Friday, December 31, 2010

Ally's first trip to the American Girl Store

Ally and I have been looking through the American Girl catalog for months in anticipation of her 4th birthday. We have been talking about this trip for a long time and she has been wanting a doll since she played with her sweet friend Ainsley's this summer. Mark and I really try to honor any promises we make to our kids so even thought things had been ridiculous around here we knew we needed to go to Dallas and make our Ally's dream come true! We decided to go to Dallas, let the kids meet their new nephews, stay in a hotel for a few days and then take Ally to the Galleria and let her choose a doll. It was a great plan, and you know how I LOVE a good plan :).
December 18th (Ally's real birthday) we enjoyedShipley's for breakfast. YUM!

Then onto the birthday girl's gifts. We told her she was going to Dallas to the American Girl store and she was VERY excited! Back to Dallas we go.

Ally holding Crew

Ryan meeting Coyt. They were both very sweet holding their new cousins and asking a lot of questions (and I mean a LOT...Where do babies come from? How do they get out of mommies' tummies? Why don't the have any teeth? How do they drink milk?...whoa!!! I think it must have been a while since they were around a teeny tiny baby!)

The next day we took Ally to the Galleria and she was in her element.

After trying to steer her to buy a historical doll, Mark reminded me to let her choose and this is who she Lila Anderson Wood :)

She really does look a lot like Ally. After getting Lila's ears pierced, we went and ate at the Bistro.


It was a fantastic day and Ally has taken Lila everywhere!

Our first of many trips to the America Girl Store was wonderful and it lived up to all of our expectations. I can't wait to go back.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Meet My precious nephews!

On Thursday, December 14th we had a WONDERFUL day. We were finally going to meet Coyt and Crew! Caryn was induced in Dallas and I was a complete nervous wreck. I kept praying but just filled with anxiety over all the details. But Caryn---you know the one actually HAVING the twins---was cool as a cucumber. Mark says she is a model pregnant lady, never complained and just glowed each and every time (a far cry from his wife!) I know that the Lord knew that she would be the perfect sister to have twins. She is so patient, and laid back and a wonderful mommy to her boys!!
Here she is opening a little gift from sweet Lauren.

She was progressing slowly at first the all the sudden she went from a 4 to a 10 in 45 minutes!!! The nurse called her doctor and rushed her to the OR just in case they needed to do surgery and we all waited very impatiently in the waiting room. After a hour or so we saw proud poppa Stacey coming out in his scrubs and he gave us the incredible news that everyone was doing great! Crew Anderson Smith weighing in at 5 pounds 14 ounces was born at 3:54 PM and his brother Coyt Austin Smith, 6 pounds 5 ounces, was born at 4:05 PM. They are the most precious tiny miracles you have ever ever seen!! Here we are lovin' on Crew.

And then finally we were able to see them together for the first time---we all went a little insane and took 100s of pictures. :) I mean look at Caryn she is for sure a rock star!

Coming home

And these are my favorite pictures. Stacey and Wyatt had strep so they were not able to meet their brothers at the hospital. Their first meeting was priceless!!

Sweet family of 6---S-I-X

Indeed a day for dancing.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tea Anyone?

Today my baby girl is FOUR! She is full of four-year-old questions and is quite expressive and emotional and wonderful all at the same time. I adore that she is a girlie-girl so when she said she wanted a tea party birthday I was all over it!

Getting 'dressed' for the party with Lila

I think that Ally probably drank 15 tiny cups of pink lemonade out of this princess tea pot. She had a blast serving herself "tea".

I am so thankful that we decided to have the party at the MIX instead of my house this year. With all we've had going on it was a wonderful decision. The decorations, and favors.

Lila checking her outfit

We had a special visitor come read us a Fancy Nancy book---Honey! Thank you mom. (Note big brother playing on Mark's phone, pretending like he's not listenening, but I know better!)

Ally and I had a blast at her party

Party guests, including baby Caroline!!!!

Practicing her pinkie up pose

Can I really use this to drink out of? YES!

Ally has some very generous friends. Thank you all!

A real Barbie Dress too!

I missed taking pictures of Ally blowing out her candles, but these were the delicious cookies! Oh I want one of those right now.

Ally I loved having a real grown up tea party with you and I love your sweet enthusiasm for life. I get teary just thinking of how blessed I am to have a daughter.

Happy Birthday Ally Girl, I LOVE YOU!!! Have a fantastic fourth year.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

There is a time for everything

A time to mourn
Wow where to start? What a difference a week makes. One week ago today we were celebrating Grandpa's 67th birthday. One week ago we were picking out special sugar-free chocolates for Grandpa and getting ready to meet Mark's parents at Red Lobster. We always love celebrating birthdays together and we had a wonderful dinner. We laughed, and we smiled and we tried to scare Grandpa by telling him that we were going to have the entire wait staff sing to him (he really hated that). Ryan was sharing his shrimp scampi and we were enjoying our time together as a family. One week ago today we didn't realize that would be our last meal with Mark's dad here on Earth.
Sunday morning while we were in Sunday School Norma found her beloved husband in his recliner not breathing. She immediately called 911 and they were there in minutes. Mark and I received a phone call from Norma and we raced to her home to see what was going on. We were greeted by two Hewitt police officers and given no information other than Grandpa was taken to Hillcrest Hospital. We drove to the hospital not knowing what awaited us but aware things were not good.
We were greeted at the emergency door by a young, scattered hospital Chaplin and taken into a family waiting room. The next few minutes seemed to last hours. A Doctor came in and the first words out of his mouth were,"I'm sorry to tell you Jim died." Shock set in and I can't really remember anything else. I know that Norma and Mark asked several questions and were given no helpful information. We were then ushered into the ER and asked to wait with his body while the Chaplin did who knows what. We received Norma's phone call at 10:10 and by 10:40 everything was different.
In desperation I cling to what I know to be true. God knew the very second of Jim's birth and He also knew the moment he would take his last breath. Nothing Jim did could change either one of those two things. I am reminded of Ecc. chapter 3 when Solomon wrote, there is a season for everything under heaven, a time to be born and a time to die. A time to mourn and a time to dance. I know that nothing is untimely to our Creator and that He is the author and sustainer of life. None of us are exempt from difficult times but mourning is just awful.
This week has been the hardest week of my married life. From the very moment we got that news the world changed for us. To watch my husband start to grieve has been unbearable. To tell my children that Grandpa died was awful and we are all exhausted, shocked, emotional, angry, confused and sad. Our lives are forever changed and I want to write a few of the wonderful things I loved about my father-in-law and also remember some of the words spoken at his grave site service by Mark's best friend David Rogers.
  • accepted Christ at a young age so we'll meet in heaven
  • was married to his precious wife Norma for 46 years
  • was in the marines for 7 years and a postman for 37 years
  • loved his sons and his grandchildren
  • survived by his wife, sons, brother, sister and many nieces, nephews and grandchildren
  • loved baseball, especially watching Mark and Ryan play
  • enjoyed a good meal, especially his wife's cooking!
  • never missed a day of work in 37 years at the post office. His work ethic was amazing.
  • was always prompt---never ever late to anything and he didn't appreciate tardiness at all
  • hated having his picture taken or dressing us for any reason.
  • was secretly compassionate. He was constantly helping others but never wanted people to know what he was doing.
  • was extremely proud of both Mike and Mark
  • loved playing golf and spending time at the ranch
  • had a perfect record of attendance at Ryan's soccer, basketball, football and baseball games. He was very proud of the fact that he was at every single game!
  • he had a soft spot for his only gran-daughter Ally. She could always get anything she wanted out of him :).
  • loved a colorful joke
  • was very competitive. He enjoyed cards, dominos, games, you name it
  • he raised a wonderful son who is the most amazing man I know. These are just a few of the many thoughts that keep me up at night. I wish I could have told him goodbye and let him know that we were going to be OK. And I would promise to take care of his wife---but that was not the case. I am continually reminded that life is fragile and it's necessary to make sure that we know Christ as our Savior.
    Grandpa we love you and we miss you

A time to dance

Jim passed away on Sunday and on Monday at 4:30 I got the privilege of welcoming sweet Caroline Caprice Warren into our family. Kacey, Josh and Lila are all doing GREAT, and she is the cutest baby ever. In the midst of mourning we were given a time to dance! To say that we were on a emotional roller coaster doesn't even come close to describing our week. I am so thankful that the Lord knew we needed to love on a teeny tiny precious baby this week. I'm in love!

Ryan and Aunt Kacey moments before Caroline's arrival!

She's here!! 7.10lbs and 20 inches and simply perfect!

oldest cousin

Ally and Caroline

Fancy Caroline at Ally's 4th birthday party yesterday!

Thank you Lord for a time to dance during our mourning!

Welcome to the world sweet Caroline.

{Thank you for praying for our family. Don't stop! We are carried by your prayers right now. Also add my sister Caryn to your list she's expecting the twins on Dec. 16th---more dancing to come!}

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Very Thankful Thanksgiving

WOW! Do we have a LOT to be thankful for this year. Praise the Lord! When we were sitting around the Thanksgiving table with my family. I had several thoughts. I know, it's rare, but sometimes I actually get a thought or two :-):
  • I love having meals in the home I grew up in. There are 13 of us now at one big table and it's frantic and loud and crowded but I wouldn't have it any other way
  • This year the kids were so peaceful, and they were together for four days.
  • This time next year we will have THREE 11 month olds joining our mix...that alone deserves PRAISE!
  • My marriage is stronger than ever. The power of commitment, prayer, and the Lord's faithfulness have been very evident in our lives the last 12 months.
  • When we went around the table and said what we were thankful for, Ryan chose electricity and his family, and I was thinking that I definitely take some things for granted.
  • I know several friends that have suffered terrible loss this year and I was thankful we were able to all be together.
  • And so so much more but like my GP said it would impossible to list them all because we're so blessed

We enjoyed Honey in her element letting the kids make a 'turkey'

We watched a movie-3D style

We enjoyed sweetness #1

and #2

Side note story: When I asked Caryn what her boys would like for Christmas she said that they would really like a snuggie. After laughing for 5 minutes straight since I make SOOOOO much fun of those 'robes', I saw they had kid snuggies at HEB and immediately had to get 5 for Thanksgiving. I guess Caryn knows a thing or two because ALL the kids were THRILLED, and Ryan and Ally have been using them non-stop. (I still make fun of them just not to their faces of course)

We loved visiting Snuggieville

We went bowling and had a blast

And managed to get in some great snuggle time with Wy-Wy.

Thank you Lord for a wonderful year, we are SO blessed!

Psalm 100
"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made is, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."