Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Merry Christmas and a Lot of Pictures!!

School ended and we packed up the car and set out for a little drive on Saturday, December 20, 2009. We had determined to leave at 6:00 am from Fleming Island, Florida, and were successful in that endeavor. We pulled out of the driveway at 5:59 am!! We have left the cats in the care of McCall and feel secure in their well being! The drive was overcast and easy going. I took the wheel just north of Atlanta and it was just north of Chattanooga that we hit our first snow. It was raining and as we crested the "summit" on the way to Nashville, it snowed for about 2 minutes. Rozzie and I were the only ones awake for the excitement. We motored on bravely for a few more hours until we arrived in St. Louis for dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory - a favorite from our first years of marriage in Denver!! We had a delicious dinner. Then a guy came around making balloon animals and the girls got two deer in green and yellow because Roz said they could be "John Deere."
So the next morning we were on the road by 7:00 am (as we had planned) and had a very snowy drive to Minnesota. We arrived at my mom's at about 5:00pm and she had spaghetti waiting for us. It never tasted so good!! We got our sleeping arrangements all set and got all our gear situated and started our vacation!! Monday morning meant the Mall of America (MoA) in all its glory. We promised the girls this excursion, so here it was!
Our first stop was the American Girl Store where we had a little dessert. It was all so cute. We sat at the fountain and had peppermint shakes and cookies!
We spent a long time there and got some shopping done and had a great time. The day was capped off by watching a little concert by the Shriner's band. Tuesday brought us to Excelsior and the knit shop. Travis had gone back to the MoA to have lunch with our brother-in-law, Jim. So, the womenfolk went to an Excelsior historic site for lunch, Antiquity Rose. It was a fun lunch and the girls behaved themselves well enough for the surroundings.
That night we had a family dinner at Maynard's in Excelsior. It is a hot spot in the summer, being that it is on the lake. It was a great dinner and we sure enjoyed ourselves. Next was Christmas Eve and we had a lot of people here at Mom's for dinner. Here is Maddie with her cousin (Gary's grand-daughter) Sophie. We think they look a lot alike. They are the same age and made fast friends. Hayley, Maddie, and Sophie spent the night with their heads together, just as kids should.
This is a sure sign that there were a lot of people there!!
More cousins: Kayla, Anna, Rozzie, and Morgan.
Travis and Jake sit and chat.
The basement band: Roz, Hayley, Maddie, Morgan, and Paul. They prepared a few Christmas songs for everyone's enjoyment.
Marissa with Owen and Maya.
Matt and Dylan and good buddies.
Owen put on a show for us with the drums.
Steph and Jake enjoy the show.
Maddie and Hayley having fun.
This is my sister, Sara. I am very thankful for her friendship!! It was fun to spend a Christmas with her and her family.
This is my husband, Travis. I am very thankful for him in my life. He is a pretty good husband and we have had a pretty good 20 years! It is nice that he was here with us the whole time. He usually drives us up and flies home, then flies back up and drives us home. Nice to have him here!!
My nephew, Jim, had to work until 7:00 and so he came later with Jim and it was nice to have him here.
Maya was very shy but once Travis drew her pictures of animals (he is better at drawing than any of us and she was pleased with how it looked) and she loves him now. He is pleased with his new-found friend. She is such a cutie.
So, the party ended and it was time to hunker down for some sleep. It was predicted that this year, Minnesota would have its largest Christmas snowfall since 1945!! Soon enough it was time to open presents!! Maddie opened up a Vera Bradley backpack - just like she wanted!!
Rozzie opened up the same thing, different color - just what she wanted!!
Morgan opened up her class ring!! She is very happy to finally have her ring! She had to wait a full week.Well, it was the biggest Christmas snow since 1923!! We measured the snow by the picnic table out on the deck. It snowed all day, too. There were very big flakes of snow. We loved it. It was a great Christmas gift.
Here is everyone at the Christmas breakfast table. We had eggs, bacon, french toast, and egg nog.
Later in the day we went for a gathering at Sara and Jim's with Dad and Sharon in attendance. Here are the attending grandkids with them.
Here is Boxing Day at Grandma's. Rozzie, Hayley, and Maddie atop a snowbank. They made forts and shoveled and ran around....

I know that was a lot of pictures, but it was just a snapshot of our Christmas. Next up...NOMROM!! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Posting for the Sake of Posting

Here it is!! It has been two weeks since my last post. Forgive me. I'm up late every night. Tonight I must make Chex Candy for Rozzie's party tomorrow. I'm staggering around. However, I have been a busy beaver getting ready for Christmas and our trip to Minnesota. I'm almost there on both counts. That is a good thing. Kids are fine. Travis is fine, other than he backed my car into Morgan's car in the driveway last Saturday morning. It is costing him $1200 to get it fixed. All I cared is that he did it and not me!! I was jumping around the driveway clapping, saying "It wasn't me!!" over and over. I will admit, I have been close a time or two. Now if I ever do it, he can't ask me the classic, "What were you thinking?" I didn't even get a picture of it. It had to get fixed as the tire was rubbing on the dented portion. Other than that, there have been Christmas parties and fun for everyone. We leave for Minnesota on the 19th. Wish us a safe trip!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thankful Day

I am thankful for a good family, a job (even though I don't want it), a fun childhood, ample food, the Internet, hand knit socks, holiday decorations, kittens, and all the other regular stuff. We had a nice Thanksgiving. We always wish we could have been with the family, but we have such good friends here that help to make up for that void. And we will be with the family for Christmas!! Dave informed me that we will be in Minnesota in 24 days!!

We spent the turkey day watching the Macy's Parade and starting the process of decorating for Christmas. I took down the Thanksgiving decor. Trav went outside and strung lights. The house is 2/3 lit. There was time to read books and pet the kitty.

Then we got down to business and made our part of the Thanksgiving feast: carrot souffle, rolls, and cherry pie. We went to the Collard's at about 3ish. Travis got to carve the foul.
Here is a picture of my delicious pie. Maddie helped. She was very interested in helping with the food this year. I love the look of the leaves all over the top of the pie!!
Me and my dear friend Lani. We get along so great and just have fun together. We seem to understand each other, so this friendship works out.
Here is me with the girlies!! They are all so grown up now. Maddie has her braces on. I guess I have to get a close up of that on here pretty darn soon.
After a little clean up, Roger and Morgan had a little hootenanny. Roger got this mandolin at a pawn shop and Morgan had a good time with Roger's 12-string guitar.
We stayed and talked for while, then came back home around 7:45. Then there was time to work on science fair projects which is the bane of my days. I can't wait to have them turned in. Morgan finished her yoga socks and she is very proud of them. Aren't they nice?
And here is Maddie with her braces. Isn't she cute?
I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving. I'm guessing that only a few people read this - Sara, Mom, Jenny, Dad, Mom & Dad Smith, Kori, Jessie, Audrey, and a few other cousins around there. But, if you are just checking up on me or if you read me regularly, I'm thankful for your influence in my life and am glad to count you as a friend.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

For those who aren't up on New Moon

So here is Dakota Fanning as "Jane" in "New Moon".

A Mish-Mash of Pictures before the Mashed Potatoes!

Last weekend we went to St. Petersburg for the state marching band competition. There was a football game Friday night that we had to be at. The football team is in the playoffs and they won the game. Then the band and the accompanying chaperones had to be at the buses at 12:30 am. Trav and Morgan napped before we went, but I didn't. There was no point and it would have made it more difficult to get up and go. So we set out on the buses (we had really nice coaches). Most people slept. As I settled into my seat, I knew that sleep was not mine, so at least I wanted to stretch out. So I got on the floor and stretched out. It wasn't wonderful, but it was better than the seats. We survived the four hour trip to St. Pete. We were the first band there and were the first scheduled for the field at 8:56am. The kids did a great job; however they did not make the finals (by 1.05 points) and we left very sad. We stopped at a mall for food and then hit the road. The kids were all so well behaved the whole day. Here we are - only one more marching season for Morgan!! Makes a tear come to my eye... Here they are making their way toward the practice area and then on to the dome. Travis helped the pit get their stuff on the field so he got to go out on the field and sit in the dugout. He was thrilled.
Here they are. This year the field was covered with turf. The past years, the kids were slipping and falling on the gravel.
We got back to the school by 8:30 pm and were meeting up with Morgan (she was not on our bus) when we learned that she had gotten bus-sick and had been throwing up. One of the moms held the trash can for her. Then the mom started throwing up!! What a trip home for them. here are the cats (2 of them). You can see the size difference with Duckie on the left and Spunky on the right. I took Duckie to the vet yesterday and it is a she, as we thought. We got some medicine for her eyes. She is 8 weeks old, as I thought. Everyone kept saying what a pretty cat she was going to be. She has faint white stripes on her back that sparkle in the sun. She has such pretty blue eyes. And she LOVES to be held and pet and cuddled and spoiled!! We really love her!!
We went to see "New Moon" on Tuesday night. WE LOVED IT!! I have always been a Jacob fan. That's just how I feel! So, we got home and I was going to bed, but I heard a lot of commotion coming from Rozzie and Maddie's rooms. Turns out Rozzie was transforming Maddie into "Jane" from "New Moon" complete with red eyes (thanks to the camera). Maddie has been told for years by multitudes of people that she looks like Dakota Fanning. Here she is!! pain

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Meet Duckie the Kitty

Last Friday morning Morgan and I heard a strange sound in the back yard in the early morning as she was leaving for school. It was almost like a cat, but not really. That afternoon, Morgan called me at school to report a kitten at the house! We found it in the back bushes, but it won't let us touch it. This kitty LOVES to talk, though. It will answer back and forth for a long time. It is so loud, too. It woke us up the other morning!! Since Spunky's food is outside, it has already found where the food it and is helping itself. I am guessing this kitten is about 7-8 weeks old. Its eyes are somewhat runny right now. I wish I could get hold of it and get it all cleaned up, poor baby cat. This little one is pretty brave with the other cats, though. It does not cow to Licky or Spunky. Of course, Spunky is the biggest wimp of all cats, so that isn't saying much. I have seen Spunkers hiss at the kitty, though, which is a big step for him. We don't know if the kitty is a boy or girl, but we have named it Duckie because of its very distinct meow - like a duck call. So, I think we have been adopted by another cat... And without further ado, here is Duckie!!!
Ducky looks so regal under the trampoline. It is so cute to see Ducky run around - so tiny!! Then here is Duckie under the grill asking for more food and milk.
And here is Duckie finding a soft spot to sleep.

Sweet little kitty!! We just have too much trouble saying no to these cats!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Birthday Missie Pie - She's 12!!!

Maddie has successfully turned 12 and is right now being inducted into the Young Women's organization at church!! She is so happy about that. On her actual birthday was the Paterson Elementary Variety Show and the girls played Ashokan Farewell - you can see the video on my facebook page. No, they don't look very enthused; however, they really did go about this without resistance. This is the last show ever for the Smith girls. It was a great evening.
Afterwards, we came home and had cupcakes that a special friend had brought over. Some friends had come to the show and they came over for cupcakes and ice cream, so Maddie had a great night.
Today was Veteran's day and we were off from school. So we had Maddie's birthday party at the bowling alley. She was really thrilled to have this day come and have such good friends to play with. Her score wasn't as she had hoped, but the fun level was high!!
Here they all are!! These kids are all growing up. A few of these girls have been Maddie's friends since we moved here, coming to nearly every party she has had!!
I went to Winn Dixie to get the cake and the bakery ladies looked at each other. From the look on their faces, I inferred that they didn't have the cake. I was correct. It took them 40 minutes, but they were able to produce the cake Maddie had been dreaming of for months!! Why she is still so into SpongeBob, I don't know. She is growing into such a nice young lady and we sure appreciate her here in our home. She has given us many surprises, laughs, and insight at times and we love her dearly.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Passing the Torch

Last week I was released from the Young Women's presidency. There is a little relief with it, but also there is a little regret. Maddie turns 12 tomorrow and so I will miss out on all of that with her. There is a new presidency in place and they are up and running. I will enjoy my Wednesday nights and many weekends. I don't have a new calling yet, as I hid in the kitchen on Sunday. Technically I was making lunch for the girls, but there was a certain amount of hiding going on, although, one of the bishopric members knows how to find me. Even though I was released, they still wanted me to hang around a week and lead the music for the program. I guess that was ok. Actually, I love doing that and was thrilled to have that last hurrah. Some of them gave such heartfelt talks. I have loved having their close association. When we were deciding what to wear, I suggested the white shirts and scarves. We got a lot of comments on how nice it looked.

I am sad that I'll miss being part of YW with Maddie. She turns 12 tomorrow!!! She got her present early - MAKE UP!!! We went to Target together and picked out a few things. She is very excited. she has another 2 weeks until she gets her braces on. She is not liking the gap that has developed in her teeth, but it will be gone soon enough. She has been wearing an "expander" in the palate of her mouth and we have been cranking it every night. she hates it. Tomorrow night is the Paterson Variety Show and the girls will be making their farewell performance all together one last time on the Paterson stage!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tricking and Treating

The clouds parted to show us a nearly full moon tonight as we sat in the driveway handing out candy to the masses. I thought it looked particularly spooky. However, it was warm and somewhat humid. But Trav and I read our books and enjoyed ourselves. Lots and lots of tricksters out there tonight!!
Last night we had two parties to go to. First we went to Tiffany's party. She is friend from work. Then we had to go get Roz from a birthday party and deliver her to another friend's house where they were watching spooky movies. Next we went to over to Lani's house for her party. As you can see, i was Cyndi Lauper and Trav was Billy Idol. We were awesome.
So, back to tonight...Rozzie had gone to a party down the street and they all went trick-or-treating together. We heard them all the way down the street and I said to Trav, "I hear Rozzie's group coming." Sure enough, they were closing in on us. They were having a great time.
Then we waited patiently for Maddie and her friend to come along. Maddie is already home and has sorted her candy, showered, and gone to bed. Still waiting for Roz.
Morgan and her friend Rachel celebrated Hallowchristmas tonight by baking Christmas cookies and watching Christmas movies. Ours is not to judge! They had a great time and did a lot of laughing. They continue to chat in the kitchen!

So that is Halloween 2009. It was a good one. We went through a lot of candy. We get an extra hour of sleep tonight. I'm pretty happy about that!!