Thursday, October 22, 2009

At the Window

While I was making dinner and the kids were playing outside, this was how our Milla girl entertained herself. She would squeal with happiness and beat on the glass whenever she saw her brother or sister. I've never seen her "talk" so much! She crept around from window to window trying to catch a glimpse of all of the exciting things that were taking place out there. I love her chunky little thighs and diapered bottom in these leggings. Hilarious!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dallas Heritage Village

On Friday, Josh and I took the kids on a field trip to Dallas Heritage Village. This place was very interesting. The kids learned so much. And, for a bonus, we had the whole village almost entirely to ourselves! The kids got to participate in all sorts of daily jobs that would have been done on a farm in the pioneer days. It was some exciting and dirty work.

Watching the sheep...

Mary Alice was given a fresh eggplant from the garden. She was pretty excited!

Captivated by a story about farm animals...

Chasing Chickens...

Hoeing, weeding, and getting things ready for planting...

Carding wool...

Beating out rugs...(ACHOO!)

They also brushed and sprayed donkeys, but Milla was busy with a diaper change during that time, so we didn't get a chance to take pictures. :)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Weird Kids

A few quotes and such...

I don't take time to write down the funny things the kids say as often as I should. This week, the kids have said a few things I wanted to remember. I thought I would document them here.

Major's prayers are often very wordy. They are so heartfelt. It makes us smile to hear him pour his little heart out to God. I hope this never changes. As kids often do, he makes sweet and humorous statements in his prayers without ever realizing it. Recently, it has been on his heart to pray "that everyone in our family will be Christians, and that their family will be Christians, and that their family will be Christians, and that their family will be Christians, and so on and so on...and that it will never end." Well, he decided to change this up a little bit. This week, he started adding "and that we will never be Muslims, that we will be Christians from the time we are little kids all the way until we are adults." He is very serious about his requests. Perhaps that is why they are so sweet. I'm not exactly sure why he is thinking about things like this, except for possibly the few times that Islam has been mentioned in the kids' schooling. Not really sure...

He always prays for the children who live on the streets and whatever is on his mind at the time. So sweet.

Major spent some time with his cousins this week. His aunt told me that he said a sincere prayer that his cousins wouldn't contract the swine flu. Silly boy!

Speaking of the swine flu... Mary Alice had a conversation with her Aunt Taylor earlier this week. It went something like this:

Mary Alice: "So what did you want to be when you grew up when you were a little girl?"

Taylor: "When I was really little, I wanted to be a doctor. Then I decided I wanted to be an artist. Now that is what I am."

MA: "I haven't quite decided what I want to do yet. I think I might want to be a writer of books or maybe I might work at Wal Mart or Half Price Books."

T: "Oh?"

MA: "The more I think about it, though, the more I think I'm going to work at Half Price Books instead of Wal Mart. That way I'd have less chance of getting the swine flu."

The swine flu just might be on our minds around here. We know SO many people who have contracted it. Maybe my constant reminders to "Wash your hands!" or "Take a good nap so you don't get sick!" have something to do with it. :)

Mary Alice and Major have several special characters they've invented. They joke about them all the time. They are imaginary characters that do certain silly things. The characters have quirks and unique personalities. The kids entertain themselves by blaming things on these characters and making up jokes and stories about the things that the characters say and do.

Here are some of their special characters.

"Joshua and Emily"- (The good guys) These friends have stable, normal-sounding names. These are the characters that MA and Maje refer to when they want friends who do normal things and live inside the box. For example, "Joshua and Emily are helping do the dishes."

"Johnny Cuckoo-" a two year old with a tattoo who goes around tricking people and getting into mischief. Johnny Cuckoo is to blame whenever something goes wrong. He does things that Mary Alice and Major would like to do, but wouldn't dare or things that they think are extremely mischievous and funny. For example, "Johnny Cuckoo threw that dirty diaper in the parking lot. Shame on him!"

"Chrissa-" (Johnny Cuckoo's younger sister) a one year old who tags along with Johnny Cuckoo and copies him in all he says and does.

"Mikey"- (also has a tattoo) He disobeys his parents constantly and tries to get others to join in on committing his unbelievable crimes with him. The kids like to make jokes with each other about the things that "Mikey" would do if he were here.

So you can see that my kids equate having a tattoo with being a misfit. I've tried to explain to them that lots of nice people have tattoos, but for some reason, it hasn't gotten through to them.

"Chandelier Moscow"- so named for the hat that he wears that looks like a chandelier. He always has a scowl on his face and looks generally unpleasant. His main hobby is destruction. He breaks useful things in half. The kids like to make up stories about Chandelier Moscow's many adventures in mayhem and terror.

"Moscow Chandelier"- a twin brother of Chandelier Moscow who wears the same hat as his brother, but turned sideways, He does the same things as his brother, his partner in crime and also has a scowl on his face

"Baby"- Strangely, this infant has the job of patrolling traffic... Since he doesn't know red from green or stop from go, this causes many a problem for him...specifically, being run over again and again. Poor baby! His one line (I might add that I have heard this repeated one too many times around our house...) is "STOP! STOP! EVERYONE STOP!"

My very inventive (and notably odd) children have fun with these silly jokes of theirs. I know that this time will pass quickly, though Mary Alice assures me that Moscow Chandelier and gang will follow them to college and beyond. I might inadvertently be making a case for why my children need the "socialization" found in the public school system. Regardless, I believe their creative past time is healthy and definitely a source of entertainment for our family during our days at home.

I love it that the kids are kept busy with these silly games and that their little imaginations are blossoming so much each day. It is important to me to record these things that make our little family so special so that I will never forget. As time changes, and these characters step aside to make room for real life, I can look back...and smile.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Bye Bye Bandit

A month ago we said goodbye to a very special piece of Smith family history. We traded in Josh's 1997 Dodge pick up, otherwise known as "The Black Bandit" for a newer model Suburban.

When Josh and I first started dating, he wasn't driving the bandit yet. He was in a hunter green and tan Z71. By a stroke of luck, someone from my dorm backed into his truck, forcing him to send it back to west Texas for repairs. In its place, Josh's dad let him have a lender, one of his farm trucks. That truck, affectionately dubbed the "Black Bandit", was one of the most beautiful trucks I had ever seen. I am not a car person. I don't really care what I drive or how ugly it is as long as it runs well and doesn't make attention drawing noises. Surprisingly, this truck got my attention! It was black with tan leather interior. My reaction to the truck was one of awe. I commented to Josh about how pretty the truck was, and how I liked sitting so high up from the road. I'm sure I told him how beautiful the truck was and how I had never really ridden in a truck before.

I don't know exactly what happened, but before I knew it, Josh's dad told him that he could have the black bandit if he wanted it. I think, if I remember correctly, Josh's dad gave him a choice of either a 1998 brown Dodge Ram or the 1997 black Dodge Ram. Josh let me choose. I chose black. :)

Many special things happened in that truck. Josh and I were sitting in the bed of the black bandit when he kissed me for the first time. He proposed to me in the Black bandit. The black bandit carried us away from our wedding reception and safely carried Mary Alice and Major home from the hospital. (It would have carried Milla home too, but, by this point, our family was too large to all fit safely and still carry a newborn.)

I wanted to keep the Black bandit forever, just because. Slowly, the Bandit's poor old body began to break down. We were to the point where we were having to take it to the shop every couple of months or so for some minor problem. With over 214,000 miles under it's hood, the day came to say goodbye to the black bandit.

I knew it was time when Josh told me he didn't want me driving the bandit any more, for safety reasons. He mentioned something about having to perform special tricks or something along those lines to keep the truck from "flying through intersections". Um...WHAT?!? And did Josh think that I wanted my sweet husband behind that wheel? NO way!

In addition to the bandit's failing performance, there was also the issue of the suburban I was currently driving. It's air conditioning hadn't worked well for several years. It had been rear ended, struck by lightning, broken into, clipped by the side of the garage (won't say who the genius was who did that), and just had many cosmetic issues and quirks. Last year, I gave a ride to an elementary school boy. When I dropped him off, he said, "Man, your car is pretty junky." Then, several months ago, Josh and I were eating at a restaurant with Josh's parents. When we went outside to our car, another family was also getting into their car. Their son took one look at our Suburban and, comparing it with his own family's vehicle, loudly remarked, "Hey, We got a betta van!" So, all that to say, it was definitely time for a change.

It was time to do it. We had to let him go. It wasn't without tears (at least by me). The truck that had been beside us through almost all of our time together had to go it's own way to make room for something more reliable for our family.

We are now the proud owners of a four year old Suburban. The air conditioning works well. The leather on the interior is smooth and nearly new. The exterior paint isn't faded. Things aren't broken from years of use. I'm loving it! That black bandit will always hold a special place in my heart, though. Sometimes Josh and I jokingly repeat the words of the kid at Cheddar's. "Bye bye bandit. We got a betta van!"

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Ranger and the Kids

Mary Alice and Major went to stay with Josh's parents last weekend. Cousin Ranger was down for a visit too. I heard that Ranger and the kids were the best of friends. :)

I think Ranger is watching one of his Praise Baby DVDs. Notice their hands. :)

Two sweet guys just hanging out being buddies...

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Mary Alice in Wonderland

I've been away for a while. I wish I had more time and energy to think of fun things to say. It feels like much of my time is spent on keeping the kids fed, clothed, clean, and educated. I'm afraid once I'm finished with all of my responsibilities, I am an incredibly boring lady.

Her are a few pictures of some of the adventures that our Mary Alice girl has been having, though.

Her birthday present from us (way back in August) was a card that explained that we would take her to the American Girl Bistro to eat with our family. This past Sunday we finally made it out there. Let me tell you...that place is a amazing! I felt like I was a little girl again. Visiting this wonderland of a place took me back to a time when I would pour over the wrinkled pages of my American Girl catalog. It always came in our mailbox about three or four times a year, and, by the time it finally made it's way to the garbage, I'm sure it was dog-eared and scribbled full with the circled items and notations from a girl whose greatest wish was to receive one of those beautiful dolls.

When I was a little girl, my favorite doll was Molly. I researched and schemed and hoped and plotted to get that doll. Sadly, it was just not meant to be... (I don't think I suffered too terribly much, though. :) This store does bring back some of those feelings. My heart wanted to walk out of there with armloads of accessories, clothing, etc. for Mary Alice. I can definitely see how it would be easy to get carried away in that beautiful store. We did walk around every inch of the place, though we left emptyhanded. I don't think Mary Alice suffered too much either. She thoroughly enjoyed herself just having fun with the family.

The food was a little distasteful and a lot overpriced. (At one point, Josh looked over at me during the meal and whispered something about what kind of a meal that dollar amount would have bought us at Saltgrass.) We all had fun, though. It was something different and exciting to do with the girl. Mary Alice loved it!

Milla looks so funny in this picture. She has this HUGE mosquito bite right between her eyes. That, coupled with her odd expression, makes this picture hilarious to me!

These last two pics are from when my parents took the girl to see the new Mary Poppins musical in Dallas. Apparently, it was awesome! Mom told me that Mary Alice filled them in on what was going on during the show. The musical was based on the P.L. Travers books. Mary Alice has read them all, so she was able to explain the storyline to them. Going to this musical was a special thing to do with her grandparents and was also a birthday gift given to her back in August.

They also took her to the fair while they were waiting for the show to start.

And...Last but not least... Our church had a ice cream fellowship after church last night. As soon as Mary Alice heard that they were holding a contest for the best ice cream, she said, "MOM, We must do this!" So... On Friday night, before the kids went to stay with their Grumpy and Nonnie, Mary Alice and I stayed up until almost midnight making two flavors of ice cream. I wanted to try out something different, so we decided to try out some fall flavors. We made apple pie ice cream and pumpkin gingersnap. Guess what? We won! Nevermind that there weren't that many contestants... It was so sweet to see the girl go up and claim her trophy for fantastic ice cream concocting. Very special. Here she is after the social, trophy in hand.