Tuesday, April 27, 2010

three peas in a pod...

i would be lying if i said that i wasn't filled with a touch of trepidation prior to having four kids four and under in my house for a full day. but, even with a bit of nervousness, lily and i were thrilled with the prospect.

i had the privilege of watching ainsley and david on monday as katy house hunted and it was absolutely wonderful! the kids were amazing and lily and ainsley and david picked right back up where they left off. lily was so happy to have her playmates here for the full day. finn was even excited to watch the action!

it makes me abundantly thankful that they are moving back and so excited for the year to come!

and it really made me think, "i can do four kids!"
uh oh... :)


we just spent the most beautiful week at the beach with my family. we had not all been together for far too long and it was so refueling to all be together. we are abundantly thankful to you, muffy & skippy, for an amazing vacation. thank you a thousand times over!

buckle up for a photographic journey of our trip...
lily's first real swim in the ocean with whit.
our adorable nephew, griffin.
my handsome brothers doting on their niece and nephews.
and lots of amazing time together as a family...

pure bliss to be out enjoying nature as a family.

thank you so much, mom & dad!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

happy earth day!

91298524, Gandee Vasan /Stone

we hope you can enjoy the beauty that surrounds you this earth day and make one small change to benefit the planet. happy earth day!

"after a visit to the beach, it's hard to believe that we live in a material world." - pam shaw

update: we are officially paper free in our kitchen! there have been a few small instances when i have wished for a paper towel, but overall, it has been a seamless transition. it's just a tiny step, but it is a small victory for the earth!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

let it grow. let it grow. let it grow!

72738188, Image Source /Image Source

today, ryan and i framed out our first attempt at a raised flower bed. nothing fancy. and nothing pretty, either. but within those four walls lies a lot of hope for what might grow in our very own backyard.

last year, we had a very modest garden that provided some tomatoes and peppers (and that was with a good bit of help from one of ryan's attendings who provided us with seedlings we almost couldn't mess up). this year, we decided to up the ante and go bigger.

i think that i possess many traits and qualities from my mom, but her green thumb is not one of them. i have been known to let plants expire that were labeled "hearty," but we are going to give this a shot.

lily is thrilled with the idea and she loves going into the backyard to "check" on things with ryan. she is so excited about everything we have "planted." so far, that is a lot of compost, manure and topsoil. but, she couldn't be happier with our pile of dirt.

some of my earliest and most vivid memories with my mom are working in our beds and poking tiny holes for seeds and patting the dirt down. i can picture the exact starfish necklace my mom wore and the way her slender hands worked quickly in the dirt. and i LOVED it. i have no idea if anything ever bloomed or grew, but those memories are so precious to me.

so, if nothing sprouts out of our dirt, but ryan and lily and finn and i get to work out in our yard together, i will be so happy that even if we don't grow any food, we will be growing beautiful memories.

stay tuned for our garden adventures...

Monday, April 12, 2010

"the best laid plans..."

it has seemed that our last few weeks have been busy. we have plenty on our agenda and we have hardly had a day where we were completely care free.

well, today was one of those days. no real plans, nothing on the docket. and the weather was absolutely glorious. so, with that, i thought i had come up with the perfect plan. i thought it would be brilliant to take a picnic to a nearby pond and eat lunch and feed the ducks.

lily and i talked about it with eager anticipation all morning and she could hardly wait for finn to get up from his nap so we could head outdoors for our adventure. she kept speculating what food she thought they would most enjoy and was truly excited.

so, we arrive. we set up camp. we start to throw some stale chex into the pond. a duck swims over. she is thrilled. suddenly, ducks are coming out of the woodwork. i am thrilled. we are going to get some great action. i am throwing fistfuls of food into the water and finn is squealing and shimmying with joy... and lily has begun to throw a singular chex into the water and then dart back to our blanket in retreat.

this goes on for a few minutes. the chief and i thoroughly enjoying every moment and lily is becoming more and more tentative as the numbers amass. and then it all falls apart...

one little duck has decided that he will come up onto the grass in search of deliciousness. and lily goes from tentative to petrified. she starts screaming and is truly scared. i try to reason with her, but to no avail. frustration mounts for me, but i realize we are making a scene. so, we move our blankets far far away from the ducks and decide we are done feeding them and will just enjoy our picnic.

well, the ducks are far away, but lily keeps a watchful eye on those suckers. wouldn't you know, one pesky duck decides he would like to sun himself in the grass on our new side of the bank. full on panic ensues. you would have thought a pride of lions had surrounded us (or that i was torturing my child). for fear of child protective services being called, i hastily packed our stuff up and poor finn's lunch was cut quite short.

as i was putting them in the car and lily was crying because she was sure the duck was going to "get in the car and hit her" (with what hand i asked??), i was trying not to be mad that my lovely plan of an idyllic picnic by the pond had been ruined. i must admit i was a little short with her.

but, then, i remembered one time in florida that we had been feeding the ducks off of our deck and one of us had left the sliding door open. suddenly our deck was teeming with ducks and before we knew it those bold little guys waddled right on into our living room and created a ruckus and left poop everywhere. and i admit... i was scared. so, maybe her fear isn't so irrational after all??

but it had just seemed like such a good idea...

maybe they do look a bit aggressive after all??

(note: all pictures taken in first five minutes prior to all plans falling apart) :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

::green goodness::

it seems as if once the temperature hits 70 degrees, i am much more interested in eating healthily and making sure my family is getting all of the fruits and veggies we need. and seeing as it has been in the 80's and 90's over the last week or so, our hibernation has ended!

today, lily and i made our first green smoothies of the season and we were excited to make one for finn, too. both of my kids gobbled them up and i am hoping to start the habit back up as we head into the warmer months. it was such an easy way to get a handful of spinach into both of them. (and i am also hoping it will help to curb my supposed "need" for so many sweet treats... we will see!) yum!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


these are about a month overdue because i have been having some technological difficulties. but, they still warm my heart, so i thought i would share. finn's newest tricks...

hi from courtney smith on Vimeo.

"the goops they lick their fingers..."

when we were growing up and we were being vulgar while eating, my dad would always recite a little poem about the "goops." i have no idea if it is common knowledge to all or if it only seems that way to me because with five of us eating together, we heard it often. it comes to my mind anytime someone is particularly messy while eating and it makes my heart full and long for the days when my dad would say it in a booming voice to us. (maybe i ought to be intentionally messy the next time we are all together in hopes of it spurring him on!)

it went a little something like this:

"the goops they lick their fingers,
and the goops they lick their knives;
they spill their broth on the tablecloth -
oh, they lead disgusting lives!"

this morning, lily and i made a little concoction out of cornstarch and it certainly seemed to be the definition of "goop" to me. it was amazing. it was a liquid while in your hand, but hardened up in the pan or when rolled in a ball. she loved it.

anyway, i think any toddler or preschooler would love it. actually, i think most anyone would love it as i thought it was pretty amazing, myself. so, feel free to go mix a batch of it yourself! (2 parts cornstarch to 1 part water... and voilĂ ... goop!)

Monday, April 5, 2010

happy easter!

happy easter! we hope you all had a wonderful easter and were able to reflect on the overwhelming gift we've all been given.

and speaking of gifts, i have certainly been given an amazing gift in my husband. i must give credit where credit is due...
much to our dismay, i had to work yesterday. but, my sweet husband got the kids dressed and off to church with no troubles. they may have been a few minutes late, but i am quite sure the Lord didn't mind. he even thought to take pictures! check out his good work...

and a VERY happy birthday to you, duke! we adore you and miss you so very much! happy happy birthday!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

go bulldogs!!!!!

from our humble days cleaning dorm rooms and dragging wood and paint through the basketball stadium to ryan's groomsmen playing basketball in hinkle fieldhouse, this is a day we never thought we would see! congrats butler! we will be cheering loud and clear from VA!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

just because.


so it has been about a month and we are making some progress on our earth day resolution.

we have figured out some good solutions for the sack lunch and snacks on the go.

i purchased some really inexpensive nalgene containers for snacks and fruits and such for ryan's lunches. they prevent the chips from getting smashed and they are all BPA free. i also got a few sandwich containers and things are working out well.

our dishwasher is filling up more quickly and we had a few soggy-chip incidents when i paired a few things up that were not meant to be mates, but otherwise, it is working out.

i cut up a few old towels and so now we have a plethora of cleaning rags in the kitchen.

and i made many a cloth napkin. retrospectively, the fabric i chose may not be the most absorbent, but it will get us started. and in a stroke of not-so-genius, i thought it would be fun to make child-sized napkins. after making them, i realized i should have actually made those napkins extra-large since kids' spills tend to be even bigger... but they are cute little things.

overall, the transition has been painless.

i must admit that i have a few rolls of paper towels in the basement that i will let linger... just in case. and my one hangup is aluminum foil... i have not found a good solution for that yet. but, we are making progress. and we still have a few weeks to go!!