Thursday, November 22, 2007

The season of fall...Texas style

For those of you who live in Texas (that is likely to be everyone who reads this), you know that the season known as fall or autumn doesn't really exist here. Earlier this week the temperatures were in the 80s (thankfully today the tempearture was in the 50s--just in time for Thanksgiving).

As a result, we have to be creative in how we teach Maxwell about this particular season (winter is another story!). Here are some pictures from earlier in the fall when we went to a local pumpkin patch and then when we made pancakes in the shape of leaves. We hope that wherever you are, you have enjoyed the fall season!

Family Costumes and the Country Fair

So I know I'm a little late on this one and my original goal was to have this up BEFORE Thanksgiving, but that didn't happen. For the Country Fair at our church this year (for Halloween), Maxwell wanted to be Elmo. Now I've never liked dressing up for costume parties or the like, so even I was surprised that I wanted to join in on the fun. For many of you, you'll look at these pictures and think, "Maxwell is so cute...but what is Matt dressed up as?" For those of you with children though, you may recognize me as Mr. Noodle (or Mr. Noodle's brother, Mr. Noodle). We had a great time at the Country Fair this year and thanks to Maxwell's Nana (my mom) for making both the Elmo and Mr. Noodle costumes!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Maxwell's Music...

If you ever ride in the car with us, specifically with Maxwell, you will discover that he always has an opinion about what song/music should be playing. And he always wants music playing! If he rides in someone else's car, he always asks for his favorite songs, too (whether you have the song on CD or not!).
His favorite songs include "Light of the World" and "Be Blessed" (aka "Knees to the Earth" - his titles don't always match the actual song title) by Mrs. Christy (Christy Nockels of Watermark), "The Bear Song" ("How Can I Keep From Singing") by Mr. Chris (Tomlin), and a number of songs off of 2 different "Hide 'Em In Your Heart" CDs by Steve Green (great for adult and children scripture memory!).

He has also recently discovered our iPod nano and loves to put it on and listen to "Light of the World" over and over again. When are they going to add a repeat button on the iPods? Or is there one on there that I don't know about?!
UPDATE: Thanks to our friend Joyce B., we know where the repeat button is on the iPod--Maxwell thanks you, Joyce!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A baby brother or a baby sister?

The question we have been asking Maxwell since before we even knew we were pregnant has been "Do you want a baby brother or a baby sister?" For a while, he would say he wanted a baby brother one time and a baby sister the next time. After we found out we were pregnant though he has been stuck on having a baby brother.

So when Nanny and Papa came in this weekend and starting asking Maxwell about having a baby sister, he looked at them and said, "Baby sisters are no good...I want a baby brother." As a result, they made it their mission to help him be okay with having a baby sister. Yesterday we had our ultrasound and this time decided to find out the gender of the baby. So now when you ask Maxwell whether her is having a baby brother or baby sister, he will tell you that he is having a baby sister. The only problem with that is that the ultrasound says he is having a baby brother. Go figure!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fun with Uncle Skip and McKinley

Earlier this summer Maria's oldest brother, Skip, and his son, McKinley, made a trip from Atlanta, Georgia to Texas for a few days. Maxwell had a blast with his cousin and uncle and I wasn't complaining because it meant I had a little extra help when I mowed the yard that week. Here are some pictures from their you can tell, Maxwell really enjoyed snuggling up with McKinley on the couch first thing in the morning to watch Elmo and Curious George.

He also had some fun being silly with both Uncle Skip and McKinley--we just wish we lived closer to them so we could have more times like this!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Fun in the summer

As I said in my "back to school" post, we've had a busy summer. From going back and forth to Maria's parents in Dallas for surgeries (hip replacement for mom--ouch!) and hospital stays (perforated colon for dad--ouch!), to Uncle Skip and McKinley visiting us, to me teaching a class during second summer session, to getting ready for the new year at A&M, I don't even feel like we had the typical summer "break".

Oh, and then, there is the fun news--see the picture of Maxwell below, read his shirt, and you should be able to figure things out (if you don't already know). We are all excited, but Maria has had a terrible bout of nausea for the past 4-5 weeks so Maxwell and I have been a little more on our own than usual (she's been here, but when you feel like she has, you don't move around a lot!).

Thanks to my mom and dad for coming in to help me with Maxwell while Maria took some time to go help her parents out. We'll share more about the visit from Uncle Skip and McKinley soon!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Back to school

Sorry I haven't updated the blog much lately--the beginning of the school year is always a bit hectic at work and, as a result, in our lives. Turning to more important, and fun, things though--last week Maxwell started back to Kingdom Kids, the preschool at Grace Bible Church (our amazing church). The big difference this year is that since Maxwell is 3, we no longer have the option of sending him just one day a week. Now he goes every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 AM to 2 PM and although mommy is thankful for some extra time to get things done around the house and town, I know it is harder for her than she might admit.

While I would love to include a video clip from his first day of school, I made the terrible mistake of looking at the video camera battery charge symbol incorrectly. As a result, we got to the church last Tuesday, I turned around with the camera on and said, "Maxwell, where are we going today?" He replied, "To school!" and my camera immediately started flashing the "battery dead" symbol. Needless to say we were disappointed, but at least we have these pictures of his first day (okay, so we only have 4 pictures total and I'm only including 2)--decked out with a new backpack, new tennis shoes, and a new shirt.

We are so thankful that his assistant teacher from last year, Mrs. Lisa, is his lead teacher this year with Ms. Kate as his new assistant teacher. Many of his classmates are also from his class last year--Jackson, Wyatt, Andrew, Miranda, Gigi, and a few others I can't remember right now. Last year he was in Mrs. April's "frog" class and this year he is in the "apple" class. We aren't concerned that he is moving down the food chain though (aren't frogs higher than apples on the food chain?) as the entire Kingdom Kids staff is wonderful and the program is a treat for him to participate in. In addition to class time with Mrs. Lisa and Ms. Kate, Maxwell also gets to participate in movement class with Ms. Beth and, his favorite activity, music with Ms. Marianne.

I really do have many things to blog about (it was a busy summer), but we don't want to overwhelm you all at once!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Right back atcha...

While I have not done a scientific study to determine if other 3 year old children can wink, I do believe that Maxwell is one of the few who does it so well. His papa taught him how to wink a long time ago and then I (Matt) decided that he needed to add a little something more so I taught him how to open his mouth and give his "right back atcha" look. For your viewing pleasure, here is a picture of Maxwell winking--especially for you. We hope you have a fantastic day!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Missing our friends

Do you remember being a kid and missing your friends during the summer when everyone was on a different schedule and people went on vacation? Well that is where we are right now in the Upton home...we miss our friends the Mortons. We've grown so accustomed to them being a part of our lives that when they are gone, we miss them terribly...and I'm not just talking about Maxwell missing Elizabeth (although he does miss her).

Call us the "Morton Fan Club" if you will, but we are ready for them to be back in town so we can see them more regularly. Mexican food just loses its flavor when you don't have good friends to share it with and, although we haven't been to the pool with them yet, time at the pool tonight with all our other friends just didn't feel quite right without them there. We loved the time with everyone else, but we sure do miss them.

Come home soon dear friends!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Maxwell's fruit thief friend

If you spend any time with us, you will likely hear us talk about our amazing friends, the Browns (Larry, Lizi, Isaac, Rachel, and Daniel--they have another son, Aaron, who is married to Sarah, but I consider them their "own" family). When we met them in 1999, we became fast friends and our lives have forever been changed by their love, friendship and mentoring.

With Rachel coming to A&M in the fall and Daniel well on his way to becoming a tennis pro, I'm sure you'll see their names mentioned again on this blog. This entry is about Maxwell's adoration of Isaac though.

You see, Isaac and Maxwell have a special bond. Isaac attempted and then succeeded in stealing Maxwell's fruit one time (a grape to be exact) and Maxwell has been hooked ever since. It was inevitable--anyone who would show a love for fruit that matches Maxwell was destined to become his friend. So now, every time we are with Isaac, Maxwell wants him to "steal" some fruit so he can then share it with him.

Isaac is about to move to Washington, DC though so their times for sharing fruit will become a little more sporadic and I know Maxwell will miss those times. We'll miss Isaac, too, and wish him the very best in the next season of his life!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Encourage one another and build each other up!

One of Maxwell's favorite songs is based on I Thes. 5:11 and the words are, "Encourage one another and build each other up, build each other up, build each other up! Encourage one another and build each other up...up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up!"

In our best effort to teach him how to encourage others, we've been teaching him to say kind words. Since he typically only uses unkind words to mommy, I've really been trying to work with him to be kind to her.

Here is an example of one of our exchanges.
Matt: "Maxwell, what is something kind you can say to mommy?"
Maxwell: "Mommy, your so pretty!"
We've also taught him that women are "pretty" and men are "handsome".

This morning though, he decided that he needed to hear kind words about himself. As he walked out of the room we heard him proclaim, "I'm so handsome!" (picture from this morning is included here)

I guess we all need to hear kind words sometimes, but unfortunately, our intention wasn't to teach him to brag on himself!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

That little man

One of the things that Maxwell has been doing lately that cracks us up is referring to every man he doesn't know as "that little man". Here are some examples of him using the phrase lately.

Last weekend at the Weatherly's house, he worked hard all weekend to pronounce "Mrs. Weatherly" when we told him where we were going. After riding on the tractor Friday night with Dr. Weatherly we went to their house and got ready for bed, but Dr. Weatherly had to stay in the fields and finish up so Maxwell never made the connection that his last name was Weatherly, too. The next morning (at 6:30 AM) Maxwell walked out of the bedroom and saw Dr. Weatherly downstairs. Not knowing his name he ran back in and said, "Daddy, daddy! That little man I rode on the tractor with is downstairs!"

Then this morning when Maria and Maxwell were dropping me off at work the landscape crew was out working. Maxwell looked at us and said, "That little man isn't gonna get me with that thing, is he?!" That thing was a weed eater and we assured him that we would not let "that little man" get him. Too funny!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Friends and a fruity festival

This past weekend, the three of us made a trip to Nacogdoches, Texas for the Texas Blueberry Festival. What made the weekend even better is that our friends, the Weatherly's, live in Nacogdoches (little did we know that they live on 100 acres surrounded by 3 creeks, thus the name of their place, "Triple Creek", and it was stunningly beautiful).

I haven't been to Nacogdoches since 1989 when my sister was in school there (sorry to age you Jana) and had forgotten how beautiful that part of Texas is. While the Blueberry Festival was our original reason for going, we only lasted 2 hours there--if you've been to one festival/fair, I contend that you have been to them all. In that two hours, we waited in line for 30 minutes for blueberry pancakes, sat in folding chairs with Maxwell in my lap while trying to feed him, burned his little mouth on a blueberry (the rest of the pancake was cool, I promise), walked by a number of booths with "interesting" items, and had the joy of taking Maxwell into his first port-a-potty (icky).

The highlight of the weekend for all of us was time with Jim and Gail Weatherly. We got to meet their pet longhorn Jay, Maxwell rode in the instructor seat on Dr. Weatherly's new tractor, we played with water balloons, met two of their grandsons (and Maxwell got to play with them), ran up and down the stairs in the house, played in their fabulous playroom, and went to Dr. Weatherly's veterinary clinic and saw the puppies and kitty cats. Maria and I also thoroughly enjoyed the time to visit with them and meet some of their family.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

I'm big now...

I had the privilege of eating lunch with Maria and Maxwell today at the new Blue Baker (by the way, it is huge and really nice, not to mention there is a fountain in front of it!). After we ate, they took me back to my office and on the way Maxwell made a rather profound statement...

"I'm big now because I can open my Freebird."

Now if that doesn't make you proud, I just don't know what will! The funny part is that we haven't eaten at Freebirds in at least 5 days. :) If you aren't familiar with Freebirds, they make these really yummy and BIG burritos and Maxwell really likes them (he and I usually share). If you know about Freebirds, then you know what I'm talking about. Whether you know about Freebirds or not, come see us and we'll be glad to go eat there with you!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

One step ahead of us

Our dear friends, the Mortons, always seem to be one step ahead of us when it comes to posting blogs about activities that Maxwell and his best girl buddy (and their daughter), Elizabeth, did together. For instance, check out their blog from yesterday titled "Summer Fun".

We think the picture of Maxwell with his arm around Elizabeth is just adorable! Thanks to Shannon for capturing it (despite initial protests from Elizabeth).

Monday, June 4, 2007

Our son...the fisherman?!

While Maria and I were fighting crowds in New York City, Maxwell was at Nana & Grandad's enjoying the simpler, quieter way of life in the country (I grew up in a town of just over 700 people in southeast Texas--Hardin, Texas). Now I love my dad (probably even more than he knows!), but one thing that we do not share a common interest in is fishing and hunting. I simply don't have the patience to sit on the bank of a pond, lake, creek, etc. and wait for the fish to bite. I wanted to like fishing, but sitting still is not something I have a natural talent for, so I struggled to enjoy those times with my dad (until Coach Vandiver got a bass boat--then I could enjoy fishing because we were out on a boat, but that is a different story). The fish didn't seem to want to bite when I was fishing with dad either, so that made things even worse.

Now back to Maxwell and his time with Grandad. They planned to go fishing all week, but every day it rained or something prevented them from going. Then on Friday they finally had a chance to go fishing in the afternoon. On the first cast Maxwell pulled in a 3 inch fish (seen above). After a few more casts, he reeled in a 4-5 inch fish (seen to the left).

Then, a few casts later, he reeled in this one!
If my dad is reading this (not sure "blogs" are on his radar screen yet!), then I'm sorry to say that, based on my ability to fish (or lack thereof), I'm going to have to attribute Maxwell's early talent to the White side of the family (Maria's mom's family). They are from Newfoundland in Canada (affectionately referred to as Newfies) and Maria's grandfather and some of her uncles were fishermen by trade. Heaven knows he didn't get the fishing talent from me!

Getting rid of the fur

Many of you have heard us tell stories about our frustration with Maxwell pulling the fur out of his favorite stuffed puppy, Moses. Apparently, telling him not to pull the fur out of Moses stuck with him. Last week, we decided that both Maxwell and I were in desperate need of a haircut before we set out on our trip (I had a conference in New York City that Maria joined me on and Maxwell went to Nana and Grandad's) so we set up our barber shop in the garage and Maria cut our hair. The funniest part was at the end when were were cleaning up and Maxwell said, "Daddy, we are cleaning up because mommy got all the fur off of us."

Included below is a before and after shot--and the funny face we are making is actually the two of us "winking" at our favorite lady.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Faith of a Child

Yesterday was a hard day around the Upton home, but Maxwell made the ending to a hard day just wonderful. Here was his prayer.

"Lord Jesus, help us rest good tonight. Help us have a baby...a baby sister; and help us not cry when we don't have a baby sister or baby brother. In Jesus' name, amen."

I guess you now know why it was a hard day yesterday. Anyone who says that infertility is easier when you already have a child hasn't been down this road. It wasn't easy the first time and it isn't easy this time. Here is my (Matt) prayer:

Lord, thank you for Maxwell and his faith. Give us the faith of a child that we may rest knowing that you will carry us through.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It's Birthday Season

So no one told us that when your child(ren) is between 2 and 3 years old that there will be a birthday party to attend every weekend for months on end! Although we already had Maxwell's birthday party a few weekends ago, last year we started what may become an annual tradition--a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese with Maxwell's four "best" BOY buddies: Jackson, Aiden, Blake, and Jacob.

The boys had a great time and I (Matt) was actually able to enjoy myself, too, despite the fact that you cannot keep an eye on your child the whole time you are there (I know, I'm working on my control and "safety" dad issues...). One of the boys, Blake, came down with pink eye the night before the party so he wasn't able to attend, but we had a "make-up" party this weekend and I've posted pictures of the 5 boys.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Amazing Weather and Working Hard

We've been having some amazing weather in Texas the past few days--highs in the lower 80s in mid-May is almost unheard of! As a result, we spent some family time yesterday afternoon and evening doing yard work. Afterwards, Maxwell and I (Matt) grilled hamburgers and cooled off on the back porch. You can see in the pictures here that Maxwell enjoyed the cold water.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Boys being boys...oh boy!

So we had our first "boys will be boys" moment yesterday with Maxwell and his buddy Jackson (pictured here). To Maxwell's delight, Jackson came over to play yesterday afternoon and while they were sitting on the couch watching a video Jackson burped. When he didn't say anything Maria looked at him and asked, "what do we say?" to which he replied, "Excuse me."
Maxwell then looked at Jackson, grinned, burped, said, "excuse me", and both boys burst into laughter. Jackson followed with the same grin, burp, "excuse me", and more laughter. Then for 15 minutes the two of them exchanged burps and giggles (don't judge us...they are 3 and it was funny!!!).
Now I've never been much of a burping (or other bodily functions) humor kind of guy, so I'm not sure where this came from (and Patrick Jones hasn't been around to teach Maxwell this either). Pretty amazing that no one had to teach them that--they came up with it all on their own. I can already tell that raising Maxwell is going to be quite a ride. One we are excited to take!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Maxwell's 3rd Birthday

Last Friday was Maxwell's 3rd birthday and we had a fun weekend of celebrating. On Friday morning the three of us went swimming and had the entire pool to ourselves (after the water aerobics class attendees left). After that we met our friends Matt, Shannon & Elizabeth Morton for lunch (and play time) at Chick-fil-A in the mall (see our friends blog "little morties" on the right for pictures from that). Maria's parents then came in that evening and we took them to our new favorite Mexican food restaurant in town, Papa Perez...yes, I know I've already corrupted my son to like Mexican food more than any other type of food.
Saturday was the birthday party at the park, complete with fruit, cupcakes with brightly colored icing, and a Very Hungry Catepillar cake.

We had a great time and were joined by friends and family to celebrate the special day. The hardest part of the weekend for Maxwell was saying goodbye to Nanny & Papa and Nana & Grandad. Since he had longer with Nanny & Papa, he was especially sad when they had to leave on Sunday. He just layed his head on the table and said, "Papa, I don't want you to go home." He has since told me more than once that we should go to Nanny & Papa's house today.

Monday, May 7, 2007

The Inaugural Update

Our dear friends, the Mortons (see their blog, Little Morties), created a blog and when Maria logged on she said, "we should have a blog, too." As a result, "upton's update" was born. We'll see how good I am at keeping this updated, but we're going to give it a try. Be blessed today!