For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Trip to the Motherland...

Since my mother would be celebrating her 70th birthday this week (today actually), we took a trip to Texas. We like to refer to it as "the motherland". Brad,the boys and I are native Texans, and if you can't guess we are very PROUD of it. Although we now live in another state, it is always nice to return HOME. The kids love going to visit their cousins. It always amazes me how the kids seem to disappear from the minute we arrive until the minute we must leave. Mandy and my niece Natalie share a special friendship and can't wait until they get to see each other. They share lots of secrets, whispers and giggles. It is fun to watch them be seven year old little princesses. All of the kids get along great, and play until they drop from exhaustion. It is always fun for me to get to visit with my mom, sisters and family. We spend lots of time catching up.

Saturday night we had a birthday party for my mom. A few of her friends and lots of family came to celebrate with her. I think it made for a special birthday for her. Our time always seems to go so quickly when we are there, but we enjoy every minute with our family.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Running the Race...

Well today was a good but busy day. The older boys and I caught up on any school work that they might have missed during our illness. We had managed to stay caught up; however, there were a few assignments not finished and a little extra reading. We combined that with today's assignments. It made for an extra long school day. The boys were very cooperative, and we completed all assignments to put us back on schedule. While the older boys worked with mom, the "young uns"did their assignments and played alphabet games. I love to watch them work together, and they seem to get along very well. Mandy and Nate are really starting to pick up on letters and letter sounds. I think they both will be reading by this Spring. Mandy is very happy about this (she was fluently reading in Chinese), and she cannot wait to be able to read books by herself again. Nate is equally as excited, but he acts like it is no big deal. It is fun to see him read words that he recognizes, and then he realizes what he has done.

Mia started her first dance class this morning. She was so very excited,and we had no trouble getting her to go. Brad took a break from his busy work schedule and took Mia to class(mom was teaching the others). I know she must have had a great time. She was singing and babbling at me the minute she came in the door.Mandy's first dance class was today as well. Her class was scheduled later in the day,so Brad took another break to take her to the afternoon class. Isn't he a terrific daddy? He did inform me that I would have to at least take Mandy next week. He was the ONLY guy in the place :). Both girls came home showing mom and brothers what they had learned in class. Mom thought it was all so much fun...the boys moaned that now they would have to go to dance recitals. The girls and I lovingly watch all of their baseball games... I think it is a fair trade don't you?

Mom spent a good portion of the evening trying to bring cleanliness and order to our crazy house. I still have a lot of work ahead,but I am able to see progress. I don't think I mentioned the added fun that took place last week. We were all still sick but recovering when our heater went out. It wasn't exactly a prime time for it to go out either. Not only were we sick but the temperatures outside were in the teens. We managed to fill the house with space heaters and stay warm enough. We had hopes of making the heater last another year, but we had no such luck. A replacement was ordered and put in before the week was out.

Do you ever feel like you can't win for losing? Yesterday we woke up to the noisy,churning sound of our sump pump going off in the basement. We usually hear it often if there are heavy rains,but yesterday we had snow flurries with only a small amount of rain. What was up? Well... the sewer line apparently is backing up into the basement. So, we called a plumber. The guy refused the job because he didn't want to find a way to get his equipment down in our basement(Let's just say he won't get a good recommendation from us). There aren't many plumbers in our small town, and not any willing to go down in the basement. It isn't a large space and not an easy task, but you would think someone would like to make some money. Brad is going to tackle the job himself. We are praying that he can make the fixes without having to install a new sewer line. Oh boy, the joys of owning a 100 year old house!

Enjoy the pictures of our "dancing" girls ...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

School,Sickness,and Dance Class

We returned home from family Holidays only to get sick the next day. Brad had Pneumonia and then the flu hit as he was recovering. It hit all of us one after another. It made housekeeping next to impossible and suitcases hadn't even been unpacked. Apparently this sickness last for a nice long time, and none of the Smith Clan has felt 100% for a few weeks now. Surprisingly enough, we stayed on target with our school work. We did our work as we felt like it, and the kids didn't mind laying around listening to mom read (even with my croaky voice and hacking cough). Some days all we wanted to do was to sleep the day away. We did manage to get up and about at the end of last week. We put away most of the Christmas decorations (there are still a few things left), and we made a quick shopping trip today. Mia and Mandy are starting dance classes this week. Mandy is so excited that she tells us the countdown every morning when she wakes up. We HAD to get pink leotards, and daddy took them to get shoes yesterday. Mia is pretty thrilled too. She shows us her point toe everyday now, and she has really been quite taken with the ballet poses. Mom must admit that she is thrilled too. I always loved to dance as a little girl but never got the chance to take dance class. As the boys got a bit older, I had hoped that they might want to take tap dance...but they are all "boy" and baseball won out (of course their daddy didn't influence that,"NO"). We will see how they do. If the girls continue to show interest in dance then great, but we want them to find an activity that interest them. We try to limit the amount of activities because with all the kids our schedules can definitely overload. This week we will do our normal school day and spend the rest of the week cleaning and getting our house back in some semblance of order. Looks like a very busy week ahead....

Well Here goes...

Although I have been blogging periodically on our website, I decided that it was time to step up to a daily blog (or maybe I should say blogging as often as possible). We have some exciting (and some not so exciting) adventures with the kids. As they get older, we find many times that there were and are things the kids do that we wish we could remember. This is my attempt at being able to record some of those memories. We hope that you enjoy the crazy adventures of the Smith Clan.