buying it. I don't think that running around bases twice would accelerate his heart rate for 8 plus hours. Ridiculous! We didn't really know what to think. Their diagnosis seemed inaccurate. They told us if it ever happened again to come back to the ER. I told them that $1500 was not chump change for us at that we would rather have an alternate plan in case this happened again.

Anyway... to make a long story short... we were very thankful that the tests were negative and, after some research and advice from other medical professionals, came to our own conclusion. We now think that Major's super fast heart rate was related to his dose of Singulair. We can't prove this with certainty, but have decided not to expose him to this drug again, just in case... People's bodies react differently to medicines. We were informed that new studies came out recently in which some people complained of their children exhibiting signs of high blood pressure and rapid heart rate after taking Singulair. I know that Major falls in the very lowest of percentiles. I know that most children have no issues with taking this drug. Major just happened to be one of the unlucky few whose body responded in a negative way to this drug with "hardly any side effects". Josh and I now feel that Major can deal with the sniffles. Of course, should Major need medicines to function, we would be sure to give him the medical care he needed. I much prefer an occasional cough here and there to a continuous rapid heart rate, though. That was just so scary! This was trip to the ER #1.

Second drama happened last Friday. We were finished with our school, so I took the kids up to a local mall for a fun day out. We spent time looking around, talking, having fun, and buying a few necessary fall items for Major. When we were all tired and ready to leave, I reached into my purse for my keys and discovered that they were not there! My pregnant brain strikes again!!! I backtracked around the mall to all of the stores where I had been. Nobody had seen the keys. I went to the customer service desk. They hadn't seen the keys. I walked out to the car. There were my keys. They were sitting there on the console, right in my view, but just out of my reach. The car was locked. I asked the mall if their security could open my car for me. They couldn't. It was against policy. :( I finally had to call a locksmith. I asked information for the closest locksmith to my location, and, with one bar on my phone, proceeded to call and try to hire a locksmith. I asked was quoted a fee of $39 service charge and $15 to open the door. That was about what I expected. I gave them my location and the go ahead to come out and open our car. When the locksmith arrived, 45 minutes later, he told me, "Now that will be a $39 service fee and an $85 fee to open the door. Sign here." Ummmm. No.

I said, "This was not the price that you quoted me over the phone."

The locksmith (Pete) said, "Well, the $15 was just a minimum. After that, we have to charge for gas. It took us a while to get here, so we had to charge you a bit more."

At this point, I was a little miffed. I don't mind paying people for their services, but do not like being taken advantage of. I think that I must have looked like an easy target....a big pregnant woman with two small children. I said, "I think that you were a little misleading. You didn't tell me that you were going to charge me extra for gas. I don't think this is right at all. I think that this is a poor practice, telling people one price over the phone and then asking them to pay more than double the amount." I wasn't rude, just frank.

I felt a little sorry for Pete. He was a young man in his early twenties. He clearly was not the brains behind this operation, just an employee who was doing what he was told to do. It was clear that he felt bad about what he knew was a scam and rotten way to treat people. He said, "You are not the first person to complain about this. Lots of people feel misled. It really isn't right." Then he gave me two papers to sign before he could open my car. "My boss makes me have people sign these first." The papers said something like "I have NO complaints towards this company. All charges are indisputable." I thought the fact that their contract included these lines was very telling. Don't you?

I took the pen and scratched out "NO complaints" and wrote in "ONE complaint" before I signed it. HA! That gave me some satisfaction. I wrote him a check. Less than a minute later my car was opened. I'm thinking of reporting this company to the Better Business Bureau. What a sham! But....things could have been worse. $125 later we were able to go home and finish out our day. I was so frustrated with myself for being so dumb as to lock my keys in my car. I have NEVER done that in all of the years that I've been driving.

Okay, thank you for bearing with me if you are still reading... The last of our recent dramatic events occurred this past Monday night. I had just gotten back from our church ladies' retreat on Sunday night. I woke up Sunday morning with a Charley horse. No big deal. I was a little concerned when my leg continued to hurt throughout the day on Sunday and continued to ache on Monday morning. I thought it was probably nothing, but called my doctor on Monday morning, just to be sure. I probably wouldn't even have called had this been my first pregnancy, but, as I had never had a leg pain like this, I called just to check. The doctor's reaction was not what I expected. They said that it was possible that I might have a blood clot in my leg and that I needed to be seen. Guess where they suggested I go? Yep. The ER again.... :(

I waited until Josh got home from work and asked him what I should do. He suggested I call my brother, who is a doctor, and ask him what he thought I should do. My brother's reaction was similar to my doctor's. He told me that most likely, it wasn't anything serious, but it COULD be, so I really needed to be seen that night. So... off to the Emergency room we went.... Thankfully, we have never had a reason to go to the ER, in all of the ten years that we've been married. Neither one of us were looking forward to the HUGE bill that they would present to us, but realized that it was important to get this checked out...just in case. We were thankful that the leg pain was nothing more than a super severe Charley horse. We were very thankful that God protected us from what might have been. The huge bill that we will receive in a few weeks will be minor compared to what we might have had to deal with. is funny how things work. We've gone ten years without any trips to the ER. Then, in a two week time period, we have made two trips. We feel very blessed that these were just minor scares, that nobody had any serious problems. We are hoping that we have a relatively drama-less time throughout the next couple of months.

I am SO looking forward to Halloween this year!!! Mary Alice's costume is finished and is SO fun!!! I think it is my favorite costume ever! Major's is a work in progress. It is somewhat of a disaster, really. I have a few more weeks to try to make him look like his intended character instead of like the Flying Nun. :( If all else fails, we have some white sheets in our linen closet to make a good old fashioned ghost.

Have a great week!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Second Trimester Maternity Pics

My sister, Taylor, took these pictures a few weeks ago. There were so many that I liked that I couldn't narrow it down AT ALL. I finally just asked her to send me a few of her favorites. Here they are...

In a couple of days, I am scheduled to have some third trimester pictures made with Taylor. She wants to take some fun outdoors maternity pictures, now that I actually have a serious baby belly. Isn't it great to have a sister who is a professional photographer? She is so talented!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Memory making

Last week we went on a field trip to some local gardens. It was such a beautiful day. We had to get out of the house and enjoy God's creation! It was a fun little adventure.

There was fish feeding...

Smile making...

Nature watching...

New fear conquering...

Best buddy bonding...

Trail blazing...

Acorn gathering...

Picnic eating...

Plant sketching...

Water playing...

Just sitting and relaxing...

Hope your day is filled with smile creating, joy sharing, memory making, and life celebrating this fall day!