Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Thanks Christmas! Happy Birthday Jesus!

Happy Birthday Jesus!
I was originally going to post our whole Christmas newsletter on here, but then 2 things occured to me: 1) most of you who read this already got our newsletter in some format and 2) there are some personal info tidbits on there that not everyone needs to know (well, because you know, thousands of people check us out everyday! ha!)

I do want to share with you this amazing and poignant story that was the headliner of our recent Christmas letter - it is amazing what comes from my children, they teach me all kinds of lessons, everyday. The title of this was:

Thanks Christmas

From the mouths of babes, or so they say, comes our new Christmas greeting. As Hudson and I were driving back from preschool a recent chilly morning, he was happily chatting and finished up with “Thanks Christmas, Mommy!” I replied, “Merry Christmas, Hudson.” An emphatic voice came booming from the back seat – “Thanks Christmas! It’s Thanks Christmas!” I smiled, but as I kept on driving, I thought how true this greeting really is. If only the rest of the world would realize that it truly should be the greeting of choice. ‘Thanks Christmas’ sums up so succinctly what we know to be true. We should be thankful that Christ chose to come as a babe, fully human, yet fully God – totally helpless. Thankful that because He walked among us, He intimately knows our weaknesses, our struggles, our joys. Thankful that without Christmas there would be no Easter, no resurrection, no hope for redemption of our sins. So Thanks Christmas it shall remain – for we’re thankful to celebrate Jesus’ birthday.

ghetto eye follow-up

Just for those of you who are oh, so worried about my eye - it isn't better. So, the docs have begun me on eye drops in addition to the anti-biotics (read: horse pills that take some serious self-pep-talk to take). And, here's the great news: if I don't improve soon, I am to call tomorrow so I can have a CT-Scan done - on Christmas Day. I can say that I am ever grateful for a good healthcare system and doctors that want to make sure everything is ok. Thank you God for that blessing.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas to me....

And this is my Merry Christmas to me - a ghetto eye.

I woke up with my eye swollen shut - nice, huh? I called the doc, and they saw me because it didn't sound like pink eye. It isn't - I have periorbital cellulitis. Basically, cellulitis of my eyelids on my left eye. I look like a pirate - complete with the one eyed wink and an argh for the headache I have. I'll post our Christmas letter tomorrow for those of you who didn't get it in the mail - we were trying to save a bit on postage (oh, and our mailbox was vandalized on Saturday too - that kinda stopped things too.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Memorable Performance

Hudson had his first "on stage" performance this past Tuesday as his preschool class put on a Christmas program. Dad, Mom, Anna, Grandmom and Uncle Bryan all braved the winter weather to enjoy quite a performance....particularly from Hudson. Let's just say he "stood out" in every way possible. What can I say, he will be a headliner! We thought you might enjoy seeing snippets from the performance.

You'll notice Hudson coming to the front of the stage and being taken down - this was because Hudson declared he "had to go potty"...three times and they finally let him off the stage. The next scene you will hear one voice above the others - and a little delayed - that would be Hudson. He did a great job with the hand motions...and crunching on the snow.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"So Big!"

Anna had her 15 month check up today - and despite having run a fever for the past three days, she is still growing :) We never questioned that she is growing - she eats more than Hudson...which is fun to see. Plus, she's not picky either, and that is a blessing. She will be on meds for her viral cold turned infection, but as long as she's well rested, she's in a pretty good mood. She is 21 pounds (20th%) and 31.5 inches long (80th%). She's "so big!"
And since this is about Anna, I'll post 2 rare Mommy and Anna shots (usually I'm behind the camera, but I like these two pictures with my jellybean).

The house that Hudson Built and other goodies

When Mrs. Shelly came over last week, she brought a fun project for her and Hudson to do, but they were having such a blast, they ran out of time - so she left the goodies for us to complete the project.

We've also been busy making yummy Christmas treats - mommy's favorite (and Daddy says these are the best he's ever had), Peanut Butter Blossoms. I think the trick is cooking them for 2 minutes less than asked because they remain soft and chewy - Oh, and I have a recipe with a mass amount of peanut butter, so they are really "peanutty". :) (Shout out to GNO goers there.) We've also done some cut out cookies - does anyone have a good recipe for this one? These were a little too sticky - even after refrigeration for 4 hours.
Anna trying a sugar cut-out cookie.....
Anna's response to the cut-out cookie!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Macro Hero

Ahh - look at this dapper fellow - isn't he a sight for sore eyes? :o) No really, this is my Macro hero - this is Snowflake Bentley (Wilson Bentley). I don't know which way to go first - macro or Snowflake - I'll start with the old timer up there. Snowflake Bentley was the first man to photograph snowflakes. He began his obsession at an early age and at the age of 17, his parents chose to spend their savings to purchase him a microscope camera. This camera enabled him to "catch" samples of fresh snow and then photograph them.
Not only was he the first to photograph these crystal beauties, after nearly 5,000 still captures, he was the first one to announce to the world that no two snowflakes are, that's why this man is amazing - people thought he was nuts for taking pictures of snowflakes, but now his work has been immortalized in a truth that we are taught from a young age (at least those of us who are blessed to grow up knowing what snow is!).

My recent reminder of this genius came from one of Hudson and Anna's countdown books - Snowflake Bentley. It was a book I had while teaching and has found it's way onto our bookshelves (because books are meant to be loved on!). I've been pondering and thinking about how much I really enjoy Macro Photography. Really - I like it. I don't have my own Macro lens (someday!), but regardless of the lack of equipment, I have always tried to capture photographs at close range. I'm pretty sure that this goes back to my first camera when I was 6 or 7. I have some up close pictures of fascinating colors and shapes - out of focus because the point and shoot wasn't meant to do that, but that's where this love began. My dad was a great photographer - my mom has given me his old SLR - it's about 35 years old and in great working order - and I grew up with him teaching me how to compose, shoot and look for interesting shots. It's a hobby for sure, but it's something I enjoy. So, here's a few of my "macro" shots from this past year. I've had fun...enjoy.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Dumpster Diver of Fruit

This is what I found the other day in the kitchen...

it had been in the trash...on top, but in the trash...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Advent Countdown

So, my friend, Ginger, had this amazing idea that she claims she got from a parent magazine sometime a long time ago and filed it away in her brain for when she had theory is that she is really just that brilliant and came up with this idea on her own :o) So for Advent this year, she and I are doing an unconventional, yet very exciting Christmas Countdown for our children. Not the calendar that you open the little windows (Hudson would open them all on one day), not the Jesse Tree (we don't have one - but check it out if you don't, they're pretty awesome), not a wall-hanging pocket piece. We have this....
What is this, you ask? This is a basket of children's books - excellent children's literature (I'll post on this tangent at some later date) - that Hudson and Anna will get to open. They will open one book after dinner each night, all the way up to Christmas Eve, and then we will sit together and read it together. The closeness and cuddling of reading books, the gentle up and down melody, variants of syllables in words, the rhythm and pattern to a well written piece of literature....all things I want my kids to be aware of - maybe not consciously, but they'll know they like to be read to. I've wrapped some library books that we've checked out from the library, and the others are books that we have - well, some of them are byproducts of having a teacher on temporary retirement for a mommy. I looted my book boxes for some great stuff (Henry and Mudge, Robert Munsch books, Cynthia Rylant and Syd Hoff). Other books we have and some I recommended to Ginger are as follows: (just in case you were wondering some of the ones in our basket or some you may pick up at your local library or bookstore)....

Snowmen at Night AND Snowmen at Christmas by Buehner

Snowflake Bentley - Briggs Martin (this is more advanced, great pictures - Caldecott winner)

Christmas in the Country by Rylant (Cynthia Rylant Rocks!!!!)

The Mitten by Brett

White Snow, Bright Snow by Tresselt - classic old book, but great reading

Auntie Claus by Primavera

Jolly Christmas Postman by Little (lots of small pieces though - check what you can handle)

The Polar Express by Van Allsburg

Merry Christmas George! (at Kohl's right now for 5.00 Hardcover)

What is Christmas? Adams and Wummer

Who is Coming to Our House? Slate

Snowy Day by Keats

If you Take a Mouse to the Movies by Numeroff (She rocks too - that's the whole If you....series)

Merry Christmas Mouse! by Numeroff

Clifford's Christmas is always a classic

Biscuit Gives a Gift (Hudson loves Biscuit) and there's the Pet and Play Christmas book too)

Room for A little one (board book - by Waddell)

Snowballs by Ehlert - caldecott artist

what Santa Can't Do (it's funny!)

Olive, the Other Reindeer

This is the Stable by Cotten

There was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow (fun take on the old song!)

There are many more, but these were some of the ones I have, want to have, or have gotten from the library because of their appeal to my kids, or just plain great books. Feel free to let me know some of your favorites that we may like to check out or try to find! And.....Merry Christmas!


not much to say here but pictures - they tell the story of the fun of family...and the blessing of family that loves us and supports us....

Monday, November 24, 2008

Day 4 Recovery

So, Day 4 Recovery has arrived - it is 4 days post-surgery and my leg is healing nicely. I think so, at least. Like most surgeries, it wasn't one that I was really looking forward to, but after the recovery, it'll be well worth the temporary pain for the long term "not pain". :o) At least, that's the goal. I had vascular surgery on my leg on Thursday to help with continuing pain since my pregnancy/delivery of Anna. I'll spare you the nitty-gritty details, but she was induced a little early to help with this ... and if I got a healthy little baby Anna over and over, I'd do it a million times over. (I know, I'm one of those weirdos out there that really enjoy pregnancy). In short, the veins and pains (hehe, that rhymes!) didn't go away after delivery, so when I have been running, or on feet a lot, my right leg has ached, throbbed, etc.

I got referred to an incredible Doc from our church and he has done a phenomenal job. He even checked up on my post-surgery recovery while at service on Sunday - he happened to see me and took the time to come check - how awesome is that?!? Anyway - my leg is purple, black, pink, red and starting to get green, which means it's getting better. :) I have four incisions, one at the very top of my inner thigh, and then 3 more at varied intervals down to the mid section of my inner calf. They used a crochet hook type needle to dig around in there and pull out the offenders. At least that is what I'm told....I was blissfully sound asleep. After the fact, I was kinda wishing I would've asked to have the veins saved so I could at least see the little boogers that were the pain-inducing noodly tubes. Some of you are grossed out. That's ok - at least I knew I wouldn't be able to handle seeing it done. That wasn't an option. And if it was, I still would've declined. All I do know is that the IV medicine they use to make you go to sleep is some good stuff.

Thanks to my wonderful and devoted husband, I was well cared for and was able to rest and stay off my feet as long as I needed. 2 friends were rockin' and helped care for my kids before my mom could get here to watch the kids while I was in surgery. And Grandmom made us dinner on Thursday night and then also took Hudson for the weekend to her house to give me a little bit of an easier time during recovery. I still have to have my leg up when I can and have it wrapped tightly. Two wonderful friends also brought us meals - even one who proclaims she doesn't cook - I don't know, but for someone who doesn't cook, it tasted pretty delish! The body of Christ is a cool thing to be the recipient of it in action....and witness people using gifts and talents they don't even realize they are exercising. What a blessing, what a gift.

Friday, November 21, 2008

First Snow!

And this is what Daddy found when he heard Anna squealing in the kitchen. She had gotten herself into a cabinet, on the upper shelf and couldn't get out.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rescue Fireman and Hockey

Admittedly, it is a bit cold here now, but I am determined (as is Hudson) to get outside as much as possible. He needs it, I need the fresh air, and I enjoy the time that we have together. We usually have outside time after lunch and Anna has been napping earlier on days when she skips that morning nap. Recently we've been playing Rescue Fireman. Of course, Pooh is the 'rescuee' and Fireman Hudson must travel to his location in his Power Wheels Jeep.

Today it was downright cold. Really - Hudson was excited that it was flurrying much of the time we were out - and honestly, so was I! :)

Hudson also loves to play "hockey" with mommy. He's totally into it!

When we came in, Hudson had to have some Hot Cocoa with whipped cream....

And I am just sharing this picture because this is what I found when I got out of the shower yesterday. Man, she climbs....just like her brother. Who said girls aren't as adventurous?

Sunday, November 16, 2008


We're recovering...after I wrote last, Hudson started a high fever virus - at least that is what the Dr. said. They said over the phone that there is a high fever virus going around. Oh, and we found out that Anna has a sinus infection. So, after a weekend of laying low, today it finally seemed like we are on the mend....well, just in time for my pending surgery this Thursday.

In other news - Anna has been laughing at herself. Full on, whole body, everything gets into the giggle laughter. It's really cute. It's fake, but it is really cute. She sat in her room for about 45 minutes this afternoon, playing and laughing at herself. Hilarity in its purest forms are quite refreshing...she was refreshing to my mommy weary spirit.

Coming soon - video of Anna walking like a maniac. She's getting to be a pro!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Denial and Smiles

Yes, admit it, you've been in denial. You've missed me. You've missed my posts. You haven't been able to function because you've been in constant "check the crazy beautiful chaos blog" mode. I know it. It's really ok - I've just been doing some detox for you - involuntary detox. But I'm back, kinda, and that's good for you can have your hourly "fix" of us.

Ok, just kidding, but really - it's been a while, and I can blame it on these crazy germs in this new climate...really! In a short summary (please pray for our health in this house!), we had: sinus infection (Hudson), walking pneumonia (Beth), puking bug (Anna), body flu (Chris), diarrhea bug (Anna), puking bug (Chris - and it's his birthday - collective "awwww!"). I opened up all the windows to air out the house and have been sanitizing and washing a lot. Hopefully we're getting hit now, and it won't come later...hopefully.

I just to post some pictures of the past 2 weeks, because between all of these things, we did manage to find some fun and enjoyable moments - this Smith family don't let no bugs get us down...we keep on truckin. We keep on smilin'!

We hit the zoo on a beautiful "indian summer day" was in the 70s and gorgeous. It was a great zoo - in fact, we liked it so much, and we miss the Phoenix Zoo so much, that we ended up applying our day tickets toward a family year membership - and we get to take guests, so come join us sometime! There were all sorts of neat things - not to mention it was just gohr-jus that day....we were zippin along and the kids were fully entertained - until Anna puked all over herself and the stroller. We still had fun!

Roar! A fierce lion and lioness!
On a beautiful path over the creek to the wilderness experience

Daddy and Hudson time....zebras are so cool!Mommy was happy to see her favorite zoo animal - giraffes! And there were babies!

A cool slide that is from a tree - Hudson loved this thing! (t-minus 30 seconds until puke time after this picture was taken.....ewww....)What happens immediately after Anna pukes.....she sleeps.Daddy and Anna playing "uh-oh" blocks.Happy birthday Daddy!Hudson and Mommy made Apple Butter. It is really yummy! Hudson was a good helper in peeling and coring the apples. He even cut the apples into pieces for the crock-pot.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Candy for Tigger and Piglet

Our family traveled to the hood of the Flamingo Mama and her flock to trick-or-treat on Halloween. They live in this great community that has a TON of kids and families. We arrived around 5, let the little ones play for a bit, and then sat down to eat a nutritious dinner before the sugar-fest was set to begin. We dined on salad, homemade bread, homemade chicken noodle soup and baked potatoes....and yes, our kids actually ate, because there was the threat of no candy if a good meal wasn't in the bellies first. Amidst the chaos of 5 excited children, there were also 4 grandparents and 3 parents present. The Rockstar Nurse was fulfilling his nurse-ly duties :)

After dressing them all and heading out the door for a quick picture, we were off. Lil' Rocker (the frog) and Anna (Piglet) got the easy ride in the wagon - and neither of them had a clue what was happening - although Lil' figured it out fairly quickly! We had Tigger, Piglet, Frog, Ladybug (Sha-Sha) and a Red Power Ranger (Ringleader).Piglet just liked the crinkle sound her stickers were making!
We traversed the street and enjoyed many "ahhs" and "oh so cute!" comments of our brood. Grandmom Engle held Tigger's hand and the other Grandma's stuck by the two elder of the group. After about an hour (and a few houses that were out of their goodies already), we headed back to check out the "booty".
Yes, look at Piglet stand - she loves to crawl and then stand up now....she's getting pretty good at her balancing act - no walking yet, but it is sure to come soon!

Tigger and Piglet would like to wish everyone a Happy Halloween - and as Hudson said goodbye to the candy-givers, "Ta Ta For Now!" (yea, he really did, and they ate it up!)