Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Schwartz's vs The First Time Mom Called, "Not it!"

Being the SAH parent I get to experience most of the good (and bad) firsts for the kids.  I get to hear them say their first words before Chris.  I get to smile and clap as they learn to roll over, sit up, pull up, and walk.  I get to call Daddy at work and have the kids repeat whatever new words they've picked up or goofy sounds they started making.  That part is tons of fun.  Now the trade off is I also get the other firsts.  The first time their diaper blows out and there is poop in places you didn't think possible.  The first time Sarah doesn't sit back far enough on the toilet and manages to pee all over the floor.  The first time the kids try to help do something in the kitchen and mommy gets to spend the next 20 minutes wiping every surface from ceiling to floor.  It's all part of the job.  And I take most of these firsts in stride.

So when Sarah started showing interest in learning to ride a bike I was excited.  She's been talking about it for probably 3 months and has even made up impromptu songs about when she learns how to ride her tricycle then mommy is going to buy her a princess bike.  Since she finally mastered the concept of peddling on the tricycle, I started looking on Craigslist for a bike for her.

I found a good deal for a Cinderella bike that even came with a matching helmet and gave the woman a call to make sure it was still available before we headed over there after nap time.  Sarah was a little intimidated by the bike at the lady's house.  It's a 16" bike instead of a 12 or 14" bike that she should start on.  And the training wheels weren't on their lowest setting when we first put her on the bike so it teetered and Sarah freaked out.  But daddy fixed that (daddy fixes everything) so we paid for the bike and headed home. 

Cody was a little jealous while we were at the Craigslist house so the lady also randomly sold us a red tricycle for Cody for $5.  That made him very happy and he kept patting his head saying "hat" because he also wanted a helmet.  Cody can't peddle yet but he loves to sit on it and look cool.  However, he won't wear the helmet that we bought him even though he insisted, "hat! hat!"

The next day we set off on a family walk for Sarah to ride her bike.  I'm walking beside her "helping" her.  And I realize she's not peddling she's just letting me push her.  So I tell her she needs to peddle-peddle-peddle and give her a little push.  She peddles but not really and after the momentum I gave her wears off she stops. And we go through this time and time again, for what feels like an eternity.

And then I lose it and yell, "Not it!"  I am not the patient parent.  It's not me.  I'm the story reading, bedtime singing, snotty nose wiping, diaper changing parent.  I can handle being elbow deep in multiple bodily fluids, or monotonously reading the same book over and over.  But when things take lots of patience and calm repetitious explainations it's best to hand the reins over to Chris.

So I just took pictures instead.  And kept saying, "You're doing a great job honey!"  Which was really aimed at both of them.

Thank goodness she has such a wonderful daddy.  It's now also going to be his job to teach her to drive.  I'm already calling "not it!" on that one too. 

P.S. I want you to know that even on nights when Chris is in school I take her out to practice riding her bike on our nightly after dinner walks.  And she does enjoy "practicing".  We just can only do it for about 3 houses down and back before I'm ready to quit. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Schwartz's vs Visiting the Great Grand Parents in PbAR

My grandparents are making their annual trip to visit their kids.  You know, the one where they visit my parents for 4 days and one of their other kids in TX for a week and a half.  This year, I guess because Emily also lives in town, we were beckoned over to visit and bring the kids.  After much feet dragging we packed up and headed over and had a wonderful time.  

I was honestly a little nervous about it.  Because I am a terrible person and think kids are loud and messy and I don't want to be around them when I'm 80 so I just assume others don't want to be around them either.  But it was heartwarming to see my grandma and grandpa interact with the kids so much.  Sarah remember who they were from her visit last summer.  She walked right up to them and said, "Hi great grandma!  Hi great grandpa!"  She's a good girl.  

Grandpa Smith with Allison

I was also nervous because Smith gatherings as a rule are loud and in FL they are ridiculous.  But this time the tv miraculously stayed off and the noise level wasn't excessive so I didn't have to pop my favorite candy coated Advils.  

The men working on the Low Country Shrimp Boil.

David and Chris bringing it in.  It made a huge dripping mess.  


Important lesson learned: next time take the folding table and trays outside to transfer, then just bring the trays in.  It was a bit messy.

I was also nervous because routines are important to me.  And nap time is sacred.  Thankfully my wonderful kids are use to napping at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  Cody went down in the pack and play like a champ, and my mom even convinced Sarah to take a nap.  This made for happy kids and a happy mommy.  Emily wasn't so lucky the first day.  Henry didn't handle the new place well and was anti-nap.  Good thing he's a passive and happy little dude, so he just scored extra play time with the toys all to himself.

Great Grandpa and Great Grandma always bring the kids new books whenever they see them.

Great Grandpa, Great Grandma, and Allison

Grandpa playing with Cody.

Since the gathering was smaller than the last time we were all together in Gatlinburg, it was nice to actually be able to chat with grandpa and hear various stories.  And Grandma and I were able to look over the new Family Search website.  There are some bugs in it still but it's a fabulous system.  We made a plan that I'm going to work on learning the site and once I get it all figured out I'll head down to Lakeland and we'll scan in everything she has and link it up to the family tree so all our people can see it.  (Then after I get the Smith's squared away and Chris graduates we'll head to TX to work on the Wrights since that will probably take a week or so.) 

Of course, the other thing I was worried about was sleeping at night time.  But mom got hotel rooms for Emily and I so the kids could sleep and everyone could have a bed.  We snuggled and watched a movie on the iPad until the kids were about ready to drop then we had lights off.  Sarah slept, Cody whined every time he heard one of us move in bed.  So that means that I pseudo-slept listening for both of them.  And Chris didn't really sleep at all since we're not great at sharing any bed smaller than a king.  He claims I invade his territory all night.

Sarah and Cody heading in to church.  Love that Cody suited up!

All in all great trip.  Lots of fun memories.  And a few new inside jokes.  It was a win-win trip.

Back row: Chris, me, Mom, Dad, David holding Allison, Emily
Front Row: Grandpa, Grandma, Cody, Sarah, Henry

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Schwartz's vs Gibson Guitar 5K 2013

Well we're done with the 3rd race of the M-town series.  Only one more 5K date night left.  I've really been having a great time doing these races!  Plus we are racking up some awesome swag.  Oh boy do I love swag!  The swag bags this time were a little random.  We did get a really nice tech tshirt, and since Chris picked up the bags early he wore his for the race.  And the bags also had some nice Nike sweatbands.  Chris was excited about that like I was for the hats we got at Harbortown.  He had mentioned at Harbortown how he thought he wanted to get a sweat band.  And low and behold since I look ridiculous in sweatbands he now has 2.  Winner!  But the bags also had random stuff in there like a box of bandaids, travel sunscreen, and Chris even got some disposable apron thing that wasn't in my bag.

You know who doesn't look ridiculous in a sweatband: Cody.  He was helping me do JM's 30 Day Shred tape Saturday.

So during the week I talked to Chris and kept flipping back and forth on if I was going to run it beside him or just meet him at the finish line.  Part of me wanted to push for a PR, but when I went out to run on Tuesday it was a million degrees with 1000% humidity so I punk'd out and came in and did the elliptical.  So that made me think, perhaps PRing is not such a great plan.  Chris was on Week 5 Day 3 of C25K, so that meant he needed to do a 5 minute warm up walk and then run for 20 minutes straight. This would be his first non-interval run and I was a little nervous that I would be more of a hinderance then a help.  When we get to races I get really claustrophobic at the beginning and jack rabbit out and bob and weave through the crowd until I can find a hole.  I usually over exert myself and then regret it the rest of the race as my pace drops considerably but it works for me.  However, for Chris it means he's been skipping his warm up and burning up all his energy trying to keep up with me and it makes doing his plan and making it through his intervals difficult.  I didn't want to cause him to have a hard 20 minute run when it was his first time.  I remember how intimidating it was the first time I did C25K and saw that I wasn't going to get a walk break.  It really messes with your head.

By the time we got down to the race we decided for me to run ahead and cheer for him at the finish line.  I think he also pushed for that when we ran into a group of other MOPS moms at the potty potties before the race started.  One of them said that she was hoping to run around 9:30 splits.  I figured she'd beat me but if I could keep her in sight I might just PR.  No such luck for a PR for me, but I did beat all the other MOPS mom's across the finish line.  Hollar!

Traditional Pre-race Picture

I had a great run.  Like I said it wasn't a PR but it was pretty darn good.  My official time was 30:54, so right under a 10 min/mile pace.  The race was pretty crowded and surprisingly hilly.  Mostly just little hills but then right at the end just before mile 3 you have to battle up the Beale Street hill.  Some woman was chugging along beside me telling herself, "get up this, you can do it" and I tried to stick with her but I quit and walked about 10 feet from the top.  Beale street beat me.  Oh well.  It was also pretty hot and muggy, but the breeze as we ran down front street was nice.  This race was also better supported.  They had two water stations and enough people to have cups ready to be handed out.  That made me happy.  I did walk the water stations so I didn't choke on the water.  I'm sure if I had worn my belt and ran through them I might have PR'd.  After I crossed the finish line I grabbed two bottles of water and set out to cheer the other runners on and look for Chris.  I walked back to Beale St. and found him handed him the bottle of water and ran with him for a bit.

Chris said he felt good about that run.  He did his warm up walk and ran the first 10 minutes straight and then walked through the water station (which totally doesn't count against you, it's hard to run and drink) then when he picked back up he felt he came in too fast and it bit him after about 3 minutes his pace dropped.  He seems really concerned about pace right now.  I keep telling him pace will come, right now just focus on making it through the intervals.  His official time was 40:44.

He also ran into our 5K buddies.  Remember those girls I mentioned that I ran into near the end of the Zoom through the Zoo and tried to encourage.  Then we saw them again at the Harbortown 5K.  Well, when I ran back to find Chris there they were again!  We chatted for a bit after the race again and all thought it's really funny that we keep seeing each other.  These races have a ton of people.  I even looked it up; the Zoom had 1392 finishers, Harbortown had 1579 finishers, and Gibson had 1734 finishers.  In those huge seas of people we keep running into these same 2 girls.  So we chatted a bit and I learned their names and we took a picture because they are officially some of my running buddies now.
Me, Christina, and Tracey
(Like my new running skirt and completely sweat drenched wife beater tank?  I need to figure out how to look cute when I go running.  Especially if I'm going to use these as date nights.  Also someone at the gym today said they liked my tank and asked me where I got them.  That's right I got complimented on a $3 Hanes A-line undershirt.)

These girls are pretty awesome.  The Zoom was their first race ever and now they've done 3.  They use them as their girls night out and they just have a blast with each other.  I wish my girl friends would run 5Ks with me for girls night out.  And since I had to have Tracey text me this picture I'm now going to stalk them (kidding) but I may send them race reminders about some of the other 5Ks in Memphis that I sign up for.  (Like the Chick-fil-a 5K around Labor Day.  I've always wanted to do that one but never had anyone to run it with me.)

Finally we finished up our date night by heading up to the post race rooftop party on the top of the Gibson Guitar Factory.  As much as this race is advertised and the post race party talked about it was a little disappointing.  I was hungry and they only had some wimpy skimpy deli sandwiches.  Why can't all races have BBQ like the Zoom?  Oh well, the next one says it's going to have hamburgers, hot dogs, and cold watermelon at the post race party.  That's what I'm talking about!
Post race party pic

PS-I would also like to boast that we met Joe Birch (from Action News 5) in the lobby before we went up to the party.  Really nice guy.  We took a picture with him but the random stranger I asked for help apparently must have had shaky hands because it was so blurry it wasn't worth posting.  Sorry.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Schwartz's vs Father's Day 2013

Traditional Father's Day Photo 
(see 2010, 2011, 2012 ha just noticed he's wearing the same tie as last year.  Guess what he's getting next year for Father's Day.)

I love father's day.  Not as much as I love mother's day obviously.  But I do enjoy getting ready for father's day and figuring out what to get Chris and what to have the kids do for him.  This year I did a really good job!

The kids got Daddy some star wars books and cute cards.  Cody's favorite toy is Mr. Potato Head, and Sarah has this little McD's ballerina barbie that she calls Barbie-q which makes Chris laugh.  So that's why we picked those cards.  Those books are hilarious!  If you have a Star Wars fan dad or hubs check them out.  We got them on amazon.

Auntie Em helped make new handprint art for Chris.  Sarah made Chris an elephant when she was 18 months old for father's day.  That was her favorite animal at the time.  It hangs in his office.  So Sarah made him a giraffe, and Cody made him a fish because those are their current favorite animals.  The other 2 we made because they are cute and to add to their baby books.  You know.  When I make their baby books....eventually.

And I got Chris a soap and brush shave kit.  This was more of a gift for me.  I can't stand a scruffy man. When we went to my parents for Easter Chris forgot his stuff and had to borrow dad's.  He mentioned how much he liked it so I researched out what was good and popular and picked this Van Der Hagen set.  It had really great reviews and Chris was excited about it.

Chris is a wonderful father.  My friend Eliza had a quote on her fridge or blog one time that said, "Parenting is a tough job, but at least my co-worker is hot."  I always giggle when I think about that.  Parenting is a tough job especially being the stay at home one who always does the dirty work.  When Chris comes home I'm chop liver and the kids are all, "Daddy daddy daddy!"  I can be in mid sentence talking to one of those minions and if they hear the garage door open the will run straight to the door and wait until he walks in.  If I'm feeding Cody and Chris walks in with a mouth full of food he yells, "da-deeeee!"  These kids love their dad and it's really easy to see why.  He's pretty darn awesome.  And he's hot.

Sarah is convinced she's going to marry daddy when she grows up.  At least twice a week while eating breakfast normally but sometimes lunch she looks at the wedding pictures on the wall in the kitchen and talks about how one day when she's bigger she's going to marry daddy because he's her handsome man.  I've tried to explain to her multiple times that daddy's already taken because I'm married to him and that usually leads to tears so for now I just smile and say that's sweet honey.  She'll out grow it one day.  But I absolutely would love for her to marry a man just like Chris.

Me and Dad at my wedding.

And that got me thinking about did I marry a man just like my father?  And in some ways, I guess and other definitely not.  I see more similarities between my dad and Chris when it comes to serving in church.  They are both excellent leaders and teachers.  They are faithful and devoted to serving the Lord and I love that.  Chris and my dad are also very similar in politics and I love listening to them talk about that stuff.  But when it comes down to personality, its my dad and I are very similar.  We both have very fiery personalities, short tempers, and loud kabooms.  When my dad gets mad he throws his hands in the air and we kids love pointing out when one of us does that.  I can remember the first time I caught Pete doing it.  Oh we laughed!  It's dad's trade mark move.  That and his amazing music conducting skills.  I smile every time I think about dad leading music and am honestly trying to emulate it now that I'm the Primary Chorister.  I see a lot of my dad in me, and I'm good with that.  He's a pretty awesome guy.

Chris and Dennis at our wedding.

But no, I married a man just like his father.  And I love that about Chris.  I love that about Chris for so many many reasons.  First because I love Dennis.  I have an amazing father in law.  He is patient, kind, and hard working.  And he taught that to Chris.  I am so thankful for the influence Dennis has been on Chris.  He got him interested in CAD work, helped him get his first job at Wright Medical doing drafting work which made Chris realize he had a talent for that.  He has supported Chris's schooling as he's worked towards his Bachelors in BioMedical Engineering.  He was a great example to Chris about how hard it is to do school as an adult but how important it was.  Chris has told me a few times how he remembers his dad doing homework at the kitchen table.  And now I see Chris doing his at the kitchen table and smile and am thankful that Dennis set that example.  (Of course, I'm much more of a fan of going straight to college from high school like my parents taught us but I know that doesn't work for everyone.)

I'm grateful that Chris is so much like his father because I get to see what Chris is going to be like when he's a little older.  Dennis is in amazing shape.  That 61 year old man plays pick up ice hockey at least 2 times a week I think at 10 pm at night.  He use to skate marathons.  He golfs in the league at work.  He's rebuilding a lake house.  I'm telling you, Dennis is in better shape than I am and I'm half his age.  I pray Chris is that active and healthy when we are 60.

It's great when Dennis and Chris get together, especially if they are working on a project.  You can bet that it'll take twice the time as those two guys discuss and analyze every little detail with their engineering minds.  It is a hoot!  It took them all day to tile our tiny 5'x6' guest bathroom during the flood recovery.  They laid out all the tile, labeled them with masking tape in a grid format (A1, A2, B1, B2...) Because that's just how their minds work and when they get together it's hilarious.  I love it.

And I love that Chris is just like his dad because it gives me hope for Cody.  I would love nothing more than for Cody to grow up and be just like Chris who is just like Dennis.  I would love for another patient, kind, caring, hard working, analytical, biomedical engineer, and active Schwartz man in this family.  I would love to sprinkle some Smith traits in there too.  Wouldn't it be great if Cody served his mission in California just like my dad, learned to play the clarinet, or sat around discussing the latest in conservative talk radio with the rest of the Smith men?

All my favorite men supporting us on our big day.

I must say, as genes go Cody is pretty much destined to grow up to be awesome no matter which side of the family he takes after more.  And I'm really thankful for that.

Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Schwartz's vs Letter to Past Chris (age 21) from Future Chris (age 35)


 I really wanted to link up with Holly and Jake's letter to your self today, but they were writing to their 21 year old selves.  When I turned 21, I had just graduated from college and was two weeks from getting married.  Every thing was pretty much on track for me at the moment, now if they ever link up to your 18 year old self, I got a thing or two to say to that moron.  The only thing I really need to tell myself is wear sunscreen on beach vacations stupid...this includes your honeymoon and a few other anniversary trips.  

So I asked Chris if he had anything he would tell his 21 year old self.  He said, "Oh yeah, remember I'm quite a bit older than you."  Yeah right, he's only 6 years older than me and at this age that's nothing.   Now when I hang our 1983 ornaments together on the tree that's a whole different story.  6 years in that time reference is disturbing.  Ha!  Anyway, my dear sweet husband wrote a letter to his 21 year old self so I could participate in my first link up.  Thanks babe!

Dear Christopher (21),

 It is me, you in the future.  It is a very happy future, but I want to warn you about a few things and advise you about a few things.   I don't want to change our over all future outcome but I think that I can ease some hardships without eliminating opportunities to learn.  I think that it will be simpler for you and I both if I break it up into three sections: education, financial, and professional. 

Education.  Let's be honest, your first shot wasn't good.  You dropped the ball.  I need you to pick that ball up again but not right away.  You're not mature enough yet, you still think you can do it without putting any effort into it... That's wrong.  When you get married, you are gonna start up again.  You need to keep this letter and refer to it.  First thing you need to do is meet with your advisor and plan out your whole program semester by semester.  You may hit some difficult spots, but stick with it and don't get distracted by TV or video games.  Do your homework and study hard.  It'll get you thru without a lot of un-needed classes.

 Financial.  Get your money issues settled.  Watch out for credit cards and over spending.  You tend to have a bit of the diarrhea of the wallet, and we can't afford that.  These small things will escalate and make future endeavors difficult.  You'll have an opportunity to move out soon.  Take it.  This section goes with the next so keep that in mind.  Save, save, save.  A nest egg will help.  When you are done with this living arrangement, look at buying in Tipton county.  There are nice homes with low prices and land for sale.  This will be a nice place to live and a spring board into your future adventures. 

Professional.  You have a potential change in workplace coming.  Take it.  Gain experience.  Work hard and keep your skills sharp and your productivity level high.  Keep in touch with people at Wright and when something opens up there for a full time position, take it.  Make sure you show up on time, lazy bones.  Watch out for a girl from your past, she'll threaten this and the first two sections success, keep you standards.  Also, make sure you get a job at Best Buy in the summer of 2000.  It'll be the best decision you'll make until you make the next best decision, three years later, and then again a year later.

So, in closing, it was hard to find things to give you a heads up about without completely changing my life, which has been so fantastic.  I think that you will still make some mistakes and that is ok, that is how you learn.  Keep being Chris and don't become slacker Chris.

 PS, get into shooting and stay in soccer.

 PPS, you are awesome so don't think this was a butt chewing.

 PPPS, May the Schwartz be with you!


So, what would you tell your 21 year old self?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Schwartz's vs The Never Ending Recital

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The day has finally come for Sarah's big dance debut.  I've been looking forward to this since I begged and pleaded to get her into dance a year early.  

Sarah has really enjoyed Tippy Toes at Millington School of Dance.  She even stopped fighting me about putting her hair up in a ponytail for class.  I'm not sure if she learned anything technical.  She never dropped fancy french names for steps at home.  But she did look forward to dance every week and would gladly talk about her dance school anytime we passed near it.  I'm positive I'll sign her up for next year, and once the trauma of recital day wears off I'm sure I'll let her participate in the recital again too.

Look how much she's grown!  Man I love that little girl!

Recital day was a long day.  Tippy Toes classes had rehearsal at 9 am downtown at the Cannon Center.  After getting the run down on what to expect that evening, having the girls run through their number a few times, and taking the tour of where to go and what to do behind stage we didn't make it home until 11.

At rehearsal

After rehearsal we took a little walk around main street before we headed back to the car. 

Climbing on a sculpture

Playing in the fountain.

Jessie and Sarah

I'm not going to lie.  Recital day was very stressful.  Running errands took longer than it should have so nap time was completely blown.  By the time we got home at 2:15 Sarah was completely wired and did not take a nap.  We had to be up and over at Annie's at 3:15 for her to help fix Sarah's hair.  Then it was back home to practice her dance a few more times (she was pretty tragic at rehearsal this morning) before trying to figure out what to feed them that would keep them full for the rest of the night.  We were supposed to be down there at 5:15 but dinner took a bit longer so we didn't get down there until 5:45.  Then seating wasn't supposed to start until 6, but apparently they started letting them in at 5:15 so our seats were way up in the back.  All the running and rushing and stressing just made for a cranky Natalie.  Plus, honestly, I was a bit bummed that my parents didn't think coming to the recital was worth the drive.  Logical me gets that 3 hours for 90 seconds isn't worth it, but emotional me really was annoyed.  However, Sarah had a large group of family and friends who endured the show that never ended for her.  Their group was #20 out of #28 songs to be performed.  And so we settled in and enjoyed the many many dances before it was time to go back stage and get ready.

Steffanie braved backstage with me to help get Sarah dressed and ready.  

Sarah and Jessie ready to go.

One of the other mom's putting the finishing touches on Sarah's make up. 

In line back stage waiting to go on stage.

Sarah did a great job!  She actually knew and did most of the dance.  A lot better than rehearsal in the morning when she mostly stood around and just watched the others.  And she seemed to have a great time.  We were pretty far up as you can see from the picture I took.  But luckily Sarah was right next to Jessie during the dance and Annie had great seats so I borrowed their video for you all to see.  Sarah is the 3rd one on the left.

After her performance it was time to greet her fan club.
Daddy, her handsome man, brought her flowers.

Autie Em and Uncle David endured the show that never ended to cheer for their niece.

We're super proud of our tiny dancer.

Grandma and Grandpa Schwartz

Then of course it was time to say hi to her "aunts" who spoil her rotten.

Sarah is obsessed with pennies right now.  So Susan and Steffanie cleaned out their purses to reward Sarah for a job well done.  I used those pennies for the rest of the time to get Sarah to look at the camera.  I'd hold one above the lens and she'd stare longingly at it. 

They also went to Build-a-Bear and made a ballerina bear for her.  Steffanie was even willing to endure doing the heart ceremony all by herself as the oldest person in the store surrounded by kids.  She didn't want bad karma of not making the bear full of the "aunties" love for her.  

Aunt Susan 

Holding the penny above the lens works on Sarah and Susan apparently.

Brother giving Sarah some love after a great performance.

Tired little girl

It was quite a long night and we intended to leave after Sarah's dance but we were still in the lobby when they made the call for all the dancers to come back stage for the finale.  So Sarah got to go out for the final bow.  Like I said, it was the show that never ended.  We didn't make it home until after 10:30. That was a pretty big day for some small people.  However, both Sarah and Cody handled it like champs.  I don't recall them having a single melt down.  Me on the other hand, I needed a nap.

Here are the official costume photos: