Would ya look at how cute this little fella is?? My goodness- he was soooooo excited for his first swim lesson!! He just kept bouncing up and down. I wish I could have captured it, but he kept turning around during his lesson and flashing me the double thumbs up!





And then, there is his version of hitting... complete with sound effects!!


Most of you will probably think these videos are super boring because it is much of the same from the last post. But THIS time she was in a real Horse Show! Well, sort of. It was a schooling show- so everything is a bit more relaxed and the expectation is learning and not winning. Though, it turns out, that is hard for the female component of the Smith Family!

You see, Avery received a ribbon for "Best Smile". Which is a consolation prize so everyone gets a ribbon. She's happy as a clam, but she did ask, "Does this mean I did better than everyone else or worse than everyone else?" I did not take the bait though and just told her that the judges just thought she had the best smile!! And I- being the source of all of Avery's competitiveness- stewed over it for the next 2 days trying to figured out what she could have done differently! (stewing over something that I know NOTHING about) Ridiculous, I realize!!

So here is her ribbon-winning ride!! ;) And some pics thrown in for good measure!







Avery is on the little pony- not the big white horse!



Lined up in the middle at the end- she looks so small!

Riding out with her ribbon.
First and foremost... she's 7!!! How is this possible??! She had "the best birthday ever!!!" and, I think, felt really special and celebrated! The biggest surprise was that Jeff took the day off (which she thought was just for her and "couldn't believe it!"). We took her to school and then came home and got working on giving her bedroom a re-do! Grandma and Grandpa Davis were in on the fun and we painted her room and gave her a desk and chair. I had set it up for her to go to a friend's house after school so we could have a couple of extra hours of work time. When she came home, she went up to her room and freaked out about her desk! She was sooooo excited! I had no idea she'd be that excited about her desk! She never even noticed that her all white room was now purple and yellow! We were asking her if she noticed anything different and THEN she finally saw the new color! And freaked again! It was pretty fun!

I didn't take any pictures- I didn't want to thwart her reaction at all. If there was a camera video-taping her, there's a good chance she would have responded differently. So you'll just have to take my word for it!! We then spent some time opening presents from Grandma and Grandpa Smith and the Bouses- and was she in a mood! Jeff and I kept remarking about how expressive and thankful she was being! Usually she has to be reminded to express her gratitude! So these pics are pretty terrible, but you can tell how much she enjoyed her presents!!!






In her new room, sitting at her new desk!!



Also sometime in February, they had a "Specials Night" at school. It was soo cute! It was all about heart health- they made cool heart stuff in art, learned songs in music about heart health, and did a huge unit on jump roping. Then they put together a big program showcasing all of that! So this video is Avery in her jump roping segment.





video




This song cracked me up! "Smoke... is no joke... smoking is a terrible bad habit. Smoking is bad for a woman or a man or kid or a chipmunk or a rabbit" or something along those lines. Funny! Avery is in the middle row, 3rd from the left.




Finally, Avery has been making some great progress with her horseback riding! She's been stuck for quite some time at trotting- she was REALLY scared to take the next step to cantering because she fell off cantering several months ago. So her trainer and I have been trying to convince her that she is ready to canter for so long! And she finally did it! She was so proud and thinks its so easy now! ;) She's only gone a few steps at a time, but she's ready for more! So these first two videos are of Avery trotting...





And here's the canter!!!


Hey Everyone! Its been a long time and there's too much to catch up on. So, we'll just jump in with a random video.

How can one describe Oliver... let's just say that he is AMAZING at using his imagination! He can play with Superheroes forever, with Buzz and Woody in super creative worlds, and with the Power Rangers in all sorts of battles. He's going to be the class clown- even when he was learning to talk, his language development wasn't anything useful! One of his first words was "elephant"! Not "more" or "milk" or anything that would get him something... "elephant"- simply because it was fun to say (I think)!!

So we've pretty much relied on Oliver to just pick things up while playing or from Avery. Maybe we should force it more, but I've always thought his imagination is such a bonus! Avery, of course, is the exact opposite. She likes being drilled and rote learning- and has a smaller imagination.

Anyway, it feels like he's late on a lot of this academic stuff, but he'll pick it all up eventually! So this is Oliver learning to spell his name!! He is such a little cutie! This video also includes some footage of our new cat, Bandit! He's been with us for a month now and is pretty great to have around!



Well, not a lot going on here... Grandpa and Grandma Smith came for a visit (though we don't have any photographic proof of that!), Avery's on fall break for 2 weeks, and Oliver has made some massive soccer progress.

First of all, Oliver has basically stopped napping. He still does every once and a while... but when he doesn't, sometimes this happens....

Jeff and his parents went to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (I was working)... gotta love the giraffes!And finally- the soccer progress! Let's recap- 1st week- lots of crying, won't participate. 2nd week- more crying, more non-participating. 3rd week- skipped- too much going on. 4th week- no crying at all, did everything his coach asked, followed directions, participated in everything!!!! And tonite- the 5th week- same- he did awesome! I don't know what switch he flipped, but he's been doing great! So here are some pics and videos.





Standing in line... doing a good job following directions!This picture is super blurry, but I was so proud of how good he was participating!!In this video, Avery is helping him warm-up a little!!





Well, Oliver is all big and 3 now, so it was time for him to get to do something fun!!! He's been dragged around to Avery's lessons and events forever, so its his turn!! Speaking of Avery- what a social butterfly she is! First she saw a friend from gymnastics camp at Oliver's game (gave her a big hug with a big "Hhhhiiiii!". Then she ran into our neighbor there, another hug. Then we went to Chik-Fil-A for dinner and two of her friends from school were there! So she giggled and played and giggled some more... "Lucas was being soooo funny!!!" She's killin' me!!!

Anyway, here's Oliver with his pee-wee sized, but soooo big for him shin guards! He got his uniform shirt- not sure what to make of it all!!

See the team over in the upper right corner? Oliver- not too willing to join!
He finally made his way over to the team, but would NOT sit down. He didn't know we were behind him- he kept looking for us on the other side.

He's now discovered that dad is going to help with the first drill.


And now he knows where mom is! (Oh- Avery was off in the field house somewhere playing with her friend- seriously is she 12???)
I believe this was after his giant crying spell during the game where his coach was supposed to tickle him (working on running fast?). Oliver is not down with semi-strangers tickling him! To his credit, I believe 1/2 of the team went down in a crying fit during that game. Did I mention its all 3-year-olds on his team?? He LOVED snack afterwards!!!




Oh and just for posterity's sake... the other crying fit? During pictures. He DID NOT want to hold the ball and smile. I was trying to get him to smile during the team picture and he just stone-face, tight-lip, gave me the no way shake off. We finally got him to at least stand on the stool and not put his hands in his mouth for his individual shot. Stinker. Immediately after pictures he was all smiles and in a silly, fun mood! Stinker.

Can you believe Oliver is 3?? Amazing!!! When we were doing some scouting shopping trips (to see what sort of toys he wants to ask for) he kept asking for toys that were too old for him. So we talked about the age listed on the box... he then kept asking "what number do you have to be for that one???!!!" And when the answer was 3, he would shout "THAT'S GOING TO BE MY NUMBER!!!!". It was a pretty humorous process!

So Oliver was pretty excited about his new number! He was also REALLY excited about his party! He was watching our neighbor and me making the capes for about 3 weeks, so he couldn't wait to share them with his friends! So, on with the onslaught of pictures!

Up first- Party Day! Oliver and Daddy, all ready for the party in their superhero shirts!
The first event of the party was the treasure hunt. Captain Bad Guy (whom you'll meet later) stole all of my treasure and threw it all over the backyard! So the kids got their capes and their superman bags and went hunting!Then, Captain Bad Guy was spotted!!! He was wreaking havoc in the front yard- luckily, we were ready with our superman water balloons!

This picture captured a pretty funny moment. The little boy right at the bottom of the picture had just run and thrown a balloon at Captain Bad Guy. I'm not sure what happened but somehow Jeff (I mean Captain Bad Guy) used his name. He was running back to get another balloon, screeched in his tracks, whipped around and said, "Captain Bad Guy, DO YOU KNOW ME????" *giggle*Not a super picture, but didn't those capes turn out amazing??? And isn't O's hair getting sooooo curly???!!! OK, the capes. My neighbor is an excellent seamstress. So I found an online tutorial for making capes and I took a stroll over to the neighbor's house! I have ZERO sewing experience/skill. She taught me how to buy material, how to cut stuff out, how to sew a semi straight line, how to stick patterns on- and then she did all of the really hard stuff!!! But I LOVED watching all of the kids running around with their capes!!Ok, after the Captain Bad Guy take down, it was time to brave hot lava, cross the shark infested ocean, crawl through the tunnel of darkness, bounce through a mountain range, climb the snowy peak, rescue the stolen gem, and slide down the natural rockslide. (Fancy code for an obstacle course) Here's O braving the hot lava...Braving the shark infested waters...Then it was present time! I call this the montage of Steph's ridiculous faces.
An excellent time was had by all!!! On Tuesday, his actual birthday, we opened all of the presents from family members. Wow- this is one lucky kid! His pile was HUGE!!! You'll notice that Oliver is blurry in most of the present opening pictures- there was usually bouncing and yelling involved!! He apparently really likes getting new toys! First a Batcave from Grandpa and Grandma Smith.

Then, a Batmobile from mom and dad. He kept yelling MONSTER TRUCK!!!! It pops up and has big wheels, so I guess it looks like a monster truck.

Then a cool tool bench!!
Oh this face!! I was reading him a card and he had his arms crossed with this silly look on his face. I think he was enduring the card until he could go play with his new toys. He did say after I was done reading, "hmm, that's nice."