28 December 2007

Picture Lovers Unite!

I love to take pictures! I cannot seem to help it, and recently it has been really hard for me to focus on not taking pictures. When we became a one car family, over a year ago now, a strange thing started to happen. I only went into town once a week, and as a result my film from my pictures was dropped off on one Saturday and picked up the Saturday after. Needless to say this saved me money on gas, and I didn't buy as much film because I didn't take as many pics, because if I ran out then I couldn't get to the store for more film in case a moose walked through my yard (which happened once, but wouldn't you know I wasn't here. And I am always here!). So anyway, this long chain of reactions happened and my film would go weeks sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be developed. Finally, I would get a roll done only to see that Andrew was a tiny baby in the pics and now he sits up and rolls and everything. So I started harrassing my husband and family for a digital camera, and it worked! This christmas I got one wonderful present... A digital camera! And not just any digital camera, but the one that I wanted. Thank you to EVERYONE who pitched in time and money to get this for our family. Now we can take pics, see them, and order prints all in one day. I cannot believe it. I am completely flabbergasted. How did I survive childhood with a 35mm?
These pictures were taken last night and this morning. It is great and as you can see the kids love the new camera as well. Well, Elijah does anyway. Josiah was too busy trying to teach Andrew how to crawl, but he did let me get a picture this morning of him reclining (That kid loves to recline). I am just going to put pics up all the time, because I keep taking them. I have taken 294 pictures since I received my camera three days ago, and I am not about to stop now.

On a side note, I am reading this book called "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" It is funny, and about English grammer and punctuation. Am I supposed to capitalize English? Anyway, it has made me very aware of my use of apostrophes and such. Please have mercy on my grammer because I hate grammer. But the book is funny anyway, and I am learning some things. Get it from the library, because as much fun as it is to read, I wouldn't buy it. But then I don't buy much.

God bless you all.

23 December 2007

Dancing Around the Christmas Tree!

Merry Christmas Everyone!
Sorry I haven't written in a while. Life has flown by as it does every December. Just thought I would drop off a pic to say Merry Christmas. This is a picture of my two boys dancing in the Living room. We love to dance in our house. All that I have to do is turn on the music and Josiah will start dancing. Lately Andrew has gotten in on the action by bouncing in his seat.
I pray that you all have a very Merry Christmas and that you get some good dancing in. Enjoy your White Christmas!

26 November 2007

Boys, Boys and More Boys...

Are we at war or what? There are a lot of wars abrewing: The battle I fight everyday with myself is not pretty, somedays I feel like I am at war with my children, and I am constantly engaged in battle with the dog( I love run-on sentences, atleast that is what my English teachers always said). This is a crazy world that God made, but I love it. Actually, the war that I was originally referring to was the Iraqi war, and no it wasn't so that I could bash Bush (I would like to see you do a better job).

It was because between my sister and I, we have 6 children, and every last one of them is a boy through and through. For the sanity of my mother God did grant my older brother a girl, but all of the other grandchildren are rambunctious, jump on your back, poke you in the eye boys. I love having boys, I would much rather spend everyday playing trains, and digging in the sand over pretending that my doll is crying.

So what does all of this manhood have to do with us being at war? I have no idea, except that everyone says that when we are at war then we have more boys to repopulate the male presence in the States. I am here to tell you that although that may be true, it doesn't change the fact that Amy and I spend our days outnumbered. So here is to you mothers that have boys, I know how hard it is. Just how do you keep your feminitity when you are surrounded by all of that testosterone? Just keep on trucking, and praying that someday you may have a girl. According to my mom between Amy and I we are bound to have a girl someday, and I doubt that it will be dependent on the war in Irag.

For all of you math majors, only five of the six boys mentioned are pictured above.
from L-R: Andrew-7 months, Alexander-2.5 yrs, Elijah-3.5 yrs, Josiah-2yrs, and Alan-2 months.
Antonio was being a good student, he is 9 yrs old.

Don't let Josiah's curls fool you, he is ALL boy. I have since cut them off, oh how I miss them already!

02 November 2007

What is your favorite Season?

I am completely surprised by the results of my poll for favorite season. I know that I love autumn, I love the leaves, the smells, the coolness that forces me to wear a fleece. I just love autumn. I even find myself enjoying those dead sticks that the colorful leaves abandon. Why? I have no idea. In the fall I just switch to black and white Photography after the leaves all disappear. Apparently I am not alone, 5 of the 8 people that voted in the poll also prefer fall over the other seasons. I am curious to see if some of those people just love every season, and their favorite is whatever one we are in at the time. Growing up spring was always everyone's favorite season. I would certainly say that Spring is the most longed for season especially when Winter gets to be unsuitable for any fun outdoor activity. Now we know that no matter how many people you meet who cannot wait for Spring, Autumn is really at the heart of everyone. I haven't met a single person who doesn't smile over the swirling leaves, crisp air, and produce of fall.
Alas, this is my last post deidicated to this season, so relish it. Winter is right around the corner, and hopefully by then I will have some new pics of the boys. I get so frustrated with the slow processing of film. Until then, enjoy your last few weeks of crisp autmness (is that a word?) and don't forget to set your clocks back this weekend.

23 October 2007

Adios Wonderful Leaves of Autumn

The boys and I love to go for fall hikes. Today the wind was strong enough that the leaves were flying all around us. What a wonderful day! This week the weather has been warm enough to go outside with a t-shirt and pants, needless to say this is my favorite weather. Elijah and Josiah love the woods and love to walk in the woods.
Above they are taking a rest on the loop at Curtis Homestead. Both of the boys walked the loop trail at Curtis, they were very tired, and by the end I had Josiah on my back and Andrew on my front. After numerous rests and an hour of walking both boys completed the 1 mile loop exhausted and delighted over the fall leaves.
Today the remaining leaves have completely left the trees bare. From now on we will be greeted everyday by naked dead looking sticks. All we can do is wait. Wait for the crispness of fall to turn into the cold lung freezing air of Winter and with it... Snow.

11 October 2007

The Boys are Getting Big

I just thought that I would leave an update of pics on how big the boys are getting. This is mainly for those of you who are out of Maine. If you are in Maine and looking at these pics and thinking "wow! I have missed them growing up!" Then shame on you! Get over here and visit us, it isn't like you can use the excuse that we weren't home, we are always here due to a lack of car.
Anyway, you know that when you have your first child everybody and their neighbor tells you that they grow so big and theirs' is 11 years old, or 18, or 24, or whatever and how they would just like one day left of them as a baby, and yada yada yada. You know, when I had Eli I thought yes they are right, but time didn't go by that fast, they exagerate a lot.
Now that we have three boys and Eli is over 3 years old and Andrew, little Andrew the baby just born yesterday is now more than 6 months, well, let me just say I can sympathize with those people. Because they are right, the years do go by fast, and my kids are only toddlers, I cannot even imagine looking at them when they are teens or going to college.
Anyway, this is my entry to tell you to enjoy every minute of your children. Don't look at them as babies and long for the days of building forts, and playing baseball, and don't look at them as teens and long to hold them like babies. You would miss their entire lives if you were always wishing for a different age so enjoy your children as they are today. Okay, that is my preachy paragraph on how fast time flies, even when your baby still wakes up at night and seems to cry forever it will pass. Pretty soon that same fussy baby will be a whining 3 year old so don't get stressed just enjoy it. You know what's funny is everyone reading this who is way past the toddler phase cannot help but wish that their kids would still grab their leg and whine for some pie.
Hug your child today everyone, and come visit us and see just how big the boys really are getting.

pics: top-bottom, Andrew, Elijah and Josiah.

My Three Sons - Tyler's account of the birth of Andrew

It all started on a day that was not a prime number. Yes, that’s right, because it just wouldn’t be right. Several months ago I asked my exceptionally wonderful super-wife Lori to predict the birth date of our third child. I had heard a statistic somewhere that the most accurate prediction for the birth date would be the mother’s first instinct fairly early on in her pregnancy. Anyhow, she thought about it for a moment, but her mathematically oriented mind decided it had to be a good number, so she chose Thursday, March 22, 2007, a few days past her “due date”.

Now before we dig right into the details, I think it’s important to note that this pregnancy was not like either of the two before. God certainly has a sense of humor, I must attest. For me, I have been spoiled. Eli, our first son was born at 37 ? weeks naturally. In fact, that afternoon we had been to the doctors for a visit and joked about the baby not coming early or rather that he should come early as the doc would be on vacation around the due date. Well, that evening I happened to call my grand parents (Gram and Pup) who were on their way to Florida on a trip. I asked them if they’d want to know before or after their trip if the baby came while they were away; I didn’t want Gram to be upset that she’d missed her grandchild’s birth as she had missed no others before. She said she’d definitely want to know. Well, a few hours later precisely at midnight Lori had her first contraction. After 30 hours of gradually intensifying labor, Elijah Benjamin Smith was born. Praise God.

Josiah James was a different story, as of course all birthing stories are. There were a few serious but controllable complications forcing us to induce labor at about 37 ? weeks. After 4 ? hours of labor, Josiah was born. God gave us our second son. What a blessing!

This time Thursday, March 1st marked the 37 ? week timeframe. My coworkers can attest that I was very anxious. Unfortunately, there was no baby. This was just great! I was ready to disconnect from work and spend time with my family and the new addition! I felt rather silly for being so alert and waiting for the phone call. Everyday for a week I would ask my wife, “so, are you making any contractions yet?” She’d of course always answer with an aggravated response of “No, I’M not making any contractions yet, I’M sorry”. This was very disappointing, but let me tell you, I decided to take advantage of my uninterrupted nights of sleep for the next three weeks!

Time rolled on and here we were on the week of the baby’s “official” due date, March 19th. There was no way the baby would be coming that week, there was just too much going on. Work was absolutely crazy at the office with the announcement of layoffs at TD Banknorth. At home, we were having major troubles with our septic system, we were striving to get the new bedroom finished downstairs, and us Smith boys were recovering from the most horrible colds. After spending Tuesday and Wednesday evenings troubleshooting the septic issue instead of working on the bedroom, it was time to call in the professionals.

Thursday Morning arrived with Lori contacting and scheduling Smith’s Septic to come out and eliminate this septic issue. Now, Lori being the frugal minded woman that she is, decided that she wanted to save the small amount of money that she could by digging the holes up needed to pump the septic system. She decided to throw Josiah on her back and start digging. Shortly after she found the first hole, Mr. Smith arrived and advised her that he didn’t want her to go into labor while he was there and said he’d finish the job without charging for the digging of anymore holes. I think in her mind, she was thinking this might help to induce labor!

Later that day, we had a Doctors visit. It was just your normal pre-natal visit. We asked the doctor to do an exam just to let us know if anything was happening. He agreed, but made it clear that regardless of what he found, it could be tonight, or two more weeks. Come to find out she was 1cm dilated. No big deal.

Shortly after, we left the family practice and headed up the hill to Mister Market to get some last minute groceries just in case the baby came soon. Entering the produce aisle, my wife looks at me with a smile. She had a first, but somewhat intense contraction. We discussed it briefly and dismissed it thinking that it might not be real. We would wait to see if it kept happening, after all, we were just at the doc’s no more than 10 minutes ago. Perhaps it was Braxton Hicks, let’s keep walking she lamented. Throughout the store she probably had these mildly intense contractions every 3 or 4 minutes.

We rode home and the contractions slowed down. OK, that’s a good sign Lori thought; perhaps they’ll go away. Throughout the evening, these mildly intense contractions became intense contractions rather quickly. Since Lori’s plan was to pretty much get everything ready when her supposed light contractions began, she began to pack her stuff. I couldn’t stop her!

Not much time had passed when I was getting the feeling that we ought to head to the hospital. I actually called our friends, the Chicks, to come. Amanda was slated to come watch the boys for us during the hospital time. Lori, who was still insisting on making dinner for everyone, asked me to call and cancel as we were not heading to the hospital at that exact moment and may not be going for quite some time. She was definitely in denial!

As the evening progressed, Lori scurried around trying to think of all the things that she needed to do. I was finally able to convince her that we needed to head out. I called back and Tami Chick said someone would head right over.

About 10 minutes later, Lori scooched down in the kitchen to comfort Elijah whom she had just reprimanded for something that he had done. Not ten seconds later Lori screamed for help as her water broke all over the kitchen floor and the baby’s head dropped so low she could feel it coming. I quickly called 911 and ran to the door to hurry Tami along who had just pulled into the driveway. I told her that Lori’s water broke and that the baby was coming. It was a very confusing time, but we tried to stay calm.

Tami came in and at that time she tried to comfort the boys. Josiah was hysterical, but Eli was very curious. Lori was still on the kitchen floor. Right at this point, she said that she needed to push. The head was out with one push, and out came the baby with a second. I was blessed in literally catching my beautiful new baby boy. Immediately following delivery the baby did not really start to breath clearly. Tami took over and was able to rub his back and stimulate his breathing, we were in the clear. God is good.

Moments later, the first responder came and assisted us with the cutting of the cord. After a few minutes of wrapping the baby in towels that I had managed to warm up in the dryer during the few seconds of time in between events, Lori asked if she could nurse. It was perfect, the baby latched right on. Mother and child were healthy. We were rejoicing and in total peace.

Finally, the Turner Rescue ambulance had reached our home. I’m not even sure at what point they arrived. It was somewhat chaotic and I didn’t even know who was in my house! I made a few calls to family members and let me tell you, they didn’t believe what I was telling them!

After a rushed, chaotic, yet peaceful delivery of our son in the kitchen, and a bumpy ambulance ride, we arrived at the hospital where our new son checked in at 6 lbs 15 oz and 20 and 1/4 inches long. Everything after that was just like any other delivery, we spent an unnecessary night in the hospital and were able to bring our child home the next day. Andrew Tyler Smith was born on the 22nd day of March just like Lori said, afterall it was not a prime number day and that is just how we like it.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the sons of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. Psalm 127:4, 5

10 October 2007

Apple Picking in Maine

Apples are one of the few fruits that we grow well here in Maine. Besides berries there really isn't any fruit left that does well enough to sell. I suppose that some people grow pears and watermelon and the like, but apples are the most common and grow very well here in the North. In fact, when fall arrives apple cider becomes a staple in my house. With this in mind Tyler and I set off to take our three boys apple picking. If you can believe it, Tyler had never been apple picking and I had only gone once when I was a kid. Considering this a crime is a major understatement especially since we have about 12 orchards within 10 miles of our home. Well maybe not 12, but still at least 4. Anyway, I am getting off the point, we took them apple picking on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
The orchard that we went to had a horse and wagon that they used for you to go out to the trees, the boys loved the horses and riding on the wagon, even though the trees were only about 1,000 feet away we still road on the wagon. After all it is the experience, not the exercise that we came for. The boys loved it, we picked both macintosh and cortland apples. Elijah and Josiah sat in the trees to reach the apples, and both of them walked around gnawling on an apple the whole time. Of course, this was cute then, but when we got home and they continued to just grab an apple to eat around the house it wasn't so cute. So far, I have found all of the half eaten apples, and I cannot really get upset. If you saw Josiah walking around with an apple that had the littlest bites taken out of it you wouldn't be mad either.
As always Andrew loved apple picking, he actually sucked on a little of my apple, and laughed at the boys carrying our apple bag around and climbing in trees.
The moral of this story is this: If you haven't gone apple picking this year yet, then get a move on. Everyone from the ripe age of 6 months to 100 years loves this adventure. Hurry now! The year is almost over, the apple festival in Manchester was last weekend and a whole lot of fun. If you don't go this year, then pick up some cider and drink it while looking at Josiah in the tree, it will feel like you were there picking apples with us.
Enjoy this beautiful fall season everyone!

30 September 2007

Tumbledown Mountain Hike (29 Sept '07)

If you ever want to go for a terrific fall hike, then Tumbledown mountain is it. The beautiful foliage, steep rocky climb and mountaintop pond make this one of the best hikes in Maine. I just love this mountain, Tyler and I have hiked this mountain a few times and every time I enjoy it, but I think that this weekend was the best. Not only did we go with a group of great friends, but we also hiked the loop trail for the first time. I don't know if you like hiking or not, but I can tell you that I hate hiking up stair mountains, you know the part of the mountain that is a bit steeper than those old basement stairs that you are afraid of. Well, the loop trail on Tumbledown skips this step. Our hike started really easy like a walk on a nice wood path and then instantly ascended to near vertical. We went from a walk in the park to having to use arms and take huge steps up rocks. Near the top we went through what we called the lemon squeeze (or fat man's misery), which was just a hole in a couple of rocks. This was a great adventure with the kids. In our group we had three children 4 and under, and a couple of kids under 10. Most of them made it up the mountain just fine, but we did have to pass the little ones up the lemon squeeze hole, of course, they enjoyed it. We were welcomed to the top by a sign that stated "Loop Trail: Not suitable for children or dogs", Oh well, too late now. The wind on top of the mountain was so cold, Josiah and Elijah were in child carriers and wearing fleece coats, but were determined to let us know that they were cold. Needless to say we didn't linger on top, but headed right down the brook trail. The brook trail is the trail that I have always taken up the mountain. It is basically the steep staircase trail, I hate the elevation, but what is horrible to ascend actually makes an easy descent. I have so many things to be thankful to God for concerning this hike, one of which is that John chose the loop trail, I absolutely loved this path. Second that my mother and father were so willing to watch Andrew for us, I would have hated hiking this with him on my front.

This Picture is of the view on top of Tumbledown take a look at the beautiful fall colors.

28 September 2007

Summer 2007

Why is it that the summers always seem so full of activity and yet I cannot seem to remember what we have done for fun. I suppose that I should start at the beginning. We started our summer with a day trip to Boston. We took Elijah, Andrew, and Alison (the nanny,jk); We visited the aquarium and just had a great day walking in Boston and riding the trains and buses. Karen, Mindy, Karem, and Ayla came to visit in July this year and we had a huge bonfire and good visit.
August started with church camp, I never knew you could have so much fun with a bunch of church folk. We went hiking, canoed the Saco (which I don't recommend doing in the summer), rode horses, and just had a
fantastic time hanging out together. It is amazing how well the boys do camping and such.
We ended August by winning tickets to Six Flags New England. So on September 15th we headed to Mass to see Third Day in concert at this extremely overpriced theme park. Let's just say that the prices are not family friendly, and I would not have gone if we hadn't won tickets. We spent Friday night in a hotel and woke bright and early to go to the park on Saturday. Yet again, the boys amazed me with their behavior both sleeping in a hotel and at the park. They danced in the field at the concert, it was incredible.
This fall brings new adventures with the Newboys coming to concert in November and Tyler backpacking Bigelow with John and Josh. The Lord has blessed our summertime fun and not so fun activities, I pray that he has done the same for you.

Let us know about your summertime adventures by leaving comments, or you can learn more about ours by asking questions.
God Bless