Monday, August 31, 2009


Major has his first shiner. He was playing baseball with his friend B last night. Major was standing a little too close to B while he was batting. Major's friend accidentally swung the bat right into Major's face! His nose bled for a little while. There were a few tears. We're thankful it was a plastic bat!

Last night after he'd had some time to think about it, Major decided that he was at least a little bit glad that he was going to have a black eye. "After all," he said, "I am a tough guy. Tough guys get black eyes sometimes because they are busy doing boy stuff. I can't just tiptoe around the tulips."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

First Days Of School

I can already tell that this year is going to be a little bit tricky. Here are some pics from the first few days of school. I wish I could have taken a picture of the kids in their new school clothes. The problem is, I haven't bought them yet. :) Not to worry, my preparation of their curriculum is thorough, even if they don't have a thread of new clothing. I'll get to day. Maybe when the weather starts to get chilly? The hot weather makes me more inclined to stay inside the comfort of our nice cool house, rather than face the heat and the mall. Yuck! Maybe later.

Here is a pic of Major on his first day of Kindergarten. He brought his Magna Doodle in after breakfast showed it to me. I love his invented spelling. He is always writing words and asking me if he has the correct spelling. I usually say, "Oh! I can see why you sounded it out that way! That makes sense."

He usually replies with something like, "Yeah I know, but is it spelled RIGHT?" He doesn't care so much about the process, but about the product.

Translation: "Mom School is about to start."

Mary Alice really enjoys the fact that Major is in school now. Yesterday she told him, "Handwriting doesn't seem so bad when I have you sitting here beside me." I quickly snapped a picture.

One little problem... Milla is into everything! It can't be helped. This stage will soon pass. I sure am glad to have this sweet little distraction around. She makes the days so much more interesting. :)

Major wanted to lay on the floor and work on his math. Milla thought she'd help out. He thought she was first.

Her tricks slowly became less and less funny as she pulled his hair, climbed on his math book, and tried to tear the pages. Milla thought it was such an exciting game!

Today Major decided that the floor was probably not the best place to do his work, at least, not with this little scooter around.

I'll type more about the first days of school later. This is going to be an exciting year!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'm In Love

How can you not LOVE this face?

Not possible. :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's A Jolly Holiday With Mary Alice

We are all huge fans of the books by P.L. Travers, the Disney movie, and the catchy tunes that go along with it. And really, what word lover doesn't like to sing "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"? It doesn't get much better than the fun-filled world of Mary Poppins, for our little girl at least.

This year we celebrated Mary Alice's eighth birthday with a Mary Poppins party. We search for any occasion to act crazy at the Smith house. Mary Poppins lives in a world of magic, silliness, and whimsy, which made this party idea practically perfect in every way for our girl. And, of course, it involved costumes. :)

I think this may have been my favorite party...ever. It was magical. My sis, Taylor, was there to perform her magic from behind the lens of her camera. That meant I didn't have to tote a camera around the entire time AND I had professional results. Thanks Taylor!

The cake was amazing! I ordered it from Tempt Dessert Boutique. Jamie did a wonderful job designing the cake and even delivered it to our house on the day of the party.

Didn't Jamie do a fantastic job? She had never actually seen the movie. She watched it to help inspire her. How many bakers do you know who would do that?

We watched a few clips from the movie first, just in case nobody had seen it.

Then...Racing around with hats, heels, and spoons full of sugar...

This is a spin off of that "Baby I love you, but I just can't smile, game." We always used to play that at church camp. I HATED that game. The "I Love To Laugh" game was much more fun. The girls couldn't keep a straight face for very long. Mary Alice has lots of highly entertaining friends. And I absolutely LOVED that the girl in this picture wanted to wear her heels throughout the entire party. She kept looking down at her feet and saying, "I just LOVE these heels!"

Mary Alice making a very goofy face before birthday cake and presents.

Ellie and Jillian

Blowing out EIGHT birthday candles

Just in case you were wondering, here is what Milla was doing while others were eating birthday cake... Sneaky, sneaky

Milla Josephine all dressed up for the party :)

I love a good teacup toast.

Excited about presents and maybe just a teeny bit sugared up :)

What would a Mary Poppins party be without learning Mary Poppins' favorite dance, The Cha-Cha Slide? :)

Pictionary, the Poppins way...

Fun on the driveway...

And...Last but not least, a pic of the birthday girl and myself. I tried to impersonate the beloved character, but probably just succeeded in showing my true dorky side to all of Mary Alice's friends.

After the party was over I tried snapping my fingers again and again to help tidy up the house. It didn't quite work out like it did for the real Mary Poppins.

Friday, August 14, 2009

For Our Special Girl On Her Eighth Birthday

It's that time of year again... My sweet girl is turning eight tomorrow! It's time for me to write her birthday letter. This post is long and personal. It is meant for my girl to read on her birthday. If you don't care, you might want to go away and check back later.

To my precious Mary Alice girl on her eighth birthday,

Eight years ago today my life changed forever. I became a mother. I was thankful, but really had no idea what a blessing that God was giving me when he blessed me with you. I remember the moment when they placed you in my arms. Your daddy and I both cried because we thought you were so beautiful! Little did we know that the precious bundle of joy we held in our arms would develop into a little girl with not only a beautiful face, but a beautiful heart as well.

What a gift from God you are! I often find myself in disbelief, wondering why God would have chosen me to be the mother of such a sweet, happy girl! I am so thankful.

This year has brought about many changes for you. You completed the first grade, started wearing glasses, and became a big sister for the second time. You started becoming more concerned with personal modesty. Gone are the days of the hiney dance. :) I'm excited as your dad and I continue to watch you grow and change from a little girl into a big girl.

Right now, you are an avid reader. It is INSANE how many books you read. I often have to tell you to "Put down that book!" You love using big words. You make us laugh with words that cause us to say, "Where in the world did you come up with that?" You usually read it in a book. At VBS this year, a family friend remarked that you "sounded like a thirty year old instead of a seven year old". You do! A few weeks ago, when your dad asked if you wanted to watch The Rangers with Major and him, you said, matter-of-factly, "No thanks, Dad. The Rangers are not of interest to me." You use funny words like "nonsense" other bookish terms.

You love to learn and are very easy to teach. This year, you started taking sewing lessons from Gran. Gran commented that you were a very good student and picked things up quickly. You really want to learn more about sewing right now. You are also interested in the piano. You commented to me that we really needed to let you be in another play because "Carnegie is my life!" You're just a little dramatic, aren't you?

You love to be helpful. A couple of days ago, you said, "Mom, I just LOVE to work!" I love that about you. It is so nice to have such a good helper around. I don't know what I would have done this year without you! You are one of the hardest working seven year olds I know, always ready to help out with Milla. You make life easier for all of us. I am so thankful that you are a part of our family.

I treasure our times together in the kitchen. You love to cook and are definitely my girl because you love to experiment in the kitchen. This year, I remember you throwing in a few handfuls of flour one time when you made a cake. You didn't exactly understand something that the recipe said, so you added a little-of-this and a little-of-that. I didn't find out about it until the cake came out of the oven. It actually turned out pretty good! You make me laugh!

You are thankful. This past Christmas was my favorite one ever. This was because you finally got the American Girl doll that you wanted for such a long time. What was so special about it was that you honestly didn't think you would get it. It was precious to see you open that present, get big tears in your eyes, and run over and throw your arms around your daddy. You buried your head in his shoulder and tried not to cry, hugging him for almost a full minute. I will never forget that moment. What a special, thankful girl you are. It makes it more fun to give you things.

You don't like to hurt people's feelings. God made you with a tender heart toward others. I am excited to see how you use this gift throughout your life. I wonder what you will become. I am excited to see what good works that He has prepared for you to do.

You don't like people to be upset with you. You are, by nature, a pleaser. This is good and bad. Many times, I see you doing good things like playing Major's games, and trying so hard not to get into trouble or say rude things. I hope that you will use this desire to be kind, but with a backbone. Your Dad and I pray that this desire for being a pleaser will cause you to want to please God, not men. He is the one that you always need to worry about pleasing. :) I pray that you will be a leader, not a follower.

Your sense of humor continues to develop. I find myself laughing at you more and more each day. You are very silly, our little sunshine. You are happy and smiling most of the time. You are an early (sometimes too early) riser and always wake up with a smile on your face. God blessed you with the most precious personality.

You love to be hugged, snuggled, touched. Right now, you always ask me for hugs and kisses. You love for us to tickle your back or arm. You are so cozy!

We are nearing the time in your life when lots of girl drama is about to unfold. I am prayerful that your heart can make it through this time, only changed in ways that will make you more like Jesus. I have seen a few examples of the "mean girl" stage already. Just recently I witnessed a girl with a bad attitude being very unkind to you, ignoring you and treating you horribly. I wanted to slap that girl when I saw how she was acting. Mary Alice, I watched you be kind to the little girl, even as she rejected you again and again. Then,a few days ago, we we both observed that the girl's attitude had changed toward you. She started being nice to you, probably because you treated her kindly. I am so proud of you and hope that you continue to assume the best of others and have such a sweet spirit. You are an example to me.

This letter is too long already. I kept thinking of ways that you were a blessing to your Daddy and me. I tried to sum up all that you are to us right now. You are a delight to us, a real joy! We have been blessed to be your parents for these eight years. We love you more than you can know (until, perhaps, you have children of your own). I hope that God gives us many more years with our sweet Mary Alice girl and that you grow in inner beauty and in love for God and others.

We love you so much!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Just For Laughs

Sometimes, I have to run to my blog and type up the things the kids say, really quickly, before I forget them forever. Today is one of those days.

Before bed tonight, Major asked Josh, "Why do adults always stay up so late after we go to bed?"

Mary Alice quickly responded, "So that they can watch and make sure robbers don't come steal us."

Tonight was a special night because I was able to have one of my "talks" with Major. The kids always beg for me to lay in their beds with them for a while after their official bed time and chat with them for awhile. I only get a chance to do this on the rare occasion that Milla happens to go to bed early. I always enjoy it because this is when the kids really talk to me. We are uninterrupted by others. It is just one-on-one and so special. It is the perfect time to hear all about their hopes and dreams and really find out what is going on inside their little minds. I love doing this whenever I get the chance.

Anyway... Tonight, in our conversation, Major started telling me about his vision of how Satan tricks us into doing things that we don't want to do.

"I think Satan has a sin factory," Major began, "It is kind of like the one in The Great Mouse Detective that makes potions and things."

"Oh?" I said. I was very interested to hear the rest of his explanation.

"I think Satan puts his bad ideas in the sin factory. He makes them up into evil potions and then he puts them into our heart. The sins from the sin factory get into our heart and make it all dirty." He continued his explanation while tracing the area from his heart to his head. "Then, the sin travels up into your head where it gets in your thoughts, so, it's like, then you want to do it."

Not too far from the truth sweet Major. Very insightful. :) Yes, my baby starts Kindergarten in a week. Perhaps a future in theology? :)

(A few minutes later...)

Major and I were playing the "Would you rather?" game. This game is a big hit with my kids. We play it in the car all the time. It was my turn. I asked him if he would rather have long hair like Mary Alice or eat a bowl full of really spicy hot sauce. At first, he said that he would rather just eat the bowl of hot sauce. After thinking about it for a few seconds, he changed his answer, "No," he said, "I would rather just have the long hair. I would just pretend that I was Samson."

(And finally....)

A couple of days ago, while we were watching Swiss Family Robinson, Mary Alice asked, "Why didn't they just use their cell phones?" I think she realized how silly she sounded. She spoke without thinking. Then she herself.

These kids are a laugh a minute!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Milla, the Terrible Eater

Milla has started on solids. She has been trying lots of new things. For our Milla, "Variety is the spice of life!" We have to watch her pretty carefully. She seems to want to put almost everything in her mouth. Some of her favorites are painted toenails, shoes, and bits and pieces of things left lying on the floor. If anything is left out, sweet Milla will find it....and EAT it!

Here are a few pics of Milla trying some new "foods"...

Blueberries, yes?

Oh, YES!

Carrots, yes?

No thanks!

Swim towels are always a nice snack!

How about some of the stuff in that green bottle? Yum!

With the other kids, I was always so by the book, trying things for three days before moving on to other foods, etc. This time, though, we've had a few times of desperation that have led to Milla trying things that would raise the eyebrows of her pediatrician. For example, she didn't like the freshly steamed carrots that I served her (sans seasoning, because babies aren't supposed to have it.) She kept eyeing my plate that night at dinner, so I had to give in. She ate carrots right off of my plate. She decided that my carrots (lightly seasoned with a little salt and pepper) were oh-so-much better. She's no dummy! :)

On Sunday, we went out to lunch with friends. I had just nursed Milla, so I thought she wouldn't need to eat any baby food. I was WRONG! She saw and wanted what we had so... we gave her some Cracker Barrel mashed potatoes.

We're putting her back on a strict baby food diet starting today. It's back to offerings of unseasoned butternut squash and sweet potatoes and such, that is, when she isn't munching on crumbs off of our floor and sneaking bites of people's toenails.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Music To My Ears

Milla said "Mama" last night. No "Dada" yet, just "Mama". I'm not gloating or anything. :)

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Troy Fan Club

This past weekend we celebrated Josh's 31st birthday. The kids woke him up with breakfast in bed. We made him a special lunch and his Aunt Deon's yummy Coconut Pound Cake. This cake is so moist and reminds me of a coconut snow cone. It was de-lish! The kids picked out special presents for their dad and made sweet cards for him.

Josh's birthday was a day that both kids had been looking forward to for several days. One of the reasons, of course, was so that they could give their dad his presents and give him extra TLC on his birthday. The other reason for all of the excitement was that Josh agreed to let Mary Alice have a sleepover at our house on his birthday. I'm sure that having a bunch of noisy,giggly girls over on his birthday was not his dream come true, but Josh was sweet to let Mary Alice have her friends over on his special day. Ultimately, though, Josh LOVED seeing his Mary Alice girl have so much fun with her friends.

My youngest brother, Ben, is starring in a local performance of the play High School Musical. Until a few weeks ago, I had never actually seen this movie. I rented the movie and concluded that it was just what I expected, a very cheesy representation of American teenage life. I wasn't really sure if I wanted to push teenage popular culture on my seven year old daughter. I think little girls should act like little girls. Children hardly have time to be children anymore these days! Almost as soon as they are out of diapers, society pushes them to start behaving like little adults! Josh and I agreed to allow Mary Alice and Major to watch the movie. It was a "cute" movie for a Disney musical, but not one that we are going to run out and buy. Maybe I take things too seriously? I just want to be very intentional about what goes into the minds of my children. The teenage years will come around soon enough. :(

Uncle Ben played the part of "Troy", a basketball player who tries out for his high school's musical, despite attempts from those in his peer group to persuade him that he can only be a jock. Mary Alice and her friends showed their support for Ben by wearing red t-shirts. They went to the play dressed as "Troy's Fan Club". The shirts said things like "We heart Troy." "Troy Fan Club", and "Troy is my uncle.". They wore buttons pinned to their shirts with Ben's picture in them. They brought little notebooks to get the autographs of the cast after the performance. The girls spent the night and went to church with us the next morning. All in all, it was a fun, giggly, silly, happy, ultra-loud way to spend time with friends. There is nothing quite like a good slumber party. SO much fun!

Here are some funnies:

A picture of Mary Alice's "TO DO" list for Josh's birthday. She is very thorough. It cracks me up!

A few pictures of the "Troy Fan Club" before we left for the play. I told them that they had to act like Ben was a superstar when he came out. :)

At the musical...

On the way home...I think this picture captures the silliness of the girls quite nicely. :)

The next morning over breakfast. The girls made cinnamon toast and compared autograph books. :) Sweet.