Friday, May 22, 2015

happy 2015

This New Year's Eve we hung out at home with just our family.
We played games and waited for 10:00 to watch the ball drop in NYC.
Then we went outside to play with our sparklers.
Back inside we popped some poppers...
... and drank our sparkling cider and champaign...
We prayed for a Happy 2015.
The very next day God gave us a challenge that would require more prayers.
More to come on that.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

a shower for my sister

My sister, Erin, is pregnant with her first baby so we managed to squeeze in a shower while she was here for Christmas.  I will be honest, I am not usually a fan of showers (expect the kind where I get wet), but it is different when it is your sister and you get a great excuse to hang out with all your aunts, cousins, and other favorite ladies that you don't get to see often enough.
The food is usually pretty good, too.
Nora stole lots of the attention...
And, of course, we left it to the Smeck ladies to plan some silly games to play...
We left it up to Dot to provide the entertainment...
She got Nora up on the fireplace to perform with her, but she was the ring leader and Nora just copied what she could.
Dot is quite the ham, but apparently doesn't actually like to share the stage...
The pictures end here because shortly after this she pushed Nora head first onto the floor.
A sad ending to a lovely party, but both girls have recovered.
Erin's baby will have to be tough to hang out with this crowd.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

boxing day 2014 and other days after christmas

The day after Christmas may mean you have to wait a whole year until next Christmas, but it is still a pretty darn good day.  We refer to it as Boxing Day which we claim to be able to do thanks to our English Heritage.  It is a little more relaxing than Christmas (but I don't really want a relaxing Christmas) and we get to stop and really enjoy our presents. Then we have a big family dinner at my house.
I always try to take pictures of all my kids with their loot so they can look back and remember someday.  Actually, Jimmy already loves looking at his Christmas pictures from each year and then rounding up those toys to "play Christmas."   I still love looking at my old Christmas pictures, too.  What is it about seeing all your presents in one big pile?  I guess we just like stuff a little too much.  For Gus that stuff is mainly weapons...
For Jimmy it is probably more games and Legos...
For Nora it is babies...
(And as I was typing this with her next to me she pointed out that she was wearing a hat.  I didn't even notice that the Santa wine bottle was perfectly placed right behind her to make it look like it is sitting on her head.  I love that she pointed it out to me.)
...
Baabee saved his present for Boxing Day so that it would be more exciting.  It was Nerf guns and cut-outs of dinosaurs to try to shoot.  Of course, the boys quickly discovered it is more fun to shoot real people.
Aunt Nat was scared of them...
The boys loved them...
We also did the grown-up t-shirt exchange.  We all drew names and had to buy each other funny t-shirts.
And we all got a special pair of custom made Christmas "wristers" of my dad's own invention (they are socks with the toes cut off the you wear on your wrists).  Just you wait.  They are going to be all the rage.
The kids were thrilled to watch a movie...  Cant' you tell by all the expressions?... But seriously this is all of them very happy.
We did our traditional poppers filled with paper crowns, goofy trinkets, and bad jokes.
The days after that are a blur to me now, but I am pretty sure they were filled with lots of playing with our new toys and games.  The boys loved the game Aunt Nat gave them called Suspend:
We made our gingerbread house a bit late again this year so I think I am just going to make that a tradition. 
Not only does it give me one less thing to cram in before Christmas, but also the aunts love being in town to help.
We never want to let them leave, but sometimes we have to...
We try to enjoy our weather by getting outside to play...
We got some good days in with Uncle Danny.  His trip was short, but we were so happy he could come.  He is the most fun...
We took Jimmy to a bike store to pick out his new bike. It was his gift from Nano and Nana.  It is his first bike without training wheels so it is going to take some practice.
We got to see our dear friends a few more times...
We all made it to the train park one night before we had to say goodbye for awhile...
I realized I still had some shortbread cookie dough we still needed to bake.  I made a double batch this year so it was the first time I have ever had more than I had time to bake.  The kids were not happy that I had opted out of making and decorating sugar cookies this year so I let them use the cookie cutters on the shortbread dough instead.  Not sure why I never thought to do this before.  Shortbread cookies are way better than sugar cookies.  The kids had fun decorating them with various colors and nasty sprinkles...
And I think that was the end of our Christmastime celebrations.   We do our best to keep our tree up until the Epiphany and keep the spirit of the season going.  We are always sad when it is all over.  Until next year.