Jonah-man is FIVE

What a joy this boy is!

He is tender and empathetic.

He is tough and brave and strong.

He oozes love and friendliness.

Hugs are his love language.

He wants to make you laugh.

He is smart and fun and silly.

He always wants to know “why?”

He loves to push the limits.

He loves learning and playing games and pretending.

His sister is his best friend, his brother is his buddy, his Momma is his love and his Daddy is his hero.

Jonah- We are so proud of you!

We LOVE LOVE LOVE you!

Emerson turns FIVE!

What a day- our baby is FIVE!

Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago we were bringing her home from the hospital? How could those chubby baby cheeks have turned into this grown-up face staring back at me. She’s got long legs, the best laugh, and the most beautiful brown eyes. I’m so proud of this girl, mostly because she is kind. She’s a good friend and sister. She’s got a laid-back personality that can go with the flow easily. She is tender-hearted. She gets EXCITED about life. Watching her eyes light up is my favorite and I hope she never loses her pizzaz for life! I hope she always sees the best in people and brings joy wherever she goes. I hope she always sees people the way Jesus does and loves them without question. She’s a gem and we’ve been calling her that from the beginning… our Em Gem!

This has been the year of the LION! I mean- OBSESSED! She knows how they prowl and pounce. She knows what they eat and how they roar. She memorized Lion King (cover to cover) and recites it without pause. She could be found perfecting her lion skills any place any time. Never a bad time for LION TIME!

Somewhere in between her lion impersonations, she learned how to snap and whistle. Pretty big stuff. She lost TWO TEETH (way early) and got really good at baseball (Go CUBBIES)! She learned how to swim without a floatie, tred water, and swim underwater even in the deep end. She never gives up when she wants to figure something out and she’s all about practice!

This year she wanted to pray to ask Jesus into her heart.  We talked in her bed for a long time and answered lots of thoughtful questions. Her nightly prayers are so genuine and sure to touch our hearts and sometimes our funny bones too. A favorite was when she told Jesus he was the most awesome baby to be born at Christmas. 🙂

We love our girl to pieces and look forward to all the fun of FIVE (even though she promised she’d stay four forever)! WAAAAAAA!

Emmy’s Chapter Five Birthday Party

We celebrated our first baby turning FIVE yesterday with friends and family (tears, tears, tears)! She is so old! She loves to read so we decided on a book theme: chapter five/happily ever after/five is a fairytale- everything cheesy like that. 😉 img_2902My short teaching career left me with a few bins of books that were either half destroyed already or nothing worth keeping. I scoured our torn up books and pulled pages that had a pretty distinct color to make a wall of rainbow ombre book pages. img_2936Smith parties always gotta have a photo-booth. 🙂 img_2907img_2958img_2947img_2918img_2900img_2897img_2943img_2945 img_2917On the mantle I made a banner using 8X10 photos from each of her birthday parties past. I glued them on a backdrop of book pages and jazzed them up by adding paper flowers and greenery from book pages. img_2926 img_2925 img_2924img_2927I used a foam board and hot glue to attach pages for the backdrop. I painted book pages with watercolor to make these flowers and hung them like a wreath around the chapter five letters. img_2932   img_2930 img_2948The food spread was all book-themed so I set the book out by each snack. I didn’t get great pictures of this but we did pigs in a blanket with The Three Little Pigs. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by a crockpot of meatballs, Fruits and veggies by The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and some crackers and cheese by a Henry and Mudge cracker story. img_2914 img_2946For the cake we decided to do donuts to keep life simple and set them out by an adorable book called, Donut Chef. img_2939 img_2940 img_2961 img_2960 img_2965For entertainment, we had the kids create their own stories. I picked up some fun patterns of paper and stapled them into mini books with writing lines and set out markers, pencils, and crayons for all our little authors. img_2922  img_2919 img_2923 img_2921img_2952img_2955img_2956img_2953Finally, we sent the kids off with a bag of sugar (book worms) to thank them for partying with us! 🙂img_2950It was a great day celebrating our special girl and we’re so thankful for sweet friends and family who surround her with so much love!

 

Christmas at the Smith’s

img_1740We spent Christmas Eve day playing games at home in our jammies. It was so nice to spend fun time at home with the kids. We tried out all these minute-to-win-it games which were hilarious. They usually turned into the kids getting frustrated and Matt and I battling it out. I spent nap-time working on paper magic while Matt put together the big present in the backyard.  We spent the evening with my family at the Bridge’s service. We were at least a half hour late because- kids (and may be my outfit). 😉 We always go to dinner at Happy House , this hole in the wall Asian place. I love these silly traditions we absolutely must keep. img_1677Once we got home, the kids opened one present (matching jammies and a Christmas story). With lots of anticipation in the air, we sent them off to bed and got to “elfing” out our house. This is our third year to deck the halls with gobs of paper chains and snowflakes and I think it was the last. haha! So much work and sadly our kids are growing out of taking much notice of it. It’s pretty much a bee line to the tree these days. 🙂 We tried to up our game by adding their favorite color and some glitter spray but it was no match for the presents under the tree.

My favorite part of this year was the expressions on Tuck’s face. He’s never been so into opening gifts as he was this year. He was in absolute shock at each thing he opened. I did all this shopping including major superhero awesomeness and last minute Matt decided to order him a Batman watch from Amazon. Of course THAT was his absolute favorite gift of all time. He is so proud of his watch “just like Daddy” and shows anyone he meets.img_1965 img_1967

Emmy was most excited about her Lion Guard jungle from Tuck. She could pretend for hours on that thing! Crosby was such a sweety and really loved trying to grab and rip up all the wrapping paper. The kids were happy to help him tear open his gifts and try to teach him how to play. 🙂img_1968 img_1969img_1753 After we unwrapped the last of the gifts we indulged in some orange cinnammon rolls (a Christmas staple) and some skillets (yum!). When the kids thought it was all over, Matt found a mysterious card in the tree and read aloud to begin their clue hunt for the BIG EPIC PRESENT!!!

We all love the new trampoline!!! It’s such a good one for us. We love being outside but our backyard isn’t fenced in so this is a great energy-burner for while keeping them contained at the same time. It worked out awesome that it was 70 degrees on Christmas day. We jumped most of the day away and even went for a family walk in short sleeves. Amazing.img_1756img_1755img_1971img_1757-1img_1970We’ve always rushed off to another Christmas celebration so it was really nice to just be home all day this year. The kids loved getting to actually play with their new toys and enjoy them. I love my family and treasure all these precious memories made! img_1738

Christmas Program Cuties

The kids sang in the Christmas program at their preschool yesterday and it was adorable. I just love these photos of my kiddos because they really are the best of friends (and worst of enemies depending on the minute). img_0697-2img_0738img_0737img_0741img_0740 img_0698 img_0705 img_0704img_0712img_0709img_0713img_0706I’ve been listening to their versions of these songs for since October and I could hardly wait to see what they’d actually do once on the big stage, especially Tucker. I’d never seen him in this kind of setting before and had him pegged for either the kid singing directly into the mic or the one staring blankly, not singing at all. He totally surprised me and came onto the stage waving and smiling. He was the first kid to set his jingle bells down in front of him just as the teacher directed (first to follow directions- SHOCKER!!!) He then went into super serious mode and quietly sang along not even looking at us the whole show. Emmy was so funny about her songs. She never wanted me to practice with her because she wanted me to be surprised. It broke her heart a little when she realized I already knew some of the words to “wish you a merry Christmas”. haha! She was thrilled to see our whole crew waving and cheering when her class took the stage. She sang and did the motions like a champ and wanted to know which song was my favorite. img_0734img_0733img_0736img_0735Look at that cheer squad! I’m so thankful for family that loves my kids so well!

Colorado in the Fall

We hiked, we explored, we totally, completely, head-over-heels fell in love with the Centennial State. Beautiful colors, cool natural waters, wild animals, delicious coffee, natural playgrounds, outdoor fun at every turn. We had a wonderful time on our first family vacation as a tribe of 5!

As we were planning our Fall Break, we decided to book airfare wherever we could fly on points for the cheapest. Denver won and we started looking for where to go from there. We decided to spend 3 nights in the Mannitou Springs area and then a couple more in Denver. A mix of kid-friendly hiking, yummy eateries and a wide variety of unplanned fun.img_8272

In Mannitou Springs, we stayed in this adorable AirBnB. It was the perfect cozy place to cuddle, play games and settle down at the end of adventurous days. It was at the foot of the Red Rock Canyon Open Space, which just made the drives to and from “home” even more amazing. We loved hiking the open space too! We went at dusk one evening and saw deer, bunnies and birds all over. Norah got within 30ft of a two doe and froze, just watching them for several minutes. She came running back to us, “Mom, I didn’t even say anything but that deer knew I was a friend! She just stared at me like she KNEW I was an animal rescuer!” 🙂

 

img_8490

On our first night in the area, we went to Seven Falls. The Broadmoor Hotel owns the property, so you park on their premises and take a free shuttle up to the park. It is a 1 mile walk up to the falls- they say it is Colorado’s “Grandest Mile.” The walk was breathtaking! So many beautiful fall colors, a rippling stream and mountains surrounding you on every side. We were all in awe of God’s amazing creativity and the love He shows us through His creation.

img_8248

At the top of the walk is the Seven Falls (seven waterfalls pooling and crashing their way down the cliffs). There is a mountain elevator to an observation deck or the epic 224 stairs to the top of the falls. We did both! The kids were the most amazing, they climbed the stairs with so much ease, all while Josh and I were consciously breathing and stretching our legs… Josh does have the added excuse of wearing Miles on the steep stairs ;). At the top of the falls, we all stood and watched the water. We hiked higher into the woods- the kids running over rocks and feeling the cool stream water. We heard animals snapping branches and felt a tree shake as a woodpecker went to work. At the top of the trail, we hid in what looked like a bear cave as rain began to fall. The kids were giggly and happy and amazed. We had the best talks about Jesus and his creation. We explored, we laughed and we had this “moment” that just made the vacation forever memorable. Even after we got home, we all said that Seven Falls was our favorite adventure.

On the second day, we visited the Royal Gorge. The Royal Gorge is like an outdoor amusement park. We took a gondola (hanging 1200 feet in the air) over the 2200 foot gorge. The drop was breathtaking! Josh did the Royal Rush Skycoaster- essentially a slingshot out over the gorge. CRAZY! They have an amazing playground and outlooks… and the icing on top, was seeing a flock of wild rams. Norah was so excited! As we walked over the Royal Gorge Bridge, we found the Oklahoma flag and timed popcorn falling to the Arkansas River below. After finishing the scavenger hunt, the big kids earned their “Junior Ranger” status and badge. They pledged to protect all animals, throw away litter and obey their parents- win, win and win! 🙂

img_8347

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was incredible! They have the area set-up in different continent zones and the animal exhibits are huge. The first area into the zoo is the Giraffes. They are walking around, heads over the railings, ready to eat from your hands. We paid $5 for two helpings of romaine and the kids LOVED feeding the giraffes. Their long tounges were hilarious, even Miles was all giggles.

img_8393

After the giraffes, we saw the rest of the zoo. Jonah loved seeing the Lions and thought immediately of Emmy. Norah loved the Elephants and watching them bathe themselves in water and sand. We fed the birds and held a reptile in the Australia, we howled with the Wolf and fed chickens in the Rocky Mountain Wild. And, at the end of the day, we saw the most particular sighting- wild deer were in many animal habitats. They were wandering the paths, they were eating the rhinos leftovers and a huge buck was watching tourists from Primate World. We asked a zoo keeper about it and she said its “totally normal.” They do their best to keep all the animals safe, but given the area, the deer do wander in and out of exhibits. 🙂

Our last adventure in Colorado Springs was Garden of the Gods. This area is gorgeous! We hiked the Siamese Twins trail and saw Pike’s Peak in the distance. The area was perfect for rock climbing and pretending and once again, sitting in awe of God’s beautiful world.

img_8528

After all our outdoor fun, we headed to Denver and stayed at the Hyatt House Downtown Denver (free with points!) This… oh, it was memorable. The big kids loved sleeping together, watching TV in bed and being in the hustle of the city. Miles… well he had a rough night the first night. He cried literally all night long, we kept taking him out of the room to walk laps around the fitness room. Pretty sure we gave the security guards a good show that night. Somehow, the big kids didn’t wake to his screams til 4am and after that sleep was sporadic for us all. That next day is a big blur or zombie survival. We checked out a delicious (much needed) coffee place, we found a downtown park to play at and we shopped a bit on 16th street. We all napped (PTL) and spent the evening watching a movie as a family.

The next day we all woke up early, but much more refreshed. Josh took the big kids to a couple more coffee shops, to VoodDoo Donut and Torchy’s Tacos while I napped with Miles. Later, we all played at City Park and visited the Denver Museum of Nature and Science before heading home. The museum was awesome! So much for kids of all ages and so interesting for adults too. We could have spent many more hours here!

Colorado was a beautiful family time! If we could dream a way, we may be convinced to move there. 😉 I felt refreshed and thankful after a week of fun. I was reminded what an incredible Dad my husband is and how fun our kids are. Overall, as we boarded the plane back to Oklahoma, Josh and I agreed that this trip was the gratifying confirmation that we can still “do this.” We can still adventure and explore and travel- even when we’re outnumbered by these 3 amazing kiddos!

img_8211

Christmas Wish List for Mama + Kiddos

wishlist1Here’s a few things on my list for myself + the kiddos…


  1. Mac Lipstick– Ruby Woo
  2. New Perfume– I’ve been out for about a year but never feel like buying such a treat for myself. I’ve always loved Marc Jacobs Daisy fragrance.
  3. New sports bras– I wear them daily but have about three that I actually like and they’re OLD. With all the changes from pregnancy I could really use some nice new ones! I love all the colors available in and this style by Nike.
  4. Brow Pencil and Shaping Scissors– it’s the year of the brows and these tools could really up my game. 😉
  5. Over-the-knee black boots– Asos has the best shoe selection with reasonable prices!
  6. Slippers– love these UGG knockoffs for the winter season!
  7. Spirograph– I used to LOVE these as a kid! We got this for Em and I can’t wait to have some craft time with her.
  8. Red Hunter Boots– LOVE! This shade is the perfect pop of color and could be worn by both my boys and girls. It’s definitely more than I usually spend on their shoes but would be a great gift idea that could be passed on to all three.
  9. Books, books, books. We’re having kind of a war on toys this year. This is a great alternative to the endless parts and pieces that wind up lost all over the house. Books are always welcome here! 🙂 I’ve started reading chapter books to Em before bed and she loved this “Toys Go Out” one so we ordered the other two in the series for Christmas. Tuck loves these dinosaur books so we picked up the Christmas one for him. (Ada Twist, Scientist, Lion Lessons)
  10. Baseball and mitt– we’ve been a little obsessed ever since the Cubs won the world series! The kids practice daily and they’re both actually pretty good at it. I was so excited to get Tucker his own mitt and ball this year so we can really work on his skills. 🙂 Plus- anything that gets the kids playing outside more is a WIN!

What’s on your list this year!?

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

img_9250 For some reason (possibly all the warm weather and serious lack of Fall around here) I’ve been slow to get in the spirit this year. We’ve barely been able to break out our sweaters and the countdown to Christmas has begun. Having a baby definitely speeds the clock as well. I think the last five months passed without us even noticing. Anyway, now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, it’s time to get in the spirit. This year we decided to go to a tree farm to find the perfect pine for Crosby’s first Christmas. img_9254img_9251img_9279img_9281We’re all obsessed with this boy. No one in our family can resist his sweet cheeks. They’re scrumptious. img_9252img_9288 We went to the Owasso Tree and Berry Farm and it was really adorable. It felt like it’s own mini Christmas town. We pictured sawing down our own tree and eventually realized the best ones were actually imported from Oregon and already cut and setting in water. The already cut trees were pretty pricey, like over double that of a hardware store option. After searching around we decided we’d be fine with swinging by Lowe’s on the way home to grab a $50 fir. Ha! We did find some really pretty swags that smell beautiful and have a new home above our fireplace. Even though we didn’t even wind up bringing home a tree, this farm was a super fun experience. They have hot cider and a free hay ride between the farm and the store. The kids had a blast exploring the aisles of pine trees and pretending to be on a big adventure in the woods! img_9285img_9263img_9271img_9291img_9262img_9259img_9260 img_9270Now that the halls are decked and the twinkle lights are up, I’m feeling way more in the spirit. I’m most excited to have our little Crosby this year. All the first of this year are so fun! 🙂

Love Does.

Bob Goff spoke at our church a few weeks ago and it was so, so good. It’s nothing deep or new but simple and spot on. It’s been encouraging to me so I wanted to share some of what I’ve been mulling over…

I’ve been a Christian since age 3 so it’s easy for me to take it for granted. It’s easy to learn to say and do all the right things and let your relationship with the Lord become stale. I think our culture adds to the idea of constantly measuring our own actions as well as others as either right or wrong/ good or bad. This type of thinking sidetracks us from what Jesus has actually called us to do: love one another.

The “Love Does message” is all about loving people and simply being “with” them. Bob Goff’s demeanor is so infectious. He oozes a love for life and others. He almost appears to be a person completely unaffected by the day-to-day stresses of life because he’s too busy enjoying people. He laughs like a crazy person at the frustrations that would derail some people. And, he’s much more joyful and content because of it. After listening to him speak for the first time, Matt and I couldn’t stop talking about it. We  immediately bought his book on itunes and have set out to apply these principles. Of course the second we start striving for a more laid-back love approach to life, our kids are screaming and fighting and pushing every button we have. Doesn’t it always work this way?

The more I listen to his book, the more I’m inspired to keep my faith simple. Love God, love people. He talks about love as more than just hoping but doing, putting action to the word. It’s been in the back of my head in all my interactions. How can I do love for this person, even the ones I usually steer clear of because of x, y, and z excuses. It’s extremely freeing to let go of my opinions and inhibitions and simply love. Instead of questioning people’s intentions or actions, all I need to do is what Jesus asked me to: love my neighbor. As Goff says, “It’s simple but it’s not easy”.

Mr. Miles: Month ELEVEN

Movin’, Movin’, Movin. This boy is on the go!

img_9532

Miles is interested in doors, cabinets, door stoppers, and emptying any storage container he can get his hands in. His favorite entertainment this month has been, emptying the candy filled Halloween pumpkins, emptying crayon boxes and chucking every ball from his toy bin across the living room. Mom’s daily clean up has significantly increased this month! 🙂

Miles is pulling up on everything and starting to “cruise.” He loves stairs and climbing over pillows. He still does not stand alone or show signs of walking, but seems very confident in his movement.

He loves any food he can get in his hands, but prefers eating off mom’s plate. Miles loves Cheerios, blueberries, and bananas right now. He nurses 1-2 times a day and LOVES water in a zippy cup. He has two teeth that are STILL begging to pop through the surface. Oh, how I cannot wait til we can stop blaming crankiness on teething ;).

Miles sleeps about 12hrs at night and takes two naps (1-2hrs each). He RARELY falls asleep in the car anymore and never in our arms or on the go (insert Mom tears). The “needing two naps, but they have to be in a bed” stage is not my favorite. It’s really cramping our on-the-go life :). BUT, it is just a stage and before we know it, this boy will be down to one nap and I’ll miss the hours of sleep he once needed.

This silly boy, loves to tease and be chased! He buries his head in the carpet, overcome in giggles, when Daddy calls “Miles!!!” He loves to clap his hands, make music and bounce to a beat. His favorite song is “Happy and You Know It”, he lights up when we start singing!

Miles has a knew found love of board books this month. We’ve enjoyed reading to him before bed and letting his flip the pages. He still is not using words consistently. He says, “Mamamama” when he’s upset and shakes his head “no” when he’s mad. He chirps when our dog barks and grunts when he doesn’t get what he wants. However, imitating our sounds is still a milestone we are waiting on.

Mr. Miles- We love your happy face! We love the way you smile with your eyes, one eye squeezed more tightly than the other. We love your chipmunk cheeks, your tanned skin and the new mullet your growing in. You are handsome and silly. You are a joy! We love you!

img_9353