Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Tree

We have spent the majority of the weekend getting everything set for Christmas. My Dad graciously watched the kids on Friday morning so that Jason and I could get up and go shopping. We found some good deals and the kids got a sleepover at Grandma's! We got to 8 stores, back to Brooklyn, breakfast at McDonalds and ate lunch all by 12:15!

One of the tasks was the tree. I don't pretend to EVER want a real tree. I am perfectly content with my beautiful fake tree that doesn't need water and looks good every year. The kids enjoy sorting the colors and helping "puff" the branches. Drew made it through the first 2 layers before he decided to play. Ally made it to the end and loved every second.

The big discussion in the car the last few weeks has been - who gets to put on the star. The rotation for the next few years was made by the kids. Ally this year, then Drew, followed by Hammie. Now I just have to remember so there will be no fighting next year! Here is the Ally's proud moment!

Still too short - but she can do it with Daddy's help!

The final decorations were put on Sunday. We had to go through the lights since they weren't all working.

I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!!

Uncle Ken's Horses

On Thanksgiving Day we headed to Uncle Ken's in Newton for some lunch. It was an off year for the Smith family. Christmas is when everyone is home this year. The kids got some individualized attention. After going to the park, Ken took them out to the horse barns. His horses don't get rode as much now and wouldn't do much, but Ally and Drew were still thrilled to get to sit on them.

Pregnancy from a Kid's Point

Ally (walking into the bathroom while I am getting ready): Mom - your belly is HUGE.

AHHHH thanks Ally - you make me feel so good.

Ally (same day at school): What is that blue stuff on your pants? It's weird.

Batting 1000 today honey!

Drew (curious and thinking): Mommy how is the baby going to come out?

Oh a story and explanation for another day.....

My Angel

Thanks to Kate's ideas on the halo and Andy's marvelous ability to rig something up to get it to stand well. Ally has a beautiful halo and loves to be an angel.

Jason is trying to be like her, but is far from it.

Practicing to Be a Good Daddy

Jason is out of the swing of sleeping with a baby so he decided to get some practice with Makenna. It looks like it didn't take much. He is looking forward to doing this with our little muchkin in a few months.

Thanksgiving with the Willis's


We had the Willis Thanksgiving at our house. Makenna was less than impressed while Ally was holding her. We enjoyed some good food and good company. In my mind I could only think about 2 days left of school until FIVE stay at home days!!!!

The Farmer


Who said that Spiderman couldn't drive a tractor? Drew was playing farm one Saturday and decided to utilize all of his "figurines."

Growing and Growing

This picture is a good 4 wks old. I am 19 wks here. I love wearing jean skirts and found one that fit and wasn't too short for school. The problem - the belly's stretchy stuff only worked until 8:30. I had to keep yanking it up the rest of the day. It wasn't pretty when I got home!

We had the "big" ultra sound a couple weeks ago and it was fun. The tech really explained what she was looking at. At the end her computer froze and almost lost the whole thing. I wouldn't have minded seeing the baby if she had to redo it, but felt sorry for her since it was a Friday at 5:15 already!

This is my favorite picture. They tried to get some 3-D ones, but the baby was facing my back and upside down. No matter how hard she shoved into my side - it didn't come out very good. We didn't look for any specific body parts and the heartbeat continues to be in the upper 150s to 160s. The measurements all all good. The size could have moved the due date up a couple days, but the doctor said it probably is a better indicator that we are on our way to another 8-9 pounder!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanks - A - Bunch

Happy Thanksgiving! From my turkeys to yours!


This was our project one night this week. We stole the idea from Sheryl and added the stuffed paper bags to make them stand up!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Like Amy said - Better late than never! We really didn't plan for them to "match." They choose it themselves.

Drew is into superheros, transformers and everything else boy! Things I don't know anything about. I think I need some lessons for Kim!

This girl is my drama queen. We have really started with some peer-pressure in kindergarten. One of her friends demanded that Ally be a princess. She wanted to be batgirl and in tears asked if she could go to school as a princess and trick or treating as batgirl. We had a long discussion that we didn't have to do exactly what our friends told us. If they were going to be mean about it then they really aren't our friend. It all worked out in the end and everyone is still friends!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Fun Birthday!


I can't believe he is four. It seems like yesterday that he had a binky and wore diapers. I miss those chubby cheeks and lack of hair. It is always fun watching them open their presents. We had put out his presents on Sunday afternoon by the fireplace. Ally was looking at them and Drew told her - Stay away those are my presents for my birthday!

We had a fun party a week later. I am glad that we didn't do it before his birthday because that Sunday was WINDY and COLD. The next weekend was PERFECT. The highlights of the party were the four-wheeler rides, hayride, bonfire and egg throw.

A month before his birthday I asked him what he wanted to do for his party - meaning Playstation, Children's Museum or something similar. He said, "I want to throw eggs at Grandma's house." Last year at his party, she painted an "x" on the trees and the kids each got a dozen eggs to throw at the "x." It was very exciting. I am sure that we are encouraging egging in the future. This year the adults (okay boys or men) got into it and almost pelted me. Arghhhh.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Make a Joyful Noise

I don't know how many of you know "Down by the Bay" but here is Drew's version complete with the guitar. He knows the lyrics and probably better than his Momma!
video

Carving Pumpkins

Carving pumpkins is a lot of fun, but it ends up being a mom and dad project more than a Drew and Ally project. As you can tell by Drew's face - he is far from amused!

Ally lasts longer and longer each year though. Half the problem might be that we don't let her use the knife. What terrible parents we are!

We found a site online that helped out design your pumpkin face and then we could print out the pattern. Ally did help mark it out on her pumpkin. I am a little bit more patient on the curved lines than Daddy is! The warm weather this year didn't help our pumpkins out. They wilted quickly but looked really nice for a couple days!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pumpkin Farm

I love pumpkin farms! I am not such a big fan of the extra costs of going, but they make a fun-filled afternoon as a family. Next year will be so different. I look back at Ally's first pumpkin farm and WOW did she look slightly different. (That is a price tag in her mouth!) Hammey will be about this size next year.

This year we went to Grinnell to a farm which was cool. We had read about it online and they had petting zoo, corn cannons, pumpkin cannons, tractor rides, corn maze, wheelbarrow races - just to name a few.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mercy Dedication

Jason has enjoyed his job thoroughly. We were talking last night about how his career path has changed drastically from college. I'm pretty sure that he wouldn't have changed a thing. His new job has come with many new and interesting challenges. He rarely comes home without a smile and reminds me how much he loves his job! PRAISE THE LORD!

His first task was overseeing the flood reconstruction of the hospital. They managed to it done in 100 days and over 60 million worth of construction. It was quite a task for him and for our family! They dedicated the building on September 28th. We left KC early and my parents brought the kids back from KC with them after the big Backyardigan performance. The Archbishop came to do the service and we toured the building for the last time before it was taken over by patients!

This picture shows how high the water got on the hospital. This isn't much according to the rest of the city, but the hospital was in the last block that got flooded. It was enough though to evacuate the building and have to strip everything down to the studs which had to be individually cleaned specially.


This fountain never stopped running during the flood. They wanted to shut it off, but the control switch was in a closet that was sandbagged and if they tried to get in, they would ruin a lot of electrical stuff.

Artist in the Making

If you have ever been to our house, you would know that our kids LOVE crafts. It might be an understatement. Our office floor is typically covered by little scraps of paper. They go through a ream of paper a month by themselves. Yesterday Ally was using all my post-its to label all of the things in our house and then wrote a book about it.

They really like the glitter glue, fun scissors, and paints the most. But Mommy is a hard-nose and typically only lets them get the markers and scissors out. Gluestick is no problem, but I hate it when I go look for tape and find out Ally has used it all on her latest project.

One night Jason was helping me pick up when he noticed a Sponge Bob picture laying around. (Our kids don't watch it, but do have one book.) He asked how Ally had made it. She told him that she drew it. We aren't sure if she traced it from the window or did it free hand, but whatever it is pretty good for a 5 year old!

Final masterpiece which will go in her art scrapbook - only the good stuff gets kept!

Firepit

We love to roast marshmellows. I love fall! We got out our firepit and to make supper and have some s'mores! Ally is becoming quite the expert marshmellow roaster. She likes to set them on fire and blow them out. Then eat them of coarse! Drew could care less about them! It was a beatiful Saturday night - perfect family time. I am sure that next year we will have little hands crawling towards the fire. I am sure that it will be a lot more hectic!

Fun at Grandma Janelle's

One beautiful October Saturday, Jason took the kids to Grandma Janelle's while I helped throw a shower for a good friend, Emily and her sweet baby girl.

They had a blast picking pumpkins,

going on a scavenger hunt for their name pumpkins,

raking leaves,

picking apples,

eating apples, and

climbing trees.

Too bad they didn't take a nap on the way home!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And you wonder....

What in the world is Brenda doing? She just posted 8 random August and September posts? Well this is our family journal. You get to be lucky and see our family's happenings through my eyes. I am going back and starting where I left off to get all of the important events in our lives.

Enjoy them - there are 9 more to come - then the things that have yet to happen!

Backyardigans!

We made a CRAZY trip to Kansas City with my parents to meet - Chris & Amy (and girls) and Amy's parents to see the Backyardigans. I can got a glimpse this weekend of the joy God must feel when He gives us good things. The joy on my kids' faces watching this show brought tears to my eyes!

We stayed in a hotel a LONG ways away due to the fact that a dog show, Chiefs home game and NASCAR race were all happening the same weekend. It was fun. There aren't a ton of pictures since we couldn't take any during the show.

Grandma and Grandpa kept the kids while Jason and I headed back to Iowa for the hospital dedication. They enjoyed swimming, going to the park and lunch with them and their cousins!

Grandma Rhonda's House

Once and awhile Ally and Drew have sleep-overs at Grandma's house. AKA - Date night for Mommy and Daddy. I can meet my mom on my way home from school and then pick them up the next morning. One benefit of only living a half an hour away!

Ally and Drew are very creative and lot to make projects. Grandma has all the fun tools. The mess there is just as big as it is at home!

They love to hike with Grandma and watch Grandpa in the field. They follow the deer paths and watch for other animal tracks.

It was "close" to Grandpa Charlie's birthday so Jason and I brought his "favorite" McDonalds lunch to eat in the field between raking and bailing.

Priceless face of Joy

We went back to the reservoir a couple weeks later. Jason was washing the kids off. I love Drew's face in this picture!

This was ALL covered by 10-15 feet of water in June. I am amazed!

Reading to My Brother


One of Ally and Drew's favorite activities is reading. I can't complain about it either. I can find them many afternoons or during rest time with a book. The biggest punishment it to threaten to take away books at bedtime.

I wish they always got along like this!

Labor Day at the Res

The resivoir is a common place for many people from our area to spend their weekends boating and hanging out. We hadn't been there except to look at how high the water had gotten. We decided to head out for a nice Labor Day picnic with my parents.

We took the kids to Fossil Gorge first. Back in the Floods of '93, the water washed away a bunch of rocks uncovering TONS of fossils. There aren't any dinosaurs sticking up but lots of fishy stuff and shells. This year more were uncovered. It was fun to explore. We were also visited by a few random deer that wanted a drink.

We had a picnic on the beach. I hate sand and the beach but know my kids love it. We didn't bring their suits since it was slightly chilly, but I guess it is never too cold to get wet. They had a blast digging in the water. A couple weeks later we brought them back - also on a cold day, but they still got drenched! Kids will be kids. I am sure that back in my younger years I would have done the same thing.

Labor Day Trip to St. Louis

We hadn't been back for awhile to some of our favorite spots to see some of our favorite people. Our kids had been looking forward to this trip for a month. They love to eat Aunt Melody's chocolate chip pancakes and play with Daisy. Randy is good to see also. Mike and Ashley showed up too. Ally didn't cry when she saw Ashley! Ashley babysat Ally a lot while we lived there. She knew that if Ashley came - then mom and dad were leaving and that didn't make her happy.

We got to watch the Georgia game with the Scoggins and Shaws. It was fun to tell them our big news. The kids love playing together. Ally still believes in her heart that she will marry Trip. I am not sure if he could make it in the Iowa cold and I am not letting my baby move to Georgia!


We were blessed to get to see almost everyone else at a Labor Day bash at the Andersons. There was some adult conversation but much watching kids run every where. It is hard to belive that when we started this care group 8 years ago that there were only 3 kids - Jay and Jeremy Roe and Audrey Millikan. Now there are too many to even count! We finally gave in and made them sit down to watch a movie. Ally wouldn't look for the picture.


We miss STL a lot but know that God brought us to Iowa City to do big things. He taught us a lot there and we have gained so many friendships that are not replaceable.