Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bethany is 13!



Yesterday our baby turned 13. As we sat in the hospital holding our great niece this week, it hardly seemed possible that 13 years had passed since we were the ones sitting in the hospital holding our sweet newborn. So much has happened in thirteen years.

We started Bethany's birthday by having a sleepover with a few friends from our homeschool co-op (who happen to be very good friends). This year's party has been a work in progress. At first Bethany wanted to invite ALL of her friends to her party. She is in middle school and at our co-op is in the Girl Scout group with girls through high school. She wanted to have them over since she was now a teenager. I thought it would be hard to have a party that included kids from age 5 up to age 16, so encouraged her to have 2 parties: a bigger party with activities & goodies for the younger bunch & a teenage party just to hang out with the older girls. That morphed into having a sleepover with just a few of her teenage friends over and we'd send Natalie to one of her friend's houses that night. Then, we added some younger sisters of those girls, so Natalie, of course, would be staying. It would be JUST a slumber party & we'd do her birthday party next weekend. Never wanting to keep things status quo, it turned into some of the girls wanting to celebrate her b-day b/c they'd be out of town next weekend. Sooooooooooooo.......short story long (LOL), we had a semi-birthday-slumber-teenage-tweenage-party on Friday night! We had 6 extra girls plus our 2.

Here are some pics of the fun they had. To see the cute crafts they did, go to my crafting blog at www.chefmamacrafts.blogspot.com

Let's get this party started! Bethany watches as Annie & Natalie act natural. Um, I mean act like drama queens. Oh, that is natural! LOL!

A beautiful bunch of young ladies. We've watched them grow up from little girls to these lovely teens/tweens. And one large mama in the back!
Make a wish! Unlike her mom & sister, Bethany can blow out candles in one breath. We only had 10 candles, but this is the first time EVER she has blown out candles. She will not eat cake if candles have been in it (she says she can taste the wax), so we put them in a different mini-cake and let her blow them out. I'll have to blog about why you should never make mini-angel food cakes another time.

Bethany had us all laughing because she opens presents SO SLOWLY. I told everyone NOW they know why we are always late to co-op!
The sunglasses were on her wish list, so sister Natalie picked those out for her. The hat, well, we have no clue why she had that on. It's JULY in Texas!

Someone mentioned how thin someone was, which made me tell them I was so thin that a dress I wore in 8th grade is nearly too tight for Natalie (age 10, exactly the right weight/height for a 10 year old). We brought in a box of dresses & the fun began. Who knew big girls would still play dress up! They got a kick out of some of the styles! Natalie models this dress my mom (Mammaw) made for me when I was about 13.

I actually wore this dress. She looks stunning, but says it is itchy and the "stays" in the side kept poking her! Later she danced for us in this dress and gave us all a good giggle.
The moment Mom had been waiting for: movie is in, sleeping bags are all laid out, and there is hope that they will be snoozing soon. Believe it or not, only 3 girls were still awake at 2 a.m., and I think they went to bed soon after that.

I hope all the girls had as much fun as I had watching them. No arguments, even between sisters (now THAT is a miracle! ha, ha!). They giggled and danced and crafted and watched Bethany's homemade movies. They even got up and fed themselves in the morning! Maybe having kids get older is a good thing after all!

Our family gathering was later in the day and I will blog about that later.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sweet Baby Pictures

Got to sneak a peek at this precious baby today. Here she is for those whom I have not already bombarded with baby news! LOL!




Nils & Katie with their new baby Emery




Isn't she beautiful?


Mama loves her little bundle


Great Grandparents Mammaw & Poppaw Smith (my parents)


Grandma & Gramps Smith---Actually GiGi & Bee Gee Smith, my sis-in-law Robin who is an incredible singer heard the grandma name "Gigi" and it fits so well, and my brother Greg who is BG: Big Granddaddy or Big Greg! He did NOT want to be called Gramps! LOL!
Held by her 6'7" grandpa, this little less than 20" bundle looks so tiny!
(though, most of us look small compared to him!)

Emery was born at Northeast Baptist Hospital. Her daddy is a youth/singles pastor at Trinity Baptist, where her mommy grew up, and her maternal grandparents and aunt attend. Her uncle Chris & Aunt Becky go to 1st Baptist in Houston, and Becky works there. Her Grandpa Greg is a Methodist pastor, and her greats are Methodist, so it was kind of a church get together at the hospital! LOL!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

She's here!

Emery Jewell Smith was born at 8:30 pm and is 6 lbs. 4 oz. No more details yet other than this from my niece, Becky (now AUNT Becky!), "She's beautiful. I'm not just saying that she really is beautiful. She's long and skinny and has long fingers and toes. Oh, they took her hat off and she has fuzzy blond hair. Oooooh, ahhhh, they're giving her a bath, oh, look! Um, I'll see you tomorrow." click. Aunt Lori just got knocked down off the pyramid! ha, ha! That's okay because now I am.....

Aunt Lori, The GREAT! hee-hee!

Monday, July 20, 2009

When I Grow Up

When I was a little girl, I don't remember wanting to be anything specific when I grew up other than a mommy. I did go through a phase of wanting to be a stewardess. Do you remember the old days when they were called stewards and stewardesses? That's airline attendants for you young folk! Many of my friends had the Barbie Dream House. I had the Barbie AIRPLANE! My "Quick Curl Kelly" with red hair was the flight attendant. She was a full size Barbie before Barbie had a little sister named Kelly (back in the OLD days she had a younger sister named Skipper). In college, I really knew I wanted to be a teacher, but I also wanted to do full-time Christian work.

I got out of college, began teaching, met a man who wanted to be a missionary (I'd say that's full-time Christian work) and wanted to do that as a PILOT! He even wanted to marry me! THEN, we had a red-headed child, just like my Kelly doll. Okay, so I never had dreams of having a red-headed child, but thought I'd toss it into the story for good measure. 2 years later we had a 2nd child. Sounds like it all worked out, huh?

Except that after one year as missionaries, we weren't able to go back full-time to Africa and my husband had to find work totally outside of the mission field, but didn't have enough flight time to become a commercial pilot. The red-headed little bundle turned out to have autism and the 2nd child is ADHD/OCD with energy enough for the 4 of us! This is NOT a complaint, just how life is. And I am a MOMMY and a WIFE!

While I love being a Mommy and a Wife AND a full-time teacher (homeschool teachers never get a summer break or inservice days), and I do believe you'd call parenting this way full-time Christian work, sometimes I think of what I'd like to do if there were no boundaries. I am in the process of selling some of my crafts and about to sew some items that I think will be adorable and hopefully help with our income, plus I have some Pampered Chef catalog shows going on. But that pipe dream I have has to do with food. I love food. I really miss the ease of cooking without reading labels. I've been watching Next Food Network Star (and cheering for Melissa, the stay at home mom). I have NO desire to have my own cooking show on TV. I've been doing cooking shows for 8 years and cannot imagine doing them with a camera and lights and this & that and the other thing to deal with. I like to cook for a group of people in someone's home where it's relaxed and fun. So, no, that isn't my dream. What I'd like to do really is a list of things I'd like to do. Here goes.
  1. I'd love to write a cookbook with gluten free recipes. However, I'm still learning to make things gluten free. I ESPECIALLY want to create a really good cinnamon roll, crescent roll (that is TORTURE to be a Pampered Chef and not be able to eat those!), and chocolate chip recipe. The one Alton Brown has on his website is pretty good (thanks Kathy for that!), but not Toll house. CC cookies were my specialty. They weren't special. It was the recipe off the back of the Toll House chips bag. But they were what I did often and well. Shoot, I even did that for my "how to" speech in a college class!
  2. I'd love to have a PART-TIME gluten free bakery. I would NOT want the hours of a typical bakery. I don't do mornings, at least not well. The goods would have to TASTE GOOD. It makes me ill thinking about someone serving gluten free food that really doesn't taste good. If I can't have a bakery item that tastes good, I can just eat ice cream.
  3. I want to take cake decorating classes. I would love to create a gluten free wedding cake for someone! Wouldn't that be just the coolest?
  4. Now this one is the silliest, but it came to mind AGAIN the other day. I would love to be a chocolatier. There are chocolate companies out there using BARLEY MALT SYRUP as a sweetener. Barley is a gluten grain. How sad to not be able to eat Lindt chocolates. Godiva chocolate will not guarantee they have "safe" foods for the celiac either.
Of course, these things probably won't ever happen. If they did, I'd love to have my kids help me with it. Natalie loves to work in the kitchen (on the preparing end, not the cleaning part), and Bethany could whip up some cute ads for us.

Oh, yes, I would also love to write books even if they aren't food related. Not sure what kind, but I think it would be fun!

Now with all this food on my mind, I think I need some, um, sugar free chocolate. Being a food lover on a diet really stinks! LOL!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The pack's in the Mail--a lesson if you are moving!

You know the saying, "The check's in the mail," right? Well, right now I have 2 packages I ordered that were sent and have never arrived. It was in no way the senders' fault. The first was an ebay item I won: a set of all 6 Josefina American Girl Books AND some more Josefina books. It was such a good deal, too. I was so excited since we'd planned to teach this series in the fall at our homeschool co-op. The other was some stamps that were on clearance, then another set with a discount. These were sets I'd been eyeing & waiting for the time that I had enough money to get them. To get them on clearance was above & beyond my hopes! Why, you may wonder, if the senders aren't at fault, have I not received my things?

Well, it happened like this. The first one was my first ebay purchase in quite some time. I was so happy to win and anxious to get them that I paid immediately (I try to do that all the time). The sender was so gracious and was sending them out the next day. It was only later on that "next day" that I realized a problem. I never changed my mailing address in ebay or paypal. Ouch. We did file a change of address and had a few items forwarded to us, so I wasn't really worried. I did contact the seller, though, and told her to be on the lookout in case it was returned.

The second package should have had my new address, for I'd gone into paypal and added the new address. I marked it as primary address. I changed my address with the stamp company, too. I placed my order and got an order confirmation. I never looked at it because this company is so reliable. I then ordered something from half.com and noticed my old address was still in paypal, so I deleted it. I ordered some other things online that were also on sale (I had sold some stamp sets to earn money to do this, as money is always tight and I only buy things like this if I've earned money to do it). Those items came really fast.

I waited & waited but neither the ebay nor the other package came. I THEN looked online and saw that my stamp order had been sent to my OLD ADDRESS! It was NOT the fault of the sender. They go by the address on paypal. It was paypal that had messed up. I contacted both the ebay seller and the stamp seller. I have not heard from the ebay seller, but the stamp seller (who is just the best person to do business with---it's Clear Dollar Stamps) told me then it had not been returned to them. I checked again today & no, no returned package.

I finally did what I should have done to start: I went to the Post Office. Thankfully the main PO hub in SA is near my house. A lady helped me right away. She contacted my branch and they checked in several places but had nothing for me. She checked with the actual drivers for our mailboxes and they did not have anything. I left a message yesterday asking if anyone had actually gone to the old mailbox and looked inside. It's one of those blocks of boxes & you need a key to get into it. I haven't heard back.

In the meantime I'm just frustrated that I didn't check on the ebay or paypal info sooner. If you are going to move, in addition to changing your mailing address with all your utilities and such, you need to check your paypal & ebay accounts. Maybe next week will be the week the packages show up. And, for right now, we aren't sure when or where we'll have co-op so maybe I have awhile more to plan!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Family Reunion Part 2: Old Ladies

Last year Ruth, my mother-in-law, and 2 of her sisters-in-law, Glenda and JoAnn, made an appearance as "The Old Ladies." They "won" the American Idol contest held at the Reunion and came back this year to share more of their charm and wit. Here is their prize winning song.




video

Family Reunion Part 1

My mother in law's family has a HUGE family reunion. That is, they have a very well-planned weekend long stay at the lake kind of reunion. There is a theme each year and typically some kind of game to go along with it. Last year was American Idol. This year was Let's Make a Deal. I'll fill in details later, but for now, enjoy a few pictures of this crazy bunch!




Thursday, July 9, 2009

Weight

My scale says I gained 5 lbs. I hate my scale. I think I should toss it out the window. Except my clothes tell me I've gained 5 lbs., too. How can you eat lower fat food, climb up & down stairs all day when you are used to a one story house, and GAIN weight? I haven't done a serious diet or exercise, BUT I should have at least stayed the same or even lost a tiny bit just with more physical activity & less fat intake. As Miss Clavell says in the Madeline books, "Something is not right!" I suppose I should eat celery & walk a mile in the 102 weather, but I don't have the will power or physical energy for that right now. Maybe next week!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Silly question: Do you remember this question from your elementary school days: A friend would ask another, "Do they have the 4th of July in England?" Mind you, this was following on the heels of an American History lesson about good ol' George Washington and company fending off the Brits. Doubtless some poor soul would answer, "No, of course not, that's an American Holiday." The asker would then laugh and say, "Of course they DO have 4th of July in England. It's a date! They don't celebrate Independence Day on the 4th of July!"

So I shall rephrase my title and wish you a Happy Independence Day! If you are in England or anywhere else, I wish you a Happy 4th of July!

I could wax eloquent (and shouldn't that be wax eloquentLY?) about the virtues of the USA, but I'm tired & you've all heard it before. I shall just say how thankful I am to live here.

Hope you enjoy your day with family, friends, or perhaps just having time alone.

God Bless America!