Thursday, January 31, 2008

Monkeys in a tree

Could these brothers be cuter?? It's moments like this that I get excited about another BOY. And then I remember what life is USUALLY like! They annoy each other, but then they just have a good knock-down, drag-out and it's done. Jack is about to catch up with Noah size-wise (we're praying for a growth spurt for Noah-boy!) and is also just naturally more agressive. There are days when all I hear all day long is "Mom, Jack's trying to hurt me", which means anything from "Jack is SAYING he's going to hit me" to "Jack came within 10 feet of me and *I* interpret that to be aggression". Noah plays the victim well. I feel like I spend lots of my time investigating "potential" incidences. Usually, after a long day of worrying, Noah's fears come to nothing. Sometimes, though, his predictions come true, and Captain Jack DOES attack (usually with a hanger, used as his "hook"), Noah tackles him to the ground, Jack realizes he is NOT yet the alpha male, and things return to calm. Sometimes I think it would be easier if I just stripped 'em down and let 'em have it out first thing in the morning so we could side-step the whole "wanna fight?" scenario. Am I ready for MORE of this???

By the way, thank you for your prayers for me and our family. Please keep them coming. Things are going well and this little buddy won't give me a break from the kicking...a constant reassurance that he's in there doing fine, so I'm grateful for that. I try to keep the blog positive (for the most part) because it would be so easy to just vent here and dig myself into self-pity. I guess positive self-centeredness (as if my kids are the only cute ones in the world) is better than negative self-centeredness. Maybe I should work on focusing on others altogether...but not today. I have so much to be thankful for and find that when I reflect on that, and rejoice in the many blessings in my life, including Ruby's short little life, and this new little life, too, I feel less self-pity. And that is ALWAYS a good thing. Really, you have no idea how much your prayers lift us and keep us going. It's almost like God knew what He was doing when He told us to bear one another's burdens! Praise Him!

Silly kids...

A rare evening when instead of the scheduled 5:00-meltdown, the kids actually started getting along BETTER. Even *they* realized this was unusual, as they begged me to take pictures to document it! The serious pictures didn't work out so much, but they were pretty excited about the silly ones, as you can see.

When told to pick up the blocks (which by the way, Maddy got for her 2nd birthday--they've lasted 6 years and are still one of the most consistently played with toys), they were very excited that they obeyed (they're in the box) AND made a "birthday cake"! Nothing warms my heart more than them (a) working together, and (b) having fun being kids!! Little stinkers, I love 'em! (Maddy took this picture, which is why she's not in it--she helped, though.)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Keep reading!

Just to let you know, there are 3 new posts below this one. And trust me, you don't want to miss "You might be a redneck if..." :-)

The sickness **Warning: Definitely TMI and probably just gross**

**If you don't want to read the saga, scroll to the end for some precious JackE pictures!**

We are finally (I think) recovered from "the sickness", as Noah calls it. Maddy had it Monday and stayed home Tuesday as we strictly adhere to the 24-hour rule: no fever, throwing up, etc for 24 hours. Okay, we don't strictly adhere to it for everything, but definitely for throwing up. Then Jack got it Wednesday morning early, but only threw up twice. The first time, he came up to me and said, "Can I have a snack? My tummy hurts." Guess he thought he was just hungry. As I went to get the snack, he said, "I gotta throw up!" and ran to the bathroom. As soon as he was done (and I mean, before the sweat on his forehead was dry), he said, "Can I have my snack now?" Tough kid. The second time was when he was napping on the couch, with his trusty trash-can "just-in-case" by his side, and I was in another room. All of a sudden I heard the tv turn on and ran in the living room. I asked if he was okay and he said, "I throwed up in the trash can, but I okay." Seriously, he was only concerned about what PBS shows he'd missed while he was asleep. That was the end of that. It was pretty early in the day, and he drank and ate a light lunch and was fine from then on. So I sent him to preschool Thursday (technically only 22 1/2 hours after the last "event") because...

...Wednesday night, I had really bad indigestion (which is normal for pregnant me) and having eaten a hard-on-the-tummy, but very tasty, meal of jambalaya for supper, I was awake into the wee hours, debating whether or not I was getting sick or just had overdone it with the jambalaya. I got sick once, but then was fine, so I'm still not sure what happened there (and I would recommend AGAINST rice if there's a CHANCE you might get sick later--lets just say, it expands and makes an already unpleasant event even more unpleasant). But while I was up, I heard Noah run to the bathroom for his turn. He had been sleeping in the trundle bed in Maddy's room to avoid Jack's lingering germs, so I moved him to the couch for isolation. Which left me no place to sleep. Not that there was a chance of that anyway, since Noah was up every 15-30 minutes for the rest of the night (3 am on), running to the bathroom. Bless his heart, he made it every time. His little eyes are still bloodshot.

So, Jack went to school Thursday because Noah was still sick and I was exhausted. Oh, and the painters were coming that morning!! Jared called and warned them, but they came anyway, so we stayed quarentined in the bedrooms. Jared ended up staying home with us to shuttle kids and supervise the household. I slept most of the morning and Noah continued the sickness. At one point, I laid in the bed with him and told him I wished I could just make it all better. His answer: "Thanks, Mommy, but only God can help me now."

Finally by Thursday afternoon, the living room and dining room were painted, I had caught up on my sleep, Jack had made it through preschool just fine (and his friends and mine were intrigued when he was picked up by a man claiming to be his dad, but dressed in Liberty overalls...isn't his dad an accountant? I'll have to get a picture of him tonight when he gets back from the's become his "standard home attire" this winter...which leads me to how cold our house is, but look for that in a later, "You might be a redneck if..." post. I digress...), and Noah was keeping down his grape Gatorade. Noah, after reminding me no less than 50 times, in many creative ways ("How many hours has it been?", "I think my friends might get sick if I go", "I think it's only been 4 minutes, so I should stay home", "I might still have germs", "Do I need to go to the doctor tomorrow?", "Maddy can just get my work for me", "Wait, I didn't even take any medicine to get better!", etc), that it had not been 24 hours since he'd been sick, did not go to school Friday, either. So I had both boys home, but well.

Mom came down to visit and, boy, was she glad she did:The tired little boy hadn't had a nap, and fell asleep in his Dani's lap. It is a rare treat for ANY of my children to fall asleep outside of their own bed after the age of 6 months or so. Yes, the almost 3 1/2 year old still sucks his thumb. It's starting to cause dental issues, but I just haven't gotten the nerve/energy up to make him stop. Its' so stinkin' cute! Maybe when I have another baby to "baby"...he's also still in pull-ups at night. Why? Because his mama is too lazy to get gung ho about it. I'm hoping it will just happen miraculously. Hey, a girl can dream...

He was talking to Dani, mumbling something to keep himself awake, stuck his thumb in his mouth, closed his eyes, and was immediately snoring! This pictures was just after the thumb fell out of his mouth......and a couple of seconds later when his mouth had closed. I LOVE this picture. What an angel! It's nice to see his sweet side, when most of my day (life) is spent trying to contain his wild side!

So, we're all well for now. Except Noah launched his chicken noodle soup supper all over the bathroom in the middle of the night last night, but then went and got a drink before I could stop him and kept that down (as well as breakfast and lunch today), so WHO KNOWS!!?? I'm just tired of the sickness! And the Lysol, hand sanitizer, laundry, and stink that goes with it! Calgon, take me away!

Good news! The painting is done!

First, another disclaimer (or something like that). Yes, my house is usually this messy, although in my defense, these were taken in the midst of "the sickness", so I had an excuse (THAT day, not all the other days, though!). By the way, those things next to the tv are known as "rabbit ears", for those of you with cable/satellite. And we are boycotting the '09 switch to HDtv and will be taking our $40 changeover credit to get the box and keep our non-HD set. Hey, we had the tv that Jared got for his 16th birthday in 1990 until a couple of years ago when we were given this one, so, hey, we're movin' on up!

Here is the living room BEFORE. The drapes and cornices came with the house and are OLD (house was built in '55). Also, the walls are as they were when we moved in TWO years ago...flat, white paint. Oh, with spackling OVER that. Yes, it was like that when we moved in, and YES, it has taken us TWO years to get around to painting it. Sad. But true.
These two are the dining room (open to the living room) BEFORE. Those are our Ruby pictures on the wall. And yes, that light fixture came with the house (although it's grown on us and I think I might keep it). These walls are in the same shape as the living room, flat, white, dirty walls. And old drapes (we'd already taken down this cornice, but it's the same as the living room)...

And...ta-da! Not as dramatic in pictures, but OH so much better in person. We did Porter's Neutral Beige in both rooms, with velvet white on the ceilings and molding. Yeah, who knew there was even crown molding up there? It was flat white like the walls. Now it's actually painted as trim! I'm still searching for window treatments, so we had to just put up the old drapes (since it was 9 degrees that night and our old windows are pretty drafty)...and I haven't put anything back on the walls, but I'm SO excited to have that done!And for the dining room...who knew we had a chair rail already there? Even though it's covered by the china cabinet, it looks SO much better! The pirates are not an intentional part of the decor. This is our only table, so it's gets LOTS of use!
I'm so excited to have this done, in case you can't tell! I know it's sad that I'm this excited about paint, but home improvement is a rare event in our household :-) Here's a sad fact: I had paint for these rooms bought back in June, until Jack spilled it on our kitchen floor in July. And guess what has NOT been replaced yet? That's right, our painted kitchen floor. But that's going to happen this week, so look for more exciting home improvement news from the Smallings!!

You might be a redneck if... use grocery sacks (I'm talkin' Walmart or Kroger, not Whole Foods or anything) as insulation!

Our converted one-car garage, "the downstairs", which functions as playroom, office, mudroom, and storage area, leaks air like nobody's business. Not that our other 53-year-old windows don't too, but this is bad. It's FU-REE-ZING down there. Well, Jared got the bright idea that bubble wrap might provide some insulation on our ginormous window (think solid glass garage door here). Actually, he first tried to put it on our front windows in the living room, which I thankfully talked him out of. We compromised and he gets to put it on back windows only. Well, the bubble wrap on the window isn't too's not immediately obvious from the outside, and no one really checks out the back of our house anyway. But now he's moved on to grocery sacks...stuffed in the knotty-pine paneling (that's another issue--apparently orange shellac was the only stain available in 1955), the doors, and now on the window of the doors. It's bad. Ricky-Bobby-bad. My-Name-Is-Earl-bad. I'm pretty easy-going, but is this over-the-top? Yep, I thought you'd agree. I love my husband, and he's right that it's cold, and he's even right that the grocery sacks seem to help some. But give a girl a break. Thanks for letting me vent. And thanks, Hannah, for the picture of Wesley licking his snotty've reminded me that it's not always peachy and THAT'S OKAY!! Hey, Mom and Dad, when can you return the wrecked '93 Civic we loaned you? Jared needs to get it up on blocks ASAP. (Just kidding...I hope!)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Home for the holiDAY

We're out of school today for MLK Day and it was perfect timing. Maddy woke up at 6 this morning, sick from both ends, if you know what I mean. So, she gets the couch in the living room. She wouldn't get on it until I had made it up like a bed...sheets covering everything, including pillows, and a quilt. She made it for several hours without incident, even drinking some lemonade Gatorade. Then I suggested a few saltines and she talked me into goldfish instead. I should have known better. Five minutes later, she was back at square one. Still holding down Gatorade, though, so we'll just stick to that for a while. She's being good about it...She hasn't been whiny or complaining. Guess she doesn't feel good enough for that. Poor baby!
So the boys have been relegated to the "downstairs" (it's the original one-car garage that was converted to a den/mudroom/'s down 2 1/2 steps from the kitchen, but when we moved here the kids started calling it the downstairs, so that's what it is) with its one recliner. They made do as they settled in to watch "Curious George" together with their pirate sheet and shared pillow.
This lasted all of about 5 minutes, because Noah (can't you see the mischief in his eye) wouldn't stay in one position. Little Jack just wanted to suck his thumb and be good, but soon got caught up in the action and it was a full-out rough-and-tumble wrestling match. And we're in for MORE of this?? Prayers (and monetary donations toward my mental health care) are appreciated.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


So we finally have entered the world of somewhat-high-speed internet. We have had dial-up until early this morning when Jared finished setting up our DSL Lite. WOW. Now you understand why I've been posting all day :) Here's one (probably) last one for today.

I occasionally (okay, once before today, when Jared left his laptop at home and I "borrowed" some neighbor's's not like it's secured and I hacked in, but still...) visit the blogs of people I totally do not know who are linked through people I actually do know whose blogs I read. So I was doing that today (because I can!) and Amy B's brother, who works for Christian Chronicle, has a very funny blog. They recently had their first child and some of his past posts include the tracking of the unborn child's growth as documented by, which I also use. This is where "Blueberry" came from. Anyway, he has a list of the baby growth comparisons, which really just saved me a ton of time going back and listing them (and the idea of using wikipedia to show examples)...I am easily amused, but I think some of them are pretty funny. The kids ask me almost daily what we're on. I guess it's useful having something they grasp the size of instead of just inches or ounces.

Week 4: poppy seed
Week 5: sesame seed
Week 6: lentil bean
Week 7: blueberry (Now, it's all making sense!) Week 8: kidney bean Week 9: grape
Week 10: kumquat (Ok, so this one didn't help us much...)
Week 11: fig
Week 12: lime
Week 13: medium shrimp (Was this really the best option? It's kinda gross either way, but the "food" pic looked better than the "creature" pic)
Week 14: lemon
Week 15: apple
Week 16: avocado
Week 17: turnip
Week 18: bell pepper
Week 19: large heirloom tomato (Could you be more specific? I'm going to guess the "large" one)
Week 20: banana (This is comparable to the length, not so much the overall shape)
Week 21: carrot (I'm guessing a really big carrot? Or maybe last week was a small banana. Because I view those as pretty much the same in size...but maybe it's just me. After checking Wikipedia, apparently there's quite a variety.)

So, I know you'll now be waiting in anticipation for the weekly update. I'm not sure why it makes me happy to think of my unborn child as a fruit/vegetable, but it does. So there.

A selfish prayer request

You can see from the Blueberry (I'm calling him Little Boy Blue now, although I don't think "Blue" is going to make it as a name...we'll see) ticker, I'm about 21ish weeks along. Although we had a great ultrasound, and I'm feeling lots of kicking, I was also in exactly this position at 21 weeks with Ruby. So, needless to say, these next few weeks are a little uncertain for me. I try to remind myself of all the truths I know...and also that I successfully carried 3 previous babies to full term plus some. So odds are that everything will be normal, but getting past 24 weeks will be a relief, I hope.

I'm doing alright most of the time, but if you think of it, I'd appreciate your prayers for our strength of mind to not give in to worry and fear, which I know are how Satan wants me to spend these next few weeks. I'm not a worrier by nature, THANK GOD, but I can see it trying to creep in. And I know I'm more stressed than I realize right now because I've been taking it out in lack of patience (read: yelling and general ugliness) with my family (husband and kids) and probably been more needy than normal with my friends. Not to mention the normal pregnancy hormone roller coaster. I'm so grateful for this pregnancy, though my sweet Ruby is never far from my thoughts. Thanks for thinking of me.

Jack of all trades

A day in the life of Jack...actually just a couple of hours' worth! I realize I have tons of pictures of him and not so many of the big kids because he's with me almost all the time and they're gone SO much of the time at school. I really miss them and those precious (though sometimes neverending and exhausting) days I had them home with me! In a perfect world, they would go to school for a couple of hours, learn what they need, and come home for the rest. But (A) that's not an option in our school system, and (B) I'm not sure I REALLY have the patience, as much as I WANT to have the patience, to teach them all they need to learn! Anyway, back to Jack...

He found this piece of fabric of Maddy's (she has pieces in 3 shades of pink...her mom and Dani like to buy random fabric) and insists it is his cape. This was yesterday (Friday) and he decided he wanted it tied over his head. I'm not sure what kind of pirate or superhero he was envisioning, but it looked more like Mary to me!

For his next act, Jack found a piece of Noah's uneaten healthy breakfast (yes, it's a pop-tart) on the kitchen table, paired it with a snowman candle plate he found, and voila! Well, of course, he's serving communion! He came up to me with his sweet voice, tiptoeing, and said, "Mom, this is Jesus' body, we have to be very careful." I LOVE it! Then he of course proceeded to pinch tiny pieces off of it, offering it to me or eating it himself. This is one of his new favorite things. He asks for crackers just so he can put them on these little plates he found. PRE-CIOUS!!

And finally, Lord Licorice...from the Candyland movie. He's the villain, but Jack's favorite character. He has enjoyed using Maddy's "scepter". I think it's hilarious that he thinks he's a bad guy wearing a shiny pink cape with a shiny pink scepter. At least he's got Captain Hook on his hat to lend him some credibility as a villain!

Mom's surgery recovery

I'm such a bad daughter! My mom had surgery a week ago yesterday and I didn't even mention it on here! I talked to her in real life and even went to visit the next day, but I can't believe I forgot to blog a prayer request...Anyway, she's doing great and you can see her post on it here. Some of you GWP folks may have known, so I thank you for your prayers. Also, please keep the Whites in your prayers as Dad prepares to return to Honduras for the start of another academic year at Baxter. I haven't heard dates yet, but I think he will go back next week and mom will wait and go a week or so after that. And of course prayers for Baxter, the clinic, and everyone involved and touched by that ministry are always appreciated! It is a great work. You can find out more from Mom's Honduras blog or the Association Amicus (Baxter Institute/JMA Clinic) website.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pink Princess

The great Maddy's room makeover is finally complete...well, until we have to move the crib in there in a few months, once he outgrows the bassinet/pack-n-play/carseat/boppy (our babies have slept in lots of things--WHATEVER works!). But here are the pictures. I took the first two, she took the rest. She also took lots of other hilarious close-ups of random things in her room...and of herself sneezing, coughing, and some nostril shots...she cracks me up! But she wouldn't let me post those...
Dani made the bedding and curtains...
*"Over the Moon" pink toile coverlet, toile pillow sham trimmed in pink/green stripe, pink/green stripe bedskirt, plus throw pillows sewn by Maddy; curtains in white w/green polkadots, trimmed with toile, cording in pink/green stripe* The wardrobe in the 2nd picture was Jared's grandmother's. His parents had it stripped and refinished a few years ago for us.
Maddy's "Ba.rbie" house...we already had this but cleaned it up and found cute wooden dollhouse furniture at Ta.rget...cheaper than a Ba.rbie Dream House...and hopefully will last longer!
Madeline's doll corner...Sam.antha meets Kathleen McKenzie...they get along well!
The boys did not get a makeover (maybe when baby brother moves in eventually!), but for now they were excited about the pirate sheets I found at Ros.s Dres.s for Less for $7.99! (yes, for FULL size sheets!)Jack got Mag.tastiks for Christmas (thanks, Willow!) and he made this "Minja Wight Saver" (ninja light saber). He can't pick it up or it falls apart (because he won't settle for it being 4 sticks long, which would hold together; he wants it exactly this height), but he will build it and then stand holding it as long as someone else is in the room to talk to. He looks like a little old man with his cane...especially with the slightly nutty (ok, REALLY nutty) grin he's sporting...
Noah was proud of the "weights" he built out of the Mag.tastiks...not sure how he even knows what weights are, since he's certainly never heard his parents mention them, much less use them! Probably from Tom & Jerry...the kid is a walking cartoon! And proud of how strong he is. I asked how much they weighed and he said, "TEN pounds!" like that was unbelievably heavy. He also said he could do, "like, one hundred and five" curls, which he proceeded to demonstrate...until he got bored counting. Anyone else with a kindergartener...does yours make everything "one hundred" and something? Noah does and I remember Madeline doing it too. That's just still the largest number he can think of, I guess, but it's amusing to me. Of course, I'm easily amused...
Madeline documented almost everything in her room...for insurance purposes, I'm sure! :-)