"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 1:4

Friday, December 26, 2008

The White Family's Christmas

When Melanie first got married, I wondered how holidays would change for our family.  Fortunately, Jared's family had their big celebration on Christmas Day, so we were all still able to be together on Christmas Eve.  As the years have passed and the boys, David and Philip, married...we have continued our White Family Christmas Celebration on Christmas Eve.  Each year I wonder if that will change, but so far we have been blessed to all be together the night before Christmas.

About every other year or so since our first grandchild, Madeline, was born we have added an additional baby to the party!  This year it was baby Luke.  Of course, he was only interested in the wrapping paper and cried when Melanie wouldn't let him eat it...but we all enjoyed watching him sit alone and "crawl".  He is a precious, fat little baby!!!

Next year, Lord willing, little Georgia Grace (David's & Maggie's) will be with us.  She should be about 9 months old by then, so that will be fun!  Your Dani is waiting for you, G.G.!!!

This Christmas was the first one since Maddy has been born that the Smalling family didn't spend the night at our house.  Since they have now moved to Bowling Green from Nashville, they were able to go home and begin their new family tradition of having Santa visit the children at their own house.  We missed them, but more than being sad about them not being here, I was really excited for them to have those memories at their home.

Here are a few pictures:

THE SMALLINGS

L to R - Jack, Melanie, Maddy, Noah, Jared and Luke

Smalling Family

DAVID & MAGGIE WHITE (and little G.G.)

David & Maggie

PHILIP & SARAH WHITE

Philip & Sarah

SANTA & MRS. CLAUSE

Steve & Jeanne

 

Saturday, November 22, 2008

In Florida with my Daddy

Just a quick note to update all of you who keep up with my blog. I have really let it slide lately but I've been very busy.

I flew from Honduras to Orlando, FL a week ago to spend 2 weeks with my daddy as he had surgery. He had hip replacement surgery over 20 years ago and had to have all the old stuff removed and new added. He was in surgery 5 hours and it was another 5 hours before we saw him, but he got through the surgery just fine.

He spent almost 4 days at the hospital in Sebring, FL and now is in a rehab hospital in Wauchula, FL, about 20 miles from his house in Avon Park. We were pretty much with him constantly during the first 5 days but now not as much because his rehab takes up about 4 hours a day.

I will be returning to Honduras on Dec. 1 and on the 3rd, many U.S. visitors will be on campus for graduation festivities.

Please pray for my daddy, that he will continue to recuperate and that his 2-3 weeks of rehab will be successful. Pray that he will be able to do more than he has in the past physically and that his state of mind will also improve as his body does.

After Baxter graduation, I hope to do more blogging. I have things to say, just not a lot of time to write.

HAPPY TURKEY DAY TO ALL!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Awaiting GG

Our next grandbaby will be a GIRL!

Her name is Georgia Grace and David is

already calling her GG. I cannot wait

until she arrives sometime in April '09!

Thanks (in advance) David & Maggie!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm not really political but...

Right up front I'll say that I voted for John McCain/Sarah Palin.  (Our ballets were mailed to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, we voted and mailed them back.  I assume they made it; one never knows with the mail here.)  I lean more right than left.  I am pro life, pro smaller federal government and pro more powerful local government (thanks to my son, David, who made me realize how important this is), among some other conservative issues. 

I am very proud to be an American.  I've lived in Honduras for more than 4 years now.  I love the people here so much but there is no place on earth I'd rather be than in the good ol' U.S.A.! 

But beyond being a Republican or a Democrat, I AM A CHRISTIAN!  God is in charge of my life and nothing that any president, congressman, senator or mayor does changes the fact that I answer to the living God and He alone is the one in whom I put my trust and faith. 

I am proud of our country.  Live in a third world country before you are too quick to criticize the U.S. government.  It is not perfect but nothing on this earth is.

I choose to put my faith in God and my life in His hands.  I will respect and honor the man, Barack Hussein Obama, as my president.  Never in a million years as a girl growing up in south Arkansas did I believe I would see this day.  A black man in the White House!  Politics aside, I am proud of this fact...proud that our country has come this far and has truly accepted America as the "melting pot" it has always been.

I believe God has a plan.  I want to follow that plan.  But most of all, I want to go to Heaven.  Thank God that there will be no politics there!  Our Lord will reign supreme.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tagged

I agree with Kate...since I haven't blogged lately on anything else...might as well take the "tagged" challenge. Here goes:

1. Where is your cell phone? in my purse
2. Where is your significant other? in his office (right down the hall from me!)
3. Your hair color? Dark blonde with more gray than I'd like to admit.
4. Your mother? She's in heaven .
5. Your father? 83 living in Florida
6. Your favorite thing? playing with grandbabies
7. Your dream last night? that my eyelashes were coming out in clumps :)
8. Your dream/goal? to go to heaven with as many family members and friends as possible
9. The room you're in? my office in Honduras
10. Your hobby? sewing/quilting
11. Your fear? Alzheimer's
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Living in Bowling Green, KY, retired, playing with grandbabies
13. Where were you last night? having dinner with one of our Baxter families
14. What you're not? confrontational
15. One of your wish-list items? a massage!!!
16. Where you grew up? ElDorado, Arkansas
17. The last thing you did? Check blogs
18. What are you wearing? brown skirt, white tank, brown/white floral shirt
19. Your TV? is resting
20. Your pet? none...Libby lives with Maggie and David now
21. Your computer? Compaq Presario V6000
22. Your mood? ready to get to work
23. Missing someone? my grandbabies and my children and my friends in Bowling Green
24. Your car? 1999 Dodge Caravan in U.S./199? Mitsubishi Montero Sport
25. Something you're not wearing? heels
26. Favorite store? Wal-Mart
27. Your summer? spent in Bowling Green with family
28. Love someone? my honey, Steve
29. Your favorite color? blue
30. When is the last time you laughed? about 20 minutes ago
31. Last time you cried? Monday...couldn't sleep, joints hurt, was frustrated


I tag whoever reads my blog and wants to do this...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Losers, Coffee and being the Best Dani

"Jack was here!"

Jack 8-16-08 

When you hear those words, you can be sure that

  • Lots of fun was had
  • Lots of laughing occurred
  • Someone needs a nap (more than likely the person/s receiving the visit)
  • Someone may have gotten pinched or put in "timeout"
  • The visitee is remembering the little boy who is so full of life

Jack spent 2 nights with Steve and me Tuesday and Wednesday.  Tuesday before I left from Melanie's, I laughed so hard I couldn't breathe when Jack said (about something I can't even remember...but a competition to him), "I winned; you woosed; you're woosers!"  Then I laughed even more because of the confused look he gave me.  I don't think he'd ever seen me laughing so hard I cried and didn't know what to think of me.

Later that evening, we picked up a pizza on our way into Bowling Green, took it home and shared it with Poppi.  Seriously, everything is a competition with him and he had about half a piece of pizza left when he happened to remember that fact about himself and "sung", "I'm gonna wi-in".  I took my last bite and said, "Hum, looks like Dani won".  He folded his arms, looked at Poppi and said, "Oh man...we're woosers, Poppi!"

Jack has developed a taste for coffee.  Yes, I know that he's not even 4 years old yet, but what can I say?  Evidently, his Granddaddy and I would occasionally (at least on my part) let him take a sip of our cooled coffee.  Then one day Poppi gave him a piece of the coffee-flavored candy that we buy in Honduras (it's yummy!) and he LOVED it!  So I gave him a piece while he was here and he told Poppi, "I have coffee.  Not the kind you drink.  The kind you crunch and suck on."

You may remember the picture of Jack eating Scooby-Doo Snacks out of a "dog bowl".  Well, he wanted shredded cheese in a bowl this time, pretending he was a mouse. 

jack the mouse

Jack is a big boy and can certainly dress himself.  But, he will take an hour to do it if you let him.  We were getting ready to go out and he was supposed to be getting ready but I looked over and he only had on his underwear.  I asked, "Jack, do you want me to help you get dressed?"  He smiled and said he did.  He brought me his shorts, shirt, socks and shoes.  We started with the shorts.  I backed him up against me, as I was sitting and began to put his little shorts on him.  He leaned into me and said, oh so sweetly, "You're the best Dani in the whole world!"

Enough said.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Blog Fog...

I'm not sure if that's the appropriate way to express it, but I feel like that's what I've been in...a "blog fog".

Maybe it's that I'm on Facebook now and communicate on there more often.

Maybe it's that after Gerald's death, I just don't feel like writing.

Maybe the new has worn off of blogging...I hope not because I would be disappointed if others stopped writing on their blogs...I love reading what others are up to.

Or, maybe I just don't have anything "blogworthy" to write about these days.

Who knows? But...get ready...because Jack is visiting and I will definitely have a few things to write about soon! :)

I just realized that I wrote a blog post totally about not writing blog posts. That's pathetic!

Friday, August 29, 2008

The angels are rejoicing...

[100_0141a.jpg]

Gerald Smalling, father of our son-in-law, Jared, died in Centennial Hospital in Nashville last night. 

He was a precious man and he will be missed by us all.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Noah's Visit

Throughout the summer while I was in the U.S., the 3 older grandkids got their special turns staying with me in Bowling Green.  They each got a short visit and a longer visit (about 4-5 days).

Noah's turn came last and we had a great time together.  Noah is an easy child, especially when there are no siblings to bother him or for him to bother! :)  He's laid back, likes to play superhero, watch t.v., play with play doh and help me cook.

Of course, we had our pancake day, as usual and Noah was glad that we were making them from scratch.  He does not like them from a mix...not nearly as much fun. 

His best superhero feat this visit was when he found the t.v./satellite remote control.  It's kinda pitiful that we were so very happy when he found it...but we were.  I had literally searched 3 or more times in each room for the missing treasure when Noah finally found it lying in the floor next to the Noah's Ark in the "boys' room".  We rejoiced!

DSC01086 

Our one big day out was to the toy store, craft store, post office, library and ice cream store.  The toy and craft stores consisted of finding fun things that all the kiddos could do and things that we'd leave at our house in B.G.  He reminded me that Memaw has a lot more toys at her house! :)

I think he went to the library just to please me but didn't seem too excited about that.  However, when we got there, he found a cute little nook where he immediately took a book and started reading out loud.  He had just finished saying, "I'm not a good reader."  Well, that was definitely not true...the boy is a great reader for someone just about to enter 1st grade! 

When I insisted that he help me pick out books, he reluctantly brought me one and laid it down in front of me...it was "The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV", which I thought was kinda funny.  Was he trying to tell me something??

I made my 3rd trip in a couple of weeks to Chaney's for ice cream ...not good for the diet!  (Oh yeah...I'm not on a diet!! Yikes! I need to be after this summer...) Maddy had mint chocolate chip, Jack had chocolate and, of course, Noah had vanilla.  I say "of course" because that's what his Uncle David would have ordered at that age (maybe still now).

Noah is sooo much like David!  Always has reminded us of him. They especially look alike, but Noah says funny things and does things that bring back memories of David at that age.

Do they look alike or what???

Copy of Maggie and David 100  Copy of Maggie and David 106

I am back in Honduras now with Steve.  I love being here and doing the work we do here.  I love the people who work here, the students, the student wives and children. 

But I treasure the time I was able to spend in Bowling Green and Nashville helping Melanie a little with the kids after the birth of Luke.  I look forward to more visits from the grandkids in the future.  It is one of the great joys of my life!

Monday, August 4, 2008

My Son is Going to be a Daddy!

Maggie and David 094

This is our first-born son, David...born on April 12, 1980, in Springdale, Arkansas.  We delighted in him as he took his first steps, began to talk, developed a very funny personality...

We watched him grow, kissed his boo-boos, sent him to school and helped him know God.  We watched as he became a man...and were so proud when he married Maggie in 2004.Copy of P6190074

David has given us joy and, yes, a little pain over the years.  We are very proud of our son, David, and could not be happier at this time to share in the joy of his and Maggie's news of their baby who is due in April 2009!

I absolutely adore being a grandmother!  I cannot wait to meet this new little baby...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Blogs are Down All Over the Place!

If you have been trying to get on my site since last night, there is a good chance that you couldn’t get on my site and a WHOLE lot of others.

According to this article, it is a Sitemeter glitch that is causing sites all over the internet to stop loading and get the error message “IE cannot load this page. Operation aborted”

If you have a blog that is experiencing the same problems, simply remove your Sitemeter widget and it should be back to normal!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Go to Melanie's Blog

I know I need to post current pictures of baby Luke, but...

Please go to Melanie's blog entry: http://smallingworld.blogspot.com/2008/07/looney-lukey-7-20-08.html You will see some funny pictures of Luke and if you go to the "Comments" you can read my captions for them.

I know it's midnight, and that's probably why I thought they were especially funny, but I have to tell you...I laughed until I cried as I was writing them. Enjoy!

Maybe I'll write a "real" blog entry soon...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Maddy's Visit

Well, I took Jack home on Monday and brought Maddy back with me the same day.  Tomorrow I will take her to meet Memaw (Jared's mom) when she gets off work and Maddy will spend a couple of nights with them.

We have had a good time!  Maddy may not be as funny as Jack, but she's my girl and we always enjoy being together.

Maddy is growing up much too fast to suit me.  However, it is kind of nice to be able to do more grownup things with her.  Tuesday she went with me to get my hair cut and the girls at the shop raved about her hair color.  Maddy does have unusually gorgeous auburn hair!

Maddy playing piano-auburn hair

Afterwards, we met Aunt Sarah for lunch and enjoyed having a girl's day out.  The 3 of us went for ice cream later.  It was the same shop where Jack and I had gone the week before, however, Maddy didn't feel the need to eat hers faster than 80-year-old ladies like Jack did...and then tell them they lost!

I try to cook what the kids like to eat, to my best ability, as long as it is reasonable.  Like, Jack would eat cookies for lunch and Maddy would be happy with mashed potatoes and rolls at every meal. :) 

Of course, our first breakfast consisted of chocolate chip pancakes.  I had asked Maddy earlier what things she would like.  The first thing she wanted was BaleadasImage:Baleada.jpgA baleada is a typical Honduran food which consists of a flour tortilla filled with refried beans, a cream similar to a rich sour cream and  then sometimes a salty cheese or eggs or just about anything you want to put in it.  Maddy and I like ours to have the beans, sour cream and sliced avocados.  Yum!  We even made our own homemade flour tortillas!  That was Tuesday night for dinner.  She also wanted them for Wednesday lunch, so...that's what we had...

Tuesday afternoon Maddy wanted to do girl stuff so we played beauty shop.  We did makeup and then I hot-rolled her hair.  I have a picture of her in curlers, but she made me promise I would not put it on my blog! :) 

Wednesday afternoon I treated Maddy to a spa manicure and pedicure at the soon-to-be-famous "Dani's Loving Care Spa", located conveniently (and economically) in my kitchen!  We used the foot spa that David gave me for Mother's Day a few years ago.  While she was soaking her hands and feet, I prepared her a dish of cubed watermelon and Sprite in a pretty glass with lime.  She got the royal treatment complete with bright blue polish!

Thursday we watched movies and grilled burgers with Uncle Philip and Aunt Sarah out here in the country. 

Tomorrow we'll talk and laugh eat and play and probably watch a movie and then I'll take her to meet her Memaw.  It has been a wonderful time together, as always.  Until next time, Precious Angel!

Maddy

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Jack's Visit (Part II) "The Park & Chocolate Ice Cream"

Today I took Jack to the park to play.  Since it was almost 11 a.m., I took PB&J sandwiches in the car and we ended up eating them before we got to the park!  Jack asked, "Dani, did you make this sandwich with the peanut kind of peanut butter (crunchy)?  I said yes and he said, "I wuv them...you're a good Dani"...

Uncle Philip & Aunt Sarah met us there.  Aunt Sarah played with Jack on the playground equipment and encouraged him to do some things he didn't think he could do. 

After less than an hour, he was so hot that Uncle Pip used his water bottle to cool Jack's head and neck, then asked if he wanted him to pour some of the water over his head.  Well, duh...of course, Jack thought that was a great idea, so Philip poured just a little over his head and then spiked his hair!  He took him over to his car mirror to see the new do and Jack, of course, loved it!  He thought it was so funny!

We left the park and went to Chaney's Dairy Barn (the one on Fairview Ave.) for ice cream.  Jack wanted chocolate on a cone and we sat down inside the store to eat.  Jack really, really wanted to eat the cone but I held him off as long as I could, knowing that if he started eating it too soon, the ice cream wouldn't have anyplace to be...

He couldn't wait until he had all the ice cream eaten, took a bite and, of course, got ice cream in his nose.  I don't guess it bothered him much because he kept doing that.  We went through about 8 napkins...

These two elderly ladies came in for ice cream.  The eldest sat down at the table beside us while her friend ordered their ice cream.  You could just see this lady's eyes light up when she saw Jack.  She talked to him and asked him lots of questions and Jack told her all about his trip to the park and about his Uncle Philip putting water in his hair and spiking it.

He finally finished his chocolate ice cream cone and immediately looked over at his new friend and said, "I winned!  You "woosed" (in his best "nanny, nanny, boo-boo" voice.)  Everything is a competition for him.  Of course it is...he lives with 2 older siblings!  The lady thought it was very funny!

I took him to the restroom to wash the chocolate off his face, hands and out of his nose...and he was laughing, saying, "Dani, I beat da wadies!" 

I told him he should tell the ladies to enjoy their ice cream when we left and also to tell the nice "ice cream girl" (as he called her) thank you for your ice cream.  I had to remind him to say thank you to the employee and then he had a conversation with a male customer about his Batman shirt (Jack's) and then, as we were leaving, he remembered and turned around to the sweet little ladies and said in his biggest boy voice, "Enjoy your ice cream!"

 

Jack's Visit (Part I) "The Bug Catcher"

As I've said before, I love to keep the grandchildren one at a time at my house! You really get to see what they are like...their personalities shine when you get them by themselves, away from siblings...

It's Jack's turn. Well, actually, it was Jack's turn last week but Noah came instead because Jack wasn't exactly on his best behavior and, after many "second chances", Melanie finally decided he had to stay home.

He has been here since Thursday and I am thinking I will keep him until Monday, so that he can go to VBS at Greenwood Park tomorrow (Sunday). His congregation in Nashville had their VBS recently and the two bigger kids got to go, but Jack wasn't quite old enough. But don't tell him he didn't go because after hearing Maddy and Noah talk about it, he thinks he went, too! :) That reminds me of the time we were all in Florida, staying at my daddy's house, and Melanie and Jared took Maddy to Disney World. Noah was still a little young, but after Maddy brought him back a Pirate's hat, he thought he went, too. I don't know if he realizes yet that he didn't...But I digress...

So, Jack is here and we've had a great time! It's amazing how $2.12 spent to buy 2 toys at the Dollar Tree can make a 3 1/2-year-old so happy. His two toys were a "Minja" Turtle (it WAS some sort of ninja, but a knockoff at best) and a bug catching kit complete with the bug container, little net and tweezers.

The first several hours he played with the "Minja", then yesterday afternoon he decided to go outside to try and catch some bugs. He wasn't successful...He tried and tried to first catch a big butterfly, then a moth, then a cricket. He was so disgusted with his failure that he found what he thought was a dead spider in my kitchen floor and proceeded to try and pick it up with the tweezers to put in his "catcher". I had to explain to him that, #1 he didn't need to mess with spiders, #2 he probably should try for something live and #3 unfortunately, what he thought to be a dead spider was really just a crumb of some sort on his Dani's not-so-clean kitchen floor.

I finally found the boy a slow moth and he was happy for about 2 minutes until the moth flew up to the lid and for some reason he decided he needed to free it.

So, here are some very cute pictures of Jack, the Bug Catcher (or not)

Jack Smiling Jack Looking in Bush Jack Looking Up for Butterfly Jack Waiting for Butterfly

Sunday, July 6, 2008

An Open Letter to My Son-in-Law, Jared

Dear Jared,

I hope I don't embarrass you too much by publishing this letter for the world (or the tens of people who read my blog) to see. But this is something I feel like sharing because otherwise, many people may never know what an exceptional person you are.

Each year that you are married to our precious daughter, Melanie, I love you more. I think many people know the "funny Jared" and several know the "hard-working Jared"...but I'm not sure how many know the "sensitive Jared".

It's this side of you...the sensitive side...that I want to celebrate in this letter.

And so, I love and appreciate you for :

  • Loving our daughter and our grandchildren with all your heart
  • Wanting to be with family on holidays and regular days and embracing our extended family as your own
  • Giving Steve a precious letter in the airport before we left for Honduras (He still keeps that letter in his Bible and reads it often)
  • Being so emotional when little Madeline was born. You seemed to be overcome by the awesomeness of bringing a child into the world
  • Handing little Noah to your dad minutes after he was born and saying, through tears, "I'd like you to meet your grandson, Noah Murl Smalling..."
  • Agreeing with Melanie when she wanted to be induced with Jack so that Steve "Poppi" could be in the country for the birth
  • Holding the tiny bundle that was Ruby to your chest, with your face buried in her blanket, crying because your heart was breaking.
  • Embracing the fact that she would always be a part of the family
  • Allowing Melanie to grieve for as long as it took...
  • Being strong for your family when you, too, were grieving...
  • Being Melanie's "focal point" when she was in labor with Luke...The way you were talking to her constantly in a sweet, soothing voice and she, eyes closed, listening and following, made it seem you were experiencing the contractions along with her
  • Taking the first week off work after Melanie and Luke came home from the hospital to take care of everything
  • Putting your family before your job...

Those are just a few reasons why I am thankful to have you in our family. May God richly bless you as you continue to lead your family to heaven.

Love,

Jeanne

Torn Between Two Countries...

I love my country!  We just had a wonderful 4th of July celebration at our house, with all the kids and grandkids present.  Only Steve was missing...

He's in Honduras...my other country...and I am still here in the U.S.  Before I dropped him off at the airport in Nashville a few weeks ago, he told me that there was nothing I could do right now that was more important than helping our daughter...that she probably needs me more right now than she will ever need me again.

I think that's probably true and I've chosen to stay here at least until the big kids go back to school.

I feel like I NEED to be here...and I definitely WANT to be here, but I do miss Steve and the people in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.  Our 4th year students have just returned from their 6-month internships and I would love to see them all...especially the children!

But on the other hand, being able to bond with baby Luke the way I have is a gift that I cannot explain in words.  I am grateful for this time...not only to help Melanie and Jared  but also to get to know this precious baby and feel a connection that is only possible because of the time I've spent with him.

So, although I miss my life in Honduras, I will forever be thankful for this time that I was given to spend with our family here.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Jack Explaining the "Wuvie Wam"

While I was holding Luke at the Smalling house last week, I made this video of Jack explaining the tiny white lamb blankie that Luke is "holding". Some call it a Lovie Lamb but I like Jack's little dirty-faced pronunciation best..."Wuvie Wam". And I did my best to get him to say it as many times as possible on the video. I hope you enjoy this half as much as I did.


video



I'll translate the last couple of Jack's sentences: (after I ask him what it is again a couple of times), he says: "uh huh, that's what Nathan has, a Lovie Lamb, Like Luke" And then..."It's for sleeping when you got a blanket on it."

And he's off...

Monday, June 23, 2008

After my week with the grandkids...

I just spent a week with Melanie, Jared and the kids.  Jared took time off from work during the first week Melanie and baby Luke were home.  I was honored to be there to help out during the second week.  It was an awesome time...fun, hard, hilarious, tiring, special...unforgettable!  I loved it!!!

I have several good blog ideas after my time with the grandkids!  I also have a couple of good ones about Melanie and Jared.  But this one is about how I felt when the week was over.  I had three almost simultaneous thoughts/feelings as I returned to our home in Bowling Green:

*How extremely blessed I am

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the grandchildren.  Sure, there were a few meltdowns, some tattling and whining that I helped deal with, but the hugs & kisses, bright morning faces, cooking together and tucking in at night definitely outweighed those little incidents.

I loved watching Melanie with baby Luke.  She's a nurturing, precious mother who loves her children dearly.  It was neat when Jared came home every evening to "Daddy!" from the kiddos and to see him holding the "little" one.

 

*How I love peace and quiet

As I walked into the house in B.G., I actually said, "Ahhhh..."  For the first time in several days, I had complete peace and quiet.  If I wanted to go to bed, I could.  If I wanted to watch t.v., read, go shopping or do absolutely nothing, I could.

 

*That Melanie rarely gets to experience this peace and quiet but will one day be where I am.

Melanie can't "go home" to the freedom, peace and quiet I described above.  She IS home!  Home is an 8 1/2-year-old (going on 13) daughter who is into "all things fairy" right now. 

Home is a 6-year-old son (Melanie calls him "her happiness") who is finding his place in the middle of the family. 

Home is a 3 1/2-year-old son who is loud, constantly busy and likes to annoy his big brother and sister...but...is just the sweetest, cutest and funniest little boy ever! 

Home is a precious 2-week-old baby son who, of course, takes up most of her time right now.

But one day she will turn around and they will be adults!  There will be no more toys strewn all over the house or children arguing and tattling or complaining about what she's fixing for supper.  One day she, too, will have a peaceful and quiet home, get reacquainted with her husband, enjoy being a grandmother, go to the bathroom alone, have a telephone conversation without a dozen interruptions, do pretty much as she pleases...

That day is not today...

I love you and respect you and Jared so much!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Luke with his best friends

Maddy wanted a sister...But the minute she saw her new brother, she was totally in love with him! Looks like the feeling is mutual...
She's pretty excited!

Noah also loves his baby brother!


He always wants to be close to him.



Little Jack is so excited to hold Luke! (I have to add that he was the first to "run" into the hospital room and immediately asked to hold him! He kept saying, "I think he wikes me!"

The grandmothers let Jack kiss his baby brother



Mommy is so happy to have all her babies together!



"Let's all see if we can make Luke happy..."

More Luke photos

Daddy rocking in the hospital



Home with Mommy



Poppi holding Luke in the hospital



Dani holding Luke in the hospital



Two boys chillin' in mom's hospital bed



"I'm fat!"




"I'm VERY fat!"


"My eyes are even fat!"




"But, oh, how adorable I am!"


Luke is hungry....duh!

I'm hungry, people!





Maybe there's food over here...




How about this side...






My paci...that's nice, but...





My paci AND my big sister, it's getting better...






But.....WHERE'S MOMMY????!!!!






The Story of LUKE, according to Dani


I like my paci!



All hands on Luke!



They're sticking my foot!



Precious Baby

I will post more photos later...

Luke Wesley Smalling, aka "Blueberry" or "Little Boy Blue", entered safely into this world at 10:15 p.m., Friday, June 6, 2008. THANK YOU, GOD!

You can also read Melanie's and Jared's posts on www.smallingworld.blogspot.com.

As a friend mentioned to me today, if the Smalling family had really wanted to name this baby boy after a fruit, "Blueberry" wouldn't have worked..."Watermelon" would be more appropriate. Funny, Sandra!

Are you sitting down? Our beautiful new grandson weighed 11 pounds, 1 1/4 ounces and is 22 inches long!!! No...I'm not kidding. Our Melanie delivered this son of theirs without the benefit of drugs. What an amazing woman!

I've been waiting for her to blog first because I felt that after what she went through, she should have first blogging rights!

She's still a little tired and for some reason just doesn't have a whole lot of time to write a long blog at this moment, so I'll give some details.

Luke was nice enough to begin hinting to his mommy that it might be time to head for the hospital after we all woke up on Friday morning. We got "the call" from Melanie around 8 a.m. or so (can't remember exactly). Steve and I got ready, picked up Shirley and Gerald (Jared's parents) and headed for Nashville!

On the way, I talked to Melanie and/or Jared a couple of times and realized we had plenty of time to take S & G to the house to keep the kids. We also made a side trip to David & Maggie's house in Hendersonville to let Libby (their dog--formerly ours--we were keeping while they were on vacation) stay at her own house while we were at the hospital.

Anyway...when Steve and I finally got to the hospital around lunchtime, we were hoping things had progressed a lot, but they hadn't. This labor was really different from Melanie's previous ones, which had been pretty fast. With the three full-term babies, she never had time to walk or enjoy her big nice room or laugh and visit and get terribly hungry. The other times, they pretty much got to the hospital and things went fast from there. Coming from Bowling Green each time, we barely made it with Noah and Jack!

Throughout the day, Melanie felt okay...had contractions...sometimes fairly regular; sometimes not, but most of them weren't real strong. She was able to walk around as much as she wanted to and only had to be hooked up to the monitor for 15 minutes out of every hour. Jared and Steve actually felt quite safe in going to a restaurant away from the hospital for dinner. Melanie rested some but was beginning to be pretty tired and HUNGRY!

The guys got back with my dinner around 7:00 p.m. (I'm guessing). Steve and I went to the waiting room so Melanie wouldn't have to smell my food. When we returned, Melanie was in good labor ("good" meaning the kind that gets babies born). She was in the middle of a contraction and deep concentration with Jared inches from her, softly talking her through it.

"Talking her through it" doesn't even begin to describe what my sweet son-in-law was actually doing. I have a feeling Melanie will blog about that experience, so I won't go into great detail here. I will say, however, that I have never loved that boy more than I did during those last few hard hours of labor.

So...Friday night, June 6, 2008, at 10:15, I was blessed to again witness the birth of a grandchild...our daughter's 5th delivery! What an awesome experience to watch MY "baby girl" joyfully, painfully, gratefully bringing a healthy baby of HERS into this world.

Saturday night after I read to, prayed with and tucked in Maddy, Noah and Jack, it hit me...really for the first time since Luke's birth...how smoothly Melanie's pregnancy had gone; how God had seen her through this incredible miracle of childbirth safely; and how He had blessed us all with a perfect, healthy baby boy. Finally, the emotions stored up in this mother/grandmother came pouring out and I hit my knees, thanking God over and over...

More to come later. Right now I'm going to bed!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Melanie is in the hospital!

Just a minute to let you know Melanie is in labor and is at Baptist Hospital. This one is going to be a little different...she's usually not here long before the babies arrive, but this one is going a little slower. So, we're enjoying getting to just visit at the moment. Will let you know when our new grandson gets here. It is now almost 6 p.m., Friday...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Family Tradition...

We always make pancakes for breakfast when the grandkids are here...it started when Maddy was little and I made her bear-shaped pancakes and put mini chocolate chips for the eyes and nose.  She has asked for them ever since.

She began helping me make them when she was really young and, as she's gotten older, isn't quite as interested, so the job/privilege has gone to the boys. 

But this past visit, she wanted to help. 

Maddy Mixing Batter

Maddy Pouring Syrup

Maddy Eating Pancakes

We usually make them from scratch (even though my favorite taste and texture is from a mix...Aunt Jemima's Original) They don't think the mix is nearly as much fun because they don't have as much to do, I guess.

We will continue to have pancakes for breakfast when grandkids are here...not always bear shaped but always with chocolate chips...as long as they keep asking for them.

Summer Haircuts for Noah and Jack

Are these not the cutest little boys ever???

Even with Jack and his little dirty face...

I just wanted to eat them up!!!

Jack Noah Short haircuts