Monday, January 17, 2011

the trashcan

It's pink.

It looks pretty.

It's even super clean right now, especially for a trash can.

It's perfect for a girl's room.

Regardless of all of these facts, my 9-year old daughter Abigail made this humble plea to Matt and me:

"Mom. Dad. Can I please get a new trashcan?"

This week, this pretty pink trashcan has been:

The vomit catcher.

A moveable toilet.

A best friend for many.

This week, big baby (Jayda) got the loathsome GI bug. Matt and I spent the entire evening awake, using good ol' pinky to help catch the contents of the release. Isn't that a nice way of saying it? Of course we missed the first one. Every parent does. You never see these things coming because they often happen late at night when you are anticipating a quiet evening. Kids are in bed, kitchen is clean, and it's just you and your spouse enjoying some long overdo conversation. You snuggle up in bed, talking about the day and evening...

And then you hear it.

That sound.

And you know.

You wish you didn't know, but you do know.

And so it began.

The doctor said by Thursday she should be fine and no longer contagious. When Thursday morning rolled around, I was rejoicing because everyone was fine. Our friend Allyson came over like she normally does on Thursday afternoons to help me out, and I was sure she was safe. That we all were safe.

Then Matt called from work.

"I feel weird in my stomach. Something is off."

Well, the rest is history. First it was Matt with good ol' pinky, then it was Abbie with good ol' pinky, then it was me, then it was Stephen with good ol' pinky and finally it was David with good ol' pinky.

Matt tells the children, "The trashcan is your bestfriend. Where you go, it goes."

That's not so easy for a 2 1/2 year old to understand. Or a 3 1/2 year old. And not so easy for a 12 year old we learned.

So, a long week later, after 2 ruined sleeping bags, 1 unwashable pillow, 1 destroyed set of brand new flannel sheets, and entire bathroom set including towels and shower curtain, the Smith Clan is over the blasted GI bug.

Or are we?

(as I was writing this blog, David told me he needed the bucket...ARE YOU KIDDING ME?)

To date, Allyson is the last one standing.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

first real snow of 2011

David & Jayda take the first snow tube ride of their lives. Listen closely for the squeals of delight towards the end!

Some other photographs of our snowy day together.

Playing an intense game of Forbidden Island...

a year later

Here is a video that I created with my 12 year old son, to capture our team's time in Haiti this past July.

It's hard to believe that it was a year ago that Haiti was crushed with an earthquake.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

the many faces of stephen

It's pretty common for me to say to my almost teenage son...

"Are you ok? You don't look happy."

To which he explains to me that everything is fine and that he is happy.

I ask him this question because he is not a big smiler. He laughs when I tell him that because he knows it's true and apparently that statement makes him smile. Go figure.

Here are a series of pictures of Stephen's face. The first one is what I would consider a pretty standard facial expression for him. Hence, why I ask him if he is ok. The ones following that are a result of me coaching him to smile for the camera.

This last one is of course my favorite. It's natural. It took a little coaching.

"Relax your face. No snaggle teeth sticking out. Look at the camera. Nothing silly."

I love my son. Smiles or silly faces and yes, even somewhat stoic, unhappy looking faces.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

top model

Recently I wrote a blog about Matt's yearning to be a top model.

Remember how I mentioned how he would plan a date around ME taking pictures of HIM?

Well....his Mom was kind enough to share a photograph from that exact date that I blogged about. I thought all of these copies were burned or locked away, but nope, they are not. Matt's grandmom, who passed away years ago, had this very picture in the front of a framed photo album. Matt was the apple of her eye.

I mean, can't you see why?

"get-up" courtesy of Chess King in White Marsh Mall

slowin' down

About a month ago, upon returning from an afternoon with friends baking cookies with Aunt Becky, Abs had this to say:

"Mom - Aunt Becky was SOOOOOO much fun. She let us decorate the cookies anyway we wanted to and the best thing is I didn't feel rushed. I like cooking with you, but I always feel like we are rushing and I didn't feel rushed with Aunt Becky."

She didn't say it unkindly - just very matter of fact, total Abbie-style.

I thought about and she is right. Most of the time she is helping me, we are indeed rushing. Rushing to get dinner done. Rushing to get the cake in the oven. Rushing, rushing, rushing. In all of the rushing, she wasn't enjoying the process with her Mom the way she could have been.

In light of that, I asked her to choose any dessert recipe and promised that we'd make it together for our upcoming dinner at Mom-Mom's house.

First, she rummaged around for my Pioneer Woman cookbook that we all love so much around this house. I mean, where else can you find great recipes and look at beautiful phogographs of horses at the same time?

She picked the chocolate sheet cake. Nice choice, if I don't say so myself. Here are some shots of our time.

Sometimes Abbie needs a little step to reach things...

Looks great...and don't you just love Abbie's apron? I have a matching one in black.

Abbie enjoys a piece of the cake with Mom-Mom!

Thanks Becky...for showing Abs the joys of baking without rushing. I'm sure you didn't know you were even teaching her this, but you were. And now I've learned to slow it down a bit too!

Monday, January 10, 2011

adoption makes a difference

This morning as David (3 1/2) sat down for breakfast, he made the following statement:

"Do you know what Mommy? I want to be just. Like. Daddy."

At first I almost missed the significance of this statement. David was just speaking out of his little heart, but his words were jam packed with rich doctrinal truths and promises regarding adoption.

Once I slowed down my morning rush of breakfast, drinks and tidying up, I allowed my thoughts to linger around his little sentence. What an important sentence: "I want to be just. Like. Daddy."

First off, had God not intervened in miraculous ways, David could not make such a statement. He would not even have someone in his life to make that statement about! Matt was literally the first father in his life and he didn't enter into his life until he was 14 months old. Since then, although he was not yet adopted, he was loved and cared for like our own son and he saw Matt as his only Daddy. What a precious gift! On December 15th, Matt was declared as David's father forever. One day, our hope is that David will put his hope and trust in Jesus, and call God his Father. With tears in my eyes, I am made aware again, that adoption makes a difference! My heart goes out to the estimated 210 million orphans in this world, that cannot make that simple statement because they do not have a father.

Secondly, David's statement reminded me that as a Christian, this should be what my life is about. I should want to be like my Daddy. Sanctification is all about becoming more and more like Jesus. By His grace and day by day, my life can make small and steady steps in that direction so that others might see Christ in me, the hope of glory.

And finally and most importantly, I think David made that statement because he knows his Daddy loves him and because he loves his Daddy. That's why he wants to be like him. None of us would make that statement about someone who is unkind or whose life is not winsome and worth imitating. There would be no point.

Our Father in heaven loves us immensely. It was His love that led him to make a way for us to be saved. It cost Him his only beloved Son.

"but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 5:8

God's love changes us. Once received, it takes root and begins to give us new desires, new hopes, new dreams.

And for David, and perhaps in our case too, for the first time in our life, we can say:
"I want to be just. Like. Daddy."

Monday, January 3, 2011

professor horner

I'm scared.

I'm pretty sure I will fail.

I'm aware that this means I will have to NOT do other things.

I'm scared. Oh, I said that...

But I'm going to try.

Here's an aggressive Bible reading plan that I heard about from Matt, who read about it on

Now for the ol' link:

Gotta sign off and read 10 chapters!