Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009

This year we went to visit Grampie Bob on Christmas Eve. Anna made a yummy spread and we all ate together. Aimee was there with Jordan, Jordan's dad, and their little Wyatt. I did not take very many photos!! Then after dinner we all opened gifts. It was fun to be altogether. Christmas morning, Maddie was the first up. At 3:00 AM. She had found her stocking. I sent her right back to bed. We were up at about 6:30 AM to open gifts. We had my grandparents and parents over for breakfast and MORE presents. My kids made out like bandits! Then Spencer's sisters and their families came over for dinner. We feel very blessed this time of year. We have many friends and lots of family to share our time with. It's wonderful to have a full house!

Gingerbread House

Maddie loves to build a gingerbread house with Uncle Steve every year. This year she had a dilemma. Would she make her gingerbread house early in December or would she wait until right before Christmas when Uncle Steve could help her? She was really worried about this and finally decided to wait for Uncle Steve. She was very happy that she did. They worked hard and got a nice looking house, that promptly fell apart...

Happy 18th Birthday Emily!!

My cousin Emily turned 18! She graduated early from PV and will be heading to Butte. Time goes by too quickly. I remember way back when her mom was pregnant with her. She was due in January, but I was hoping that she'd be born on December 21st because that was the first Saturday of Christmas vacation. Well, she came that day and I was able to be there at the hospital when she was born. She was a tiny little thing, but I was so excited for her to come. I was able to babysit and play with her often! When I went away to college things really fast forwarded. All of a sudden, it seems, she's a beautiful young lady and I hope she finds only success!!

Ward Christmas Party

Our Ward Christmas Party went off well this year. We had a breakfast with the children singing and our special guest, Santa. We had a waffle bar with fruit salad. It was very yummy! Unfortunately, I didn't think about how the multiple waffle irons would short out the plugs. That was the one bad thing. It backed up with waffle making. We did get it going, but I'll definitely remember about that next time.
Spencer played Santa for us. I told the kids about it, and reminded them to keep his identity a secret. Ryan couldn't hold it though. As soon as Santa came in to the cultural hall, Ryan yelled, "THAT'S NOT SANTA, THAT'S MY DADDY!!" It was hilarious! I had to run and get him to stop yelling. Then he just hung around as "Santa's Helper." He was so proud of his Dad.

Sugar Cookies

It's a tradition of ours to make sugar cookies before Christmas. The kids had a great time. Even Mac got into the action and made a few cookies. The mess was horrendous! The kids put huge amounts of frosting and sprinkles on each cookie. I loved it! They even left some without frosting for Spencer.

Ryan's Pre-K Christmas Fun

Ryan's Pre-K class got to go and see Annie at Theatre Etc. They had a really nice show. He got to sit in the very front! His class was so well behaved, I couldn't believe it! Then we took the kids back to school and they sang Christmas songs to us. They all were so cute! We ate some yummy cookies and had warm cider. It was a really nice Christmas program.
I think we'll have to try out Theatre Etc. over the summer...

Sleeping Beauty

My mom and I took Maddie to see Sleeping Beauty at Chico State. It was a nice production and we had a good time. I wish that we had gotten a good picture of my mom to put in here. She is notorious for having closed eyes in photos, and this time was no different. I love to see the Nutcracker every year at Christmas time, but it wasn't feasible for us to go out of town to see the ballet, so I'm so glad that we could at least see this Sleeping Beauty.

Hangman with Ryan

Ryan wanted to play hangman. He wanted to be the one who chose the word. His word had like 20 letters. It was crazy. Then I started guessing. It was obvious pretty quickly that he was making up the word as he went along. He was really funny about the whole thing. Of course, I didn't guess the word. I got hung!

Tap Water vs. Sugar Water vs. Salt Water

Mac had to do a science project for school. He decided to experiment with different types of water. He froze tap water, sugar water, and salt water. Then he put them in these funnels and waited for the ice to melt. It turns out that salt water melted the most quickly, then sugar water, and then tap water. He had a great time doing it. He then did a presentation in his class and was very professional! They had a microphone for him and everything. He enjoyed being a "scientist."


It has been cold here in Chico. On the 10th of December, we woke up to see that our pool had frozen over. It melted through the day, but it has since frozen over a few more times. Yikes! That is COLD.

John Stephen at 10 Months

John is just so wonderful. He's a happy, drooly, 10 month old boy. I love to let him lounge around in jammies with the feet in the bottom and a zipper up the front. He gets into everything now. He claps his hands and dances to music. He has started physical therapy and will soon start working with a developmentalist to help him with his fine motor skills. His muscle tone is improving all of the time. He is a very mellow baby and we're just so glad he's a Smith!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thanksgiving with Nana

Our tradition is to head South for Thanksgiving. We left the Tuesday before the holiday to drive down to Torrance to visit my Nana, Uncle Dick, and Uncle Marty. My brother Stephen and his girlfriend Kayla met us there. We had a very smooth trip down there. The children were great. We settled right in at Nana's and were off on Wednesday on our first adventure. We hit the Skirball Cultural Center first. They had an amazing Noah's Ark Exhibit. I highly recommend it if you're in the area. They kids had a great time. When you walk in to the exhibit, it's like you're joining the animals getting ready to load onto the ark. All of the animals are made out of recycled parts and pieces and are extremely lifelike and touchable. The kids had a great time making thunder and rain, and loading the animals on, two by two. They even got to help build the ark!! When you move into the next room it's like you are on the ark. You could climb all around, play with animal puppets, see different kinds of food, etc. Then you arrive safely into the next room for some music and fun. It was my favorite activity from this trip!!
On Wednesday we also go to watch Mr. Bonsai get his yearly haircut. Maddie was Uncle Dick's assistant, and they were very serious about it. Mr. Bonsai is now looking good!

Macky, Spencer, and Uncle Steve played alot of chess. Everyone won a couple of times, so I think it all went well. Spencer and Steve had to really play their best to keep Macky in check!!

We also went down to Redondo Beach a couple of times. Maddie was so brave this year and went boogie boarding for the first time!! She wasn't too happy while on the board, but was very pleased with herself after. I think she'll be a pro in no time.

I didn't take a single photo on Thanksgiving and I'm totally kicking myself. My cousin Matt came and I should have gotten a picture of him. Sorry Matt!! On Friday we all went ice skating - yes ice skating outside in LA!! Somehow, even though it was like 80 degrees, they had an ice skating rink on top of a parking structure in downtown LA. Ryan was HILARIOUS!! He was moving his feet so fast that they were a blur!! He didn't last very long, but sure tried hard. Mac had a good time and Maddie was on the ice the longest. I was really proud of all of them!

On Sunday we all went to Santa Monica to some gardens for meditation. It was just beautiful and peaceful. They plant life was prolific and diverse, the architecture was very interesting and the company was the best!

We drove home Monday and had a very nice time of it. Nana's home was just the best. I sure wish we could all see each other more often.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Straight Arrow

Yesterday Ryan got to have a Thanksgiving celebration at his school. They all dressed up like little indians and walked over to the a nearby retirement home and sang to them. When I went to pick him up, we were able to watch the performance too. Since Ryan does not sing these songs at home, I was surprised to learn her knew the words and was happy to perform for his teacher. The little outfits they made were so cute. They even each had their own papoose and arrows. Ryan's indian name was "Straight Arrow." All of the kids were calling him that. So fun!

Monday, November 16, 2009

John Stephen at 9 Months

Our little John is already 9 months old. Sometimes it seems like he's always been with us, sometimes it seems like he was born just yesterday. We love him! I'm so thankful for our little John.
He now has two teeth on the bottom and four teeth on the top. He's already had his first haircut. He crawls around and stands next to furniture. He is just the sweetest, happy boy. He thinks Macky is hilarious! He can't help but laugh as soon as he sees him walk in the door from school. He eats well and is just starting to get used to a bottle. I wouldn't describe him as a good sleeper, but it could be much worse! One of my favorite things about John is that he loves to snuggle. While I can't wait to see all of the wonderful things he will do, I'm very happy to hold him in this moment.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Trip to Visit Uncle Steve

We had a great weekend with Uncle Steve. The pictures are out of order, but hopefully you'll get a feel for our weekend. We drove in to SF around 5:00 pm. I packed in such a way that we only had to make one trip from the car to Steve's apartment if everyone helped. It was really funny to see this line of people hauling suitcases up the stairs to Steve's place. I tried to get a good photo, but I wasn't quite fast enough. After we checked out Steve's awesome new apartment, we went to Joe's Crab Shack, Macky's favorite restaurant. Mac and Maddie shared a bit bucket of crab. They got to wear these funky bibs. It was pretty fun. I think it was everyone's birthday that night, so there was a lot of signing. Then, all of a sudden, music was blasting and people were dancing on the tables. I felt like a party pooper at first, so Maddie and I got up and tried the dance out - not on the table, but on the floor next to the table. It was super fun! When we got back to Steve's we watched a movie and went to bed super late!!
Saturday morning we ate all of Steve's breakfast food and then went to pick up Kayla. Then we were all off to the de Young museum to see the King Tut exhibit. I've been really looking forward to it. It was a bit annoying because they wouldn't let me take in a stroller or my baby bag. Steve and Kayla were really helpful and all of us had sore arms from carrying John around. Kayla even got him to sleep! We paid extra to have the audio tour, which was lame. All of the kids were very good and I had a great time looking at all of those neat artifacts. It was an awesome display! The kids were a bit bored, however, if I'm being honest. But, I'd do it again.
After the museum we ate lunch, bought some kites, and hit the park. The weather was absolutely perfect! I couldn't believe how awesome it was. The kite flying was the kids' favorite part. They all really enjoyed it. We then went back to Steve's for some pizza, brownies, and a movie. We stayed up way too late again!
On Sunday morning I we made some french toast and were off. I wanted to hit the science museum, but I was out voted. We ended up at the park instead. The kids love the climbing equipment at the park and the sand. Steve took the kids on the carousel too. It's a beautiful old carousel - very romantic! We went to lunch at this funky place that Steve saw on TV called Ike's. Steve got this sandwich called the Kriptonite. It was an insane 4 pound sandwich with all sorts of stuff including (but not limited to) mozzarella sticks, jalapeno poppers, onion rings and massive amounts of meat. Kayla and I got "normal" sandwiches. We took them back to Steve's so poor ol' John could get a nap. Steve did a truly amazing job parking (see photo) and we had a nice afternoon at his apartment. When John woke up we packed up and headed back to Chico. It was a super weekend, and I can't wait to do it again!!