Friday, December 12, 2008

If you pray, they will come

Just announcing that Shelby and Jim are indeed taking a job in Cape Girardeau. They will be one and a half hours away exactly. From start to finish. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am. Except to add that my parents have announced they will be coming too. As soon as we find them a job :). But my dream of having family close is coming sooner than I ever imagined. I'm so excited I could pee my pants (good thing we know an extra special Keetch doctor for that kind of thing!) Anyway, have a happy exciting moment on me! My life just improved by leaps and bounds.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Have you ever been this tired?

So the other day, Griffith was sitting up and chatting to me and then in one instant he simply laid his head on the floor and fell asleep. Could you imagine bottling that up for all the insomnia patients? I know I have often felt this tired but am amazed at children's ability to sleep wherever they find themselves, whenever they need to. What an adorable little man! Of course, I guess that same reaction returns to you as you get older, just pay attention to any high priest in your ward the next time you attend church!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Baker Turns Three!!!

Happy Birthday Baker. These are out of order, just blame my late nights of no sleep! e of you who remember Katie'sy, you will not be surprised that Baker decided he needed to have a special birthday party too. Unfortunately, his birthday isn't until right before Christmas, so we decided to have an early party so that his best friend Abbey could attend.
Here is the after take of all his gifts
The special hot dog cars that his daddy, Andy made all the kids for lunch

The kids all racing their race cars into the cozy cone hotels

Now what we were thinking inviting 14 little 2-4 year olds to drop off party, I'm not sure. But what fun chaos we enjoyed for the 2 hours...
And of course, no Racecar "Speed" party would be complete without the ever lovable Lightning and Mater... Can't have the party without the cake. This was my attempt at a Lightning cake. I actually think it came out pretty well. Not a food Network challenge cake, but not bad... it

Baker attempting to tip tractors with his car... This was a hit game during the party. Can you feel the excitement now? A bunch of 2-4 year olds with permission to knock down any tractor they can?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

am I a Smith?

so here's my funny story of the night. I felt that I was sitting in the Smith household listening to Matt and Missy...

it goes something like this... We are at dinner and had just sat down to a salad (Matt B would be proud) when Baker jumps up, announces that his belly hurts, grabs his hiney and runs for the toilet. Now two year old little legs can only go so fast so I quickly follow (did I mention he's potty trained?). You can stop Reading here if TMI gets in the way of you enjoying a good story.

So, I hate bathroom stuff. I pee and well, do everything in the bathroom alone. I don't need help, I don't need conversation, I don't need anyone looking and comparing notes. This is, I might add, different than my in laws who all love to sit and chat together, in the bathroom. So I quickly sit back down to enjoy my dinner once Baker's on the toilet. After a little while he announces that he's done pooping. I said, great, your dad will be right in to wipe you.

Andy takes a big bite of food and heads in. Now, when it's me, I simply bend the kid over, wipe and flush. But oh, not so when Andy's involved. He makes comments. So I'm eating and listening to a running commentary of ...."wow, Baker. good thing you made it. that's alot of poopy. did you get it all out?" at which point, Katie then decides she needs to join in and see this poop. So off she runs and the conversation continues. "Would it have fallen out on the floor if he had pooped in his underwear?" Katie asks. At which point I can only imagine Andy and her both looked and I heard "ummm, well not that kind of poopy, good thing he made it" and then it continues but I'll spare you the details. I had a good silent laugh that this was our dinner conversation. Andy tried to save it later with a brief catch up of what Katie's teacher taught her in Sunday school, but looking back, my kids are going to remember the time they discussed poop and who had the longest one. Is there an award for that? Because my husband actually took a picture of Baker's the other day. (and tempted as I might be, I won't put it on here) Oh my...HOW DID I END UP IN THIS FAMILY????

Good thing I love them. Heather

Friday, November 07, 2008

long lost Katie

So this picture was sent to us by our

dear relatives who live in Utah. It made me smile to think of how tiny Katie was. And this was probably 2 weeks after she was born. The memories of little Kate who never says "you're the meanest mommy" and stomps and slams doors and gives me the angry eyes. Ahhhhhhhh, yes....deep breath, look back and remember that one day, when they are in the temple getting married, she will not be shooting me angry eyes...and it will all be worth it!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The beauty of leaves

As always, I am loving the growth of this beautiful child I was blessed with. How could you not look at this perfect child and not believe that God designed him? What a doll. Can you imagine our next one? They only seem to get better... After all this time, we still are Texans at heart!

Here he is, enjoying the great weather, the wonderful photo shoot and lots of leaves.... leaning up on a huge pile from our house
As Katie throws leaves all over him...
more than a little bored of mommy's endless fascination with snapping photos.
that's all folks, see ya next time!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A New Do

After much tribulation and many screaming matches over tangled curls, Katie got a hair cut. What began as a disastrous Mullet was soon corrected. She now has what she self entitled "Wig Hair" like Grammy's hair wig :)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Please Pray with Me

For a few years of my life, there was only one man who occupied the spot of best of everything for me. He was sent from Heaven to be my angel when I needed it most, he was there to guide me through many hard nights, help me through a gazillion DTR's and would just play in the most honest sense of the word. He was one of my best friends. He occupied a spot in my heart that is still realistically his (and for those that worry for Andy, don't...Andy loves him just as dearly). He picked out my fantastic husband for me and danced the last dance in my wedding video with me. He was my love. Pure and simple. And he is suffering.
His wife was just diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. Her name is also Heather, and Andy and I had the privilege of spending time with their family when we drove through Colorado this summer. She just gave birth to their third baby and she couldn't be a better match for my dear friend. I can not imagine how they are coping, but I believe in miracles. I believe in God's will. And while His faith is struggling, I ask you to join with me in prayer for them. Pray that no matter what happens, He will have the strength to survive. Eldon and Heather, we love you and hope the angels are around your little ones and you tonight, holding you up.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The day has come...

Thanks to the hard work of my husband (and lots of sacrifices on his part), the clever way I've saved money (like making us eat food past the expiration date much to Andy's dismay or cutting my own hair as my friend LeAnn mocked me for this morning), many nights of not eating out when Andy was dying to go to Roadhouse, Andy's incredible brother who has advised us and ran a marathon to boot :), fasting and praying for the ends to meet up when they didn't seem to, family members who have spent money on our behalf or sent it to us when it was needed, serving the Lord and using our incredible talents to bless the lives of others with the money he has blessed us with (like feeding the missionaries, donating to worthy causes and making meals for those who we feel need it), Instead of dates meaning dinner and movies (in who knows how long) we were content with long hikes, sitting in the free seats at the Muny, missing Wicked at the Fox, etc..etc..I could go on... IT HAS FINALLY HAPPENED!

Tonight we made the final payment on our final student loan. We still have other debts to pay, but for once, during General Conference, we can listen to the get out of debt talks and feel confident that the Lord has blessed us in so many ways to make this happen.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Mammoth of a Party

Every year about this time I I really want to do another theme party? And yet, every year I send out the invitations, plan and prepare and swear this will be the last year. But here we are again, almost a decade of theme parties to our name with a giant Mammoth ready to be killed in our back yard.Andy and I set up most of the games and the backyard and it seemed like it was going so well. I sent Andy off to play Volleyball and I went to the store for last minute items for the games and then spent some time praying for the rain from Gustav to hold off long enough for us to have the party. And my prayers were heard.
The cave men and woman arrived in true Caveman Spirit. We had everything from archaeologists, to silky leopard jammies, to the couple dressed as Geico business cards. From the geico caveman himself, to the Flintstones and the Rubbles. And as always, I'm reminded of how much fun adults can have when they let down their hair and let loose for a few hours. The teams were made, the laughter commenced and the memories began...And another year is done...and who knows, perhaps next year we'll do it again.

I apologize that from here on out the pictures will get darker, but I didn't account for it getting so dark, so soon. Here the contestants had to eat a chicken drumstick down to the bone and then try to chuck it into a red ladybug sandbox. You might think this sounds easy...but the bones were slippery and bounced quickly out...some never even came close to going in. I always tell Andy that we never get pictures of me since I am always running the show and then taking the pictures. So this year Andy took them and while he got some of me, we didn't get any of him. When will we learn?
Passing the Neanderthal skull around in our version of Hot Potato was a hit. I never saw those heads go flying more than when these adults thought they might end up with them and get out. It was fierce (perhaps only to be rivaled by our Musical Flower game at The Ugly Bug Ball when Andy's sister tackled a pregnant lady to get one of the last remaining spots).
Here is our hairiest chestiest Caveman throwing his spear through the Mammoth's Belly.
And here is our littlest caveman who decided that he didn't want to be with the babysitter watching Ariel's Mermaid New Beginning and so crashed the party repeatedly.

Fred stood out as one of our most cartoonish caveman. Along with his wife, Wilma (Amy), they reminded us why we loved being kids. The Parks have decided to move to Oregon. They will be missed for more than their ham :) ! We have enjoyed being around this zany duo who love to do just about anything we can dream up and never complain. We wish you the best of luck
Here is our archaeologist taking her turn at spearing the mammoth. Go Cathy. The celebration dances commenced with every style and action known to man. Who was I to judge what was the best. They were all unique and fun.
I wondered though with this team as they dragged their woman off the stage...

And as all cavemen will be cavemen, one team tackled and dragged out Trent Sigler and then did their hunting celebration dance with him being the catch.
In the darkness, the team members competed to draw the most items from the primitive caveman pictograph that was drawn on the cave wall overlooking the food. The we had what I considered to be the hardest game. The teams raced to put together a puzzle which told them to go to the dinosaur sandbox to uncover eggs. Once the eggs were open they struggled to put together a dinosaur without speaking...well, they were allowed to grunt. And as LeAnn, Brianna and Amy showed us, their grunts could be quite loud, quite primitive and definitely got the point across that someone was standing in their light. Definitely not an average submissive cave woman!
Here our resident daddy Caveman looks on while debating if he should grunt his wisdom to help this team along. After all, the Elder's Quorum leader stole the other eggs, lied about it and gave them a slow start :)
And when all was said and done, only one caveman was left. Our tribute to the modern age. One caveman who just couldn't understand why his cave woman was grunting so much about this task...until he tried to do it himself. What a fun night!
then the party ended and the backyard became just a backyard once again.

Men with their power tools

The day started with Andy saying "What? You want me to cut these down?" But yes, alas the trees were moved to make room for the cave man party. These beautiful natural trees that have fallen and grown over with vines and poison ivy are coming down. So how exactly do we do this? We call up our dear friends Dave K and David A and they arrive with eye wear, power tools and the ability to jump fences (Dave never ceases to amaze me...).
And the boys go to work. A few pina coladas later we have a wonderful walkway.

so as I did my part, note I wasn't invited into the whole power tool aspect, I was the leaf picker upper....anyway I began to scream as something slithered through the pile I was picking up. I'm not much of a screamer, but I was impressive. Even the next door neighbor came over to See if I was okay. Now after saving my poor little bunnies that got flooded out (see previous posts) you would not expect what I did next. I quickly told Andy to get a shovel and take care of it. And my manly husband did just as I asked. Off came the snake's head and several body parts. Actually, I was upset that we killed this creature and yet oddly fascinated that despite having no body parts connected, he continued to slither and move for several moments.
And finally, it was just good ole weed whacking time. Down came all the bushes (formally known as tall spindly weeds gone wild) and lo and behold,
We could once again get to Katie's house. Not bad for an afternoon of fun and hard to the pool we go.

I spy, with my little eye...

One of my daughters favorite pastimes in MO is to collect frogs. While we slave away at making the Garden a bliss complete, the kids quickly scamper up and catch anything they can get. So far, we have hosted frogs (including one that sat in my nephews pocket until it was washed in the laundry machine...a story for another time but sadly did not end well for the frog, or my nephew), blue tailed skinks, and not to mention a few snakes... Once these treasures are found, they are always quickly brought up to me and I assess whether they can observe them for a while. I have found the solution being an old outdoor planter that is so high they can not escape, but on the ground so we can all enjoy their antics. Of course I allow observations for only a couple hours and then the animals must be let go. I can't let them be apart from their froggy mommies and daddies can I? But on this particular day, Katie and Baker were very successful so I agreed to document their how many did they find? Is your eye good enough to tell? You can double click on the image to enlarge it.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A fun dinner

Today we invited over a family whom we've long admired. At the last minute I also agreed to drive my good friend to the airport. And then Andy told me he had to go collect fast offerings. So I rushed home from church with all my kids and Baker's best friend Abbey. Fed them, layed them down for a nap and then ran around to make dinner. We didn't have the bread or tomatoes I needed and Andy didn't feel that the ox was that much in the mire, so with no real time, we hurried and made our own baguettes, borrowed tomatoes from the neighbors garden, cooked the chicken, measured out the rice, jumped in the clean car (thanks Andy) and headed off to pick up my friend. Left instructions for Andy to clean the house (which he did fantastically well, Shelby would be proud of his company cleaning) and directions for all the food. Ran to the airport and arrived home minutes before our guests arrived. Quickly threw dinner together, steamed the veggies while we ate everything else and began to talk with this fantastic family. And guess what? This classy woman said she reads my blog. So I'm thinking I need to step it up a bit. But seriously, how about that for validation? Sometimes it turns out that people you think are fantastic and wonderful and beyond approach are just well, normal. (well, not really, they still are the "jocks" and we're still the "chess" people) but really, they are amazing.

And they continue to be among the ranks of those I could learn so much from.

Today I am satisfied being myself and who I am. Baker and his little friend Abbey had massive breakdowns in Sacrament meeting over a half of a crayon, (which was great because Brother Keetch stood up and said in his testimony how children, even if they are crying, are music to his ears. Not missing a beat Andy stood up and said, "If Brother Keetch thinks crying babies are music to his ears than my family provides him an entire symphony. After that, no one could really say mean things to us). Katie learned a new little "angry eyes look", Griffith decided to cry throughout my caveman theme party instead of being with the babysitter, Baker taught the nursery kids that Jesus wants to eat them, Katie slammed her door so many times and told me what a rotten mom I was all week because I make her do homework, I drove a great friend to the airport and then drove away with Baker screaming he missed his best friend and wanted to be with her instead, cried myself to sleep after a minor breakdown earlier in the week, BUT, I also got to experience the power of the priesthood as my best friend and most comfortable other, who I would trust with every low point of my life (aren't I truly lucky?), gave me a blessing and I was able to feel the comfort and power and protection of the Lord and for a moment was completely enveloped in safety. And for that...I would serve any way I can. So for all of you who have asked me this week how I do what I do? This is how and this is why. For those moments when the spirit gives back peace and safety. And that comes through putting yourself out there and serving even when you don't see how you can keep going. And the sad thing is, I realistically could do so much more.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Griffith is eating!

So Griffith has finally joined the ranks of eating children. This is in memory of his first meal.