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

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!


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.



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.