Monday, May 31, 2010


Happy Memorial Day. :)

Today I've been thinking a lot about my Grandpa Gardner. My grandpa passed away a few weeks before Easter in 2003. I believe that he was 93, but I'm not sure (help, Mom!). At the end of his days, he was quite frail and sometimes didn't recognize some of the people that he's always loved so much. But I like to remember my grandpa from when I was a little girl. This picture above was taken in the late 80's and I LOVE to see how strong and vibrant he still was then. I also love to see just how much my grandma adores him in this picture.

When I was a little girl running through his house, his garden, and his basement study, he would sometimes catch me and pick me up on his hip. He used to call me his little "imagination maker" and said how much I reminded him of my mom at that age. A thought that meant little to me then, but means the world to me now. He had a big black leather office chair that could spin faster then anything, and we would whirl around in that thing until we were sick. But he never minded.... the spinning OR the sickness.

My grandpa is buried in Star Valley, Wyoming. The morning after his funeral, the whole family made the drive up there to bury him near his family's history and near my great-great-grandfather. But I woke up very sick and could not make the trip. I haven't seen my grandpa's grave yet, but Kevin has promised me that he will take me there someday. And I want Noah to come and help me bring him flowers. I like to think that maybe Grandpa and Noah have met already somehow.

So this Memorial Day, I remember you Grandpa. Miss you and love you dearly. :)


Friday, May 28, 2010

Little Squirt

This is what we've been up to lately....

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


My sister and her husband lost a special member of their family last Saturday. If you have ever been lucky enough to love a dog like your own child, you know what I'm talking about.

Sweet Black left on Saturday, and she will always be loved. :) I so wish that I could be there give Jake, Jaime, Savannah, and Mr. Zach hugs all around. But instead, I will post a tribute to one of the most amazing little four-legged girls to ever live. I met Black in the summer of 2006 at Jake's family ranch. I fell in love with her eyes. She immediately rolled over and let me rub her belly for a good ten minutes. It was then that Jakeman came up and told me that Black liked to roll around in the steer pasture. He said it with a big grin... Yeah, I washed my hands. But not before loving on Black for a few more minutes.

I know that Black came into Jake's life when he needed her the most, just like he came into my sister's life when she needed him the most. :) Black is resting now at the family ranch and Jake and Jaime planted flowers over her.

We will miss you, girl. May you never find the edges of the flowery meadows wherever you are.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Oh, how they grow...

My very first Mother's Day with Noah was so magical... My arms were, at last, full of sweet sweet beautiful baby. At last, I felt like I wanted to take home a flower or a cookie (I don't remember which one was offered that year!). Recently I read a beautiful blog entry by an adoptive mother whose little baby boy came to them just a few weeks before this last Mother's Day. I loved reading her thoughts about her Mother's Day this year. She wrote about how her husband has honored her on Mother's Day every year, even though they had not yet been blessed with children. She says...

"... It's not my 1st Mother's Day. It's just the 1st Mother's Day that I can breathe."

I so understand that.

Looking back over my last four Mother's Days, I just can't BELIEVE how fast my little boy has grown! See for yourself. :)

2007 - 3 months old...

2008 - 1 year old...

2009 - 2 years old...

2010 - 3 years old...

Can't wait to see what next year will bring.... Besides the bowl of Lucky Charms in bed on Sunday morning! Awesome. :)


Noah's Mommy

Monday, May 17, 2010

Little Treasures

Every once in awhile I like to look through old photos and videos on our computer. Especially of when Noah was a baby or a little little toddler. I just can't believe how fast he's growing up, how much he's talking, and just how much I LOVE him... So much that it's a hurt sometimes. I'm not ready for him to go to preschool (but I am!). I'm ready for him to ride a bike, but I'm not prepared to let him out of my sight. I'm learning, very slowly, that letting go is truly one of the hardest parts of being a mother. :)

I came across these two video treasures on our hard drive this morning. Beautiful Aunt Heather took these while we were hanging out at Grandpa and Gram Smith's home one evening while we lived in Medford. By the date on the video, I'm going to say that Noah is just about a week shy of turning 1.

I LOVED my little boy at this phase... Quite the comedian.


Oh, there's more...

Last night Noah was painting with his new watercolor set. I had one just like it when I was little. So I took a few minutes to show him how to clean his brush in the water before moving on to a different color. Then I let him do his thing. I looked over and saw him moving the brush through each color before applying paint to his masterpiece. I took one step in his direction, and then realized that it's HIS masterpiece, not mine. And it turned out perfectly.... perfectly brown. But PERFECT. And I LOVE that when Noah paints he has a serious "I'm concentrating" face, just like Kevin when he's playing the guitar. All the Smith's know exactly what I'm talking about... I love that Noah is so much like Kevin. :)

Have a BEAUTIFUL day today.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Chip Faced

This post is SO about a month ago... But it's one of my favorite memories from our recent trip to beautiful Southern Oregon.

My dad makes AMAZING chocolate chip cookies... On Sundays, we would help him make a double batch of cookie dough. Then we would eat heaping spoonfuls while we wrapped up half of the dough and put it in the freezer for a later date. Then we would eat more heaping spoonfuls while we baked some of the dough into cookies. Then we would eat some more dough while we waited for the cookies to cool... See a pattern here?

While Noah and Marissa were together in Oregon, awesome Grandpa continued the tradition and helped them make their own batch of cookies. It was delightful! That's my baby sister Erin in the picture. People tell us that we look like twins and I take that as the best compliment EVER. Anyway, back to cookies. Erin and I were there to help, but we were mostly just waiting with our spoons ready... We know the drill. :)

My favorite ingredient. And Noah's, apparently.

Marissa's too!

Yes... That is Noah eating a chocolate chip off the counter top...without using his hands.

Awwwww... Perfection!!!! It was SO good.

I'm not sure just how many cookies made it into the oven, but that's not the point. Good times with Grandpa, cousins, and heaping spoonfuls. Awesome.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

This is not an ad.

In my life, I have learned that there are some things that are worth spending a little extra money on to get a "good" one (or at least a "better" one). In my opinion, the following items are in this category (this list is definitely not exhaustive):
Now, I'm not saying you should spend $1,000 on something where a $50 version will do 95% of the job, but sometimes a little extra money is worth it.

I recently had one particular item reinforced on my list: TENTS.

First, some background -

A few years ago, Nicole and I bought some camping gear for Christmas and I decided that I wanted to spend a disproportionate amount of our "camping budget" on a high quality tent. Maybe it was too many nights sleeping in a leaky tent as a boy scout in Oregon. Or maybe it was the memory of waking up with a sopping wet sleeping bag because it happened to be up against the wall of the tent and all the dew seeped through in the early morning. Or maybe it was the memories of trying to quickly set up an already wet tent in the pouring rain (trying to feed the poles through the sleeves on the outside of a tent in these conditions takes FOR-EV-ER).

So we bought a Mountain Hardwear tent. It had sealed seams, a full rain fly, a matching footprint, and no "sleeve-feeding" so it can be pitched solo in just a few minutes. (Our tent, the Alcove 3, is pictured at the top of the post while camping in Indiana. They don't make this model anymore - we bought it in 2005 - but I'd feel good about any of their tents.)

Now to the story -

As part of my calling in church, I went to a scout outdoor leadership training campout a few weeks ago. Some severe storms had been forecast for that night so I wasn't surprised when it started to rain a few minutes after I arrived at the campsite. I quickly started pitching the tent and a couple people came over to help. By the time the tent was up and the rain fly in place, it had begun to "rain like hail" (you have to say that out loud). The hail wasn't huge... maybe a bit smaller than a marble, but it marked the beginning of the tornado warning that would keep us inside the scout office building's basement until after midnight.

I had tossed my iPhone into the tent just before I ran for cover since I knew for sure it would end up wet in the pocket of my jeans as I ran through the storm to the pavilion where everybody was meeting. The whole time we were inside during the pouring rain, hail, and howling wind, I just pictured my phone sitting at the bottom of a puddle of water in the middle of my tent. I kept regretting having not staked out the rain fly at the front and back of the tent to keep the rain further away from the doors of the tent.

A few hours later we returned to our tents for the moment of truth. A few people had to literally pour out their tents and re-pitch them (this is particularly unenjoyable at 1 am). I opened my tent, expecting the worst, but not a drop of rain had made it inside the tent. The wind and rain picked up again during the night, but I stayed nice and dry (though it is a little disconcerting when the wind squashes your tent down enough where you can reach up and touch the ceiling when it's normally about 4-5 feet tall).

Nicole is going to be using our tent for a week while at girls camp next month, but I know she'll stay nice and dry. Unless a tornado touches down close by... but we're not going to think about that yet ;)


Sunday, May 9, 2010

"What Would KaraLee Do?"

A few months ago, I had a conversation with my baby sister about our sweet mother, KaraLee. She laughed as she told me that many times as she works and improvises her way through young motherhood and home-making, she stops and asks herself...

"Okay... What would KARALEE do with this?"

I LOVED that idea! I find myself doing the exact same thing. Whenever I need to mend or hem another pair of pants, cook dinner for company, help Noah with a stumbling block, or attempt to beautify my home and garden... The thought is always there. WWKD?

My mother has become amazingly brilliant over these last years as I have been keeping my own home and raising my own child. Rather, I just realized how smart and loving she has always been, but I've been too "know-it-all" or just not ready to receive her pearls of wisdom until now. Funny how that happens!

So since it's Mother's Day today, I would just like to say a few things to my sweet mother:

Thank you for loving me.

Thank you for teaching me.

Thank you for helping me prepare to be a mother myself.

Thank you for making all my prom dresses.

Thank you for inspiring me in all things.

Thank you for planting flowers for me last summer when I needed beauty in my life more than anything.

Thank you for helping me through my journey of infertility.

Thank you for bringing music into my life.

Thank you for being Noah's "Gram with the glasses."

Thank you for loving my Daddy.

Thank you for forgiving me for all my stupidness as a teenager.

Thank you for always answering the phone when I call asking WWKD?

Thank you.


A Grateful Daughter

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Noah went bowling for the FIRST time EVER last month. The Young Men and Young Women went bowling for their combined activity, and Noah got to tag along and give it a try! His first attempt at rolling the ball down the alley went well... Until he got so excited that he jumped, slipped on the slick floor, and landed square on his now un-diapered and un-padded booty.

Sad... SAD little boy!

Many tears later, we convinced him to give it another try. And THIS time he had his own shoes... I've never seen bowling shoes that small! So adorable.

Overall, I think he had a lot of fun. And maybe knocked down a few pins along the way.

The gutters helped... and so did Daddy. :)