Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry POST Christmas!

Ahhh….Christmas…..that blessedly busy season.

Can I make a confession??

I really DO like Christmas (honest, Scott, I do!!) ……….buuut

I am always glad when it’s over.

I am one of those people that is ready, ready, ready to take down the tree and lights the day after Christmas is over, and secretly get annoyed if I hear Christmas carols playing at church or on the radio after Christmas Day.

Sorry…I know that sounds really grinchy of me….

I do like Christmas…I do….and this year it was more fun than ever with three children under the age of five. K-Bug, by the way, says that she wishes it could be Christmas “EVERY DAY always, always always!!”

Sorry I haven’t been blogging much. I think I will make more consistent blogging one of my New Year’s resolutions (right behind reading the Bible thru in a year and getting in the best shape of my life…but more about that later)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy some of these cute Christmas pictures and a recap of the true Christmas fun we were able to have!!  Merry Post Christmas everyone!!!



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And on to Valentines Day!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Miss Kertchoo

Last night was one of the first FULL nights of good sleep I feel that I've gotten in weeks!
Next to K-Bug's sinus infection (and ensuing drama), we've also had a bout of croup with Miss Lorelin (she's fine now...but still on some temporary medicine to help her breathe at night), and a round of stomach flu with my hubby (he's OK today...but the last few days have been rough).
My throat has been slightly soar, and J-Boy has had some sniffles, but thankfully nothing else (I've been putting special baby acidophilus in his food, and giving him some special organic probiotic oatmeal).

Oh yeah...and I think I'm having PMS.

I had my breakdown yesterday - lots of boo-hooing and generally feeling sorry for myself since the last few weeks have been a little rough. I called my Mom and told her "I need my Mommy". She came and got all three kids for at least half an hour so that I could take a shower and change my clothes.

Today I slowly feel my sanity returning. In an effort to be light-hearted about the "sickies" that we've experienced these last few weeks, I wrote this poem last night...enjoy!

Me, You, And Miss Kertchoo

We’ve all heard of the Easter Bunny
And the Tooth Fairy too
But little know about the one
Simply known as Miss Kertchoo
She keeps Kleenex in her purse
And her wand is full of bluckies
That make little children everywhere
Green and gooey with the yuckies
Each cold season she awakes
From a long summer’s nap
She takes her germs and infections
And gives her hands a clap
As she giggles with delight about all the sickies she will spread
On each little boy and girl as they are lying in their bed
And who pays the price for Miss Kertchoo – her mischief and her fun?
It’s the parents – the parents I tell you – each and every one
We’ll wake like zombies to the tone of our children whining
“Mom, I can’t sleep. I don’t feel good.”
Their voices will bring
An end to our sleep
Our peace
Our sanity
And what I want to know is why no-one did tell me
About the stress and strain that these germs can cause
And yet I am SO thankful
This is because
I know that these bodies are just temporary
And sometimes germs infect
But ONE DAY our Heavenly Father
Will give us bodies that are oh-so-

So, Miss Kertchoo, how do you do, with your wand of yuckies?
I will use the power of Tylenol (and prayer) to beat back the bluckies!!

So there!!

P.S. Lord, I am still one tired Mommy, so health visited upon our family very soon would be GREAT!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Adventure

The holiday season has roared down upon us again, and we spent a wonderful day-after Thanksgiving putting up our Christmas tree and decorations (I practically just supervised while the girlies put up all the ornaments and decorations). They LOVED making the house “look SO pretty!” as K-Bug said over and over.

I spent some early morning hours shopping with my Mom (we were insane enough to venture out to Wal-Mart), and the rest of my day was spent cleaning the house. I even squeaked in a nap…..ahhh!!

So, now, here I am, sitting at the end of my day – tired and unbelievably thankful for all that I am blessed with.

God gave our family an extra special reminder about how blessed we are and how HE is always in control this past week. Last Sunday morning, as we were getting ready to go to church, K-Bug started to complain of a scratchy throat. I didn’t think much about until I felt her head and she was burning up with fever.

Poor girl! Later that day, Miss Lorelin started in with her own fever, and we all spent a very long night nursing fevers and not getting much sleep.

On Monday afternoon, my dear hubby took both girls into our pediatrician where it was discovered that K-Bug had a sinus infection and ear infection BOTH (how do these things come on so suddenly?!), while Miss Lorelin was deemed a viral infection.
We started K-Bug on her antibiotics and spent ANOTHER long night of being awake, this time largely due to K-Bug’s nasal passages being virtually swollen shut and her not being able to breathe. We gave her Vick’s vapor rub, put the Vaporizer right in front of her bed, and finally ended up with both her and I on the couch, with me holding her upright most of the night.

By Tuesday, although the fevers were all gone (and Miss Lorelin was acting like she felt significantly better), Miss K-Bug was wiped out from the complete lack of good rest and sleep.

On Tuesday night, we all braced ourselves for another looong night, and sure enough, K-Bug began to sound very much like a eighteen wheeler on steroids as she nodded off, only to wake up crying as her body tried to catch a good breathe. Around 11:00 p.m. my dear hubby and I finally nodded off as K-Bug headed off to bed. At midnight, I woke up and went to check on K-Bug.

I found her with the same VERY noisy breathing, but she also seemed to be tossing, turning, and even thrashing on her bed. I picked her up and moved her to the couch, where I noticed that drool was coming profusely from her mouth and bubbles of spit were popping up. I tried to wake K-Bug to get her to breathe from her mouth, but I COULD NOT WAKE HER UP. No matter what I tried, either. No response.

I went and woke up my dear hubby, and after he had tried unsuccessfully to rouse K-Bug for a few minutes, he asked me to call 911. She had a complete lack of muscle response - she felt completely limp like a noodle in our arms.

Dialing 911 for what was the first time in my life (and I’d be fine if it was my last) will go down as one of the scariest moments of my life to date. I sounded much calmer on the phone than I felt, as I relayed the situation to the dispatcher and gave him all of the necessary information.

With MUCH relief, my hubby was finally able to successfully rouse a very congested and scared K-Bug by putting some water on her face, and we all waited the final few minutes out front as the paramedics pulled up.

Coming inside the house, the paramedics took a blood pressure (it was fine) and a blood oxygen level (it was also fine – 98%) on K-Bug, who by this time was shaking with fright, while seeming very dazed at the same time.

The paramedics gave us the recommendation that we take K-Bug directly on to an Urgent Care to be checked out, but also gave us their full OK for us to drive her ourselves. My brave and amazing hubby took K-Bug on to the pediatric urgent care (called Good Night Pediatrics)

Once there, however, the doctors sent him and K-Bug on to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, stating that our description indicated that there could have been a possible seizure.

According to my dear hubby, the nurses and doctors at Phoenix Children's all treated K-Bug like a little princess, and the attending ER doc was very calm and reassuring that K-Bug’s current seemed normal and healthy, despite the fact that she also felt that a seizure might have occurred.

The ER doctor gave K-Bug an oral steroid to open up her nose, and K-Bug and my dear hubby arrived home around 5:30 a.m., where K-Bug proceeded to sleep straight (and breathing easy, thanks to the steroid…thank you Lord!!) through for five hours.
My dear hubby slept for an hour and then got up to work his morning shift of work.

In talking our pediatrician the next day, she felt that several things could have happened:

1.K-Bug could have had a reaction to the medicine that she was taking, as it was a brand-new antibiotic for her.
2.K-Bug could have been made drowsy by the prescribed Claritan she was taking, and that made it very difficult for us to rouse her OR
3.Her nose could have been blocked to the point that she didn’t receive air for a short time, causing her body to react with a seizure.

So, long story made shorter, her pediatrician
1.Switched her to an antibiotic that she has had before (with no side effects!) and took her off of the Claritin.
2.Will be scheduling K-Bug to get an EEG just so that we know whether or not she had a seizure or was simply in a state of very deep sleep brought about by her complete exhaustion

K-Bug has slept in our bed for the last two nights, as we have wanted to keep her a little closer than normal. Kaelyn is doing MUCH better – sleeping through the night, doing well on her new antibiotics, and being her sweet, cheerful self.

Tonight she is back in her own room and own bed, and I am thankful beyond words for the sparkling eyes of my little girl.

We spent Thanksgiving largely at home, sleeping and recovering. (we spent about two hours at my parents eating lunch too).

I have cherished every sound of her sweet voice, laughed at all of her silly jokes, and soaked in every song that she has showered us with in the last day or two.

My children are so precious, so incredibly precious to me.

I am thankful… incredibly thankful.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Catching Up..Pt 4 - The Women's Retreat

Every year, one of my very best friends, Christy, and myself head up to the North Phoenix Women's Retreat. We both attended North Phoenix Baptist Church in our high school and college days, and Christy's Mom and Dad are still active members there. When her Mom invited us to the very first Women's Retreat FIVE YEARS AGO :), we were both new Mommies in need of a break from our babies (her son was seven months and K-Bug was just five months old).

It was at that first retreat that we laughed, cried, and experienced God in new ways together.

Now, five retreats later, I've got my three kiddos and Christy is expecting her third baby next March.Awwww....I think she looks so beautiful with her baby belly! :)

We tease each other because there has only been one year that at least one of us wasn't pregant at the retreat. (we've both decided we're done with pregnancy and babies:)

Truly, this retreat is a special and sacred time for me and my friend. There are SO many highlights at the retreat. One of our favorites is the Saturday night party! Each year, the retreat team for North Phoenix Baptist puts together a HUGE theme party for the second night of the retreat. There are ALWAYS outrageous costumes, games, music, and more.

It's a blast! :) They have done fun themes like a Fifties Party, A Western Hoedown, and last year, a Princess Party!

This year they decided to do something a little bit different and put together a talent show. The theme of the retreat was "God's Precious Jewels" - so they decided to do a Saturday Night "Sparkle Show"

When they first announced the talent show, my friend Christy called me and said, "I KNOW what we are doing for the talent show! Have you seen Evolution of Dance on You Tube??"

Yes, people, WE did the entire evolution of dance. And yes, my friend Christy was almost six months pregnant while we did it. We rehearsed pretty hard for about a week, and when the time came we were ready.....

We ended up being the last act of the night, and yes, WE-ROCKED-THE-HOUSE! (and had a BLAST doing it!!!)

Who said that Baptists don't dance???

I have some video of us doing the dance, so maybe I'll get brave and post it on my blog so everyone can see...

Here is Christy and I posing with the lady who was the Emcee for the night's talent show events.

And here is Christy and I just posing for the camera with all of our "sparkly bling" on...I am pointing to her preg-o belly!
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Catching Up..Pt 3 - The Chili Party

Every year, on Halloween Day, our family has had the privelage of attending a Chili Party hosted by one of my best friend's mother. :) She is so generous to include us in this family event (thanks Jan!) Fred and Jan have a BIG backyard, and lots of toys for the kiddos to play with. After a big dinner of homemade chili and other fixins', the kids decorate their own treat bags and walk through the neighborhood collecting candy from all of Fred and Jan's neighbors.
The entire block participates in their own family/friend party events at their houses, and most of the neighbors wait out in front of their houses with big bowls of candy. This year we took
ONE PINK PIG, ONE FANCY-NANCY BUTTERFLY, AND ONE EYEORE....:) Our camera was really, really low on batteries, so these are the few pictures that we got before our camera completely died..




It was a very wonderful and even relaxing night. ALl the children that have come to this even the last few years are growing up, and this year they played mostly among themselves, giving us adults a chance to sit and visit with each other.
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Catching Up..Pt 2 - The Farm

Every year since our K-Bug was just a baby, our family has traveled to the "farm in the city" - Tolmachoff Farms - for their annual Pumpkin Days. K-Bug is now old enough to ask to go the farm, and so she asked, and asked, and asked again...
It's always a lot of fun!!

Here is our little pumpkin, sitting with the pumpkins (and trying to eat the grass on the gound!)

They have a BIG corn pit for the kiddos to play in at the farm. It's filled with a ton of dried corn kernels....can you imagine how much pop corn that would be?? :)

It was SUPER hard to get all three kids to pose together, but we did get this adorable shot of our two sweet girlies posing with the pumpkins (it was a little less wiggly then their baby brother).

A new addition to the farm this year was a hand-built duck run. It was a row of long wooden tracks that received water from old-fashioned pumps. Tiny plastic ducks were placed inside the track, and you could "race" your duck against others beside you. We all spent a lot of time racing our ducks up and down the tracks.

My dear hubby's duck beat everyone else's every time...but that hardly seems fair, huh?? :)
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Catching Up..Pt 1 - The Zoo

Part of enjoying the super nice weather here in Arizona right now is getting outdoors to those venues that are really too hot to be at during the summer. We had a few months left on our membership card at The Phoenix Zoo, so we made an effort to go as often as possible in the last two months (our membership JUST expired...bummer! :( And although it was a good deal, we've decided to not renew given the very real possiblity that we might move before we could fully use it. are some pictures from one of our trips.

This is as close as I EVER, EVER want to be to an alligator!

(alligators are one of my biggest monster-fears. When I have nightmares, they usually involve giant alligators eating people)

Here are the girls riding some exotic animals..on the merry-go-round, of course!

The zoo has a big farm (yup, we city folks have to go the zoo to see a real farm!) and the girls were perfecting their riding skills on these wooden horses!

Here is proof that Daddy was there, taking pictures most of the day. He snapped this shot of himself and K-Bug being silly!
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It's ONLY been a month...:)

I mean, in the grand scheme of things...what's a month?

Thirty days, seven hundred twenty hours, and um.... a LOT of minutes.... :)

AND... a lot of the Smith family that I haven't been able to share with all of you!

Have you ever fallen so behind on balancing your finances?? AND….. because you are so tired that particular night, you decide that “catching up” is going to be a lot of work and decide to go have a bowl of ice cream and read a good book instead??

Yup, I really, really don’t like having to play the “catch-up” game. It’s so much nicer, I think, when I’ve just been nice and consistent all along.

And, although I could throw out a lot of really good and very valid excuses about why I haven’t blogged lately….such as…

1. The weather is SO nice in Arizona right now (although still a little too warm for my tastes). Still, we are outside every chance we get. We still do not have a backyard put in at our home, so getting outside sometimes requires packing up the ol’ family and traveling to our nearest park or biking trail. I’ll have some pictures of our outdoor adventures coming soon! 
2. If my son is awake, he is pretty much my full-time employer. My job, you ask?? It would be to watch him EVERY SINGLE SECOND to make sure that he is not trying to destroy something in the house or trying to hurt himself by playing with things that are NOT toys (cords that plug into the wall, brushes, cat food, etc). He is a speed crawler, and LOVES to explore!!
3. I have SOO tired in the evenings, and my time during the day that is truly and really my own is SUPER limited (for example, my son just started crying…he is supposed to be sleeping)
4. My schedule is full and blessed.

STILL………….I LOVE my friend’s blogs…they give me a window into their hearts and minds even though they might be far away or not in a place where I can directly connect with them

And so, although I’ll be honest and say sometimes I’m un-sure that my little ol’ blog matters so much to anyone, I think in a way it does matter to me. So, I’m back….and like so many other things in my life that are truly important, I’ll be striving for some more consistency.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

3-2-1 - We Have Lift Off!!

Yup, J-Boy has successfully lifted off of his bum and is now crawling!!

It started out as a slow crawl, but he gets faster every day, and yes, he is now trying to get into everything!

I mean, why play with your toys when you can crawl over and chew on your sister’s shoe??

He is the earliest crawler out of all three of our kiddos, so I’m not sure what this means for walking….

I do know that if that boy is awake, he is on the go, and so is Mom!

I Will Make Them Read This Post Out-Loud…


When they are teenagers, K-Bug and Lorelin will undoubtedly have their sisterly “moments” when they would rather not be the bestest of friends.

It is at this time that I will pull out this post and have them read “OUT-LOUD” (oh yes, I will!!) to each other their words of sweetness and kindness recorded here for all of time and history.

At nighttime, after we have said our evening prayers, we go around the girls bedroom and each say what we are thankful for.

Here is what Lorelin said the other night – “I’m thankful for my sister K-Bug. She is my very best friend and I love her!”

K-Bug sweetly acquiesced to that comment with “I know.” (hee, hee)

However, then she got out of her bed, went over to Lorelin’s bed, and pulled her sissy into a great big hug and said, “You’re my best friend too Lorelin.”

AWWWWWW……….it was so awesome!!!

And so, yes, my dear sweet daughters, I deeply pray that you will ALWAYS be the best of friends. And when you are not, I will make sure you read these words out loud to each other.

P.S. Other sweet things they have said they are thankful for –
K-Bug – “I am thankful for my Daddy playing with me. He is so fun!”
Lorelin – “I am thankful for hugging my Mommy!”
K-Bug – “I am thankful for dancing and cats”
Lorelin – “I am thankful for my Grandad and playing in his car.”
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

J-Boy - Seventh Month Update

Seeing as how I have completely skipped over his six month update (and how time still marches on), I just wanted to give everyone the update on our not-so-little boy.

At his six month appointment, J-Boy weighed in at 19 pounds, which my pediatrician told me that that is the weight of the average eleventh month old that she sees.

“He’s a big boy!” she told me in her wonderful, lilting Nigerian accent.

He is indeed a big, happy boy. He is not yet crawling on his own, but will get up on his hands and knees and rock back and forth. He will also scoot himself backwards halfway across the room, which ends up with his being VERY frustrated that he is getting farther away from his toys (or the cat, or a book, or whatever) instead of getting closer.

He now has two pearlie white chompers on his bottom gum, and can use said chompers to gnaw and chew on his favorite snack – Puffs! Fruit puffs, veggie puffs – any kind will do – as long as he can keep them going in his mouth!

What is it about boys and food anyway?? :)

J-Boy has also started to use his little lips and mouth for various sounds like “Ma, Ma, Ma”, “Da,Da, Da” – he also likes to make couging noises (which always make me check to make sure he’s not actually choking), and guttural sounds in his throat that make him sound like a dinosaur.

What is it about boys and dinosaurs anyway?? :)

Speaking of dinosaurs, his favorite security item for sleeping is a big, stuffed alligator. He reaches for it when you lay him in his crib. Here he is all cuddled up to Mr. Alligator……

Awwwww……I just want to eat him up, he's SOOO cute!!!!!!!!!!!

Here are a few other seven month shots:
J-BOY IN THE TUB (don't worry - both of us parents were very close by)


HANGING OUT WITH GRANDAD (he can hold his upper body straight just like you see in this pic for a looong strong!)
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I’m always at a vulnerable place when I’m sick (aren’t we all?)

I tend to cry more easily, and I actually have some amount of time to be “on my back” and think and pray about life.

So what did God show me in three days of illness and no food?? (last Friday was the first day that I was able to eat three square meals…it was pure WONDERFUL-NESS!!!)

He showed me some things that I’ve been holding on to, clinging to even – trying to make them fufill me.

And through all of my reading and praying, He spoke a beautiful and wonderful word to my heart.


“OK, Lord”
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Make The Yuckies Stop

So this entire past week has felt like a wash. About halfway through my morning at work on Tuesday (I teach music at a preschool one day a week), I started feeling sick to my stomach and having REALLY horrible stomach cramps.

I managed to make it through my morning and headed home to take a nap when the kiddos went down. By the time I woke up though, it was sure and certain that this was a virus that was not going to go anywhere.

My hubby spent the rest of the evening earning his “I’m-a-saint-of-a-husband-and-father” merit badge as he simultaneously took care of the kids AND me. I spent a lot of time becoming very familiar with all of the porclein in the bathroom. To cap off the evening, Lorelin started to run a mild fever and complain of yup… a tummy ache.

By the next morning, I was still in the grips of yuckiness, although now I had to also deal with my sick child (who had diarrhea all day and then threw up all evening), and my well children too (who I really wanted to stay that way).

Again, my husband was so incredible and pitched in and helped out however he could… thanks honey….I TRULY don’t know what I would have done without you. Thanks also to my parents, who helped with the healthy children when and where they could (and also made a late night trip to CVS pharmacy for Pedialtye!)

At one point on Wednesday evening, right after Miss Lorelin had thrown up what seemed to be everything she-ever-ate, and was dry heaving in the bathroom, she looked at me with the most pitiful face and said those words that would twist any Mommy’s heart –

“You’re de Mom…..”

“Yes, I’m the Mom, sweetie”

“Make the yuckies stop!”

Sweet peaches, how I WANTED to make the yuckies stop right then and there, but mother and daughter limped through the evening together.

Thankfully, we are all on the well-and-good list today, although a little drained from our bodies dealing with illness.

Friday, October 10, 2008

New Finds...

Hey there...I love it when my friends share new products or things they love with me. So, I just wanted to share a new blog that I found that I love! :) Simple Mom may sound like SuperMom, but I'm sure she has her own share of prayer requests!
She doesn't share a lot on her public site, but I think that she and her husband are somehow involved with missions in a country that she can't mention openly.

Anyhoo...her site is fabulous and has tons of great information and organizationanal ideas! Check it out...

simple mom

A Date For Tonight....

Tonight my dear hubby is going out with his Mom, sister, and aunts to a Neil Diamond concert (his Mom bought him the ticket as a gift). :) She actually offered to let me go too, but I'm not even really that familiar with Neil Diamond or his music, so I opted to stay home and be with the kiddos. :)
I am praying for a quiet night, kiddos that go to bed on time, and a nice, long stretch of time in which to blog my heart out.
Lots of silly, serious, and fun stuff to share! :)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Great Debate Of '08

Ok, ok….so I have completely resisted posting about politics, even though I am a self-avowed conservative political talk-show junkie…..

My favorites are Dennis Prager, Laura Ingraham, and Hugh Hewitt (for those of you who aren’t altogether political, Dennis Prager is a GREAT listen…he talks about everything in life)

This year though, I am……weary…..

Weary I think partly due to the fact that I have three children under the age of five (which leaves me with a LOT less energy to devote to politics), but also weary of the media circus that has surrounded this current election.

For the record, I am a HUGE Sarah Palin fan.

I think that the attacks against her and her family have been vile and insidious. Not that I think that Barak Obama’s family deserves any smears either, but I am mildly disgusted by the almost “worship” of Barak as a person.

I have had to handle ALL of my politics this year in small chunks…here a little…there a little….

I voted originally for Mit Romney (after a lot of debate within myself), and McCain was far and away my LAST choice. But, as I mentioned above, I truly respect Sarah Palin and feel I can vote for McCain/Palin if only because she is on the ticket (I’m sure many echo my sentiments).

There is so much more I could say in detail about what I think and feel politically. I have voted proudly since the time I was eighteen, and can see myself getting more involved in the realm of politics (especially in the defense of life) in my older years.

To sum up, I would say this: to those out there who are also weary of this season of politics, even for those who might HATE politics…don’t lose heart.

God is still in control, even when the rest of the world thinks the sky is falling, and no matter how dark this world may be, we as Christians can stand for what God’s word says is right and true, in whatever way He calls us to do that.

Thank you, Lord, for being the God over all….my heart finds rest in You

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Is This For REALS?? :)

A friend of my hubby sent this to him a few days ago, and we love it! :) Words can't express - you just have to experience it for go ahead...

My favorite part?


Thursday, September 18, 2008

I'm Still Here....I've Just Been....

1. Changing LOTS of poopy diapers - J-Boy is a very healthy eater - and pooper!! :) I'm glad his system works so well, but I am very busy keeping his pants clean.
2. Feeding Children - If I'm not feeding my girlies breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks, I am feeding J-Boy a bottle or baby food. I have a new appreciation for not only what my own Mom did over the years, but also those Mommies who have even more mouths to feed at one time than I do. Go Moms!
3. Getting Back Outside - Slowly, but surely, the weather is changing here. That means we've started to get back outside in the mornings to let the girlies ride their tricyles (and K-Bug has a new/used bicylce with training wheels) and going for walks in the evenings after dinner. J-Boy LOVES to be outside in his stroller - it really helps when he is being fussy in the evenings. In a few weeks, the girlies, J-Boy and I will all start to go the park on at least a weekly basis to spend some extended time outdoors with friends. I am SOO thankful! I feel like we all deserve a T-shirt or other memento that says "We survived ANOTHER Phoenix summer!"
4. Holding/Rocking A Teething Baby - J-Boy's FIRST tooth finally popped thru the gum on the bottom, and he doesn't seem to be too thrilled about it! He's got another on the way, and the poor kiddo has been uncomfortable and a little a fussy. I do have some great natural teething tablets (thanks Coral!)as well as cold teething rings...they do help some. :) In the meantime, we hope for the teethies to come quickly...
5. Fighting Headaches & Dealing with Allergies....The headaches have been mine. I've had a few in the last week or so. They are a combination of sinus pain and migraine throbbing. YUCK!! The allergies I've had to deal with haven't been my own - my dear hubbies allergies have flared on him in the last few weeks as well - poor guy!!! He's been absolutley miserable - sneezing until his eyes are puffy and his nose is swollen. He hasn't really had to deal with serious allergies for at least a few years, so this spell of ickies caught him totally off-guard.
6. Starting the girlies in a dance/gmynastics class - My generous mom-in-law gave us a gift to help the girlies get started in a dance/gymnastics class that meets once a week. At this point, it's only four weeks long. After that time, we should be able to determine if we will continue with this combined gym and dance class or just switch to gymnastics. We had our first class this week, and both K-Bug and Lorelin had a LOT of fun! I took the camera, but the pictures were really lousy...Sorry :(
7. Playing with my parent's new puppy... TODAY my parents picked up their new puppy - a seven week old female chocolate labrador that they named Moxy (it means "smart") She is a TOTAL cutie, and the girls just LOVED playing with her....and she loved playing with them. They wore each other out - my girlies are fast asleep, and I know that Moxy is probably sleeping away on her new special doggie pillow. It will be lots of fun for the girls (and the rest of us) to watch this puppy grow - and my parents are the ones who get to feed and clean up after it! We all win!
8. Signing Up For The Gym...yup, I did it. I signed up for a gym that will open in just a few weeks. It's called Fitness Works. For $25 a month, I get access to the gym as well as free reign to choose from over 80 different aerobics classes. I haven't really told a lot of people about this, because I know that the proof is when I start going to the gym, but I am READY!!!
9. Sleeping & Reading.... I do try to get some sleep at night, although I continue to be a night owl, and I've been trying to keep up with my Bible reading, as well as a few other books. I've also been trying to pray each night with my dear hubby....

Well, that's a little bit of what's going on for us Smiths....I pray that all is going well with YOU!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Look Ma - No Hands!!

I haven't gotten around to writing J-Boy's six month update yet, but here is our BIG boy proudly showing off his newest accomplishment! SITTING UP!!
He's been sitting up for a few weeks now, but he's always needed his hands propped in front of him, and if he tried to turn his head or shift his weight, he'd fall over like a tiny sack of taters'. :)
But not anymore.....

He's even gotten to the point that he can "correct" himself when he gets off-balance. He can also lean over to grab things and then pull himself back up.
Sometimes he still falls....

Then he smiles a cute smile for the camera about 20 seconds before he starts scooting around on the floor like a mad-man on a mission. A crawling mission that is! This boy is bound and determined to go places - I wouldn't be surprised if he starts crawling very soon. Then it's watch out world - and Mommy too!
When he's not sitting around looking cute, J-Boy can be found in his exer-saucer twirling, jumping, and chewing away. :)

Go, big boy, go!!!
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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Our Trip - Unpacked

I was reading back over my posts about our trip. They are a snapshot of what happened - a verbal scrapbook, with a few pictures put in. However, I didn't really elaborate on many thoughts or feelings about the trip.So, in a what I hope to be a shorter post, I'll share a little of my true heart.

Here is what I remember about -

THE PAST: When we went to Norman to visit in 2007, my dear hubby and I both fell in love with this charming town. The college-feel, the friendly people, the weather (yes, even the tornadoes!), and the land.
Both my hubby and I can recall a very vivid moment that we had inside the Oklahoma City airport from that first visit. We were sitting and reflecting on that first visit getting ready to fly back to Phoenix. We both looked out over the expanse of land and sky there in the giant windows of the airport, and together prayed that God would show us whether or not He wanted us to move to Norman. We came home from that first trip, and through MUCH prayer, believed that God told us "Not yet". We both believed that He wanted us to accept the offer to help our friends as they started a new church plant. So, we said, "Not now" to Norman, and "Yes" to God and our friends.
As it turns out, my sis and her dear hubby decided to move away from Norman. I decided that God must have changed His answer to a "No", and in my heart silently bid a farewell to Oklahoma.

Here is what I know about -

THE PRESENT: Fast foward to today. The church plant will celebrate the anniversary of our first service in just two short weeks. My dear hubby has led worship for this great little church, and I have grown incredible amounts in my own faith as it relates to obedience to Christ. My parents have been "waiting" around the Phoenix area, hoping that we might want to move with them....somwhere close to them so that they can continue to have their special, close relationships with their grandkids. My parents have been looking at the East Texas area, most espcially because my Meemaw (and other family) are there - and my Meemaw may need assistance as she gets older. However, my dear hubby had never been to East Texas, and I hadn't been in at least ten years. So, we planned a trip that would double as a vacation and scouting mission to see if East Texas is a place we'd consider moving to. The plane tickets were bought, and we sat down with a map of Texas. However, as we kept talking and praying, God seemed to bring Norman back to our minds and hearts. "That's silly.." we told ourselves. However, again and again both my hubby and myself felt it laid on our hearts that we were to return there.
Many a night we prayed, "Lord, what in the world are we supposed to do once we get there? Drive around? Jump up and down? Say 'Hey-howdy-hey' to Joe Brown?" (okay, so maybe our prayers didn't all rhyme quite like that... :)
So one night we just said, "Yes". And even though we still had NO idea what to do when we got to Norman, we both had immediate peace that we were being obedient.
We worked Norman into the plan, called my sis and her hubby to help us find a place to stay, and mapped out our route from Dallas on up to Oklahoma.
If you want to read (or re-read about) what we actually did there in Oklahoma - head back to Day 1 or Day 2 of the trip. Our time in Okalahoma was very God-centered. We both wanted to stay, although we knew that we needed to head to our visits in Texas. And driving dwon from Oklahoma to Texas, both my hubby and I believed that God just might be up to something in Norman, Oklahoma that involved us.We returned from the trip, and sat down one evening for a candid conversation with my parents. They surprised ME by saying that they still thought that Norman was a wonderful place, and they were still thinking of moving there themselves.

What I am praying about -

So where does that leave us? I don't like saying this, but I still don't altogther know. It hasn't been easy to think about leaving Phoenix. In many ways I am very comfortable here - I have the best friends of my life, and my hubby's family are all around. The housing market stinks in Phoenix right now, and selling our house (not to mention making any kind of profit) seems rather unlikely. My sis and her hubby are not wanting to make a return to Norman for many reasons, and although she is supportive of whatever we decide, she's dissapointed (as am I) that we might not be a close together in miles as we would have wanted (although I AM praying about Austin, just like I said I would!)
Most of my hubby's family are upset of the thought of us leaving, and many of my friends can't understand anyone's draw to a place that regularly hosts tornadoes.

I can only tell you this - it would be by God, for God, and about God if we moved.

My job is to commit myself into God's hands, and to draw near to Him.

We are activley asking God about what's next for the Smiths, and praying about a possible move within the next year.

God knows what the future holds.

So, for now, that's enough for me.

Our Trip - Part 3, Days 3 &4

I'm just now finishing the write-up about our Texas/Oklahoma trip…if you stuck with me and made it this far in my rather lengthy posts then you are either my true friend, you like words as much as I do, or you’re feeling obligated to read because you’re related to me. ;)

Anyway, I’ll roll together days three and four. We spent most of Saturday visiting with my Meemaw.Here she is sititng on her beautiful patio with her "porch dress", as she called it, and her doggie Tinkerbell.

We visited a little in the morning and then went out driving.We ended up stopping at this tourist attraction that was the home of the WORLD’S LARGEST CEDAR ROCKING CHAIR. No kidding…they have the Guiness World Record plaque to prove it. It IS a big chair….I think it’s 25 feet high.

Here I am, sitting in a smaller, but still LARGE version of the same chair. I felt like such a little kid sitting in this chair.

There was a beautiful furniture store/gift shop, a BBQ restaurant, and a real working blacksmith on the property.

The furniture was made of cedar, of course, and was very beautiful. The first thing you see inside the store is this large handcrafted table that costs oh…only $10,000.

We didn’t even breathe on that table…..

My Meemaw ended up buying J-Boy a cute cowboy Teddy bear and she bought the girlies some pink fuzzy slippers that look like cowboy boots…they are SO super cute! We ate at the Smokehouse BBQ – it was out of this world good!

We went back to my Meemaw’s house and rested some before packing our bags up and saying our Goodbyes to her.

The most confusing drive of the entire trip was the one from my Meemaw’s house back to the rental car facility at the airport. We had Google Maps version of the step-by-step directions, and I am so thankful that they were all accurate! The airport in Dallas is super spread out and getting to the airport was a maze of exits and turn-offs.

We dropped off our rental car and my Uncle Petey (not really my uncle, but my godfather) came and picked us up. Ahhh!!! We could relax and let someone else take the wheel!

Once back at my godparents BEAUTIFUL home (they just completely remodeled the inside of their home and it is stunning!), we unloaded our suitcases and enjoyed a short rain-storm that blew cool winds and poured buckets of water on their already green backyard.

My Godparents spoiled us rotten – they took us to the most AMAZING Mexican food restaurant for dinner. They make homemade guacamole to your specifications right at your table…, huh?

After dinner, we went back to their house, sat down and has us a good ol’ fashioned visit. We talked for the next few hours about everything under the sun – our children, our trip, what God was doing in our lives, good books, etc.

It was such a blessed time – one that, in reflection, really blessed my hubby and I immensely. It’s always good to have someone who’s gone before you speak truth and perspective into your current circumstances.

We slept well, and awoke the next morning to attend church. The pastor at their church has been preaching since I was a child, and it was so wonderful to hear him preach that morning.

After church, we went out for some pizza,where we asked a teen girl outside to snap our picture.

Then we were on to the airport. We made it to our gate with LOTS of time, and crowded into our seats with a full flight.

The ride back to Phoenix was a bit bumpy, and my hubby had a very painful stuffed eardrum, but we did make it safely, for which we are thankful. :0 As we disembarked from the plane, I turned to my hubby and told him how much I had enjoyed our time together.

With that, we turned the corner out of security, and into the waiting arms of my parents and children, who had come to greet us at the airport.

There were lots of big hugs and smiles, and lots of exclamations from K-Bug saying, “You came back! MY Mommy is back! MY Daddy is back!”

It was good to be with our children again.
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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Vote, Vote, Vote!

And I'm not talking about the upcoming election. This Reece's Rainbow ministry has just really been on my heart. Please visit their website, check out their ministry, and then PLEASE vote to help them win money for their Adoption Grant Project!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Our Trip, - Part 2, Day 2

One would think in a house of nine children that bedtime would be chaos. This is not true of the Presley family. Now while there was still a good deal of kids being kids, bedtime moved in waves, with the younger children going first (the oldest child is sixteen and the youngest is seventeen months). There was also someone assigned to kitchen duty who was cleaning up the dinner remains. The next morning (Friday) moved in waves as well – the younger kids woke up first, ate breakfast and started on their schoolwork (they are home-schooled). The older kids slept in, but then followed the same routine.

It was delightful to spend time with all of the children. We had a great time asking them about their hobbies, their favorite subject in school, and what they had been doing over the summer. They brought out drawings to show us, books to share, and performed their favorite tricks for us on the trampoline.

We would have loved to spend more time with the family, but we didn’t want to interrupt their school day, and also wanted to spend more time out and about in Norman.

Funny thing was, we weren’t exactly sure what that meant.

Although we had a set appointment with the realtor on Thursday, we hadn’t really planned anything concrete for the next morning. So, Friday morning found us on our knees together as a couple, asking God to literally guide our steps.

We decided to start with a cup of coffee for my dear hubby at Starbucks (he was starting to have withdrawals without his usual morning cup). We had thought to ask my sister the night before about where the closest Starbucks was, and we managed to find it without many problems.

It was, of course, over-run with college students, and as my hubby ordered his grande black coffee, I sat and watched all the different types of students as they came in for their morning cup-o-Joe (do you Starbucks workers ever call it that, Nickle-Pickle?)

With phone book in hand (the realtor had given us an extra one from his office), we looked at a few different churches and places of interest.

Before we had taken the trip, my dear hubby and I had looked at a few different churches that had advertised a need for a worship pastor. It turns out that one of the main ones we had looked at was only a block or two away, so we offered a quick prayer and headed over. We weren’t sure what to expect, with Friday being a day off for many ministers and office staff in Norman. To our surprise, we did find a very sweet secretary who offered to show us the church. She then spent time chatting and visiting with us about our trip to Norman. She asked for a resume’ and we sheepishly went to get the only thing we had. We had brought an incomplete resume’ with us, meaning only to spend some of our drive time with a pencil in hand, updating it in order to make changes once we returned to Phoenix. We gave it to her, and left with the words that we would pray about sending an updated resume’.

We then set off to try and find one of mine and my dear hubby’s old college ministry leaders that we discovered was working as a college pastor at one of Norman’s Baptist churches. Jeff Jimmerson was the director of the Baptist Student Union at Grand Canyon University when my dear hubby attended there, and he was also involved in the North Phoenix Baptist college ministry, where I was involved in my earliest college years.

We stumbled around a little before the church literally found us, and upon entering the building we were VERY surprised to find that Jeff had just arrived at his office (again, very rare for a Friday). He was also VERY surprised to see us, and after hugs and handshakes all around, we sat down to a great visit with this solid man of God. It was so incredible to hear his heart for the college ministry there in Norman, and we shared our hearts about how we felt drawn back to Norman, our own passion for working with students, and my dear hubby’s giftedness with worship. We ended our time together with Jeff’s praying with us and over us.

I will unpack that moment a little more in a later post – it was one of the most special parts of the trip for me.

With an exchange of e-mails, we filled our car with gas, our tummies with food, and headed down the road to Texas.

Here are a few pictures that we took while we were “on the road” (literally). ;) Just more countryside...




We made it safely to my Meemaw’s house around 6:00 p.m. that evening and enjoyed a home-cooked meal of roast, potatoes, gravy, squash, fried okra, jello salad, rolls, and more!
(If that sounds like a lot of food…it was.…..I ate WAY too much!) Here I am helping to fry the okra (under my Meemaw's watchful eye..:)


My Uncle John and his friend were also able to join us for dinner, and after a night of visiting, we headed to bed.
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