Feb 20, 2013

Christmas in Sun Valley

We just returned from a GREAT trip to Sun Valley (this was written in January and never posted...woops). 

The boys and I flew from Lewiston to Boise there and back.  Josh drove with all of our luggage.  It was so worth the money.  The boys did great on the plane.  We were the last ones off the plane when we landed in Boise and the pilot let Brendan go up to the cockpit and sit on her lap...pretty cool!  These pics are really dark but they give you the idea.  Brendan thought it was neat but I don't think he knows exactly how special that was.

Brendan also was able to go skiing for the first time.  We took him to little ski hill right next the Sun Valley Resort called Dollar.  They have a really small little hill with a magic carpet.  Brendan did a great job and had a smile on his face the entire time.  It made it even better that Josh's cousin Amy and her son Dirk (only 4 months older than Brendan) and husband David were able to join us.  Brendan loves to be with Dirk.  One of the highlights of being in Sun Valley is being with David, Amy and Dirk (we are very thankful for them).  Dirk and Brendan went skiing again the following day at another small ski hill in Hailey.

While in Sun Valley Josh and I were able to go skiing one day with Kerry.  Karen was so gracious and gave up her day to spend time with the boys so we could go.  They had a fun Grammy day.  Once you ski and Sun Valley you are spoiled to be able to fully enjoy anywhere else.  The snow is always good, the sun is almost always out, the lift lines don't exist, the runs are long, and there are so many runs you don't have to ski the same one unless you want to.  It was a very fun day.  Thank you Kerry and Karen for making it happen for us!!

It is always fun to spend time in Hailey.  The boys loved being with Grammy and Grandpa J and were spoiled by all family.

Jan 29, 2013

Christmas 2012--Better Late than Never

Merry Christmas!!!

We've had a very busy but fun November and December.

We were able to celebrate Thanksgiving with Jamie's parents and our dear friends the Bumpus Family.  Thank you Matt, Amy, Jonothan, Scott, and Luke for including us...we had so much fun with good friends and family. 

The rest of November and December were a blur.  This year Jamie's family decided to do all homemade gifts.  This kept Jamie busy most nights after the boys went to bed.

Here are a few things she made:
Magazine Holder
 Gift for mom and dad
 bead & fabric necklace.
Treadmill ipod Sling
iPod Sling

Cinnamon Almonds
Crock Pot Cinnamon Almonds. Great holiday gift idea! 1 1/2 C. Sugar 1 1/2 C. Brown Sugar 3 Tbsp. Cinnamon 1/8 tsp. Salt 1 Egg White 2 tsp. vanilla 3 Cups Almonds 1/4 C. Water.
Rice Packs
Heating Pad Tutorial
 Wine Glasses
Anniversary gift for Nani & Grandpa

From Brendan we had him color on some black paper and then we cut them out and made it into checkbook covers.

It was fun to open gifts and really special to see the time and effort people spent to make our gifts.  The only down side was it took away a lot of time from your spouse and kids as we all spent most of our down time working on gifts.  Next year we decided we should not do gifts and go to Hawaii instead :)

Just before Christmas we went to Missoula to celebrate Jenni graduating from college.  We could not be more proud of her.  She was working 35 hours a week, taking 20-21 credits, and is married...that is a lot.  It was a joyfully tearful and special celebration of her accomplishment!!  WAY TO GO JEN!!!

The weekend before Christmas we spent the weekend with Jamie's family and Priest Lake.  The snow was beautiful.  We enjoyed some down time, sledding with Brendan, snow shoeing together, and laughing at the now very humorous Brendan and Evan.

Brendan is just over 2 1/2 and is so much fun.  He is using his words so well.  He sings his ABC's, he also loves to sing Frosty the Snowman and Jingle Bells.  He continues to live with so much joy.  He loves it when people tease him and loves to make other people laugh. 

Evan is 10 months old (CRAZY).  He is a mover and a shaker.  He loves to climb up on everything, is an explorer.  He loves to play peek-a-boo from behind a door.  He has become a very happy, smiley, content little dude.  He has really great fine motor control, he loves to pick up everything (he is a human vacuum, we have to be careful).  He continues to be a talker.  He just started to say Mama and Dadda (that will melt your heart).

Christmas Morning was really special.  We were able to celebrate in our house and Jamie's parents and Grandma came to join us.  It was fun to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus, enjoy cinnamon rolls, and open gifts together.  Santa brought Brendan a new Monster Truck and MiMi and Ba gave Brendan a race car track...what else does a 2 year old need :)  Evan really likes music.  He was excited to get a xylophone some music singing animals.  Later in the day we went over to Jamie's parents house and enjoyed a great lasagna Christmas dinner together.


The following morning we headed to Sun Valley to visit Josh's family.  This will be our next post.

Merry Christmas!!   

Nov 14, 2012

Trip to Austin

Josh and I love being Dad and Mom but getting some time away to be husband/wife, just Josh and Jamie, is a great thing.  We were able to sneak away to Austin for five days. We are on our way home refreshed, rested, rejuvenated, and reconnected.  We had a great time together and were thankful that our dear friends Kim and Zach were able to join us for this awesome weekend!  Austin was the perfect location for a fun getaway! My parents graciously gave up their time to be with the boys.  While they are tired they had a great weekend getting to spoil their grand kids and the boys loved every minute of it and had a weekend to build great memories with Mimi and Ba. 
Upon arrival in Austin we wasted no time exploring the unique culture of Austin.  We walked down Rainey Street which used to be a rundown neighborhood of abandoned homes just outside the downtown area.  Recently, a women had a neat vision for this neighborhood and purchased one of the homes, did a little work and opened it up as a bar.  Now the entire street is filled with old homes converted into really neat bars and restaurants.  It feels like having a drink in your backyard, or in the living room.  Super cool!  That first stop a famous Austin restaurant called Bangers, known for its brats.  We ate at picnic tables that were all connected together, under lights in the trees, smell of good beer, enjoying the sound of great live music.  It set a great tone for the weekend.  We had a few drinks at a few other bars along the street before calling it a night after our long day of traveling.

Love this girl!
We next morning we started the day with a walk/jog along a trail running along Towne Lake right next to our hotel.  We also walked up to a very vintage style coffee shop for breakfast.  After getting cleaned up we explored downtown, the University of Texas, and the Capital all on foot.  We estimate we walked over 10 miles this day, but had a great time!  We made a stop at the student union building and the bookstore (called the Co-Op) to load up on UT gear/gifts.  There is something so fun, fresh, inviting about walking around a college campus.   

The capital building was beautiful.  It is hard to not feel history and daydream about all the people who have set foot where you are standing.   

After touring the capital we very unexpectedly decided to go to the UT b-ball game.  It was a fun impromptu stop.  Before the game we spoiled ourselves with some frozen yogurt at the coolest frozen yogurt place I have ever been to.  All walls were filled with candy bins, you could put whatever you could imagine on your frozen yogurt.   
Nice purse Zach :)

After the b-ball game we walked to 6th street (the most famous street in Austin).  We ate what I thought was our best meal on the trip at a place called the Iron Cactus.  We also enjoyed having some cactus juice (so good…but one was enough).  What happened on 6th street as the evening went on was crazy.  The whole street was filled with bars, all with live music.  We have never seen so many short skirts, dresses, shorts, nor such high heals, boots, shoes in once place in our lives.  Needless to say we were very out of place.

The football game was the next day.  WOW IT WAS AWESOME!!  So fun to be in a stadium that holds 100,000 people.  So cool to be in a sports environment where people have so much pride for their team and their state.  The word I keep using to describe the day is pure.  It felt like what sports should be; people getting together to cheer their team on, all for fun.  It was nice to watch a game without hearing people complain, whine about the refs, get mad at coaches, take things so personal, or be negative.  It was FUN!  UT beat Iowa State 33-7.   

Halftime tribute to our military!!  Pretty sweet!
 After a little rest we rented a car and drove out to a recommended restaurant called the Hula Hut on Lake Austin.  We felt a little like we traded Austin for Hawaii but enjoyed getting to eat outside.  We love getting to spend time with Zach and Kim.  We are thankful for friends who love the Lord, want to travel, desire to raise kids to be leaders and followers of Christ, are real in conversation, care about us, support us, encourage us, and make us want to be better people.  We love time with them and can’t think of a better couple to walk through life with.   
 After dinner we headed back down town to find a place to have a drink.  We discovered the west side of 6th street.  At this point we decided that Austin/6th street is bi-polar.  The East Side of 6th Street we saw the night before never woke up before noon, enjoyed shots, any loud music, decorated with band posters, and dressed like hipsters.  The West Side of 6th Street we now were on shopped at expensive boutiques stores, spent the morning at the spa, traveled first class, and drank martinis and we liked this side a little better.  We found our way into an old renovated luxury hotel.  It was beautiful and once again you could feel the history.  We were able to go on a carriage ride around the capital.  It was beautiful at night.  It was another full but fun day. 

Sunday we started the day worshipping at the Austin Stone church.  Church was held at Stephan F. Austin High School (home to about 2800 students).  It was a great start to the day.  We then enjoyed a late lunch on 2nd street (in the same neighborhood where we had explored the night before).  It was then time to enjoy an IMAX experience of the newly released 007 movie Skyfall.  It was awesome and well worth our time that evening.  We couldn’t resist the temptation to finish the evening returning to the best yogurt place ever.  
Tickets of all our fun events!!

Our final day we decided to go to the last two places in Austin that had been recommended to us.  The first stop was a 4-block strip full of vintage shops and restaurants called South Congress.  The biggest hit was a cowboy boot store called Allen’s Boots.  It was filled with rows and rows of the coolest cowboy boots ever—too bad they were all $400-$700 dollars.  We finished our trip in the Arboretum area.  This was the new area of Austin.  We were told that on average 700-1000 people a week were moving to Austin…CRAZY.  This area was filled with all the chain stores we are all familiar with.  Zach and Josh should be glad this was our last stop with little time for shopping.  
Allen Boots
We now are on the plane home ready to see our two adorable boys and sleep in our own bed.  But not too excited about facing laundry, grocery shopping, work after being gone, snow on the ground or cleaning the house.  However, the trip was what we needed.  My parents once said they are glad we live in the Northwest and can travel to other parts of the country.  At the time I wasn’t sure I felt that way, now I couldn’t agree more. 

Oct 20, 2012

Fall Festival

We went out to a Fall Festival just outside Pullman.  IT WAS A HIT!!

Brendan loved the corn maze.  Unfortunately it had blown down in a rainstorm a few days earlier, but Brendan didn't care...he enjoyed running down the path. 

Dried Pea sandbox

Evan thought the tennis ball cannon was hilarious.  It was the first time we truly heard him have a deep belly laugh.

It was a fun family afternoon.

Oct 15, 2012

Fall Update

It has been a GREAT Fall so far!

The school year has started off well for me, it has been good to be back in the classroom.  This is the first fall in many many years (around 20) that I have not spent a lot of time on or around a v-ball court either playing or coaching.  It was a difficult decision to make to not coach this fall but one I am thankful I did.  I feel like our family has been very well balanced.  Josh is plugging away with all the crop insurance and still enjoying it.  Brendan was so excited to return to Stacey's.  He loves spending time with "his boys" (the kindergarten boys he is at Stacey's with).  He loves going each day and picking them up at the bus garage.  Brendan loves riding his big wheel bike around the neighborhood and thinks it is fun to scare me by flying down the hill...of course giggling all the time.  He continues to be the most joyfilled kid ever.  He doesn't complain about much.  He just got another tooth/molar in and we had no idea until after it was fully in because he didn't whine about it at all.  He is growing up.  He no longer sits in a high-chair, he doesn't like to be in the stroller, he now sleeps in a big boy bed, and he is beginning to work on potty training.  If we tell him we will do something later we frequently here the response "I want to do it now please", or if we tell him we will do it tomorrow he says, "I want to do it this day".  He is also learning to say "please" in a begging tone..."pleeeaase".  He is still obsessed with cars, trucks, and tractors.  And he is becoming a really good counter, he can count to 25.
Washing his car with Dad

Brother LOVE!!

Evan is growing up as fast as his little body will let him.  We are quickly finding he is our little adventurous explorer.  He is on the move and goes everywhere in our house by army crawl.  He has been found heading out the screen door, pulling over lamps, getting into plants, heading down the stairs, crawling down the hall.  He loves to follow his brother everywhere and also play with all of Brendan's toys (this has led to some new problems in the Smart house).  Evan is a great eater, and loves to talk.  He continues to be our boy who lives in the extremes.  He is either the happiest baby ever or the most miserable.  His smile draws peoples attention.  He loves to connect with people one on one.  It has been fun to begin to see the gifts God has given him.   

We have gotten to do some really fun things.  As Evan gets older it is becoming easier and easier to go out and do more and more things.  We were able to take Brendan and Evan to the Palouse Empire Fair and Brendan to the Latah County Fair.  Brendan loved riding on the rides at both fairs and loved getting to see all the animals.

Josh's Mom was able to come and spend a few days with us.  Brendan loved having Grammy here.  We were able to go up to take in the WSU pre-game football events, shop a little (Grammy spoiled the boys with some really cute new outfits), and we were able to share what our life looks like here in Pullman.

Josh's Mom was really gracious to stay with Brendan and Evan so that Josh and I could go up to Courd'A'lene and be at an awards program where my Dad was awarded a very special lifetime achievement award.  Jenni and Justin drove over from Missoula and Josh and I drove up from Pullman to surprise my Dad.  I have only seen my Dad surprised maybe one other time, it was priceless and awesome to be there.  I am so proud of my Dad!!  After the awards program Jenni and Justin and Josh and I joined my parents on a sunset cruise on the lake.  It was very special to be there and see my Dad honored.

Needless to say...LIFE IS GOOD!!