ANNOUNCEMENT! Active posting at this site has ended (no more picture room). Please continue reading Smith Stories at You'll be automatically redirected to the new site in "
"seconds unless you CLICK HERE!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Friend Flashbacks :)

Yesterday we were playing at the Yancey's, and I took a picture of Jackson and Rachel in Joe's recliner.  Susie and I both remembered taking pictures of Jackson and Rachel (both wearing their giraffe outfits!) way back when.  I thought it would be fun to do a little photo comparison :)  We also lent Liam some of Jackson's clothes, so I wanted to put up pictures of them each wearing the same outfit :)
 Jackson (20 days old) and Rachel (5.5 months old)
 Jackson (2 years and 4 months old) and Rachel (2 years and 9 months old)
Jackson (28 days old)
 Liam borrowing Jackson's shirt (14 days old)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Things That Make Me Smile

Yesterday was just one of those days :(  This little guy, however, made me smile (almost) every time I looked at him!  I LOVE the clean look of his haircut (the curls will grow back!), and he just was super snuggly yesterday :)
This was his silly face!
This was an incoming hug :)

These next two pictures were taken this morning of OUR FRAMED HOUSE!!!  WOO HOO!!!  I can't believe they got all of this accomplished since Monday afternoon!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Change in Schedule

We had a very low-key weekend mostly due to the fact that Jackson was getting over croup :(  He started barking like a seal last week, so I took him into the doctor on Thursday morning.  The doctor said he was definitely crouping, but his lungs sounded clear, as did his ears.  That was all good news, and his cough is finally starting to sound better today.  He wasn't really contagious because he didn't have a fever, but we figured better safe than sorry in regards to taking him out to be with other people!  So, we were really excited to get out on Monday afternoon to take the Yanceys to see our new house!  This was the first time all three of us went with another person (people), so we got a family photo :)  The video is just funny, but I thought it was fun to have a "live look" at our house :)

We enjoyed checking on our house, and then we all drove back to Springfield to have tacos at our house.  I was getting everything ready for dinner when the lights went out!  They flickered on and off quite a few times, before settling on off.  Josh checked the Dominion website and learned that a tree had fallen on a power line :(  It was just before 6 when this happened, and they were predicting the power would be back on by 11 or 1!  Yikes!  During dinner is not the optimal time for a power outage...  We quickly decided to head to McDonald's for dinner and then go to the Yanceys to hang out instead.  We had a great time at McDonald's, especially because we got to have our first Shamrock Shake of the season!!!  This is one of our all time favorites!  I used to tell people that my favorite holiday was St. Patrick's Day just because of the shakes.  Friends in Chicago were already getting them, but none of the McDonald's around us had them yet.  We were really feeling left out...until last night!!!  The power finally came back on around 7:30, and we've been good ever since :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Random Selections

I will start this blog off by showcasing the "special" pictures Jackson took this evening.  He was supposed to be watching his new Elmo DVD from the library, but apparently he swiped the camera off the desk, took these lovely shots (plus MANY more), and then brought the camera upstairs to the kitchen with a sweet smile on his face :)
 We have had a busy week!  Unfortunately, I don't have pictures for lots of it :(  We started off the week with Valentine's Day!  Jackson and I drove to Leesburg to hang out with Sarah, Maddie, and Baby Brodie for the day.  We went to a playgroup that a friend of Sarah's was hosting--there was lots of yummy food and other cute babies for Jackson to admire.  He also developed a love for heart-shaped sugar cookies and chocolate covered strawberries...  We went back to Sarah's for the kiddoes to nap, and then Sarah left for a dentist appointment.  Such an exciting event, but we were happy to have it as an excuse to see them!  From Leesburg, Jackson and I drove to Springfield to pick up Josh and then head to Qdoba to meet the Buerstattes for dinner.  Qdoba ran a special where if you smooched your sweetie, you got one entree free!  Yay for free food!  We took this picture to commemorate Liam's first Valentine's day!!!
 On Tuesday morning, Brandi brought her crew over to play (including her mom who has been in town for a little over a week).  Neither Kaitlyn nor Jackson was in a super fantastic mood, but we enjoyed our time anyway!  (Kaitlyn was recovering from an ear infection and some congestion while Jackson was showing the early signs of croup--no fun for anyone!  We hope they are both on the mend!)  Jackson and KK did resort to their favorite game of pushing each other in the stroller, so that provided some smiles :)  Liam also tried out the little big blue chair.  
On Wednesday, I was supposed to get a double dose of Katherine with a playdate during the day and our monthly dessert night in the evening.  But, that was not to be as her boys are both sick!  What a week to be a toddler :(  Jackson and I ran some quick errands in the morning, and then began our hang-out session at home since our new fridge was supposed to be delivered some time between 11am and 5pm (quite the window, huh?).  Josh even made sure he'd be home as early as possible to help get the fridge inside, etc.  Yeah, the fridge showed up at 6:30pm :(  But, it was much easier than Josh anticipated to get the doors off (yup, they all had to come off in order for the fridge to fit through our front door), so that was a plus especially since he was doing it in the dark...  Why do we have a brand-new fridge hanging out in our living room now, you might ask?  Well, the new house does not come with a fridge, washer, or dryer.  We found a fantastic deal on a new fridge so we figured we'd go for it!  It looks kind of nice sitting there...LOL  Jackson came downstairs this morning, gave it a second look, ran over to it, and said, "Thank you, Mommy!"  LOL  Yup, that fridge is JUST for you, Kid!
Today, I took Jackson to the doctor to have his cough listened to.  Our favorite doctor had an opening, and she said he does have croup, but it wasn't bad enough to be compromising his breathing or anything like that.  She said most likely it will just turn into a regular cold in a couple of days.  Phew!  I'm glad I took him in because his barking cough sounded terrible!  He's still slightly pathetic when he gets going :(  He was SUCH a good boy at the doctor!  He didn't cry for the first time when they weighed him.  He and I had talked about how the doctor was going to look in his ears and his mouth and listen to him breathe.  He did really well at first, but then he got a little anxious, and his little lip began to quiver while he tried not to cry.  It was so sweet!

Speaking of another situation that made me proud: we joined Susie and Joe at their church for a pre-Valentine's dinner last Saturday night.  The youth was holding a fundraiser for their mission trips and set up a restaurant-style dinner AND provided childcare!!!  I tried not to get my hopes up too high that Jackson would go to the childcare, but I wanted to look forward to this if he did!  He did awesome!  He followed Rachel right into the room and had a ball playing with the toys!  His face when we came back was priceless :) He is really getting the hang of "Mommy and Daddy will leave for a bit, but then they'll come back!"  Yay!  The grown-ups had a lovely time at the Italian Cafe set up upstairs :)  I wish we had thought to take a picture...

Here are two adorable pictures of Jackson playing Big Brother to Baby Liam:
And, here is one more funny moment:  The last couple of days have been GORGEOUS!  I dressed Jackson in a short sleeve shirt today and he was so frustrated that he couldn't pull the sleeves all the way down to cover his arms!  LOL  For as long as he's really been aware of his clothing, it's been long-sleeve weather!  Poor little guy will just have to adjust :)

Adventures in Cooking

Once we were back from our nice LONG trip to IL, I was encouraged to expand our dinner options... (ahem)...  This really is ok--as I looked at our typical list of choices before my first grocery shopping trip of 2011, nothing really sounded good!  I took advantage of a sale at Kohl's and bought a Crock Pot, and I have been trying out new recipes as well as Crock Pot-ing for a few weeks.  Here are some of the results:
Chicken Cornbread Potpie
Super yummy!  I probably will not use the whole can of corn next time.  I also might mix it up and add a few items...not sure what yet...
Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
Delicious!!!  I used 8oz each of sharp cheddar and pepper jack cubed.  Then I used shredded three-cheese blend for the last 8 oz.  I'm pretty convinced you could use any cheese blend you want...
Crock Pot Buffalo Wing Soup
SOOO good!  I will definitely add more broth next time so we have some leftovers!  I made this when friends came for dinner, and four adults polished it off, no problem!
Crock Pot Salsa Chicken Black Bean Soup
I'm not sure how to rank this one: it was need to overcome the look and texture...
 Crock Pot Lasagna
This turned out really well!  It heated up well as leftovers.

My Thing I Love Thursday is definitely my Crock Pot coupled with the amazing website: A Year of Slow Cooking.  The author of this blog made it her New Year's Resolution to use her slow cooker each day in 2008.  She has an awesome index that allows you to just search through her recipes alphabetically.  Each recipe includes a picture, directions, and the verdict given by her husband and children--so helpful!

Monday, February 14, 2011

We Have a Foundation!

Jackson and I took a trip by the new house at the end of the week, and got some updated pictures.  
We also all went by tonight on our way to dinner and tried to get some better pictures without the sun playing such a dominant role :)
 Our foundation has poured and waterproofing has begun.  Next on the list: backfilling and framing!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Super Bowl and Excavation

Jackson and Josh were pre-gaming for the Super Bowl by practicing their football plays!  They have two plays: Daddy Couch and Jackson Couch :)  It is super cute to watch Jackson lead the plays: "Down!  Set!  Go/Hut!"  
In terms of the actual big game, we headed over to the Yanceys who had also invited the Buerstattes.  
(Jackson's really kissing Liam, not eating him!)

The men were excited about the actual football, the women and kids were excited to hold Baby Liam, and we were all excited (and then disappointed) about the commercials!  

We were all pleasantly surprised at the delicious feast we pulled together.  Joe provided bbq wienies and wings in a yummy sauce.  Susie made mini-chicken-chimichangas (I think that's the right link).  We brought buffalo chicken dip and chocolate thumbprint cookies with chocolate sprinkles.  Brandi and Scott brought spinach dip, beer bread, and Chinese Cheesecakes.  Everything was really yummy and made out for the unfortunate outcome of the game :(
 Bright and early Monday morning, we drove out to the construction site for our new house.  We had our pre-construction meeting and got to see the big hole where they excavated our basement!  Jackson LOVED seeing the construction trucks on site.  I loved seeing the sold sign by our land :)  Unfortunately, it was really sunny, and the pictures we took really didn't turn out :(  Here are the best two--there is a sign next to Josh and Jackson that says SOLD--just use your imagination!  The second picture is of our hole in the ground :)  We're hoping to go back soon and get some better shots!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy 6th Birthday Paxton!

Today Paxton turns 6!  We have only had him for five of those years, but we have definitely made the most of them!  I find myself thinking a lot about the whole adoption process, and I hope that Pax is happy that we are the ones that chose to bring him home :)  He definitely does not get as much attention as he did in the beginning, but he seems to like the perks of being a big brother (i.e. extra snacks)!  I'm hoping to make some doggie treats with Jackson this weekend that we can pass out to Pax's doggie friends...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

8114 is a Revolving Door!

I LOVE having a full house!  However, I'm beginning to realize what a hot commodity peace and quiet is too :)  Our revolving door week started on Friday morning with my mom's arrival.  We picked her up from the airport pre-lunch and immediately drove her out to the new house site!!!  We met Brandi and Kaitlyn for lunch and then showed them our new neighborhood too.  We had a great afternoon on Friday just hanging out and enjoying cozy chili for dinner.  
Dutchess arrived Saturday morning to spend a long weekend with us.  Jackson was THRILLED to see her!  We went over to Firehouse for lunch, came home for naptime, and then headed out for a really fun evening.  We started out by meeting the Yanceys and Buerstattes at Five Guys for dinner.  It was super yummy, and the kids enjoyed their group date :)  Then we came back to our house, dropped off the husbands and kids, and then my mom, Susie, Brandi, and I went out to see "No Strings Attached."  It was such a cute movie, and we all enjoyed our girls' night!  We hung out at our house for a little while longer and then everyone headed home.  

Josh was supposed to have a football game on Sunday, but it was rescheduled, so we took advantage of our evening and went out to dinner.  We tried the newest Great American Restaurant: Ozzie's.  It is Italian and it was SO good!  We were all very pleased with our meals!  
On Monday morning, I woke to several missed calls and a missed text from Brandi--she was in labor and ready to drop off Kaitlyn at our house!  I felt bad I had missed the calls--I just didn't hear my phone :(   Luckily, they got to our house in plenty of time and then headed off to the hospital.  My mom and I kept our original plan of heading over to Potomac Mills for some shopping--we just took Kaitlyn with us!  
Around dinner time we finally heard that Baby Liam Seibel Buerstatte had been born at 4:30pm!!!  
After putting the kiddos to bed and eating dinner, my mom and I headed over to the hospital to visit the newest addition :)  Liam is SOOO cute!  I loved getting to snuggle him!  
Chicago had a HUGE blizzard headed its way, so my mom changed her original Tuesday late-afternoon flight to an early morning flight.  She and Josh left here around 6:30 Tuesday morning :(  I was sad to have her visit shortened, but I know she was happy to beat the weather home.  On Tuesday morning, I was quite proud of myself for getting both Kaitlyn and Jackson out of bed, fed, and dressed in a timely fashion!  LOL  Then it was like the old days of trying to squeeze in a shower for myself!  After all of the necessities were accomplished, Jackson and Kaitlyn helped me bake a cake! They loved being helpers!
They played SO nicely while we were waiting for Scott to pick up Kaitlyn to go the hospital to meet her new baby brother!  They loved taking turns pushing each other/riding on the firetruck and in the stroller.  It was so cute to hear Jackson say, "Sit, KK!"  "KK turn!"  "Jackson turn!"  They are such good friends :)   While Kaitlyn was off meeting her baby brother, Jackson and I had lunch and a little down time.  Kaitlyn came back to our house to nap, and after naptime we tried a baking activity.  
Well, first we had a snack of the cake they had baked earlier :)
I had prepared everything to make cake balls (separate blog topic!), but the kids weren't as interested as I had hoped.  I had everything ready for them to dip the cake balls and decorate them with sprinkles, but I think there were a few too many steps.  So, we moved on to my art activity: stamping!  My mom and I bought some big rubber stamps and big stamp pads at Michaels the other day, and I thought Jackson and Kaitlyn would have a blast. Not so much :(  Jackson probably could have done some more with some help, but I just didn't have enough hands to help each of them and once they started smearing ink on their bodies, it was time to close up that shop too.  I was so sad that my activities bombed :(  Around this time, Lora arrived to pick up Dutchess.  That led into dinner, baths, and bed.  

Both Jackson and Kaitlyn woke up a bit early yesterday morning, so they were showing their sensitive sides...  We went over to Katherine's to play with Liam and Colin (now we have TWO Liams in our life!), and that was a lovely diversion!  By the time we got back to our house, Brandi and Scott were just pulling up with lunch (and Liam!).  It was nice to have lunch together before the Buerstattes left as a family of four :)  

Last night Rachel came over for us to babysit while Susie and Joe went on a date!  I was hoping Jackson would be excited to have yet another person to play with, but he had reached the end of his rope at that point.  Rachel had a grand time playing with his toys on her own, but Jackson spent some time just decompressing in front of a couple of shows.  Everything that was packed into the last few days was really fun, but it was probably A LOT for such a little guy to handle :(  Today we are having a tv and pj day for mommy and Jackson :)