Sunday, June 29, 2008


Today I write with such a heavy heart.

Last night our next-door neighbor and friend Hilary died suddenly and very unexpectedly. I don't even know how to process this. I was sitting in her living room two days ago, talking and laughing, and it's hard to comprehend that she is gone now. Hilary injured her knee a couple weeks ago, and evidently developed a blood clot ... I don't know how these things work exactly but apparently that is what killed her. She was to begin physical therapy tomorrow and have knee surgery in a few weeks. It just doesn't make sense.

She leaves behind a husband and 4 year old daughter. I start crying whenever I think of little Brianna, who has played in our home, splashed in our pool, gone to church with us, eaten at my table ... How do you live without your mommy? I just keep picturing important events in her future that her mom will not be a part of ... starting with the fact that Brianna is to begin kindergarten in a few months, on down the road to sports events, graduations, a wedding someday. My heart is torn up with grief for her, grief that she doesn't even probably comprehend right now.

Please keep them in your prayers. Pray that God would give Vince (Hilary's husband), Brianna, and all of their families and friends comfort during this time. Pray that we as friends would know how to best love and support them through this time. Pray that God would use this, somehow, for good.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Over the river and through the skies, to grandmother's (& grandfather's) house we go!

Okay, it's been awhile since I posted but I have a great reason ... we were on vacation! We spent a little over a week having a great time at Chad's parents' home in Farmington, Minnesota. Then we were off to our former hometown of Wheaton, Illinois to attend a friend's wedding and visit many of our dearest friends in the world!! The best part? The kids did GREAT. All my worries about them being tired and miserable and grumpy (and screaming throughout our flights) were unfounded. It was indeed an adventure, but one that turned out well :)

I'm going to post a few photos from the first leg of our journey, then I'll have to post a "part 2" of Wheaton at a later time!

PS - Some of these are out of order, but I don't have the time or energy to rearrange them all!

Trip to the Minnesota Zoo

Carter makes friends with a goat (a little too up close and personal if you ask me!)

Daddy & Carter looking at bison (I think...)

The kids at the Lake Schulze Beach

Fun in Grandma's pool

Carter is taking his own little hike (usually in the opposite direction of
where we're headed ... aargh!)

Audrey's first attempt at fishing at one of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes. She even caught one!

Water fun!

We all (minus Carter) rented a canoe and paddled around the lake.

Just had to throw in another photo of Mr. Rainbow Eyes :)

Minnehaha Falls

We rented a surrey at Minnehaha Falls. I happened to get in the seat that steered the whole thing. I think the men had a hard time relinquishing driving responsibilities ...

On the carousel at the Mall of America

Lots of GREAT memories for us and the kids! Stay tuned for Part 2!!!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Gray skies are going to clear up, put on a happy face

About a week or so ago, the kids were playing outside at a neighbor's house, when out of nowhere, there came a refreshing spring rain shower. The sun was shining brightly, but the rain was definitely coming down. So we moms all ran to look at the sky, and this is what we saw:

a HUGE rainbow!!

You can't tell in this picture, but the rainbow went from one end of the sky to the the other, and there was actually a double layer of rainbow colors. The kids were all amazed. Some of them had never seen a rainbow before!

A beautiful reminder of God's love and care for us.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


The other day as the kids were getting ready for bed, Audrey insisted on "reading" Carter his bedtime story (reading in quotes since she technically can't read ... but how hard is it to lift the flaps?) I opened the door to see this sweet sight - my 2 kids enjoying each other's company; one the "older and wiser," the other wanting to learn from his big sis. This vision brings back so many memories and feelings for me. I joke that my family is like the movie "Groundhog Day" for me in some ways, and here's why: I grew up with my mom, dad, myself, and my little brother. And now I have recreated my family all over again. Even family get-togethers remind me of my childhood in that our family would get together with my one local set of grandparents and my uncle, who is unmarried. And guess what? Today, our family get-togethers entail the EXACT same set up. We Smiths, my parents, and my brother, who is unmarried. The only difference is that I moved up a generation!

It's been interesting seeing how Audrey has adjusted to life with a sibling, especially after being alone for almost 3 1/2 years. Carter, being the little "cute" one of the moment, gets a lot of attention for his antics and his new accomplishments and of course, his cuteness. Today at Kohl's the checkout lady went on and on about how adorable he was and another customer added "Oh, and look at those blue eyes". Of course my mother's heart swelled with pride, yet I felt for Audrey who sat there most certainly feeling like chopped liver. This is, of course, not the first time this has happened. She used to actually ask me why people didn't say that she was cute too. Ouch. I too remember people going on and on about my little brother and how cute he was (he even had the blue eyes like Carter does! Eek - groundhog day again) and I hated it! I felt totally invisible! So I made a point to say something positive about Audrey too, which fortunately the clerk picked up on and added something about her as well.

All in all, Audrey is one terrific big sister. Sure, I can tell that sometimes she is jealous of the attention he gets (I can especially tell this when she starts acting like she's a little kid too) but mostly she seems to have learned to not take it too personally. I hope this is because she has good enough self-esteem to know that she is important and special too.

And sometimes Audrey's a little too bossy (hmmm, that reminds me a wee bit of myself at that age ...) But her love for him is obvious - from the way she wants to be first to go in his room in the morning ... to the way she wants to read him stories before he goes to bed at night.

It makes a mother's heart proud.