Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Many Faces of Milla

Our Milla girl is proving to be quite a character already. She is constantly making us laugh with her funny faces and sounds. She is very very mischievous, always on the go, and constantly into things. It scares me a little bit, quite honestly. Here she is doing some of the things that she does best.

"SNORTY/SNIFFLY FACE" She makes this face a lot! This picture is VERY dark. Sorry.




"WHAT'S GOING ON OVER THERE?" FACE Lately, I have been putting her in Major's T-shirts for bedtime. They are so soft and comfy on her. I prefer them to onesies, especially since she has outgrown most of hers.

Sitting in her Daddy's lap, almost ready for bed (Milla ADORES her Daddy!)

Milla is just about DONE with the bouncy seat. For a long time, she's been too large for it. Now that she can do sit ups in it, though, and is rolling over and climbing out, perhaps it may be time to say bye bye to the old bouncy seat.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rangers Now and Then

The kids have been participating in this summer reading program at the local library where they get prizes for reading based on the number of hours they read. Most recently, they won free tickets to a Rangers game. So... We packed up an ice chest full of hot dogs, waters, grapes, and my new FAVORITE snack, Philippine Mangoes. (YUM!)

Major had been excited for weeks about attending this event. It did not disappoint.

Milla wore a hand-me-down baseball dress that her Nima made for Mary Alice. Mary Alice wore it at age 11 months. Milla is wearing it at seven. :) It may be a little big, but I had to get more use out of this special dress.

Milla wore the dress for several innings, until she got so hot that it had to come off.

Luckily, she had some cute bloomers on underneath.

And now... A glimpse back at the year 2002... It was the fourth of July. Mary Alice was eleven months old. Here she is in her Aunt Miranda's lap wearing her special Nima dress.

And here she is wearing nothing but her bloomers. :)

Funny how history repeats itself. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Milestone for Milla and 6 Month Pics

A couple of days ago, Milla expressed the need for some variety in her diet. Our Milla girl loves her milk, but started to show signs that she was ready to try something new.

So... A couple of days ago, Milla ate her first bites of rice cereal.

She thought the spoon was a new toy at first. She wouldn't stop trying to grab it from me.

She caught on pretty quickly!

This mother of three thing works out great for me. Mary Alice is Milla's second momma. She is SO helpful! Mary Alice fed Milla her cereal the last couple of times. Next week, we'll move on to "real" foods. That ought to be fun!

In other news...Taylor took some six month pics of Milla the other day. I can't wait to see the rest of them! Here is a sneak peek. Isn't she a spesh?

I am so thankful for the blessing of my sweet family!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tessa Weds

And now, a few words about a much anticipated event in our family... My sister, Tessa, got married this past Saturday. The bridal portrait that Taylor took is at the top of my blog. Isn't Tessa gorgeous? Taylor didn't photograph Tessa's wedding, but was free to just relax and enjoy herself.

You'll have to click over to Erin's blog to check out the sneak peeks of Tessa's wedding that she posted.

So...Before you read this post, go on over and check it out...

Some highlights from Tessa and Dustin's special weekend:

1)THE NIGHT BEFORE...At the rehearsal dinner, friends and family gave their "toasts" to Tessa and Dustin. My dad had the most memorable remarks. He was holding back his tears as he turned to Dustin and said, "If you love Tessa half as much as I love her Mom, your life will be full of joy. Then, to lighten the serious mood, Dad turned to Tessa and said one of his famous one-liners, "Tessa, you know that you are always welcome home, but just remember, from "Dust" you came and to "Dust" you shall return!"
HA! Greatness...

2)THE FAMILY...My cousin, Betsy, came to stay with me for days before the event. She wanted to help out with the wedding. I know that my mother, especially, really appreciated Betsy's help with everything. I just enjoyed the chance to spend some time with a family member that I don't see often enough. It was such fun to get to stay up late talking and giggling with Betsy in the days leading up to the wedding. We had way too much fun making some cheese logs late one night. I'm sure they were tasty, but a "log" made out of cheese just doesn't sound so appetizing to me. Meat loaf, cheese log, etc. Eck! I have a thing about foods with gross names.

3) THE MUSIC...The wedding was beautiful! My favorite moment was when Tessa walked down the aisle. She chose the most beautiful version of "Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing" as her processional. Ever heard of Sufjan Stevens? I hadn't. Now that I have heard of him, I know what Christmas CD I'm buying this year! This guy was amazing!!! CLICK HERE TO HEAR HIS INCREDIBLE VOICE! Sufjan's voice wasn't able to make it to the wedding, so my brothers Adam and Ben sang instead. :) Ben accompanied with the piano, along with a guitar player and a banjo player. When Tessa was about to come down the aisle, there were jingle bells. It sent chills down my spine. This was, without a doubt, the BEST arrangement of Come Thou Fount I've ever heard.

4) THE GIRL... Mary Alice always struggles with holding back her tears at these events. She is so much like me in this way. Poor girl! At Taylor's wedding, a couple of years ago, Mary Alice was the flower girl. She cried all during the wedding "because everything was just so sweet." This time, I could tell that she was trying her best not to cry as she walked down the aisle. Precious.

5) THE RING BEARERS...Major, and his cousin, Landon, were ring bearers. They were so cute and did such a good job even though Major expressed disappointment that they weren't carrying the real rings. "What's the point of this job, anyway?" he asked me just before the wedding.

6) THE HAIR... My mom's friend, Shannon, has a talent for creating fabulous hairstyles. She is heavily involved in the theater and is used to styling hair for actors and actresses. She is WAY better than any professional stylist I've seen. Our hairstyles were all fab. She used her creativity on each and every person and told my mom that it was her "gift" to Dustin and Tessa. Mom and Dad have so many wonderful friends. What a blessing these friends were to our family this weekend! We are so thankful!

7) THE AFTER PARTY... My parents finally caved in and put a dance floor in their back yard. In past years (for example, at my own wedding reception), Mom and Dad hesitated to do something that might offend someone. They finally decided that it was possible to have a dance without the offensive stuff by controlling the environment a little bit. Mom's friend, Shannon, and her husband chose the music. This made sure that there was no bootie shaking going on. :)

My brother, Ben, and his friends are all really good dancers. They kept everything lively. Ben tried to teach me how to dance. Yikes! I need a LOT more practice. Major and I danced to "Cotton Eyed Joe" together. That was really fun, even though we nearly got mowed over on the dance floor. Major especially loved YMCA and has requested that I play "Cha Cha Slide" several times this week. :) The photographer captured one picture of all of the sisters dancing to Thriller. (Can't wait to see that! HA!) Mary Alice and Major danced the night away. They had a blast! It was exciting to watch Tessa's first dance with Dustin and especially her dance with my sweet Dad. So special!

8) OTHER FUNNY STUFF... Major caught the garter. He was absolutely ECSTATIC that it was "Made In China" and went around telling everyone, "I caught the garter. Did you know that it was made in China???" We buy the most exotic legwear for our family's weddings. Only the best will do. :) Major was amazed that he had such a treasure in his possession. :)

9) Ben and Milla on the dance floor... Need I say more? :)

I loved every minute of that wedding, but am also really glad it is OVER! I know that Dustin and Tessa are thrilled that they can finally be together. I am so excited that they have found each other. They are going to be one dynamic duo! It will be exciting to see what the future holds for Dustin and Tessa. They are both faithful Christians who desire to glorify God with their new little family. So exciting! Congratulations to the Hahnies! We love you both very much!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bible Junkie

I have a confession to make... I am a junkie.

Apparently, the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. So...I am openly acknowledging the fact that I have an addiction to biblical literature for children, specifically bible story books. I love to get my hands on a new children's Bible! There is nothing quite like the thrill of going to the mailbox to open what might be our new family favorite, and of pouring over it and wondering how it will enhance our Bible study time at the Smith house. I have amassed quite a collection over the past few years. Perhaps I need to slow down on purchasing these items. I mean, how many children's Bibles does a person really need anyway?

It all started right before Mary Alice was born. I received my first children's Bible as a gift at her baby shower. It was one of my favorite presents. This began my addiction.

Each year the cycle repeats itself. I research the web, ask friends, and search all over the globe just to find a better and more exciting children's Bible to read with the kids. Then, when the timing is right, I make my purchase. I just received one of this year's Bibles in the mail a few days ago. (I ordered two.) Based upon careful inspection of it's contents, I have decided that I will probably dust off one of my old favorites instead.

It is important to me that these Bibles be fairly accurate. Many of them take liberties with the truths of God's Word. Of course, nothing could be as accurate as the Bible itself. I know that these children's Bibles are just storybooks to be used in addition to instruction from the true Bible. I feel a big responsibility to be cautious when reading them to my kids.

I thought I would share some of the children's Bibles I have in my collection:

1) The Children's Bible In 365 Stories- This is the one that I received from the elders at our church at the time of Mary Alice's birth. I haven't read very much from this one, so I can't give it a good recommendation. The illustrations are nice, though, and there are many of them.

2)The Word and Song Bible- I LOVED this one for many reasons. I bought this Bible about three years ago. It comes with multiple CDs. Kids can listen to this Bible independently. It has a narrator reading the Bible stories and cute little songs at the end of every couple of stories. My kids still pull this down during their play time and listen to it. Some have said that some of the sound effects (the voice of God, etc.) were a little too scary. My kids weren't scared at all, but if things like that bother your kids, you may want to keep that in mind. This is probably the most interesting and engaging story Bible that we have. I have used it multiple times when teaching Bible class also. The kids love it!

3)The Jesus Storybook Bible- I'm not a big a fan of this Bible. This is the one that we ordered this year. I was very disappointed. My main reasons for disappointment were that it is very very incomplete and extremely inaccurate. It leaves out too much information. Major looked through it an kept pointing out stories that were "missing" in the Bible. The illustrations were interesting. We'll flip through it, but won't read it for any kind of Biblical instruction. The author takes way too many liberties, listing her opinions instead of truths of the Bible. This Bible is unsound.

4)Egermeiers Bible Story Book- We LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. We used it two years ago. This is the most Biblically accurate story Bible I've come across. Some may think that it is too hard for children to listen to this story Bible. It is my opinion that children can be trained to sit and listen to these stories. It isn't written with "baby language", but communicated in more of a straightforward way. I do wish there were more illustrations. Overall, this is an excellent Children's Bible!

5)The Big Picture Story Bible- Short and sweet, this story Bible provides a wonderful "big picture" of God's plan, from the Old Testament to today. Reading this Bible made me understand God's whole plan for the first time. It is amazing how I "got it" as an adult by reading this Bible. Wonderful, simple Bible. Wonderful illustrations. Very good for preschoolers (and beyond). Simple language, very easy to understand

6)Vos' Story Bible- We used this last year for our Bible Stories. This Bible is part of the curriculum of several reputable Christian private schools. The woman who wrote this Bible communicates as if she were telling a story to her grandchildren. That makes it different from some of the other story Bibles. Vos does take a few liberties with what the Bible means when it says such and such, but those can be easily explained if you are reading aloud to your kids. This Bible definitely could have used more illustrations. We enjoyed getting through this Bible this year and will read through it again another year.

7)Leading Little Ones To God- I just received this in the mail along with the Jesus Storybook Bible. I'm not sure about this one yet, but it looks promising. It seems to be more of a devotional book than a Children's Bible. I am looking forward to going through this Bible this year. It had many good reviews online and was recommended by several friends. I guess I'll wait and see...

So, there you have it... I am in LOVE with children's Bibles. Being a children's Bible junkie isn't so bad! There are so many great materials out there to help parents study God's truths with their kids. I hope sharing my faves will help you as you are sorting through all of the options. Be careful, though! Once you start, you just might become an addict!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Be Stilla Milla

Milla is our little active baby. She is always kicking, jumping, moving, and looking around. She is learning so much every day. She brings us so much joy. It is hard to imagine life without our little mover and shaker.

She loves her jumperoo...

Here is her newest trick. It won't be long before she starts crawling... I hope it is later, rather than sooner. She is going to get into trouble once she starts crawling!

She chews on EVERYTHING. Any dress she wears is usually soaked from being chewed on. She also likes to pinch people's faces and mouths. One of our friends from church kept Milla entertained the other night by letting her play with her lips.

We love our Milla girl.

Here are a couple of pics from the fourth of July. It is getting harder and harder to take pictures. I always have my arms full of Milla. :) I wish I had some pictures of the kids watching fireworks. It was pretty cute. Josh's parents came down and spent the night with us. We enjoyed some awesome steaks made by Josh. Mary Alice made some deviled eggs and a fabulous fourth of July cake.

We are so proud of our Mary Alice. She loves cooking so much (and is actually pretty good at it for her age.) I'm training her so that she can bring Josh and me delicious treats when she visits us at the nursing home. :)