Sunday, December 30, 2012

On Christmas Day in the Morning

Our merry Christmas morning! It surprisingly didn't start until about 6:45 and even then Luke was still sleeping until we had looked at all the stocking stuff and opened presents. Sweet babe had peed out of his diaper so he was dressed for the day right away instead of in his cozy PJs.
Caroline holding Caroline Abbott. 
It was so much fun to give this doll to my little lady. She has been patiently waiting for a real American Girl doll for a long time and I was almost as excited as she was that morning. She loves her so much—the 2 have been inseparable ever since. Too cute!
Bentley my great facial expressionist
Livs with a new puzzle Joseph ordered for her. Her big blue eyes are killing me in this pic!

All the kiddos then wanted to display their new puzzles
 Sorting out gifts—such a fun job! I loved doing that as as kid.
Over to Nanny's and Grandpa's at lunch time for more gifts, yummy food and lots of cousin time.

Later that day, back at home, the kids enjoyed their new things and especially loved showing them off when my parents dropped by for visit. My cute Caroline had already cleaned out her stocking, gathered her things into a box and taken them all up to her room. She is a little tidier (v. endearing :)

Somehow I only have pics of Bentley's fun things that day:
Lego Dinosaur compound from my parents on Christmas Eve.
Funny Bentley woke up at 3:00 am and started building it because he was so excited, but then felt sleepy again around 5 and went back to bed. I guess that's why he wasn't up and going too early Christmas morning—the girls were up first and we had to go downstairs and wake Beans up before stockings and presents. That has never happened before with my early bird boy!

New remote control helicopter. It is actually pretty cool and he is getting really good at flying it. Except that Luke grabbed one of the blades when it landed by him a few days ago and now it won't fly quite right. Hopefully we can get it fixed soon.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012

Such a lovely evening! It always is though. When Luke was just 3 days old last Christmas, I knew I did not want to miss out on our special, Smith family Christmas Eve tradition. I was so happy I could be there last year. And this year, I was thrilled to be feeling like my normal self, and to have my one year old, juicy babe to cuddle and smooch:
 The pictures capture the night pretty well
 Luke was trying to catch the falling snowflakes :)
Maddie, as Mary in the nativity, really wanted Luke to be baby Jesus. I was totally thinking he could be a lamb or donkey this year but he ended up as the robust baby Jesus. He is so huge in Maddie's arms—I loved it! 
My mom is such a great gift giver. I try to be like her whenever I am gifting to others. She remembers specific details and brief conversations with all her grandkids (and kids) in order to get them something they'd love. She plans and works for weeks in advance to make sure all these darlings feel love from her through the presents she gives. And they do! Thank you mom (and dad :) again—it was the perfect Christmas Eve (minus our Minnesota loves so far away this year!)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sibling Gifts

Our advent for December 23rd: sibling gifts. My kids were so eager to give these to each other and for good reason. They had worked hard this fall to earn money by raking leaves, picking up crab apples, cleaning up weeds I'd pulled, shoveling snow, babysitting Luke (while I showered or made dinner :), and doing special cleaning assignments besides their regular chores. I was so excited for them to see each other open the gifts they knew their sibling would love so much. It was a happy afternoon.

The girls got Bentley a Star Wars nerf gun he had chosen out for cousin Tiago's birthday a few months back and had really wanted for himself too.

The big kids got Livs Ariel Squinkies—the little lady is obsessed with them!
Cares got an AG cat from her sibs and fell in love. It was one of at least 100 things she circled in the catalog back in October, but she was dying to have any of those items! I may have added my own cash in addition to make that purchase since it was a bit over our normal budget.
 Huge success. Can't wait for next year!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Luke's Birthday

 Luke opening his birthday gift with lots of helpers!
 Do you think this family revolves around him or what?

That was pretty much how we celebrated with our little bear. The girls and I were off to the Nutcracker that night so the boys grabbed Pei Wei together and I hear that Luke enjoyed every last bite. He is a mighty fine eater. And so cute! Love our birthday boy.

Friday, December 21, 2012

To My Baby Boy

Dearest Baby Luke— (Lukey bear, Baby bear, Lukey news, LuLu, Schnooble, Schnoo-schnoo)

Happiest birthday beautiful boy! Oh my goodness, I love you so very much. I am pretty sure Daddy and I prayed and fasted for you more than other of our other babies because you took a little longer getting here than the other 3. And we were so eager and so ready to have you in our family. I look back at this past year with you and think Heavenly Father saved one of his most perfect and precious souls to send to our family. Truly. You are such a good baby, robust, healthy, adorable, ever so happy, content, silly, a fast learner, and the very best sleeper...all dreamy qualities my love :)

All morning I have been remembering our special day one year ago, driving to the hospital in the afternoon and knowing you'd be in my arms so soon. I was contracting so much that day and had been progressing for weeks. I knew it was time and was so excited and not at all nervous (maybe because it was the the 4th time?) The delivery was easy and fast, and then I met you face to face. I saw your perfect mouth and big dark eyes right away—you looked so fresh and beautiful and yet familiar to my heart. You were eager for me, your mommy, and I was smitten. You had the cutest light blonde fluff, big hands, long legs and a darling nose. You nursed right away without any troubles and we had smooth sailing on that front for many months.

We came home from the hospital at such a crazy, wonderful time of year. The kids were almost bouncing off the walls with excitement over Christmas and you were icing on the cake to their thrill level. I hope you know how happy it makes me that you have 3 loyal, loving and adoring guardians, Luke. Those dear children, your brother and sisters, love you so much and I see how pleased they are to make you smile, make you giggle, play with you, and see you learn all your new tricks from rolling to standing to waving "hi." You were welcomed into a home with 5 full hearts ready to love and cherish you forever. So much sweetness for this mommy for sure.

You and I had a lot of time bonding those first few days and I couldn't help but think of Mary, the mother of our beloved Savior, over and over again. I have cuddled all of my young babies at Christmas time and held them more tenderly, singing lovely carols about baby Jesus. But I've never had such a brand new, fresh and tiny babe. I found so much reverence in our quiet, wee hours nursing and rocking and snuggling—what a beautiful gift you gave me in helping me remember and honor and feel closer to such a special woman. Holy infant so tender and mild never rang more true. Your December birth and name from the New Testament are to remind us of that holiest of births more than 2000 years ago, and to help you forge a special relationship with the Savior as you grow. You have already done that for me in your short year with us and I treasure all that you've taught me in being more Christlike.

My dearest, darling, Christmas boy, thank you for coming to our family. Thank you for being such an easy going, compliant little babe, for making me so happy with your huge and frequent smiles, for loving me so fully, for making this past year one of my very favorites. I love you forever and always beautiful boy,


Monday, December 17, 2012

Dancing Girl

The past 2 weeks Cares has shared some darling Christmas dances in both her ballet and jazz classes. I was a total slacker in documenting her Halloween dances but my friend Miki did so really well (check out her post which happily has great shots of Caroline along with her daughter!)

In ballet the girls learned a fun little Nutcracker dance as the baffoons. It made me so excited to be taking Caroline to the Nutcracker this coming weekend since she'll recognize the music and feel that much more connected to the ballet. The class also demonstrated some barre work showing the parents how they've started working on rotation and in turned out positions. I love all that stuff and could watch those littles doing ballet all day!
Tonight her jazz class performed the cutest dance to "Jingle Bell Rock." My girlie loves to sing along when she knows the words and then grin her huge toothless smile when she remembers she's performing. I love her.
 We love Miss Laura!
The baby brothers were very sweet audience members and then had some fun at the barre at the end of class. Luke and Ethan (1 month apart in age)—strapping young men for sure. They are too cute!

A little clip of my dancing girl:

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Temple Square

Oh how I love this activity! I was there with my YW 3 weeks ago and it made me so eager to bring my little family. We ended up planning our visit on a crazy night at temple square—the night of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert. But thanks to City Creek and getting there just after 5 we found parking easily (I heart that new underground parking BTW). We were unloading kids and a minivan was wanting to park in the empty stall next to us so we closed doors and made room only to discover that driver was Matt MontaƱo—a dear old mission companion of Joseph's. I lined him up with several of my friends when Joseph and I were first married—Matt's just such a cool guy. And we hadn't seen him for at least 10 years. Love those coincidences! He was there with his cute wife and 3 of his 4 kids. Awesome little reunion.
We hoped to grab dinner at Blue Lemon but it was crazy there! I am not good with waits and small children so we opted for sharing 2 caramel apples from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. That helped tide us over while we wandered the temple grounds, and then we came back for dinner after.
I love the Salt Lake temple with all my heart. This little family of 6 began there 13 years ago and I will remember and cherish that every single time I see it. I hope I am building a love for it in my children's hearts too. It is such a beautiful, holy and special place in my life.

We met up with the cute Braunies (Joe's sis and her fam) and saw the lights together in the mild (yet steady) rain. It was a little damp out but not too cold and not that wet so it ended up being a great night. And the temple grounds weren't completely packed like they can be in December!

We also ran into our great friends the Emerys down there. They used to live right across the street but moved a few miles away this summer. We have managed to get together a few times over the past few months but it's not the same as seeing each other outside as our kids played almost every day (and serving in YW together!) I guess we have to venture downtown more often so we can run into people we love!