Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Photos

In the photo marathon to get a couple of decent pictures for the Christmas photo card, I came up with a few keepers! It's just hard to get all 3 looking and smiling at the same time...those of you with 3 know what I mean!
Merry Christmas!!

Thank you for your prayers

Gerald's first chemo treatment went fairly well. He is tired and had a couple of days of feeling sick. Of course his immune system is weak, so he's got a cold on top of things. But overall he is doing well, it's just a long, slow process. Please continue to remember him as he goes for the 2nd treatment before Christmas. We love you, Grandaddy!

Prayers for Aunt Mildred

Aunt Mildred is in Louisville today where the doctors continue testing to find out where her cancer is. She is tired and frustrated and just in need of some answers. Pray this procedure will reveal the source and that it will be treatable. Thank you!
The Hunt siblings, L-R: Trigger, Shirley*, Mildred, Lou, Mary Nell, & Bill

*my sweet mom-in-law

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Breakfast with Santa

Our church had it's annual "Breakfast with Santa" this past Saturday. First we met in the auditorium for caroling and a Christmas book read by our preacher, then there's the grand entrance of Santa and Mrs. Claus. Next, we enjoyed a breakfast of holiday favorites--donut holes, Christmas cookies, fruit, cheese, and the ever-popular pigs-in-a-blanket (with about 600 of our closest friends crammed into the Family Life Center--aka "gym").

Then there were of course pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Which of course I did not get my own pictures of. They had someone there taking photos, so we have that copy but I don't have a scanner (yet...hint, hint, Jared).

The last part was Christmas crafts. Here are a couple of those photos:
Madeline making "Reindeer food"--mostly chee.rios, which I think she ate!

Jack & Noah making Christmas cards...they made them to themselves...don't think they quite got the idea, but they did a good job anyway!

Merry Christmas!!

Catching up and Sunday Night Traditions

One of my 2 digital camera memory cards has unformatted itself--full of pictures I can't get off of it, of course. I'm going to take it to the camera store and see if they can save it. There wasn't anything critical on there, so I'm thankful for that but it always stinks to lose pictures.

So, here are the ones from the other memory card...

Jack and Maddy built this block tower together. Nothing amazing, except that Jack resisted the urge to knock it down long enough for me to get a picture!

If you know me at all, you probably know I love to remember (although I have a terrible memory, so I guess I really like to "be reminded"), to look back, and I love traditions. I love the "White-isms" from when my brothers and I were kids--the cute things we said that have stuck--and the new "Smalling-isms" that my own kids have brought to our vocabulary (sometime I'll have to blog on that). As much as I love traditions, I'm not that great at making them on purpose. I guess because I don't plan ahead all that well, or even when I do plan, I don't always follow through. But one of the coolest things to me is when I see the spontaneous (meaning not-contrived-by-me) traditions that emerge in our family. Little silly things, like this one:

Daddy and the kids watching "Nature" together on PBS Sunday nights when we get home from church. We miss the first few minutes, but they rush to get pjs on so they can watch. They get to stay up until 8 (instead of 7:30). I occasionally join them, but it's not my favorite, so usually it's just a Daddy thing. Just one of those little things that make life predictable, that are comforting because you're together just being. That to me is so precious! I am very grateful.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Prayer requests updates

I haven't updated the prayer requests in a while. Baby Bennett was able to go home with his parents about a month or so ago and is doing very well. Thank you for your prayers for him. Last week, our brother Mike Matheny went to his eternal home. Please continue to pray for his wife, Sharon, and his sons, Markus and Thomas, as they grieve their loss of husband and dad. It is a celebration for him, but nonetheless difficult for those left to grieve, especially this time of year.

I'm adding my father-in-law, Gerald Smalling, because he had the first of 4 chemo treatments today (Tue). His doctors are just doing this as a precaution, and so far he has not felt too bad, but we appreciate the prayers anyway.

I'm also adding Aunt Mildred (Shirley's oldest living sister), who has been back and forth to Louisville seeing oncologists, but still has no answers as to what is wrong with her. They initially told her she had cancer in 3 or 4 organs of her body, but further tests cannot find it. Anyway, she has symptoms that haven't been explained, so although their inability to find the cancer is good news, it doesn't make sense based on other tests and symptoms. She just feels like they must be missing something huge and that any day now, the other shoe will drop. Thank you for your prayers for all of these loved ones. I know each of you has many, many other things or people on your mind, so I appreciate you taking the time to read and pray.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ruby link

My mom published her poem to her glory-grandbaby Ruby on her blog. Just wanted to share the link because it's a very precious post. I have also been thinking about her a lot...well, I always do, but a little differently I guess since being pregnant again. I still love and treasure the verse at the top of the blog. It means even more now as I realize how perfect God's timing is. I found/He showed that verse BEFORE Blueberry came along, BEFORE we'd even "decided" to "try" for another baby. And I am so thankful that He gave me that peace and joy in HIM ALONE, and not just because I was pregnant again. That peace was a lot of the reason we decided we could take another chance and know we'd be okay. Anyway, I didn't mean to ramble, but I'm just so touched by Mom's message and her honesty and encouragement. I'm so thankful for her! And for each of you.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Birthdays Past--Jack edition

I enjoyed looking back at Halloween pictures so much that I decided to do Birthdays. So, since Jack had the most recent birthday, I thought I'd start with him. And looking back kind of made me wish I'd thought ahead and taken similar pictures each year, like some thoughtful and creative moms I know! Or had yearly portraits done like most moms I know. Oh well, maybe I'll get things together by the time my grandkids come along! Probably not :-)

We welcomed #3 into the world on October 30, 2004, at 12:10 pm. I don't think he was actually named yet at the time this picture was taken!

Oct 2005, 1 year old: This is one of my all-time favorite pictures of him. He has always loved the outdoors!

Oct 2006, 2 years old: He was all about Veggie Tales for most of his 2nd year. This ginormous Larry Boy is still in his bed!

Oct 2007, 3 years old: What a handsome little man! You'd never guess how much trouble he is...or can you see the mischief in his eyes?? We love our Wacky Jack!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Mark your calendars--June 1, 2008

Yep, there's another Smalling on the way! Just what the world needs, huh?! Seriously, we are very excited. The ultrasound showed ONE healthy little heartbeat. (**Thank you to my friends who obviously have some brain cells left for pointing out that the circle is probably the yolk sac, which feeds the baby before the placenta is fully developed**) The kids are calling him/her "Blueberry"--a few weeks ago they asked how big the baby was and according to "the book" it was "blueberry-sized". Maddy thought about changing the name weekly based on size, but "grape" and "small lemon" were just not as cute as "blueberry", so Blueberry has stuck. It's cute and gender-neutral. Of course we are praying for a healthy, full-term baby, but Maddy and Noah are each praying for a baby of their own gender. Especially Maddy, since for a while she's going to be sharing a room with Blueberry either way :)

I'm now about 11 wks and starting to feel better some days. I've been alternating between feeling tired, almost nauseated, "eh", and full-out yuck. None of it as sick as I was last time with Ruby (which was sicker than I was with any of the others), but not well enough to get much done around here, ie. paying much attention to my poor children, cooking, or blogging! Hopefully I'm getting back to real life now...

Friday, November 9, 2007

Halloweens Past

2000: Dani made Maddy's adorable first halloween costume. We added the pink bow so people would know she was a girl lion!

2001: This is a clown costume that Dani (then just Mom) made for me for Halloween. I think my brothers may have worn it too (at least David). I think we replaced the poms and added the hair ribbons because we like our bows!
Here's a closeup, including the cute collar...this is one of my all-time favorite pictures of little Madeline. No wonder she's "Dani's precious angel"!

2002: Noah's first Halloween and he got to wear the adorable lion costume from Dani. Maddy had a couple of different costumes this Halloween, but ultimately chose the witch (although she had no idea what that was) because it was pink, of course.

2003: Bea.uty and the Pumpkin (with Aunt Maggie and Uncle David) Mommy made Maddy's dress, my first real sewing feat. Actually, it was HUGE on her (she wore it for 2 years after this), the seams were uneven (it had like 10 gores in the skirt--WHY did I even attempt this??!!), and the hem kept falling out. But Maddy loved it, so that made it worth it!

2004: Our arrived! We were in the hospital on Halloween, but I think Uncle David and Maggie took Maddy and Noah trick-or-treating for us. Here's Jack dressed as a pacifier holder...And Maddy & Noah enjoying their D.ora and B.ob the B.uilder bags from their baby brother!

2005: Not a banner Halloween for the Smallings. We tried to go Trunk-or-Treating at church, but somehow everyone was mad at the same time. Madeline opted for Ti.nke.rbell, the itchiest costume of all of her princess dress-up clothes. And although I gave in to the sparkly face paint and spent FOREVER getting her hair Ti.nk-perfect (in her mind), the itchy costume was just too much. And the mommy-solution of wearing a white long-sleeved tshirt underneath was not well-received. It was also unusually FREEZING and I required her to wear tights and a sweater. She was not pleased. Anyway, she was convinced she was the worst Ti.nke.rbell ever and she would never dress up for Halloween again! So there! Hmph. Noah had an array of dress-up costumes which he turned down in favor of this Ti.gger "costume". It was a $6.99 sweatsuit from W-M! But at least he was happy about it. Jack was just tired (he'd only slept 16 of his usual 19 hours in that 24 hour period!) but was still a cute hand-me-down lion!

2006: Finally, a Happy Halloween! Everyone made up their mind early on and stuck with their costume, so it was a good Trunk-or-Treat for all. On Halloween night, we went to a party at a neighbor's house (from church) and the kids trick-or-treated in that neighborhood, so they got double treats! By the way, Madeline is Cind.erella, Jack is Mic.key Mo.use, and Noah is Ba.tman.

Happy Halloween! Arrrr!

This year we didn't trick-or-treat in any neighborhoods, just at Trunk-or-Treat at our church. They had hot dogs and chili going on too and then afterwards we actually had classes. I felt a little guilty sending my sugar-doped costumed kids to their classes, but I didn't have a choice. They survived, but it was a crazy night. Jack refused to take a nap that day even though he seriously needed one. Long story short (sort of), he disobeyed (which we could just call "Jacked") his way to not getting to go trunk or treat. Before you feel too sorry for him, he did get to dress up and come eat and go to class, and he'd gotten a sackful of more treats than one kid could eat from mother's day out. Trust me, he was fine. He got to stay home with Daddy by himself, which I think he would have actually chosen over trick-or-treating if given the choice! He told us the next day he had fun trick-or-treating, so I'm not sure he missed anything. So much for discipline, but at least it kept us from having to chase down an extremely tired and cranky boy during the mass chaos that IS Trunk-or Treat. All of that was to explain why I have pictures of 2 of the 3 pirates posing, and just one quick snapshot of the 3rd eating. He looked like Noah, minus 2 inches in height and the painted on beard!
Good little pirates!

Super scary pirates!

Our Jack-o-lantern is THREE!!

Jack Everett is three! I told my parents recently that I was really hoping the "terrible twos" would miraculously turn into the "terrific threes" on October 30, 2007. But, it did not happen! We're stuck in the terribles! He had a good birthday, though. Round One was at Memaw & Grandaddy's on the 20th. He got some Veg.gie Ta.les' Pir.ates toys and books which he loves! I don't have pictures, but hopefully when I get a copy of Memaw's I can post some.
Round Two was supposed to be a party with friends the Pirate Party Ship (aka our deck), but due to Mommy feeling bad (and not sending out invitations!), the Second (and final) Round ended up being a small party with the Pas.chals and Fol.kers at my parents' house in BG. We had chili and hot dogs and a big cookie cake. The 2 Jacks were there--aka "Jack squared", which was about as much as one house can take! Truthfully, big Jack (who's actually medium Jack because the dads have a friend named Jack who is the original Big Jack) Fol.ker was very well behaved, so only little Jack lived up to his name. Their whole family jokes with us that we should have known better than to name a kid Jack!! We love our Jacks!!

I think this was the first birthday where Jack actually "got" the whole birthday, presents, "YOU sing Happy Birthday to ME" thing...

Jack got an Optimus Prime robot, some cars and Power Ranger toys, an RC Geotrax train...and all those were things he loves, but COULD NOT compete with the Doodle Pirate that Maddy and Noah picked out for him!! They were very excited that he loved it so much.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Photos that take themselves...

While I was doing laundry yesterday after school, Madeline brought the camera to me and said, "Mom, Noah was playing with this." So Noah was sent to his room (he knows he's not allowed to touch the camera without permission) and Maddy was praised for rescuing the camera. As I was putting the camera up, I thought I'd better check and see what kind of damage he'd done. Lo and behold, the pictures told a little different story than Maddy's version!

I was pretty sure at this point that even if she didn't actually USE the camera, she was aware of it well before she brought it to me. But further investigation revealed even more...

Unless Noah has mastered the timer feature (which isn't entirely impossible), it looks like Maddy actually TOOK some of the pictures. And did a good job, too! :) Here are some more of my little photographers' works...

And then there are the photos that appear to have been taken as a subtle hint as to Maddy's Christmas list. In case you can't tell, it's the American Girl catalog we randomly got in the mail (after her begging me a couple of days earlier to get a catalog and me promptly completely forgetting about it)...

She got Kathleen McKenzie, a Life of Faith doll (the Christian equivalent of American Girl), last Christmas before she knew anything about American she's torn between the doll she loves (because she looks like her) and the peer pressure to have an American Girl doll. I think we've compromised at getting an American Girl outfit for her Life of Faith doll (although as I type that I'm thinking there's some lesson about a wolf in sheep's clothing--except reversed--or turning something godly into something worldly...except does that make sense if it was just a copy of something worldly in the first place? I think I'm over-thinking this!). Santa might even ask Dani to make matching outfits for Kathleen and Madeline??!! (You know, in all her free time before Christmas) Whatever happens, I sure do love my girly-girl and her doll habit!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Only Dani will care!

I'm not sure anyone but my mom cares about the random cute (to me) things Jack if she's the only one who reads these, that's okay! As I've mentioned before, I hope to do a blog book someday of these, so I'm including everything I can think of!

This morning in the car, I went to Starbucks after dropping the kids off at school (I just refilled the envelopes this week, so you know that "blow money" is burnin' a hole in my pocket!) and Jack wanted a "grape slush", which is an indication that perhaps we've taken advantage of the 2-4pm 1/2 price drinks at Sonic a FEW times too many lately! Anyway, I never knew this but you can get a kid-sized drink (we got milk) at Starbucks. It's a little smaller than a tall, but it has the coffee lid and everything. Jack was THRILLED! He loves to drink out of mugs at home and calls whatever it is his coffee and pretends it's really hot, which means he mostly blows on it and thus ends up with more spit than drink, but hey, it's his cup. He kept saying, "Mommy, I WIKE this coffee! It's dus a wittle bit hot, I hab to be berry carepul!"

As we were driving home from Starbucks, he said, "Can we go to da shoe?" It took me a minute to realize he meant "zoo". (And for those who read my previous post, I tried writing the monologue in it's original Jack-ese, but it was too hard to read so I just "translated" for your reading enjoyment. He actually said all of those words, but it was with almost-3-year-old pronunciation!) I told him it was too rainy to go to the zoo today, and his reply was, "How 'bout da cemetery?" Only in our family is that normal! He really just wants to go for the big hill. I guess it's okay that I find it funny (and not bizarre or sad) for a cemetery outing to be a close 2nd to the zoo!
Jack just brought me his mini-tall Starbucks cup and asked for juice in it. Guess I'd better go ahead and put that travel coffee mug on his Christmas list!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I love my kids!

Some days (okay, really most days) they make me want to pull my hair out, and this morning was one of those mornings! We went to BG to visit Memaw & Grandaddy and went to church with them. Which is ALWAYS a disaster. I constantly feel the need to tell everyone there that we really do actually go to church 3 times a week, because the kids always act like they've never set foot in a church when we're there. Part of it is that they're usually sleepy (duh, they've spent the night at grandma's!), and they're used to going to church at 8 instead of 10:30 (Jack's naptime is at 11, which is why we go early!), and there are basically no other kids there, and they are usually hyped up on new goodies in the church bag and a lot more sweets than their bodies are used to. Okay, so they're not perfect at our church either, but this goes beyond normal childishness. They are just disruptive. I'll be surprised if the elders don't have a meeting with us at some point :) I have had to let go of this and realize that it is not about what others think of my parenting skills (or lack thereof) and that they will hopefully grow out of it. But I always come back from church much more frazzled!

Well, then those stinkin' kids have to go and totally redeem themselves (that's a quote but I can't even remember what it's from...J would know but he's not here**thanks to Uncle Pip for clarifying: "Just when I think you can't do anything dumber, you go and...TOTALLY REDEEM YOURSELF." He would know--he and his brother are the original "Dumb & Dumber"!). We got home tonight and they have been so cute. For starters, Jack didn't have any clean clothes left to come home so I put the tshirt Maddy took to sleep in on him and he looked SO adorable!! I'd post a picture, but Jared has the camera in VZ still. Maybe I'll recreate it just to get a's too cute. He put the shirt on and said, "Hey, I wook wike Maddy". I could eat him up. And as Mom says, "Sometimes I wish I had!"

Later Jack and Noah were watching a movie while Maddy and I watched Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Noah came and sat next to me on the couch and declared, pretty nonchalantly, "Mom, I've got a crush on you." He's the sweetest thing ever! Then of course Madeline had to explain to him that you can't have a crush on your mom because you can only have a crush on someone you might marry, which cannot be anyone you are already related to (because of course she also had to learn this lesson in kindergarten when she was determined to marry daddy). Noah was disappointed. Then he asked when he was going to be old enough to be a daddy. I explained (for the 1000th time) that he would grow up and meet a wife God has chosen for him and get married and then she would be the mommy and he would be the daddy when they had my grandchildren. This apparently was not the real explanation he was looking for since he followed up with, "But when do I get to boss people?" Yeah, when exactly do you get start bossing people? He also said he'd like to be a girl because they can boss people even when they're a kid (thanks, big sister Maddy!). So funny what goes through their heads.

Then to top it all off, when I put Jack to bed, in a hilarious attempt to calm his own fears of the dark and the monsters he may or may not believe are in his closet, he presented this bedtime monologue:

"It’s not a good idea to touch the shadows. We don’t touch the wall. Or the fan. Only mommy can touch the fan. So we don’t get in trouble. We can’t touch the squirrels. Or they might bite us. But they can’t bite us. But dogs can bite us. So we don’t touch dogs. Only pet them. If we ask Mommy. And we can’t go in the grass if Mommy says, 'Don’t go in the grass' because there might be spiders. And we might see a spooky spider webs. Ooh, I don’t like spider webs. But it’s not scary. It can’t hurt us. Only lions can hurt us. But the lion lives at the zoo. We don’t have lions at our house so they can't hurt us. But we have a kit [cat] at our house. But there's no monsters. Only dark. It's scary. But I'm not scared of the dark. It's just shadows. But they're not so scary. Oh, I think I lost my bandaid."

I kid you not. I was laughing hysterically while mentally recording every word. This was too good to forget! This, lessons in fear and obedience, from the kid unafraid of climbing up the refrigerator to get candy and in the process spilling a gallon of paint on the floor. He is a certified NUT!

Friday, October 19, 2007

BG visit

First I had to share this random picture of Jack in his horsey jacket Memaw got him last year from Cracker Barrel. He added the sunglasses because "it's so sunny outside". I'm shocked that I got him to stand still for a picture since he was on his way out the door to play...typically nothing can stop him when he's headed outside!

Now for the BG trip...we enjoyed a short visit with the Smallings this weekend. Memaw got this dress for Madeline and it looks very grown up! Actually, she probably got the boys' outfits, too, at some point, but we did bring them from home so I can't be sure. Memaw keeps us all clothed!

The kids are actually looking at Memaw, who was taking pictures first...I just jumped in because they were being good and I was afraid if I waited for a turn (for them to actually look at me), they would be out of the mood and run away! By the way, thanks to those of you who gave me some great suggestions for picture taking...especially to my Aunt Deb' who reminded me of 3 little uncooperative kids SHE used to try to take decent pictures of! (That would be me and my brothers!) Jared used the bribery method of getting them to pose for these pics...he told them if they let us take pictures we could eat at Cracker Barrel after church (2 CB references in the same post--you'd think we went all the time!)...which is their absolute favorite. Maddy used to request it as a 2 yr old, like the KY girl she is at heart, "Crack'r Burl". The grownups had already arranged to meet there with Uncle Philip and Aunt Sarah, to celebrate Phil's 25th birthday, which was last Friday. But the kids didn't know that, so they smiled like their pancake and bacon/sausage with jelly biscuit lunch depended on it!!

After church, which included me stepping on Noah's pinky finger with the heel of my boot, then taking Jack out for having a fit in Memaw's lap because she wouldn't let him draw in the songbook with his pencil, then spending the entire sermon time in the cry room with Jack (yes, he's almost 3 but there are no other "babies" there, so it's ours!) NOT letting him play, which meant I had to hold him...though I sang to him and he ALMOST fell asleep, and then finally discovering that there was a 45 minute wait at CB, we opted for a quicker and more cranky-kid-friendly lunch at Culver's. We'd never been there before but it was SO good (for fast food)! We took the corner booth so that Jack was blocked in on all sides and couldn't harrass the other customers too much. Time with our kids is always good birth control for my brothers and their wives!! (And probably everyone else there, too!) Noah was the only kid who ate all his food (or even close), so he got the free scoop of chocolate custard. This is ironic because he is the only one of the 3 who could not care less about sweets. He ate about 3 bites and then gave the rest to Jared (the only one brave/dumb enough to eat after the 5 yr old boy). Maddy, who likes her a McD's cheeseburger, was not thrilled with the super-cheeseburger she got. She prefers the unidentifiable "meat" from McD's to a REAL burger. Fortunately, Aunt Sarah was generous in sharing her cheese curds, so Mads got her protein :)

After lunch, we headed to Philip and Sarah's new house (they've been there a while, but we hadn't seen it yet). I'm so impressed by how neat and clean it was and decorated so well! They haven't accumulated much clutter yet, so it looks great! Ok, and they don't have 3 kids making messes...that's what I'm telling myself is the difference in my house and theirs!

This is Uncle Philip and his new super-monitor he got for his birthday (to go with his Philip-built computer!).
Noah found Sarah's GameBoy during the grand tour and spent the rest of his time making sure he played all the games she had. He's really good, especially since he'd never even seen a GameBoy before! He has a Leapster and plays on our computer sometimes...he's just a natural when it comes to computer stuff!
Madeline read to us Uncle Philip's favorite book, Round Trip. It's a really cool book--you read it through one way and then flip it upside down and read it back the other way. The illustrations are amazing! They're black and white and show one scene one way and an entirely different scene when flipped over. I highly recommend it! (And it always helps Maddy when she coordinates with what she's reading--it was a black and white kind of day!)

This is Noah on the phone with Uncle Philip who was on his cell phone outside. Noah was a little confused because he didn't even realize Uncle Philip wasn't still in the living room--probably because Noah was very involved in his game!

When Maddy was first learning to talk, she called Philip "Pip" and that has sort of stuck. Now that they can actually talk, I've taught them what his real name is, in case Philip doesn't want to be Pip forever! So on the way home, Jack kept saying, "His name is Philip, not Pip" OVER AND OVER. I think he was trying to get it through his own little stubborn head!