Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolutions Revisited

The neat thing about having a blog is that I can look back and see what I was thinking or going through at different times.  With the end of 2010 in sight I have been contemplating our changes and thinking about what I will resolve to do differently in 2011.

Last Year's Resolutions.....

to exercise. I'm making it a goal to spend some quality time with the elliptical at least three times a week. I'm really lucky to have a great best friend to be my accountability partner in this. (Oh, hey Courtney? I don't owe you a dollar tomorrow!)

Well, this started out promising.....until I pulled a muscle in my back shoveling snow, leaving me unable to even move without searing pain.  Exercise?!  Are you kidding me?  Walking was enough of a challenge!  (And oh, the irony!  Because right at this moment I am in back pain.  Not to the incapacitating extent of last year, but I have that definite twinge that threatens complete mutiny if I move the wrong way.)

to keep my house clean(er). I do not like to clean, but I love a clean house. What a conundrum! With some well placed additions that brought new life into our living room this weekend, I'm inspired to keep our house looking showroom-perfect......okay, okay....probably not realistic. I'm just hoping to keep the toys from overtaking everything.

This one has been kicking my butt all year.  I'm trying, I'm really trying.  The problem is the other three people who share my space have not made this resolution.  And also, have you ever realized that you clean and clean and clean and the house looks sparkling and wonderful......and then by the end of the day it looks like a tornado (ahem, LIBBY!) has gone through the house.  Frustration, I tell you!

to choose my food, and my family's food more wisely. Last year I waged a war on high fructose corn syrup and trans fat. With the help of Whole Foods, I was able to substitute many of Anna's favorite, sugar-laden foods with healthy(ier) alternatives. Best find? Late July's double chocolate cookies. Sooooooo good!

Yeah, so, I failed at this.  While meeting the following goal, I had to let some things go.  Unfortunately, nutrition has been one of them.  Full time work, two kids, a husband, a house to tend, and graduate classes....take out and freezer meals have been a mainstay, I'm sad to say.

pursue further education. I've put off getting my Master's for the past decade. To wait longer will only mean I'll be dealing with more kids, more responsibilities, less time and money, etc. So I'm looking into graduate program possibilities. Nothing definite yet. ;-)

I am currently enrolled in Eastern Kentucky University in their graduate program.  I'm not altogether sure when I'll graduate...after this past semester I'm only going to take one class at a time.  My sanity will be intact to thank me later.

make a concerted effort to pay off debt. We are blessed to so far not be drowning in debt, but with the purchase of a new vehicle (that is, at this moment, in the shop getting put back together from my catastrophe last month...) we are now back in car payment territory. Our visit outside lasted only a few short months, but the grass really was greener. I doubt we'll be able to pay it all off in one year, but hopefully no more than two. Remind me of this when I start dreaming of blue skies and tropical, sandy beaches come June.

Ha hahahahaha, HAHAHAhahaha.....oh, excuse me.  Wow.  Had I only known when I wrote this last year.  Within a few weeks we had signed a contract to have a house built and put our on the market.  Then in July we discovered that our car was, in fact, totaled.  So now we have not one, but TWO car payments, as well as school loans, a bigger mortgage.....yeah, the list can go on and on here.  And forget June, I'm already dreaming of blue skies and sandy beaches....or at the very least, one week with no Kentucky and no small Smithlets in sight.

So there ya go, folks.  2010 didn't go quite the way I had anticipated, but I suppose nothing ever does, and we have felt truly blessed all year long.  I have a mindful of ideas and wishes and dreams ready to put into place for 2011.  Really, I want more time to focus on my kids.  It's just simply hard to find the time to do everything I want to do and to do it well.  As the pastor of my church said, it's "hurryitis".  I need to hurry through everything, because that's the only way I can cope.  Of course, that leads to me doing nothing well, feeling awful about it, and being stressed.  All.the.time.

But 2011 is a fresh start!  I will only be taking one class, so I'm praying for time to have more movie and game nights, more leisurely trips to the zoo, more bike rides on beautiful evenings, more silly dinnertime conversations, more snuggly bedtime stories with sweet, bath-scented children, more time to sip iced tea in my backyard and to visit with the neighbors, more time to enjoy a good book.

I am praying and hoping for simply more time to enjoy.

So if you come to my house the mail might be piled up on the counter.  The floors may just have crumbs from breakfast.  You might have to step around some toys in the living room.  We may be eating our freezer ready meals on paper plates.  And you may see a load of folded laundry on my couch.  But hopefully there will not be two stressed out parents trying to hustle two cranky kids through the motions to toss them into bed each night just to get a breather before collapsing themselves only to repeat the same thing the next day.

Oh, and exercise.  Yes.  That has to be on the resolution list, right?

Happy New Year's, everyone! 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Candra's CHRISTmas...

Competitive CHRISTmas

Cookie baking CHRISTmas

Cameron CHRISTmas

Concentrating CHRISTmas

Cookie decorating CHRISTmas

Calm CHRISTmas

Computer talking CHRISTmas

Coordinating pajama CHRISTmas

Confused CHRISTmas

Crazy big mess CHRISTmas

Collapse anywhere and eat a chip CHRISTmas

Cozy CHRISTmas

Cuddly sister CHRISTmas

Coming down the hallway CHRISTmas

Christmas card CHRISTmas

Cute kid CHRISTmas

Cool book CHRISTmas

Can't believe I finally got it CHRISTmas

Crazy big mess the second CHRISTmas

Always CHRISTmas

Friday, December 24, 2010

Let's Not Forget....

Luke 2

The Birth of Jesus

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

This has to be one of my favorite passages in the Bible.  Can you imagine what it would have been like to have been there when Jesus came into the world?  Or to have been one of the handful of people who God personally chose to take part in it? 

What must it have been like for Mary?  What kind of person was she that God took favor on her?  Did she truly understand who her son would become?  Since the Hebrews were expecting a literal king who would physically save them from Roman oppression, did Mary assume Jesus would simply fulfill this promise?  When did they realize that He was so, so much more?  Was it when the shepherds came to worship their newborn?  When Simeon and Anna greeted their baby in the temple?  When He performed his first miracle?

One of my favorite Christmas songs is Mary Did You Know?  The lyrics really sum it up...

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.
The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the great I am.

In the midst of cookies and presents and candy and trees and shiny decorations and family, let's not forget the true meaning of Christmas....that God loved us all enough to send us his son, our Savior.

"For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."
- John 3:16

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Best Mom Ever?

I seriously doubt it.

But the girls and I did have a very fun day today!  We went to Chuck E Cheese this morning, getting there early and having the place to ourselves for over an hour.  Do you know how much fun it is to have an entire arcade to yourself?  If you don't, get to Chuck E Cheese when they open!  =)  After we used up an obscene amount of money in tokens, we took our 153 tickets to the store and got two small toys (that I had to pitch in another 50 cents for!).

For lunch we headed to Chic Fil-A.  For the first time I saw why it's such a big hit with the mommy crowd.  They saw me lugging my writhing, over-grown toddler around and carried my tray to the table.  And then got me condiments..... How nice!  (I don't care if they do this to everyone - I feel loved.)

When we were done stuffing our faces with fried chicken and waffle fries I introduced the girls to the play room.  Since I can read the sign that's posted "Children Must Be Supervised At All Times" I actually SUPERVISED my children.  By sitting my derriere down IN the playroom and keeping an eye on my kids.  Novel concept, it seems.  So many parents opened the door, tossed their kids inside, and then disappeared to the depths of the restaurant.  I'm talking LITTLE kids....Libby's age!  And one of them smelled like they needed a diaper change.  Two other moms were in the playroom as well, which I admit made it crowded, but c'mon people!  These are small children!  It's one thing if you can snag a seat right next to the windows and can see what's going on, but some of these kids went running off into the other side of the restaurant.  It is situations like these that makes it hard for parents not to judge one another.  What seems like harmless fun for one parent may be more like common sense to another. 

Anyway, before I started to pat myself on my back from my superior parenting abilities I had to reflect.......

Once upon a time, not so many years ago, I was a parent to one child.  An only child.  I studiously perused parenting books, magazines, and websites, finding a solution to every parenting problem encountered.  Anna, for her part (once she got over the colic and lack of sleep - not those were bad weeks), was a fairly easy going little person.  We could easily manipulate her - no, I am not above manipulating good behavior out of my children - by pretending to cry.  Or, if she was caught misbehaving it was a simple matter to tell her "time out" and she would dutifully stick her little nose in the nearest corner.

I will admit there were more than a few times when I would push my perfectly behaved child (I would bribe her with lollipops) past other screaming toddlers in the grocery store and think quite highly of my parenting abilities.  Yes, with our one, solitary, well-behaved child we were very excited at the prospect of adding another.  After all, we nurtured her into the compliant creature she was, right?


Almost 4 years after becoming parents for the first time we were blessed with another dark-haired newborn beauty.

I suspected a hint of stubbornness long before Libby made her appearance.  Even before she was born she would throw a full-blown fetal hissy fit if I sat in a position she didn't care for.  But, never-the-less, as we drove off from the hospital with our new tiny treasure we were on cloud nine.

In many ways, Libby was such an easy baby....compared to Anna, who like I mentioned above, screamed with colic for hours every night and then only slept a few minutes at a time.  Did you know lack of sleep is used as torture? times our darling baby girl would wail....scream...holler at the world in general.  And for what cause?  She didn't get her way.  She didn't like her carseat.  She didn't like to be held like that.  She wanted that toy, not this toy.

Still, it was amazing to watch people being drawn to her.  From the time she was just weeks old people would follow her around stores, acting totally ridiculous to get her to smile at them.  Strangers would ask to hold her (I realize this sounds creepy, but I guess you just had to be there).  Waitresses would bring their waitressing friends over just to look at her. 

As she grew, Libby developed a personality all her own.  She's feisty and fiery and volatile and comical and completely unpredictable.  She resists all the discipline tricks I honed on her older sister.  She frequently is the screaming child in the shopping cart.  Or, just as frequently she's smiling at and charming all the people she can. 

I still have not found that magic something that she responds to.  Time outs look more like rabid wild monkey attacks.  Pretending to cry sends her into gales of laughter.  Redirection causes a hand and foot pumping tempter tantrum.

Last night I turned her crib into a toddler bed, thinking she'd be happy to get a "big girl bed" - seeing as how she's been hopping out of her crib for several days.  She was happy at first....until it sunk in that this was her bed and she would be expected to sleep in it.  She was almost inconsolable at bedtime.  She grabbed the discarded side and tried to put it back on.  Eventually she calmed down enough to fall asleep - and then slept all night - but, sheesh!  The drama!

Potty training is just not going well.  She knows what to do.  She just doesn't seem to care where she does it.  I'm not sure if that means she's not ready, or she's stubborn, or lazy, or what have you.  After she peed on Anna's bed and my couch already this week I don't know what to do!  Any tips??

Libby has definitely taught me that big personalities can come in small packages!  I love her dearly, as well as Anna, but daily I have to just look at her and say, "Oh Libby!"

I doubt there is a "best mom ever".  I'd venture to guess that many of us have times we don't know what we're doing and end up simply getting through the day and praying that our children won't need therapy when they grow up.  The best thing we can do is love them unconditionally and be consistant with the "rights and wrongs".....and occasionally show them a really fun day and encourage them to be kids.  Maybe even act like one yourself. ;-)

Monday, December 20, 2010


Why is it
that we encourage
our children
to sit on a stranger's lap
and when they hesitate
we try to bribe them
with candy?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's Beginning to Look Alot Like Christmas....

Today is officially the first day of Christmas vacation!  Woohoo!  I must say I've been looking forward to it for quite a few weeks now, and the two snow days this past week have not diminished my appreciation one bit.  A break from 6am wake up calls, no packing lunches, pj days....wonderful!  The icing on the cake is that I am also on break from grad work.  I finished up my semester with my 4.0 GPA intact.  I had considered taking next semester off, but I decided to keep on plugging, so I registered for an economics (no, not HOME Economics) course that starts January 10th.
The day dawned chilly, but not nearly so bitterly cold as it has been.  (For the record - according to our local news, we typically average about 16 inches of snow a YEAR here in Central Kentucky.  This month alone - the one we're only half way through! - we've already received over 8 inches!  This will probably change after today when I got out and buy the girls some snow pants and get myself a pair of boots.)

The ice that came wreaked havoc with the transportation system this week added a pretty, glittery finish to my backyard.

Very festive, I must say!
Anna and Libby took advantage of the snow to get in some sledding.  I admit I had anticipated our slopey backyard to have more impressive sledding.  At best it was a slow coast.  (Well, except when I tried to demonstrate the "run and jump" technique....and ended up sliding off the sled and into the snow...glad that was NOT a Kodak moment!)

Behold!  The newest Olympic sport - Downhill Backyard Toddler Luge!

You're never too young to practice the fine art of snow shoveling!

I just realized I never got a picture of our backyard after we planted our trees....  It has changed since we first moved in not quite 6 months ago!
We have a houseguest today!  Meet Jasmine!

I'm not sure if Jazzy is enjoying the attention here or not....
And it has finally happened.  I put Libby down for a nap in her crib today and went downstairs.  Minutes later I heard a door shut from upstairs and went to investigate, only to find Libby grinning at me from the top of the stairs.  She has finally figured out how to climb out of her crib.  Not surprising since she's been climbing into her crib for some time now!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Picture Failure

If you normally get a Smith Christmas card...
 complete with a picture of our little angels...
 This is why
 there won't be
 any pictures this year.
 I guess I should've
 had them done
by a professional. =)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Belated Thanksgivingy Post

Life sure has been hectic here as of late.  As always teaching school, learning school, kids, housework, homework, housework, and more homework have been consuming my every waking moment.  We Smiths all really enjoyed having a long weekend over Thanksgiving (recuperating from the stomach bug which I am pleased to annouce did not get me *knock on wood*) putting away all the fall decorations and gearing up for Christmas.  This will be the very first Christmas in this house, and as we pulled out all our packed decorations we realized that what filled up our old house barely made a dent in the new one!  So we got to shop! (Although I must say my cheap frugal side had some issues buying all this stuff at full price when in a few shorts weeks it will be discounted.)
I had picked up a set of foam people several months ago and we had a blast making our "pilgrims and indians".

We personalized a few of them....
On Thanksgiving we spread our feast out on the table and counted our many blessings of the past year.
And of course finished up with some pumpkin pie and a good movie!
Friday we awoke to the first snowfall!  I guess those window clings I gave the girls worked.  We avoided the Black Friday rush, but made a trip to Lexington in the evening to snag some Christmas goodies.  I'll post pictures later of our decorations.
It was a quiet, low-key Thanksgiving involving just our own little family, but it was perfect.