30 December 2009

A Christmas Back in Time


Who says that children hate clothes as a gift? My boys open a pair of jeans and they are ecstatic; after all, the alternative is a hand-me-down. Trade those jeans for a revolutionary war outfit complete with hat and we have the best Christmas yet! Seriously, Eli wore his "tunic" all morning and has worn it for at least 5 minutes every day since. We don't let him eat in it which is why he hasn't worn it a full day through.



Thanks to my dear friend Amanda and her creative sewing skills, the boys had a great one-of-a-kind Christmas.



I don't think life could get any funnier: Eli and Siah have been running around the house dressed as Samuel and John Adams while shooting their popguns and singing "Go Tell it On The Mountain".

23 December 2009

Tyler's Family Christmas Gift

Tyler had a very special gift for us this year...



Please meet: Nera Pantera Smith
(Italian for Black Panther Smith)




She is the most affectionate 4 month old kitten I have ever met. What a surprise it was for the boys to see a kitten in the box that Tyler brought home tonight.



I started this post an hour ago with thoughts of the perfect kitten for our family, and although this view has not changed it has been widened. Not only is Nera affectionate with the boys she also desires to have my attention post bedtime. If you know me at all, once the boys were in bed tonight I spent my normal 10 minute run by straightening up the house and prepping for the wrapping of Christmas gifts. Unfortunately, since I was the only one up, I was followed by Nera constantly. She even meowed at me when I ran downstairs twice! I really don't mind I think it is cute and makes me love her already, but I am not sure how Tyler will feel about her infatuation; he might just consider this gift a mistake.



Although I don't see how a kitten like this could possibly be a mistake. Unless of course she keeps trying to walk on my counter and table...

19 December 2009

One Beautiful Snowy Day Before Christmas!


Searching, Cutting, and Dragging home a Christmas tree is a wonderful tradition for most families. I still remember the few times that we went out searching for a tree with my father when Joshua and I were little. One year we cut down this huge fur tree just so that we could take the top home to mom. Of course, the top looked a ton better from 50 or so feet away. I think that was the year that mom decided that the work put into a wild fur was not worth it. We didn't exactly have a lot of trees around our field-centered home.


Now that I am grown and married with children I feel a great sense of belonging when I know that our home is surrounded by some of the cutest little scraggly fur trees you have ever seen. They are so very cute and they make getting a "I came from the woods" Christmas tree rather easy. The first Christmas Tyler and I shared in our new home we simply put Eli down for his nap; sprinted the 50 feet to a decent looking tree; cut it; carried it home; and had it inside before Eli even woke up.

As the children have grown they have accompanied us on our adventure to find a tree. This year, Eli, Siah, and Caleb ventured out in the not-so-deep snow. Andrew doesn't really like the snow that much, he has a hard time walking in it and doesn't want to sit in a sled. It was a beautiful day filled with sun, wind, ice, and a little cold...



A group of men excited to venture on their journey and fulfill their mission of finding the perfect little Christmas tree.


Even the smallest member of the crew was anticipating what would be found.


When most had given up hope and gone home the fearless leader returns successful with the prettiest little charlie brown Christmas tree. He knows just how we like it!

16 December 2009

The Art of Taking a Family Photo







All of this, and no one felt it was necessary to mention that Josiah had shed his pants. So finally, after a good cropping and a little straightening we received a semi-decent picture. Although, it is definitely not wall worthy. Maybe I should invest in 5 minutes to prep a good photographer!


Need I say More?

06 December 2009

Caleb: The Official Walking Machine


Caleb turned one about a month and a half ago. On his birthday he was able to take 2 maybe 3 steps before falling on his behind. Now, however, he is becoming quite able on his two little feet. He prefers walking and is now carrying and dragging things (as in Caleb bear and special blankie).


Merry Christmas Everyone!

27 November 2009

A Summer Long Process


5 May 2009

16 May 2009

We had high hopes and plans this past Summer. It all started with planning a nice long vacation for Tyler. We had to-do lists, day trips, and 4 anxious boys. Then vacation started and 80% of the days rained, and rained, and rained hard. On the occasional day without rain everything around our house was soaked, and getting some of our listed items done (most of them outside projects) became impossible. As a result, the lists remained, the day trips were reduced, and the boys remained anxious. We were, however, able to put in a few good day trips to help everyone's sad mood. Why is this the topic of my blog today?


17 May 2009

2 June 2009
(3 weeks Pre-Vacation)

One of our list items was completing the shed. You may remember that last fall we had some trees cut from our property. We had taken some of those glorious Pines and milled them into enough lumber to build a nice large shed (actually we call it the barn it is so big). Unfortunately due to the rain the only part of the shed that received any attention during vacation week was the roof, that is, just the metal part of the roof the rafters were already completed.

8 August 2009
(3 weeks Post Vacation)

Now, Finally, 5 months later, the shed is complete and beautiful. It is truly a work of art. Tyler designed it, prepared the lumber, and built this wonderful new addition to our homestead. Isn't he amazing!

22 November 2009

16 November 2009

First Snowfall Magic


Despite long Winters in Maine, the magic of the first snowfall is a welcome sight every year.


Catching snowflakes proved difficult as the snow kept starting and stopping throughout the day.

12 November 2009

Bonfire... well, sort of.




We finally celebrated Caleb's first birthday in style. We invited everyone from our church and immediate family and created a huge pile of brush in preparation for the bonfire party of the year. So, what happened?




The scheduled date drew nearer and the weather forecast for light rain slowly turned into a consistent downpour weather prediction. Obviously, we enforced a rain date of one week from the original date. The following Saturday promised a beautiful fall day, it was gorgeous and warm.



Unfortunately, as are most Autumn days, it was windy. Too windy. No fire permits were issued for the day. I am not one to cancel a party over a little wind, so we still planned on having a mob of people come over. Tyler, Eli and Jed started the party off by starting to build the ever hoped for tree house, but the real fun started when we lit a small cooking fire in the pit. Despite the lack of a large fire to burn off our eyebrows we had a wonderful time. Most people still came, and I learned that the fellowship with the people I love is what makes a party a blast!


09 November 2009

Happy Birthday Josiah James!


Today is Josiah's fourth birthday. He started out his day with a birthday breakfast with daddy, and finished it with a wonderful dinner with family and chocolate cake. What a beautiful day to celebrate a birthday.



Happy Birthday Siahlopolis!



Siah in his birthday suit... it is a good thing it was warm today!

05 November 2009

Camera Tribute

I love my camera! I love that I have a manual setting and that I can take pictures like this....



What a way to capture the moment on one's first birthday!


26 October 2009

Autumn on the Homestead


We have had our shares of heartache and joys these past few weeks; One of which has been watching the leaves turn from green to red to yellow. The tranformation of Summer into Fall is one of my favorite signs of God's ingenuity and creativity. It is simply fantastic to live in New England and enjoy the autumn season every year.


While out enjoying the view in the woods Tyler and I did some research on the maple trees that we have everywhere. We have always wanted to be able to tap maples and make our own syrup, however, in 5 years, we have yet to find a much desired sugar maple. We do possess a multitude of swamp maples, also called red maples. Upon further investigation we have discovered that we can tap these wonderfully tall and brilliantly yellow trees. We are very excited and are going to be using these next couple of months to research what we need to know to pursue this experiment.


We have a logger coming to our house once again this fall. At first I was concerned that we would be losing a lot of our beautiful foliage, but after further examination I realized that most of our colors come from the frame of our "field" and are not within the field itself.


I pray that you are all enjoying this wonderful season as much as we are. The secret to enjoying fall: Live in the present; do not think of what is to come, but what is here now.

21 October 2009

Happy Birthday Caleb!

Caleb Thomas Smith is now officially one year old!


Caleb woke me up, for the second year in a row, at 4:30 AM. I am sure he did that just to celebrate his birthday, just the two of us. We sat on the couch and he drank some milk. It was actually quite reminiscent of last year in that him and I sat on the couch all alone in a houseful of sleeping people. Anyway, back to life...



Caleb's bonfire party is on Saturday so I should have tons of new pictures to share with you post-saturday. Until then, you will have to be content with Caleb being his normal strong-willed happy screeching boy.

08 October 2009

Elijah's First Ski Trip

video

Elijah went skiing last Winter for the very first time. Thanks to my little gadget the videocamera I was able to record the event as a video. No thanks to my old G4, I was unable to edit, or save the event until I threw that old machine out and bought my new one. Actually, this video is not just late because it was taken last Winter, but it is also late because the day after I received my macbook I finished this video so that it was complete and ready to be presented. Unfortunately, I completely blanked on sharing with you all here. So albeit late; I hope that you enjoy the short movie I made to capture the memory of Elijah's first ski trip.

Cast:

Brian S Severy - Ski Instructor Extraordinaire
Elijah B Smith - Mini Ski Student
Alex W Mendoza- Dog Sled Puller
Alan J Mendoza - Dog Sled Driver
Josiah J Smith- Peanut Gallery
Antonio S Mendoza - Lead Skier
Everyone Else- Extras

Crew:

Lori Ann N Smith - Director
Debra J Severy - Ski Supervisor
Caleb T Smith - Camera Prop
Amy L Mendoza - Dog Sled Supervisor

03 October 2009

The Beginning of School Year 2009


I know, I am a bit late with an update about the start of the school year. Unlike these overzealous educational institutions; we start school after Labor Day and end before Memorial Day. In our defense, however, we do not cancel school days on a whim or have these so-called half days that are so very common. It really is quite rough being so strict on such a long summer vacation that sometimes we intermix learning with fun. Living in our family everyday becomes an opportunity to learn something and in the past Sandi and Jed have come over to do a science lesson with the boys. Here they are focusing intently on every word of the instruction from the teacher. Even Caleb loves being a part of these lessons with the "big" boys.


Our curriculum is very relaxed and comfortable. After all, Elijah is in Kindergarten which really isn't much different than a regular day as a preschooler. Our schedule this year focuses on reading and mathematics. We do a math lesson in the morning, maybe a little logic activity, and phonics review. Then after I put Drew and Caleb down for their afternoon naps Elijah will do his reading lesson with me, and then we do some reading comprehension. We started our reading comp out this year by reading the boxcar children, and now we are working on the little Pilgrim's Progress that Jed gave Eli for his birthday. The boys love reading about the adventures of little Christian.



One other aspect of our education this year was going to be learning the computer. With the purchase of a new system (finally) I thought that maybe I should invest in a good K level computer program. Alas, my search was time consuming, unfruitful, and unnecessary. As it turns out Elijah discovered the Photobooth application and has learned to use the keyboard and mouse trackpad fairly well. I may invest in a game for him later on in life, but right now I think that the drawing and photobooth apps will suffice. My goal here was to get him efficient enough to run a foreign language program, and considering his parentage, I doubt he will have trouble understanding anything harder than clicking a program icon.

Here are a few samples of Eli's artwork with the help of photobooth:




21 September 2009

Windsor Fair


I love fairs. If you have read my blog for the past couple of years you know this already. I guess you can see that my life is composed of the same things over and over again. Sure each year is a little different, but for the most part there isn't much change in activities.

Fair season is not any different. Every year I try to get myself and the boys to as many fairs as we can afford to attend. Unfortunately for us, Tyler does not enjoy fairs as much as we do, so I am dragging him to Fryeburg. Which means, of course, that at Windsor fair I would have to go it alone... or would I?


As it turns out, there were plenty of goats there that would have gladly joined us for our adventure, but instead I haggled some company out of Tami and Ethan Chick.


Andrew loves tractors. It is ironic that Tyler sold his tractor shortly after Drew was born. But Andrew rests well knowing that someday soon daddy will replace the old machine with something bigger and better. I guess he is looking at this lapse as time to freshen up on his tractor driving skills.


Ethan and Eli dragged me onto the ferris wheel. They loved the view of the fair from high up, and although I was nervous at first that I would have a "I am scared of heights" attack; I admit I enjoyed the view too.


Now all that is left is to drag my fair-loving husband to the largest fair in Maine!