Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Madeline the Photographer




Sailors, aliens, and siblings...oh my!

Jared was obviously not thrilled with this not-so-masculine outfit, but Jack kept reminding me that he looked "berry handsome". And he would not take off the hat!


He even kept the hat on when I changed his clothes!


"Wook, I a awien!" (alien) He gets so tickled because we act scared when he does this, that he can't really look all that scary...


...or maybe he can look scary...this picture is a little creepy!


The boys have been very sweet to each other lately. Well, in between the scuffling and the yelling. But aren't they precious?? Anytime I mention the baby, they get all sweet and lovey and say things like, "I'm a good big brother, right?" They sure are! (when they want to be)




I asked for a sweet picture of these two, which is normally no problem, but they thought it would be cuter to pretend to be fighting. I love it!


Friday, April 25, 2008

In memory...

Jared's aunt, Mildred "Poodle" Houchens, passed away last weekend. Her funeral was Wednesday in Glasgow. She shared her birthday with Noah, March 17. The sisters (Jared's mom Shirley, Mildred, Lou and Mary Nell) were often referred to by Mary Nell's daughter, Tonya, as "The Golden Girls", with Mildred being Sophia. She always carried her purse on her arm, and someone would notice, after about 30 minutes of being somewhere, that she was still holding it, and of course they'd all have a good laugh about it. Aunt Mildred, as well as her daughter, Judy, have both been widowed for over 10 years. Because of this, she and Judy have been inseparable for many years. Please keep Judy especially in your prayers, as she adjusts to life without her mother, companion and best friend.

12-23-00 Gerald,Judy,Tonya,Mildred

(L-R) Gerald (Jared's dad), Judy,

Tonya, and Mildred

The Hunt siblings: (L-R) Trigger, Bill, Lou, Mary Nell, Mildred & Shirley

12-23-00 Trigger,Bill,Lou,Mary,Mildred,Shirley ca

Mildred was blessed to live to enjoy her two great-granddaughters, Kaylyn (8) and Khloe (almost 3). Below is a picture of my Madeline with sweet Kaylyn.

12-18-04 M & K hug close

We will miss you, Aunt Mildred, but we are thankful that your pain and sickness are over forever. Please keep her children Jimmy (wife Sheila) and Judy, granddaughters, Melissa (husband Keith, daughters Kaylyn & Khloe) and Ashlea, and siblings Trigger (wife Sue), Lou, Shirley (husband Gerald), Bill (wife Kitty), and Mary Nell, in your prayers as they grieve.


Busy Season is OVER!! Jack and Daddy celebrated with a horsey ride...


Noah climbing "super-high"


Madeline fanning herself with a magnolia leaf. I'm always amazed at the different ways they use those nice big leaves. Jack uses them as the "tortilla" for his "rock taco". They make great scoops. But of course Princess uses hers to cool herself in the hot shade :) I'm surprised she hasn't recruited a brother to do this for her...yet.


Noah trying to be a big brother and give Jack a piggy-back ride. It would help if he had more than ONE pound and TWO inches on his little brother!


Jack loves his Superman cape from makes whooshing flying sounds and kapow fighting sounds. Unfortunately, it was not made to be taken on and off seventy eleven times a day and the latch broke. So it hangs there sadly. But he will not give it up. In typical Jack fashion, he has paired it with a lovely Batman short set.


Jack had just spotted "a spider". I think it was a fly of some sort, but he was convinced that if he moved, it would eat him. So he stood like this for quite some time, only moving his eyes. I obviously have not exploited his fear of spiders to get him to obey, but I may have to resort to that soon, as it appears to be the only way to ever get him still and/or quiet! Well, that and the Leapster Batman game, which I used to bribe him to be good Wednesday, and have now paid for dearly for two days straight. That is ALL he would ever do if I would let him. I think 3 is a little young to be fighting crime 24/7.


Jack's other favorite toy: the "wight saver". It appears to aid him in listening through the doors to see if Noah Vader is on his way...


Look at that green, green grass! I guess the not mowing it for weeks after it needed it was a legitimate lawn care strategy, oh dear busy husband! Noah loves these Spiderman/Sandman walkie talkies he got from Dani and Poppi for Christmas. Once he got tired of talking on them to Jack and Maddy, he has loved just playing with them as action figures. I don' t usually let him play with them outside, so I made him take them in...after snapping some pictures!


The adventerous Madeline. This is is seriously as high as she goes in the tree. She is her mama's daughter.


And this is what all that outside play costs little Jack. Thankfully, we don't have it as rough as Tiffany's poor kids right now, but we are back to breathing treatments (or "my elephant nose") with Jack. Ever since soccer started, he has had terrible allergies. The breathing thing seems to be a spring/fall thing, so I'm not sure how long this will last, but for now he's down from every 2-3 hours a couple of weeks ago (and the threat of steroids, which we thankfully avoided!) to a couple of times every couple of days, depending on how much he's outside and, I guess, what all is in the air that day. He handles it like a pro, so I can't complain. It means he gets to watch tv (turned up REALLY loud to hear over the nebulizer), so of course, he's up for that anytime. This day his left eye was really red and watery and I was afraid he might have pink-eye, but I guess it must have been allergy-related too, since it went away on its own. We were supposed to be at his soccer game when this picture was taken, but he was obviously in no shape to play. He has yet to actually play a game, so we'll see what this weekend holds!


Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Here's how this one works...

  1. The rules are posted at the beginning.
  2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
  3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and ask them to read your blog.

What I was doing 10 years ago:

  1. Majoring in Music Education at WKU
  2. being an HFC (Hilltoppers for Christ)
  3. living at home
  4. not dating Jared (we were "just friends")
  5. preparing to spend the summer in Honduras and transfer to Harding in the fall

Five things on my to do list for today:

  1. Take Jack to school (in 20 minutes!)
  2. Go to the grocery (unless I'm okay with running out of toilet paper today)
  3. Take a shower
  4. Go to Angie's for lunch
  5. Do laundry (so the kids will have school clothes for the rest of the week!)

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

  1. Buy Jared a farm and a couple of fast cars
  2. Get a bigger house (not ridiculous, but with more bedrooms and a big dining room)
  3. Buy my parents and in-laws their dream homes
  4. Finish funding college and retirement for all of our family (including future nieces and nephews)
  5. Give lots of money to Baxter to do the things Mom mentioned
  6. Give lots of money to Barquisimeto, Venezuela, church, Grandview church(Hispanic church in Nashville), and Woodbine church (inner city Nashville)
  7. Adopt a bunch more children, and hire people to clean house, cook, etc so I could just be the wife/mom (and blog)! (That sounds good even if we didn't add any more children!)
  8. Personal masseuse!! (Good idea, Mom! Probably at the top of my list too!)

Three of my bad habits: (I'm glad this was limited to 3!)

  1. Being late
  2. Yelling (in anger/frustration, when I'm excited, when I'm too lazy to walk to the next room to communicate)
  3. Biting my fingernails (and passing that on to my daughter! Argh!!)

Five places I have lived:

  1. Searcy, AR (Tina Circle, Stephens dorm)
  2. Springdale, AR, & Farmington, AR
  3. Bowling Green, KY (Leslie Ave, Greenhill Rd, MacLean and Rhodes-Harlin dorms)
  4. Hendersonville, TN (Wilmington Ct)
  5. Nashville, TN (Elam dorm, Oakley Dr)

Five jobs I have had:

  1. Chopsticks (Greenwood Mall)
  2. McCloud Claims Service (secretary)
  3. various marching bands (brass/marching/field commander instructor)
  4. Catalog Music (customer service)
  5. Foundation Christian Academy (Spanish teacher)

Five People I Want to Know More About:

  1. The Amy B's (Berry & Bowman)
  2. SGD (you don't have a blog but you can email/comment or START A BLOG)
  3. Hannah R
  4. Maggie Jean
  5. The Sarah K's (White and Owens)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Email tag

My friend, Amy in BG, sent this to me today, so I'm posting it here. I also got my first TAG--a double one--from Tiffany and Teresa (same tag), so I'll do that soon. But it requires more thought, so I'm throwing this one out there first. Not really a tag, but it looked fun!

Welcome to the 2008 edition of Getting to Know Your Friends! Change all the answers so they apply to you, and then send this to your friends including the person who sent it to you. The theory is that you will learn a lot of little things about your friends that you might not have

1. What time did you get up this morning? 7:15-ish to help kids get ready for school
2. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds!
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Veggie Tales: The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything
4. What is your favorite TV show? Lost, The Office, Scrubs, House
5. What did you have for breakfast? Cheerios with "gold" (aka honey)--and I used Jared's whole milk...oh yes I did.
6. What is your middle name? Dawn
7. What food do you dislike? Anything I have to cook :-)
8. What is your favorite CD at the moment? Watermark "A Grateful People"
9. What kind of car do you drive? Honda Odyssey
10. Favorite sandwich? Tuna from Panera or Subway (w/lettuce, tomato and LOTS of black pepper)
11. What characteristic do you despise? meanness (I have a hard time describing this exactly, Jared makes fun of me for calling lots of things "mean"...I know it when I see/hear/feel it)
12. Favorite item of clothing? currently, Bella Band; normally, Old Navy jeans
13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? nowhere at the moment :-) but snorkeling in Belize is at the top of my to-do list SOMEDAY
14. Favorite brand of clothing? SALE! Banana Republic if I had the time or money (or, you know, a waist)!
15. Where would you retire to? That's too far away to even think about!
16. What was your most recent memorable birthday? My last one--the big 3-0! Jared surprised me with a party, even in the middle of his busy season! And my mom passed down my grandmother's beautiful ring to me, so that made it extra special!
17. Favorite sport to watch? Titans football
18. What is the furthest place this email will go? Honduras to Mom (since Dad doesn't "do blogs")
19. Person you expect to send it back first? No idea
20. When is your birthday? March 28
22. Are you a morning person or a night person? Definitely a night person :-)
23. What is your shoe size? 8 normally, 8 1/2 when pregnant
24. Pets? 3, if you count the kids :-) We have lots of "pet" caterpillars, ants, and worms, but they stay outside and fend for themselves.
25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? Hopefully I will in about 5 more weeks! And hopefully he will have a name by then.
26. What did you want to be when you were little? teacher, mommy, musician, Mrs. Donny Wahlberg (New Kids on the Block)
27. How are you today? as my dad would say, "Old, fat and tired." 2 of those I actually am, one I just feel.
28. What is your favorite candy? Jr Mints, but I'd take a cookie (esp Snickerdoodle) over candy
29. What is your favorite flower? tulip
30. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? May 28/June 1--whatever day this baby is born!!! (And our anniversary on May 29, but it's going to be a pretty unromantic one)
32. What is your full name? Melanie Dawn Smalling
31. What are you listening to right now? Peace and quiet. Jack is watching Blue's Clues but if I pretend, I can hear quiet.
34. What was the last thing you ate? ice (from Sonic, from one of 2 bags of it in my freezer)
35. Do you wish on stars? no
36. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? burnt sienna
38. Last person you spoke to on the phone? my mama called me from Honduras!
39. Favorite soft drink? cherry Coke
40. Favorite restaurant? Rafferty's
41. Hair color? brownish
42. What was your favorite toy as a child? Lisa, a doll my mom made for me
43. Summer or winter? Summer
44. Hugs or kisses? Hugs
45. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
46. Coffee or tea? both!!!
47. Do you want your friends to email you back? Yes!
48. When was the last time you cried? Yesterday when I found that instead of getting ONE shirt to wear, Jack had pulled out ALL of the clothes out of ALL of his and Noah's dresser.
49. What is under your bed? 2 plastic containers of clothes I can't wear right now
50. What did you do last night? Went to Karyn Henley parenting seminar at our church
51. What are you afraid of? Storms, tornadoes, someone in front of me throwing a cigarette out their car window and it going under my car and making it blow up, ...
52. Salty or sweet? both, together
53. How many keys on your key ring? 2
54. How many years at your current job? 8 1/2 (mom)
55. Favorite day of the week? Tuesday (Jack goes to Mother's Day Out!)
56. How many towns have you lived in? 6 (but one of those 3 different times)
57. Do you make friends easily? More and more, as I realize that people I thought were more acquaintances are really friends.
58. How many people will you send this to? ??? Whoever reads this blog???
59. How many will respond? maybe 4

Read this.

You need to read this. Okay, I needed to read this. Whether or not you have losses like this in common with her, the last 2/3 say so much of what is stewing around in my brain that I lack the communication skills to coherently think, much less convey in words.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Yum! A recipe!

These are the yummiest cookies ever. If not yummier.

They are called Tahini Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies and I have no idea where I got the recipe, but my confidential source got it from Eating Well magazine, March 2005. I felt like I should disclose that, although none of the 4 people who read this will probably turn me in for ripping off a recipe.

On to the recipe. In Pioneer Woman fashion, I took pictures. Really just because I thought that would be fun. Not because you really need to see how to make cookies. Because if you did need help, learning from me would NOT be a good idea. I do not bake. In fact, I recently managed to mess up The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever. which I had made twice with no problem. Pride cometh before a bad sheet cake.

So anyway, back to the cookies. My pictures didn't turn out so well. But here are a couple, although they don't really help you. If I had light other than "fluorescent" in my kitchen, it would help. But you do get to see my loverly countertops, which I can only assume were bottom-of-the-line back in 1955. And that should make someone thankful for their own counter-tops. I'm not jealous. Really.

The Ingredients:


2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup ap flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup tahini
4 tbsp butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

If you look closely, you'll see that I left the granulated sugar out of the picture, which I didn't realize until I was downloading pictures. Fortunately, my very own sugar requested a picture with the 'green-dients, so technically, this one does include sugar :-)


...and also shows off the "chrome" on the countertops. Making you a little more jealous than you were before.

Preheat oven to 350F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Mix together oats, flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl.


Beat tahini and butter together until blended. Add sugars and beat until well combined. Add in egg, egg white and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Stir in oat mixture until nearly incorporated, then add in chocolate chips (and optional nuts). Do not over mix.
Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet.

I personally love this medium scoop from Pampered Chef. Or the large one if you want big ol' gourmet-looking cookies.


Bake for 10-12 minutes (or 15 minutes for a crispy cookie), until golden brown at the edges. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 4 dozen.

I'm not sure what microscopic size cookies you would have to make to get 4 dozen, but with the medium scoop, I get about 2 dozen. And I bake mine for 10 minutes because I like a gooey cookie.

Let's talk mixers for a moment. I got my hand mixer for a wedding gift and it has served me well. Except now I can only find one beater. So there was much chasing of the 'green-dients around the bowl today. Again, those of you with one of these, I am not jealous. At all.


Tahini Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup ap flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup tahini
4 tbsp butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk together oats, flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
Beat tahini and butter together until blended. Add sugars and beat until well combined. Add in egg, egg white and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Stir in oat mixture until nearly incorporated, then add in chocolate chips. Do not over mix.
Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes (or 15 minutes for a crispy cookie), until golden brown at the edges. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 4 dozen.

Monday, April 14, 2008

And now, for my 12th post today...

Just couldn't shut down the computer without sharing Jack's nightly bedtime ramblings:

Jack: "You know what I gon' be when I grow up?"

Me: "No, what?"

Jack: "A do'tor."

Me: "Oh really? That's good."

Jack: "You know what I gon' do when I a do'tor?"

Me: "No, what?"

Jack: "I gon' check things. And you know what I gon' do after I check them?"

Me: "No, what?"

Jack: "I gon' fix them."

Me: "That's a very good thing for doctors to do. Doctors help people."

Jack: "No, I not gon' fix people, I gon' fix tha spaceships."

Me: "What?"

Jack: "And you know what I gon' do after I fix the spaceships?"

Me: "I can't imagine."

Jack: "I gon' put on my helmet."

Me: "Of course you are, because that's what doctors do after they fix spaceships."

Jack: "Because you have to wear your helmet. You know why you have to wear your helmet?"

Me: "Why?"

Jack: "Because you will crash into a wall. And then you will need some sticky tape [Dora, anyone?] to fix it. Then you will have to ask Poppi for his tools so you can fix the wall. Because that's what you do with your spaceship."

Me: "Clearly, my work here is done."


I started blogging as a way to express myself, to get my thoughts down, and of course to remind myself of the crazy things my kids do on a daily basis. Somehow, the kids have taken over. It's just easier to write about the fun and funny things they do and say and how I feel about that. This started as a catharsis in my journey through losing Ruby. I kept a journal from the time she died and eventually I quit journaling and began blogging. I sit down at the computer many times and plan to share something personal or what is really on my heart and then I convince myself that I don't have the emotional energy to do that, and that I'm just not in the mood for more seriousness.

I'm so tired. So is everyone else. I feel like God has been giving and giving and giving to me for so long through so many people and I should be so full of Him that it would be evident in my life. And then I look at my life and it's kind of the opposite. I still feel like I'm taking and taking and taking. I can look at this last year or so and see that He has brought me to a different place spiritually, in relationship to Him, than I have ever been before. I see what He has given me, how He has drawn me to Him, how faithful He has been to me even though I've done nothing to deserve it. And I've praised Him for that like never before. I adore Him. He is awesome. When I get to heaven, I'd like some portion of eternity to be spent rockin' my baby Ruby, since I haven't gotten to do that here, but then there's nothing I want more than to sit at His feet in worship. Forever. And ever. It's not that He hasn't brought me a long way. It's just that apparently, I had a really long way to go, because I still feel like I've only taken a baby step toward Him.

And somehow I can't get past the adoration of Him. That's safe. I know He accepts me, enjoys my fellowship (I don't know WHY, but I trust He DOES). It's all the other people in the world that He wants me to serve. I don't wanna. I just want to stay safe in my cocoon I've built, praise Him, get through life. That sounds really bad when I put it like that.

Boy, have I got it backwards! I KNOW in my head that He asks for my first fruits for a reason. Duh! Because that is how I am truly filled so I can pour out to others. I've been trying to give out of my own supplies, and they are just depleted. There's never quite enough. So I know this, but why don't I just do it? I can look back on a thousand times in my life when I put Him first (usually because I was so depleted that I had no other choice), and HELLO...HE IS ALWAYS FAITHFUL! Always. Completely. Faithful.

Always. Completely. Enough.

Enough to bless my husband with the respect and attention he deserves. Enough to mother my children and not just provide daycare. Enough to care for the material blessings which He has made me responsible for now. Enough to be hospitable to my extended family, neighbors, and others God puts in my path. Enough to not see the little bit of missions translating and volunteering at school as burdens, but to see them as the acts of service that they are. Enough to take me out of my little tiny circle of safety and show me ways to serve Him daily through looking beyond myself and my family.

Every few months, my friends and I beat ourselves up for how self-centered and child-centered we've become and how we manage to be "salt and light" to our kids (sometimes) but certainly are not to the world. We wander through our day, rushing to the next event, or spending the day at home with our children dictating everything we do. We justify this by saying that "it's just because our children are young" or "our home IS our mission field"...which are both true. If I served the whole world and ignored my family, I'm pretty sure God would hold me accountable for that oversight. But we beat ourselves up, and then never make any changes. Me included. I have no fresh insights on what to do on a daily basis to get out of my kid-rut. I just SO want for my children to at least see me trying to get out of my "comfort zone" and live like I really believe and trust and have faith in what Jesus tells us. He doesn't give me a "get out of jail free card" on being a mom. He asks me to be a servant. To give. And then to give some more. And to have faith that He will provide. He will fill me back up when I am depleted. But not so I can sit around and enjoy being full, but so that I can praise Him for His faithfulness and then give it all away again.

So how can I do that? I know no one else can answer specifically for me. I'm asking Him this too, privately, because I know He will show me what He wants from me right now. But does anyone else struggle with this or have any ideas?

Happy Birthday, Uncle David!

My "oldest" brother (he's older than my other brother, but younger than me; how do you clearly express that?) is the big 2-8! Because of prior party commitments, we were not able to stay for the celebratory lunch at Olive Garden, but we did stop by and switch some kids around. I wish I had taken more pictures, especially since we haven't seen David and Maggie much lately, but I tried not to make it all about me. The big sister in me still likes to boss just a wee bit. It was enough that my kids took over the scene, so I tried to be as un-obnoxious with the posing and picture-taking as possible. I have high hopes that we will see the aunts and uncles more this summer. I have a feeling they'll come visit more, if not to see us, at least to hold the baby! (See how I've made David's birthday post all about me?)

So, back to the birthday and family...

Some middle child bonding (L) and Dani, Noah, David & Jack (R)


Madeline with her Dani and Poppi

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My pitiful, sickly Jack...I'm sorry he's sick, but OH, the snuggles.

Love me some snuggles!


Jack "plays soccer"

Jack was pumped about his first soccer game this weekend. Unfortunately, he got to sit through Noah's soccer pictures, Noah's game, his own team's soccer pictures...


...and then, no game. His team, "The Dolphins", played but poor Jack got a trip to the pediatrician's office instead. Of course he told everyone there that he won his soccer game, so missing it wasn't too devastating for him. And also he had found his beloved Batarang (a bat-shaped boomerang used by Batman) that morning--middle photo--so really, nothing could bring him down. He'd coughed some during the night before, and then sitting in the cold wind at Noah's game didn't help, but he was wheezing pretty badly by the time he got through his soccer pictures. His game was supposed to start at 10:30 but the doctor's office drop-in hours end at 11, so we hustled ourselves on out there while Daddy went back to work. Sure enough, he needed an albuterol breathing treatment (aka "elephant nose") at the office and we went home with some allergy/decongestant Rx samples and a script for more albuterol. His doctor thinks the breathing problems are allergy-induced, since last time he had it was in the fall when his allergies got bad. And he'd had an allergy attack (itchy, watery eyes and nose after playing outside) at school on Thursday before the breathing trouble on Saturday. So far the treatments have worked and we haven't had to move up to steroids, so I'm praying that continues to work. Because, frankly, I don't think I can handle Jack...on steroids. That just sounds like a nervous breakdown waiting to happen.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

If one soccer picture is good, 47 are better...

After last weekend's rain-out, the boys were excited about their first games this weekend. After 75 degree weather late in the week, we were fuh-reeeeee-zing in 40 degree weather for the game! Noah's team, the Royals (which he kept calling the Blue Jackets, because last year he was yellow and they were the Yellow Jackets), played a great game at 8:30 on a Saturday morning. No one really keeps score, but we definitely held our own and Noah enjoyed it more than ANY game last season, mostly because he was the smallest kid last year and now he's at least average, so he actually had a chance. Both of their practices have been rained out, so they had never actually practiced together. And he was asked to play goalie, which he had never done before! He let a couple slip by him, as he was more concerned with stomping the pile of mud in the goal than paying attention. This is right after the other team scored on him and he took the cheers of the other team's parents very personally, which, along with his size, build, and non-existent inherited athleticism, does not bode well for his athletic future...


But he recovered and made a couple of great saves before his rotation was up!


As you can see, he was pretty proud of his overall first outing as the Royal goal-keeper!


And let's not forget the supportive brother, who lovingly froze his buns off to watch and cheer for his hero. A McGriddle and Hi-C orange bribe doesn't hurt...


The devoted daddy was even there! He went into work super-early so he could come to the game and cheer on his boy. Four days before the tax deadline. He's such a good daddy!


While Jack did actually pay attention to some of the game, he also spent a good deal of time watching the clouds float by and telling very complicated (and mostly unintelligible through the snot and insanity) tales of what each one was. He requested we capture this one on film for some very important reason. Like it was fluffy. And moving across the sky. You know, a cloud.


I'm not sure who the other kid is, but throughout the game, Noah took his soccer cues from him. I guess he looked like he knew what he was doing. Because I have never seen Noah "at the ready" before. Last year, he seriously was the kid picking dandylions off the field. When he wasn't busy asking if it was snacktime yet. I'm so proud to see him actually playing soccer and not just playing.


I guess he realized that he's not going to win on his athleticism alone, so he felt compelled to talk some trash to the other team. Actually, I think he was saying hi to a friend on the other team. But talking trash sounds much more sport-ish.


And at the end of the game, win or lose, there's nothing like a hug from your biggest little fan.


Visiting with Pa-Pa

My sweet Pa-Pa visited from Florida last week. My kids talk about him all. the. time. Just when I start to think that surely they can't remember him THAT well, and maybe they just love the IDEA of a great-grandfather and the fact that he lives in Florida and visits to him sometimes involve a day-trip to Disneyworld, he actually comes to visit and I realize they are just totally and completely in love with HIM. He's not up and around quite as much as he used to be. He doesn't get in the floor with them or run and chase and play. He doesn't bribe them with treats and goodies. He doesn't do anything special except just be his wonderful self. And they eat. it. up. It does help that he thinks they are the best kids ever and tells them constantly how sweet and precious they are. When we were visiting him a couple of years ago, Jack had some little suede loafers that looked like grown-up shoes but were tiny. Every time Pa-Pa came across them (which was often, because we like to make a mess wherever we go), he would just turn them over and over in his hands and stare at them lovingly. It was the sweetest thing. He loved those little shoes that reminded him of the precious little feet that fill them. They (the shoes, not the kids) "mysteriously" were left behind at his house and still have a place of honor on one of his display shelves in his den. So I think it's fair to say that the admiration is mutual. It makes me just a little bit happy to see people I love so much love each other so much. Just a tiny bit.



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The last time we saw Pa-Pa was the summer of 2006, when our Jack was barely 2. So a few days before Pa-Pa's arrival, I asked Jack if he knew what Pa-Pa's "big name" is. Without missing a beat, he said, "He's Jack, jus' wike I'm Jack!" I can't believe he remembered, but he didn't have to think twice about it. The rest of the week, he kept holding up 2 fingers and saying, "There's TWO Jack's, dis one's me and dis one's Pa-Pa!" I always joke that naming a child Jack is just asking for trouble (because mine is not the only Jack we know who is currently giving his mama a run for her money--Crystal, you know who you are!), but truthfully, I wouldn't have him any other way, and I just hope he's as fun and cute when he's 82 as the "original"!


These kids also love their aunts and uncles! We're so blessed to have them close by, I just wish we would get our schedules together and see them a lot more often!! Uncle David used to be the reigning "Crazy Uncle", but Philip has learned to hold his own as a "crazy uncle", at least with Jack. Maybe it's the 3rd child thing. They kinda like each other, can you tell??


And the other boy especially loves the aunts. He enjoys some craziness with the uncles, but he's just such a sweetheart. He does love attention from pretty girls!


I love these very serious pictures. Such concentration! I think this was Madeline's first time to read the comics in the newspaper (since we don't get one). And Jack had to make sure all his play-dough cookies were "jus' wike dis. You has to make dem jus' wike dis." I'm relieved to see that "calm and focused" are still occasionally part of his repertoire. You can see why I might worry.

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Then, of course, there's this one. I don't call him "my happy-ness" for no reason. Despite some very orckin teeth, which we will probably not be laughing about in a couple of years when we spend eleventy-gillion dollars to correct them, there's no doubt that this is a happy kid. And that, obviously, makes for a pretty happy mama, too.