Thursday, August 28, 2008


The other day I ran into an acquaintance of mine. She is expecting a baby in September, and every time I see her I can't help but think about what might have been.

In early February I posted here about how I had an unexpected pregnancy, and then a miscarriage shortly thereafter. My due date would have been late September. Honestly, I don't think about it too much, at least compared to my first miscarriage 3 years ago which was WAY more traumatic and devastating to me. But when I see this girl (and girl she is ... expecting her third child at 24!) I think about what it would be like if we were having another baby in a few weeks. Would it have been a boy or girl? What would his/her name be? What would he/she have looked like? How would it have changed our lives? How would I have handled having 2 kids so close in age (and another extremely verbal one to boot)? Was that my last pregnancy, or will I have another some day?

Between you, me and the fencepost, I do hope - deep in my heart of hearts - to have another baby some day. But having had miscarriages, I don't take pregnancy for granted. So many people talk about having another baby like it's as easy as going out to buy a pair of shoes. And perhaps for many people, it truly IS that easy. But for me, I never say that I AM having another child, because I just don't know that for a fact. It makes me a little sad that I can't have that kind of confidence in my body's ability to conceive and carry my child to term. But it also reminds me that my body is not "my own" and while I can't "control" it, I know that God is in control, and that if it is His will, we will have another child some day. So I truly take comfort in that truth.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The freedom to be candid, Part 2

This was today's lunch conversation (at Wendy's ... does fast food make Audrey philosophical?)

Audrey: "You're the greatest Mommy."

What I wanted to say: "HUH??"

Me: "Thank you, Audrey. I'm glad you think I'm great."

The End.

Just goes to show: A Mommy's popularity meter can fluctuate wildly in a matter of days. :)

Monday, August 25, 2008

I scream you scream ...

... We all scream for ICE CREAM!

We let Carter go at it with his own ice cream cone ... out on the deck of course ;)

You can't tell, but he has just shoved the entire bottom inch of the cone in his mouth, and the rest of the melted ice cream from the bottom of the cone is spurting out all over his shirt. Is this what it will always be like with a boy ... huge messes, lots of laundry detergent and spray-n-wash, and a vacuum-cleaner appetite?

Audrey got in on the fun; however, she was much neater in her approach to ice cream cone eating! Of course, we simply must make a silly face if the camera is out ...

By the way ... I got a compliment from Audrey today. She said "Mommy, you look pretty cute in that shirt today." Where does she get this stuff? Are you 4 or 14? :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The freedom to be candid

My conversation with Audrey at lunch:

Audrey: "Mom, you're not the best mom in the whole world." [Out of the clear blue I swear.]

What I wanted to say: "WHAT?? This, after I just bought you a happy meal for lunch?? GIVE IT BACK!" Figuring that was not the mature response, I instead said ...

Me: (Trying to just take a deep breath, not be offended, and sound casual) ... "Really? Why am I NOT the best Mom in the world?"

Audrey: (Chewing her chicken nugget) "Well, you don't let me do whatever I want to do."

Me: "Well ... if I let you eat whatever you wanted to and watch TV all day and never go to bed, you probably wouldn't feel good after awhile. And it's my job to do what is best for you, not what you want me to do. When you're a kid, you don't always know what is best for you, and Mommies mostly do."

Audrey: "Oh." (I think some of my logic was pretty much lost on my almost 5 year old ...)

Me: "So, do you want a different mommy?"

Audrey: "No, you're still a good mommy, just not the best. But I wouldn't want a different mommy, only you. And if you died or something, I wouldn't have anyone to give me my juice in the morning. And Carter would cry because he was thirsty too, and I can't pour it yet."

Well now, I'm glad I'm good for something in her eyes, even if it is just pouring juice. Never mind the 8 bazillion other things I do for the kids all day!!! :)

I am grateful that God gave me the perspective to take this proclamation in stride. I could have gotten angry (which, some days I might have) or given a long lecture on how great I am (haha) but recently I have been learning some important things from reading a book called Grace-Based Parenting. I LOVE it. I try to read a little bit every morning to reorient my thinking and remember what's important in raising the kids.

Anyhow, one of the chapters talks about how important it is that kids have the freedom to be candid. This means letting your kids speak about what's on their minds truthfully, even if what they say is hard to hear. This doesn't mean that kids should be able to say whatever they want however they want to say it. That would be called rudeness and disrespect. But kids should, I believe, have the freedom to say what is really on their minds, if it is done with respectfulness. Today, Audrey's conversation with me was actually very respectful. It made me want to know - is there something that I could be doing better? I honestly don't think she meant any of what she said as a "slam" to me as a mom. I think what she was getting at was that she wished she could do whatever she wanted to do. And really, I can relate to that. Some days I wish I could sit on a hammock in my backyard reading a magazine and sipping a cold drink. Some days I wish I didn't have to clean up dishes or wipe noses or mediate childish disputes... but I do. And some days I'm sure she wishes she could paint when she wanted to paint, or that she could eat an extra marshmallow for dessert, or that she could go to the park when it was grocery store day.

Hopefully as time goes on, I will continue to have ears to hear what my children are really saying. Honestly, it really helps me to have a few minutes before the kids get up to turn my day over to God, and ask Him for His help. Otherwise, I'm not sure how I would have handled Audrey's comments today!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Carter's New 'Do

I have spent the last few weeks wondering what to do with Carter's increasingly wavy mop of hair. I will admit: I have been resisting the thought of cutting off one precious curl. Curls are hard to come by in the Smith household, so I don't know where in the world he got his. But I have been afraid that once they were cut off, they would never come back! However, in the interest of good grooming, I decided recently that it was time for some of the flyaways to go.

On Friday, my neighbor (and hair stylist extraordinaire) Kelly was available to work her magic on Carter's head. Here is a little sampling of photos. Too bad I don't have sound working with these photos, cuz there was a lot of angry screaming to be heard ... he loves Miss Kelly, but not her scissors ....

Carter "before" ... not sure what to think about this whole
haircutting thing ...

Wearing the cape

Miss Kelly trying to work quickly while Carter was still. You can see that he is cooperating for the moment, but not too happy about it.

Angry boy. And the little hairs are probably itchy on his neck ...

Starting to feel better already! The finished product.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I just have one thought for today ....
[cue the music from Handel's Messiah]


This weather is so incredibly beautiful. The sun is streaming in my window, a cool breeze is blowing, my windows are open for the last few days (for the first time this summer), and it doesn't get any better than this!

I can't believe some people are complaining that it's too cold. 78 is NOT COLD PEOPLE!!! I could take this all year round... okay, I would want some cold and snow in December for Christmas, but the rest of the year it could be like this.

"This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Just an apology for the LOADS of pictures I put on here today ... really we are not narcissists. But I consider this blog my own "scrapbook" of sorts since I don't have the time or inclination at this point to make scrapbooks. Thus, the pictures and the blog. Hope you enjoy it and don't find it annoying :)

Happy Birthday Diesel

I hope we aren't the only nerds out there who celebrate our cat's birthday. But we do. We really like cake in this family!

We don't know the actual date when our cat Diesel came into this world, since she was found as a small kitten in the midst of an old refinery, but we know about when she was born. Audrey picked August 4th as her birthday. And since we were REALLY busy on August 4th, the "party" was postponed till this weekend.

Here is Diesel as a little bitty kitten ...

And here she is today! A whole lot bigger, and much grouchier looking. Perhaps living with two small children adds to the grouchiness factor ...
Actually Diesel is a great cat and mostly very tolerant of the two little people who like to give her lots of "love".

And ... drum roll please ... here is our "party"
(basically, we Smiths will use any excuse to have cake!)

Audrey was very particular about the cake. It had to be white, with chocolate frosting, and with the wording "Happy 2nd Birthday Diesel Meow." I sense a CEO in the making. She sure knows how to come up with a great vision and big plans ... and then delegate the responsibility to someone else!

3 cheers for Diesel! (and cake! did I mention cake?)

The following shows the progression of messiness after giving an 18 month old a piece of cake:

Pretty gross ...

Philadelphia Zoo

This summer has been a busy one. However, aside from our vacation in June, our family really hasn't had a lot of time all together, just the four of us doing something fun. Besides his usual 9-5 job, Chad has been heading up the search committee at our church for a new outreach pastor. This has eaten up a lot of time with meetings, correspondence, phone interviews, etc. and has left me "holding down the fort" at home. "Holding down the fort" always sounded like the easy job to me, but having held down the fort for months now, I am here to say that it is not always easy. It means that I pick up some of the slack for things that Chad would normally be doing at home. I'm not complaining by saying this, because I support him doing the work of leading at church and he has been a hard worker around the house too ... I'm just saying, I am better realizing how to serve my family and learning how to "serve the Lord with gladness." (Okay, I confess I've had a few "un-glad" moments, but all in all it's been fine!)

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming ... :)

So earlier this week we decided to take the kids to the zoo on Saturday. The weather yesterday couldn't have been nicer - high in the low 80's and sunny. A perfect outside day! After a longer trip down there than anticipated (aargh, that Schuylkill Expressway traffic! Is it perpetually congested, even on weekends?) ... and a few grumbles from the back seat (a la "are we there yet?"), we arrived and went on to have a great day.

Here we go with some pictures:

The start of our day.
Note that poor Carter is again trapped in his stroller ...

Audrey with the zebras in the background (WAY back, you can hardly see them!) When we went to the zoo in Minnesota, she was disappointed that there were no zebras, so she was excited to see them here.

Audrey & Chad checking out the giraffes.

This leopard came RIGHT up close, and licked his lips. Guess all those little kids with their noses pressed up to the glass were looking tasty ...

Carter getting an up high view of the zoo. He was just glad to be out of his dang stroller. After the past week, I think he may just start crying at the sight of it! The boy just wants to be free!

The zoo had a nice "children's zoo" area. Lucky Chad got to be in this picture!

I just couldn't resist this shot.

Carter petting a sheep and a "GO" [goat]

What you lookin' at?
Chad's favorite animal, the cheetah. I always tease him when we go to a zoo because we come home with 3 pictures of the kids and 300 pictures of animals. I'm exaggerating of course. But we do have about 10 pictures of this one cheetah!

I love watching the monkeys (and gorillas). They're so playful and energetic. Most zoo animals just seem to lay around and look bored.

Gotta keep the troops happy with ice cream.

Carter was eating an apple until he saw what the rest of us had!

It ended up being a fun day. We even got free parking through the B101 website (normally $12!), and discounted tickets from Acme. And Carter was still a freebie.

But I was feeling every one of my 36 years last night (and even today) ... I don't know how Jon & Kate plus 8 do things like travel on day trips with 8 kids ... I only have 2 and I'm exhausted!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Artsy Fun in Phoenixville

Today I took Lil Pumpkin Audrey and Buddy Boy Carter to Reeves Park, where the Phoenixville Library was hosting a "Family Art Extravaganza" as the finale to their summer reading program. I knew this event would totally be Audrey's cup of tea, and I was not mistaken. There was table upon table of art and craft projects for the kids to create and take home! Audrey LOVES arts and crafts!

Audrey making a bug catcher

Showing off her masterpiece of stamped butterflies, beetles, caterpillars, ladybugs, etc.
She also made a popsicle stick puppet, a spiderweb using yarn (complete with faux spider), sand art, and a weaving of a cricket, which we promptly lost on the way to the car.

While Audrey thoroughly enjoyed herself, poor Carter was not having so much fun being strapped into the stroller. He's too little to do the crafts (and at this point, uninterested), and if I get him out of the stroller, he makes a run for it. We walked over to see the juggling show going on in the band shell, which he enjoyed watching for, hmm, maybe 5 minutes? As time went on, I did let him out to run for awhile, lest you think I'm a mean mommy!

After coming home, Audrey wanted to do some painting too, so here is her creation. A butterfly, a few X's (for kisses) and an "I [heart] you" at the bottom!

In a few weeks, I'm sending Audrey to an art camp for 3 mornings. I was thrilled to find an art center here in Phoenixville that has preschool classes. I hope she enjoys it! I have a feeling she will ...

Friday, August 1, 2008

This is what happens ...

. . . When Audrey leaves her little outdoor "treasures" within reach of her brother. . .

. . . we find a half eaten crabapple!! I just hope he didn't eat a worm or anything!