Sunday, January 31, 2010

Birthday Boy


Today is Kevin's birthday... I asked him as we were driving to church, and as Noah and I were singing him the birthday song, when exactly during the day he was born. To his recollection, it was sometime just before 1:00pm. Not that this matters. You see, I just wanted to make sure that he truly WAS 32 at that moment while we sang to him. :)

Yes, I married a younger man! And it keeps me young. We played games with some friends on Friday night and that's when Kev attempted to blow out his 32 candles. For his cake this year, he chose THE cake.... Betty Crocker so discreetly refers to it as the "Better Than Almost Anything Cake." But we know it as Better Than ______ Cake. (Because this is a family blog, I will leave that blank. Let's just say that it starts with an S and ends in EX.)

Happy Birthday, Baby!!! Hope you have a great one...


Love,

Kevin's Older Woman
@>->--

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Freezin' Football


The snow was oh, so pretty when it first fell in December last year. Now it is reduced to black ugliness lining every roadway and parking lot. I can't wait to see green grass again! Even if it means that the mosquitoes and spiders are returning. We officially have cabin fever... :)

Back to the pretty snow. So it was frigid and crunchy and slick and overwhelming. The obvious thing to do?....

Go outside and play football!!!


...Duh!


Man, I love Kevin's form.... E-hem....





video


Abbie and I stayed toasty warm inside while they frolicked in the freezin' snow. And I do mean FREEZIN'!!!! Good times....

Love,
Nicole
@>->--

Thursday, January 28, 2010

You know that it's snowed A LOT this winter...

... When you can't find parking at the mall unless you have 4WD.


I took these pictures with my phone today. True story. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Natural Reaction


I reached a breaking point this weekend. The expression is that "it was the straw that broke the camel's back." I don't know at what point I looked at my back and saw mountains of hay, but this weekend it definitely came crashing down. :)

Kevin and I have been dealing with our health insurance company recently... (BIG HUGE shocker...) because they all of a sudden stopped paying claims for Noah in December. I took him in for his H1N1 shot, and then received a bill for the full amount in the mail. Their explanation? Noah's effective date of coverage occurred after this appointment.

HUH? They've been paying claims for him since August of 2008. Since Kev and I decided to change our plan as of January, I figured that it was just a mix-up and I called them about it. I was not prepared for that conversation with really, a genuinely nice lady at BCBS costumer service.

She looked at our account and asked me a question that threw me so hard I had to lean against the counter.

"Is Noah adopted?"

Long pause... "He is. Why?"

"Well, whoever did the paperwork for you initially when your husband was hired didn't put that he is an adopted child. So when you changed plans in January and listed him as an adopted child, this set off a red flag. We're going to need to see your adoption paperwork in order to determine his effective date of coverage."

LONG pause... At this point I was bristling. I was a little angry, but calmly asked "I really don't understand why that is relevant. What does that have to do with anything?"

And then I heard it. A phrase that cuts me to my very core.

"Because, Mrs. Smith. Noah is not your natural child."

I knew exactly why they needed to see the paperwork. Legally they need to make sure that he was placed with us BEFORE they started paying his claims. But after the last year and a half of struggling with the next adoption process and praying and hoping and not knowing about the next baby and EVERYTHING that happened last summer

These words were the last straw. I broke down sobbing on the phone.

Noah is my one sure thing in this whole mess. He's mine by law and by the laws of heaven. And let me say that NOTHING feels more natural than when my little boy throws himself around my neck and tells me he loves me. "Mommy" never sounded so sweet.

So this poor lady that ended up in the wrong conversation with an on-edge woman gently said to me "I understand that you're upset. But the best thing to do at this point is to go ahead and send us the paperwork, Mrs. Smith."

Fine.

You'll get your proof that I didn't carry Noah under my heart for nine months before he came into this world. And I HATE the fact that I have to send this once again for whatever reason.

Later, as I opened the safe and pulled out Noah's adoption file to copy the paperwork, I looked at a piece of paper that said "sealed for time and all eternity, December 26, 2007, Medford Oregon Temple."

The rippling waves of hurt, anger and heartache calmed in my heart.

Let them have their worldly proof.

I have mine every time I look at MY SON.


Love,

A Natural Mother
@>->--


Saturday, January 23, 2010

You know you're running late...


... When you find yourself changing a diaper (WITHOUT taking his pants and shoes back off) and brushing your teeth at the same time.

True story.


BTW - This is proof that you never really outgrow your Bumbo...


Friday, January 22, 2010

Ray LaMontagne

As some of you may know, Ray LaMontagne is one of my personal favorites. Today I randomly happened upon his acoustic cover of "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley... and it's AWESOME. It's added to the playlist (#32). If I've made you curious, I decided to go ahead and embed the youtube video too (though it's just the music and a static picture of Ray).



Apparently it was a B-side to a single released in the UK back in 2006. Who knew?

~Kevin

Friday, January 15, 2010

Smith Family Christmas


The Smith Family Christmas was awesome this year. It was full of Guitar Hero, wrapping paper, running children, and lots of homemade candies (Thanks, Mom!). You could say that it was organized chaos! The best of times and memories...

So this is our tribute to the wonderful Christmas we spent with Kevin and his family this year. Yes folks it's time to play...

"I TOTALLY found that in the video!!!"

The following video is a perfect representation of the Smith home during "the entire family came home for the holidays" stay.... And we wouldn't have had it any other way. :)

O-KAY... To play, please find each of the below listed items and actions in the video:

Best of luck!


video


- Jordan "tearing it up" on the guitar
- Kevin playing the drums
- Brittany killing it on lead vocals (um... she has the mic, K?)
- Mom doing a quick walk through on her way to count coins
- Noah doing his "Duck Dance"
- Kevin singing sweet back-up vocals
- Clay reading on the couch... I THINK he's awake
- C getting crafty on the floor (that's NOT dirty)
- Heather and Maeli doing a bouncy cheerleading routine
- Abbie barking at a flying object
- Jason operating and TEASING Abbie with flying object (a helicopter)
- Pig-tailed Hayley doing sweet drill team moves while she dances
- Pony-tailed Tia flitting around like a Fairy (yes, I said "Flitting"...)
- Noah throwing Woody's hat and retrieving it from a dancing cousin

K, this is where it gets HARD:

- 3 coats
- Buzz Lightyear
- Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots
- 2 barefoot relatives
- A Christmas Tree advent calendar hanging on a door
- 2 camera cases behind someone's head
- 3 running cousins


.... How did you do?

I thought so. Fortunately, there's no limit to how many times you can view this video.

I think Dad was trying to dig his way out from under the wrapping paper!



Here's a quick little video of Noah and his Daddy taking their turn at Guitar Hero.

video

Have fun,

Nicole
@>->--

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Beautiful Boy


Introducing... Zachary Jason Dubois


Born to Jake and Jaime...


Tuesday, January 5th, 2010...

8 pounds 9 ounces, 21 inches long...


Welcome to the famdamily, little boy!!!

I'll be your favorite Aunt CoCo. I promise. :)


BTW - The photos with "KS" on them on courtesy of Kristen Spencer Photography in Utah Valley. Thanks, Kristen!!! I know that my sister loves them. :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Luminaria and the Llama


The Christmas Eve Luminaria has been a special tradition for my family since we moved to Oregon in 1988. One of the neighbors came by when the weather turned cold and gave my parents a cool little piece of paper that explained about the Luminaria and invited us to join the entire neighborhood in this festive showing. And when I say the entire neighborhood, I mean this literally. So we bought our plain white paper bags and our votive candles. We put a little scoop of sand at the bottom of each bag, placed a lighted candle right in the middle and watched as the sun went down and the Luminaria began to glow. Then we all got into our Christmas jammies and went for a drive around our little neighborhood. We were AMAZED!!! With the exception of about 4 or 5 houses, every stretch of sidewalk and all the driveways were filled with glowing bags. We drove for a mile or so through the winding streets near our new house and just OO-ed and Ah-ed. I think we all fell in love with Luminaria that first Christmas in Oregon. Later, our pajama-clad drive on Christmas Eve became more to see the Luminaria than the Christmas lights viewed shortly afterward. I've told Kevin that no matter where we end up, we will carry on this tradition.

This year my parents took us on our Christmas Eve drive to see Christmas lights. Noah was so excited! But first we took our drive to find the Luminaria. Sadly, there are only a few houses that have kept with the tradition. I think mainly because people move away or just can't put them out for whatever reason. But I will always remember those Christmas Eve's when Dad would say that we needed to do extra bags so that we could do the sidewalk across the way because Mrs. Hunter was too frail to do it herself, etc. We were happy to do it. I can't wait for our first Luminaria at our very first house. :)

Here's what they look like as the sun is setting. We're getting ready to light the candles...


Dad and Mom playing with fire!


I LOVE this picture. You may need to click on it to enlarge, but if you look closely you can see my dad in the background crouching down and lighting candles. (Sniff....)


This is Gram and Noah viewing our handy work.


One of our favorite places to view Christmas lights on Christmas Eve is a neighborhood called GreyStone Court. It's an older and very POSH collection of gorgeous homes in West Medford. Some could even say that it's Hoyty Toyty! But I think it's lovely... I believe that the whole neighborhood has a professional team come in and decorate for Christmas. It's really cool to see. And then a few years ago they started to collect cans of food for the local foodbank as people would drive in and through to see the lights. Way to put popularity to good use! And you would not BELIEVE the lines of cars that wait to turn into the court to see the lights. It's insane. We actually learned to park about a block away, put the babies in strollers and leashes on the dogs, and walk down and around the court. Much better!

Here are a few pictures:


And finally... While we were walking through... We saw Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus... And a LLAMA.

You heard me.


Noah snagged a candy cane from Santa and waved at Mrs. Claus. I was a little relieved when he wouldn't go near the llama... you know... spit. E-hem.


And lastly - Here is a picture of the line of cars (coming from BOTH directions) that were waiting to turn into the court. Once again, I was glad that we had walked. Although there was one year when my parents rented an SUV limo for the lot of us plus extended family to drive around the valley and view Christmas lights. And it was something ELSE to see the limo driver maneuver that thing into Greystone and back out!

Don't worry... We donated to the food bank.


Looking forward to the next Luminaria,

Nicole
@>->--

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Christmas Eve Nap


Sometimes I don't care WHERE or HOW he does it... Just so long as the nap actually HAPPENS. Especially on Christmas Eve. We were going to look at Christmas lights after dinner (next post... I promise!) and then open our Christmas Eve jammies. I was relieved when I left dinner prep in the kitchen to find him like this on Daddy's lap.


Whew! I knew I'd have a happy little boy for the rest of the festivities that night... and it's a very good thing, too. We were surprised by a LLAMA.

Next post... Really. I have pictures.

Love,
Nicole
@>->--

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I'm a "Roadie"...

For those of you who don't know....

One of my guilty pleasures is the Antiques Roadshow. Yes, I Tivo it every Monday night. Let's just say that Monday night kicked off a great new season with the HIGHEST appraisal allowed to be shown on air to date.

Enjoy:




Please excuse the swear word, but I think it's a genuine reaction for sure. Pretty incredible stuff!!!

Nicole
@>->--

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"And they'd feast, feast, feast, feast...."

I know why the average holiday weight gain is about 5 to 7 pounds. Because I'm sure the average person consumes that much food on Christmas Eve alone!

My parents have created a masterpiece of a Christmas Eve tradition. It may not happen every year from here on out, but the last few years have been the greatest EVER...

Fillet of Beef with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce:


In a word: AAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah........... (drool)

It's heavenly. This year we also had twice-baked potatoes, sauteed shrimp, green beans steamed with awesomeness and other goodness by my mother (I wasn't in the kitchen at that point... I'm not sure, but it was delightful!), balsamic pearl onions, homemade rolls, and a beautiful spinach, apple, and pomegranate salad.


The scene of the crime...


I love that Noah's little green cup is in this picture. He was such a sweetie on Christmas Eve, just trying to take it all in. Literally....


Of course, sparkling apple-cranberry/ grape juice tops off the meal. AND... I can't believe that I didn't get a picture of it. But we had creme brulee for dessert. Amazing...


A meal to remember... If anyone would like the recipes for any of the goodness displayed above, let me know. I have them... Oh yes.... I HAVE THEM. :)

It's a week later, and I'm just now starting to feel hunger pangs again. I guess that's a good sign!

Love,
Nicole
@>->--