Friday, July 30, 2010


I seriously can't believe that summer is almost over. In just 3 weeks, my children will be back in school and our normal routine will once again be in place. Oh how I am a creature of routine. This summer has been filled with camps, work, pool time, campaigning. Lots of stress as well which has made it really fly by. These months have taught me a lot and I hope to not have to repeat some of the lessons.

The kids returned from a 4-day stint at Camp Mimi B (Ryan's mom). Lots of homemade fun was had. They love their time there and have so many stories to tell for days after returning. When I picked up the kids yesterday, there was a crate with 2 little kittens in it. Our previous kittens (Thing 1 and Chocolate Thunda) died unexpectedly in an accident. It was purely an accident and we were all very sad. Mimi B is know for having kittens at her house. So Topsy and Annie have now joined the Smith clan. They are a bit bigger and hopefully a little smarter.

We welcome August and all that it brings, school, schedules, backpacks...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

She's converting

Last week, Grace started making the conversion. The conversion of "papa" to "daddy." At first, we weren't sure what she was saying. Her use of the American father term was somewhat surprising as we have spent months just trying to get her to say "daddy." We weren't successful and she even would yell "Papa" at us. Here is a typical conversation with Grace:

Us: Say Daddy
Her: Papa
Us: Say Mama
Her: Mama
Us: Say Sister
Her: Sister
Us: Say Cannon
Her: Yaya
Us: Say Daddy
Her: Papa

Ryan and I had both given up on the whole "daddy" thing and our family had really embraced the "papa" thing. Even the big kids call Ryan "papa" on occasion. I really did figure that this name would stick at least for Grace.

Then last week, she started saying "daddy" (imagine in your head, sounds like dadeeeee). As I said before, it was surprising. But a week later, "papa" is heard less everyday and "daddy" is heard a lot more often. The obsession with Ryan continues so this name is heard quite a bit. According to our case worker, this is a big step. It means that Grace is becoming 100% comfortable with us.

To tell you the truth, I am sad to see "papa" go. That name will always be in my memories of the first months with Grace. How many times I have heard that name, I would say it is in the 5000s.

Friday, July 16, 2010

9 & OMG

Following a terrible day on Wednesday, Kaylee turned 9 on Thursday! I seriously CANNOT believe my 1st born is 9 years old. Makes me feel old. We had a spa sleepover last night that involved 6 pre-teen girls, a banana mask, sugar scrub, lemon soak and a fun eye mask. I am tired today. So very tired. This makes me feel even older.
After the clean up of the spa birthday extravaganza, I went to get ready for the day. I came back into the living room to a very distinct smell. This smell hit me in the hallway. I stopped and looked around. Then I looked down.

My eyes then witnessed pink fingernail polish all over a leather ottoman and my baby girls fingers (note I did not just say fingernails). OMG! Grace was digging through Kay's gifts and found some fingernail polish (that happened to be in a plastic sealed container). She opened said container, got out the polish, opened the polish bottle, then proceeded to pretty up herself and my ottoman. Mama cleaned up her fingers and I am hoping that Ryan can clean up the ottoman. Oh, the life with a toddler.

sad news

Something very unexpected happened to Thing 1 and Chocolate Thunda on Wednesday. Let's just say that they will always be in our memories. That is all I will say about that.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

the naming ceremony

It is official, the kittens have been named. It is a tantalizing tale... the kids saw the kittens the morning after we returned from our vacation and named them "tiger" and "oreo." the parental units had no say in these names. i wanted the family to pick out names for the kittens so we put off naming them (we as in me) until kay returned home from church camp on friday.

So friday evening around the dinner table, we each wrote out our ideas for cat names. we put them in little bowls and the 2 older children both got to draw a name. the names that were picked no one really liked. go figure. so we re-thought of names and put them back in the fun little bowls. just like 5 minutes prior, the older children drew the names. again, we didn't like what was picked. so mom (aka me), said the kittens will be named certain names.

The story behind the names... Have you seen Cat in the Hat with Mike Myers? There is part when he (the Cat) introduces Thing 1 and Thing 2. The Cat introduces Thing 1 as Thing 1. Then Thing 2 as Thing 2. Thing 2 says:

Thing Two: Don't belittle me.
The Cat: Ah, yes of course. Thing 2 would like to clarify that just because he wears the number 2 does not imply in any way that he's inferior to Thing 1.
Thing Two: And all of the above.
The Cat: He says you may feel free to call him Thing A if you like. He will also accept Super Thing, Thing King, Kid Dynamite, Chocolate Thun-da.
The Cat: Thing 1 says he's Thing 1 for a reason and some people should just get used to it. It's a Thing thing, you wouldn't understand.

This has been Ryan's favorite part of this movie, for forever. It makes me laugh as well. So for that reason, I (aka mom) made the executive decision and named our kittens the names as illustrated by our children:
The children and I are very excited by their names. Grace says "Chocolate Thunda" surprisingly clear. It makes me giggle each time.

Some of the other name suggestions: stripey, dottie, vampire, warewolf, just to name a few.

Friday, July 9, 2010

our house

Wow, what a vacation can do to you. It is only today, 4 days after returning, do I feel back to normal. A grand time was had by all, no one got lost, no one cried more than once a day. I consider that a successful vacation.

When we returned late on Monday evening, we were greeted by our newest family members.
You can see that these guys have the same picture taking capabilities of my youngest. I took 8 pictures and they all look like this, blurry and not cute (sigh). Trust me, they are cute in real life.

Back to why we doubled our pet population... We have a rodent problem here in our house since we live amongst 1 billion trees. We have voles, shrews, mice, snakes, etc. The before mentioned like to come in our house and setup shop. So we are hoping that these 2 bad boys will help detour the little varmints. They will be outside pets to set a boundary between the pests and the house. Go kittens go! (they don't have names yet, k was gone at camp all week.)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day for the US & Rwanda!

Today, the 4th of July, is our great country's Independence Day as well as the last day of the Rwandan genocide. On this day we declared our country's freedom as well as the Rwandan's taking their country back.

Here are a few pics from today...
Tommorowland Transit.
Grace is still working on LOOKING at the camera. Smile is down pat.

Swiss Family Treehouse

driving a boat, such concentration

Mimi and Kay driving a race car

It took G about 3.4 seconds to crash. This is how we all feel :)

Grace also loved the fireworks. She kept saying "more, more." She is officially obsessed with "me me mouse" (note the pjs) and really did great on the trip. The big kids had a blast and we got all activities but 2 done on our list. We are all anxious to get home and see Ryan. We have missed him! So tomorrow we had back to our sweet little house in our cozy little town. Can't wait.

More Rida

watching a performance at Epcot. G thought it was so funny.

Being totems in Canada

with Mimi B - Fish are friends, not food

there were characters all over yesterday! we are not big character people on a daily basis but it is fun at the parks. In order for G to be in the pic, she wanted me to hold her. This was the only character pic she would be in. Her face says it all (close up below).

"help me"

Friday, July 2, 2010

More Flo

G is such a Smith. All of our kiddos don't like life-size characters much. Kay was 6 before she was alright with them and C was 4 or so. It made me laugh. She would let him sign her book but wouldn't take a picture. She screamed instead.

G enjoying Cocoa Beach with C digging in the back.

To an ethnic hair virgin, this should be interesting to get out.

Bike ride tonight. C ended up sitting in front with G. An hour ride only lasted 30 minutes!


The kids and I, along with my mother in law Brenda and my sis in law Breanna, hit the skies and headed to Orlando for a little bit of R & R (if you can call it that at all, it has been neither, ha!).

Due to Hurricane Alex, we were a day late in arriving to our destination. However, with just a little bit of schedule shuffling, we will still be able to get all of our plans accomplished (again, no R&R).

The kids have done great and Grace is having a wonderful time. We were here in fall of 2007 so the big kids are remembering all of their favorite things and showing their little sister.

the trio before we hit the magic kingdom

after our day at the kingdom, look at Cannon's pained expression and notice G's new ears!

Animal Kingdom fun along with Aunt Bre

the trio before they headed into the ocean. G's first visit. She loved jumping into
the waves and digging in the sand. The big kids loved crashing into the waves.

G at the pool this afternoon. She is such a fish! "Mo pool, Mo pool."