Friday, July 29, 2011



Thursday, July 28, 2011

Oh Sad Day

The emphasis people can put on things amazes me, especially when I'm the person. Instead of the thing itself being so important, I just have to be thankful!
The Jeep is on the 'for sale' postings. How can a vehicle hold so many fond memories?
My parents' old Ford broke down at Castle Rock, CO. The Monarch had deep seats, allowing a child no vision other than parents, the night stars on long trips, power lines, and raindrops shining in the street lights some nights. I was so small in that car. I remember how immediately tall I felt as a 9-yr-old girl in the new Jeep Cherokee, looking out the windows and DOWN or across at other cars. Dad and Mom purchased the Jeep there in Castle Rock, used. It had been returned by a woman who didn't like the grease the tire rack deposited on her skirt when she unlatched it, so it had very few miles.
Memories from the Jeep are plentiful! We spent hours in the Jeep on multiple moves, our only dog riding in the back. One time we were bringing our dog Lacy home from the groomers and her big blue bow caught on the door handle, opening the door, as we turned. She was nearly lost.
We sprawled on the top of the Jeep some nights, Dad having drug us out of bed to witness special celestial events.
We took the Jeep 4-wheeling to Middle Fork Lake on Mt. Wheeler, a strain on both Dad, the driver, as well as the vehicle. I had bought in Red River a whistle that inserts into the tailpipe as a joke. He pushed and banged up the Jeep so much on the drive up there, it was VERY funny to put that whistle in for the drive back down. What had he done to cause such a shriek!? He'd stop the Jeep, check under the hood, start it back up, stop it....
I remember when moments with Mom became strained, we'd often just leave town and take a drive. The conversations in those miles were priceless. I also remember her teaching me to drive in the Jeep, starting off in a dollar-theater parking lot with snow blowing and geese standing around watching the show. Once we ventured onto the real roads, she bravely sat white-knuckled while coaching me through small town traffic.
I remember her and I taking a trip to Colorado from Kansas with our dog and lots of tools to fix up her and Dad's rental house. It had been sadly maintained. We repaired tiles in the bathroom, painted the entire inside, groomed the yard, replaced the garbage disposal, fixed shingles on the roof, holes in the walls.... I was amazed with her ability to learn and fix most anything. On the trip home we were caught in a storm with low, dark clouds in an eerie light that began to swirl over our heads. We watched many funnels swirl around us as we sped into the next small town to find shelter. We sat in McDonald's parking lot, watching the sky and lightening. That same trip, the Jeep overheated and the engine fried. We stayed there some time, waiting for a shop to replace it before Dad came and got us. Long trip! But we made it an adventure worth remembering fondly.
Driving it in Albuquerque on loan from Dad as I went to school was an honor. I felt privileged to be in such a 'cool' car. I had fun driving my friend Scott and his buddies around sometimes, sure that it was impressive to them. I thrilled to take off across the state on my own some weekends, camera around my neck, to the mountains, through the reservations, and to the Indian ruins.
It is one of the most generous gifts from Dad. After getting married, he gave it to us. It was our backup car, our storage unit when we lived in an apartment, and then a car to take my boys in to chase down hot-air balloons.
Honestly, I think our driving it embarrasses some as they see our family climbing in and out of the tired vehicle. If only they knew what an amazing adventure it has taken me on.... I'm beyond grateful.

Monday, July 25, 2011


This day has been amusing! No pictures though, I'm sad to say.

Fun things the boys have been saying or doing abound.

Trey, when he hurts his finger or knee or whatever, but only if it's a scrape or cut to his epidermis, will say, "I hurt my skin!"

He'll threaten in silliness to pinch me or something like it. I'll tell him, "No thanks! Pinch yourself!" So he'll try and then say, "I pinch my own self."

Tonight, I had him sitting on the counter as I cooked. After sqeezing a lemon for a marinade, I offered him the bowl of remaining juice. He drunk a good amount down and exclaimed, "Spicy, mmmm." and then finished it. He then got the rind, dipped it in a small bowl of honey one of the other boys decided to fill, and chewed on it for some time. He'll probably stay healthy that way, chewing on lemons and honey!

Ranne went to his first day of swimming, though it's the second round of lessons for him. The first round was very young for him so this is much better. He marched right to his corner of the pool, though he was too shy to ask which class he was to go to, and got in. Once getting in the water and meeting his teacher, he grinned ear-to-ear the whole time. He was so excited he went back and forth their little area over and over, splashing around and spitting water like a fountain. He did very well to give his best effort for the teacher, calming down and trying to do the specific instruction after his crazy, big first try. He was hilarious to watch!

Scott took care of Toby and Trey for me today, which was really fun since I could watch without distraction. Tomorrow all the boys will be there. It'll be good for Ranne's little brothers to see him trying so hard. Hopefully they will want to work toward swimming themselves. Trey's been asking to swim but I just can't go into the pool without the compression hose at this point. Very sad. Next summer, Lord willing, things will be different.

We also met a good friend at the park with her two children. Toby did amazing. He usually plays to himself and then fusses at everyone for leaving him out. This time, he stuck with the group and played hard. He's been super cuddly too. I think the baby's coming is causing him the most hesitation.

He did decide to show off his spitting projection ability right as we were leaving, and did so next to and on my friend's very lovely shoes. We had a sit down talk right there about where boys may and may not spit. Ranne's had the talk but it's been some time. I forget who's come along since those important etiquette discussions. Oh my!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Don't Miss It

Trey's "What I Like About You" post was posted as older than the posting right before this one since I began it a couple days ago but only just finished. Sweet guy....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lost in Summer Nights

Wow. What a night. We joined Dad, Brenda, brother Brendan and most of his family (missing 'little one' sadly) for Summer Nights at the local botanical gardens. It was fun music, pretty gardens, trains, hoola hoops, glow rings, happy kids.... The children all did so well and it was nice to just be with family.

Sadly Scott was working, but it sounds like his night is still going great at the Student Center. They are hosting a high school night for all the kids who were signed up to go to camp but had cancelations due to fire restrictions.

Trey found a cuddler to hold him. Nana and he had a nice time, I'm thinkin'.

My Toby, goofing off for your benefit.

Enjoying the train display.

He's my only one to really try the hip action with the hoola.

Enjoying the music, clouds and cool breeze. He always knows how to enjoy a good moment, or make it good.

So glad to have these two here!

Wonderful two.

Sharing their cherries! Summer is good!
So, as you can see it was a good night. We did have a very hard point. The boys were doing awesome, staying together for the most part. Looking at trains, Ranne would get ahead. We got that taken care of by a conversation.
When taking the boys to the bathroom, however, on the way back to the picnic/music area, despite encouraging and watching everyone to keep us close to one another, I lost Toby. After just leaning down to talk to Ranne, I realized Toby was nowhere to be seen. I ran a few places and couldn't see him so took the boys back to Brendan. Sarah watched Ranne and Trey while he and I went to find him. I finally spotted him. He made it out of the main gardens and into the courtyard leading to the parking lot. There was a security guard by the gate and I pray he would have stopped Toby if he'd tried to leave, but Toby was definitely headed that direction. He was probably afraid we had left so went to look for the car. There were fences all around the outside of the park as well, but with the crowd and all....
What a terrible, terrible feeling. I grabbed him and hugged him. He seemed afraid, but most likely it stemmed from my reaction and tears. He just said he couldn't find me and told me quietly to stop fussing. Sigh. Please never again. I'm so grateful for Brendan and Sarah's help. I know Papa and Nana knew and were looking too. Thank you! Thank you, Lord, for helping us find him.
I'm tired!

...What I Like About You...

  1. your funny faces.
  2. the way you fling yourself through the house without fear of corners, doors, walls, or any obstacle, using your outstretched arms as bumpers.
  3. that you stop what you're saying to listen to others, asking them, "What?" when you didn't catch the first part of their comment.
  4. that you sing all day.
  5. that you like to visit and love on people with such focus.
  6. that you always know where you put things.
  7. the way you'll try to say any word thrown at you.
  8. that you like to hug and talk to your sister.
  9. the way you can't hold up to fingers to show your age and the way you tell everyone you're two when they ask, "How are you?" or "What is your name?".
  10. that you pick me flowers and tell me, "I love you too" after I give you a hug.
  11. that you like to be included in all activity.
  12. that you look like your dad.
  13. the way you yell at birds to be quiet, the moon to go down, and dogs to stop barking and seem truly surprised when they don't.
  14. your little crooked teeth.
  15. your abundant gratitude in your prayers.
  16. your excitement to talk with Papa over Skype.
  17. the way I find you on counter tops and other high places. You don't even consider that you can't do something.
  18. the way you like to help with chores like laundry.
  19. how well you listen to books and make smart comments about the story.
  20. your cheerfulness.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

...What I Like About You...

Bolt, I love you...

  1. Your hyper giggles.
  2. Your cuddly nature.
  3. The way you don't care about what people think of you.
  4. The way you love others by being helpful.
  5. The way you'll do the dirty work when it needs done without a second thought, like cleaning out the potty chair for your bro when no one has asked.
  6. Your wiggly self.
  7. The way you run around with at least one hand holding up your pants and it doesn't seem to bother you.
  8. The way you're so passionate about what you really, really want.
  9. The way you usually don't care.
  10. The way you don't leave things unfinished.
  11. The way you're in space...what are you thinking anyway?
  12. The way you watch out for your family.
  13. The way you seem so little but are tougher than tough.
  14. The way you guzzle hot chocolate.
  15. The way you take time to find your little brother's favorite stuffed animals.
  16. The way you're so naturally funny.
  17. Your mischievous twinkling eyes.
  18. The way you call your brothers higher by calling them Superboy and SuperBaby, even when you're frustrated by them.
  19. The way you breathe like Darth Vader because you don't like to blow your nose.
  20. Your truly forgiving nature.

...What I Like About You...

SuperBoy Ranne. I love you....

  1. That you'll make silly faces in the blood lab with the camera and me to kill an unexpected hour with two brothers and no toys or books.
  2. That you act ridiculous in the car wash to help your brother cope with his insane fear.
  3. That you talk to your sister and pat on her already, before she's even born.
  4. That you want to be good at whatever you're doing.
  5. The way you're interested in everything!
  6. The way you desire good things.
  7. That you hold the door open and unlock the car.
  8. That you try to fix your battery-powered toothbrush on your own.
  9. The way you feel so deeply.
  10. The way you're so brave to go new places and meet new people.
  11. Your loud singing.
  12. Your prayers of length and sincerity.
  13. The way you laugh riotously when you're really tickled about something.
  14. The way you nurture when someone is sick, bringing snacks and drinks, drawings, blankets....
  15. Your desire to please.
  16. Your joy and delight in the unexpected moment.
  17. The ways you are like your dad.
  18. The way you like to be strong and help.
  19. The pleasure you take in people.
  20. Your amazing ability to understand big ideas and complicated motives

There's more!

Johnson's Visit, Part 1

The boys had a fun little time in the sprinkler before bed.

We had a nice dinner with the Johnsons and Fisher ladies. Very, very nice Saturday. Thank you everyone for coming!

Mini-Golf with the Johnsons!
Dad and Brenda watching the craziness. Brendan and sweet daughter #1. She's getting putting lessons.

Here's sweet Trey and his cousin. Sweet babes. Trey shoveled his ball quite well the whole way through. I was really suprised with how well he stuck with the game and kept track of ball and club.
Aunt Sarah and girls. Toby's expression makes me smile.
Thank you Brendan and Sarah for the idea and invitation!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer Fun

The kiddos chanted "TNT" while waiting for the next firework to be lit by the dads. Very funny.

Fourth of July
At the Smolenski Home:
The boys were much more brave this year with the firecrackers than usual. Perhaps because there was such a mob of children and parents present? Today, the day after, Toby was bragging to Ranne, "I lit a roach on fire with my sparkler Ranne, your favorite bug: a roach." Ranne said, "Well I don't care if you lit it on fire, as long as you didn't kill it." Scott is sure the bug incident never really happened.
Friends and Family:
The Poser:

Yum! Italian Ice!
Sweeeeet girl. She and Trey are a week apart in age.

Reading Ranne's First Bible
Superhero edition:We were never motivated to buy a bible for the kids until reading began. He made it through Kindergarten in super ways and is beginning to read so this is his 'yay, good job' gift.
An awesome smiler
Toby pretending to be an Angler Fish
This was perhaps the best week we've had in a long while. The boys did GREAT, without a fight. FUN, FUN, FUN!