Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Smith Christmas Get-togethers

Every year, the Smith extended family gets together for a Christmas party a couple days before Christmas. It used to be at my grandparents' house when I was a kid, but for the last decade or so it's been at my dad's house. It is one of my favorite events of the whole year. Everyone comes over, we all have dinner, the kids do the nativity story (complete in costumes brought by Grandma), the kids do a candy exchange, and the adults do a white elephant gift exchange. It is always so fun and so good to see everybody. Here are some pictures from this year's party.

Baby Jane, Tanner, and Ezra:

Ezra and Ellie as shepherds:

Brooklyn as Mary and baby Jane as baby Jesus:

Nativity in progress:

The next night we got together again - this time to do a family temple trip! It was really cool. My dad does a lot of family history, and has literally hundreds of names we can do temple work for. My cousin Ashley suggested that we should do a family temple trip together, and we all thought it was a good idea. So on Tuesday we all met at the temple and did a session together. Jason's mom watched Ellie, Zelda, Ezra, and Jane for us. Afterwards we went to Farrell's ice cream parlor, where some of the younger cousins joined us. I got to sit next to my Grandma and it was awesome. We want to try and do a family trip every year.

Grandpa and Ezra:

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Playing at Grandpa's House

Over Christmas break we spent lots of time playing at Grandpa's house. Zelda has missed it ever since we came home to North Carolina and tells us on a regular basis "I want to go to Grandpa's house." I feel bad because she's too young to understand that it's a bit harder to get to than just a short drive in the car. (Grandpa, you need to come visit us!)

A couple times while we were there Ellie sat on the stairs, told Zelda to sit next to her, and then ordered us to take their picture. We obliged. :)

Playing with Ezra and his tablet:

And playing in the front yard:

Splashing water on me:

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Christmas Cousin Time

This Christmas vacation we stayed at my dad's house in California. We had lots of fun at his house and with the Smith cousins, but we also got to go to Nana and Papa (Jason's parents') house and spend lots of time with the Thomas side of the family and with all the Thomas cousins. Ellie and Zelda loved being able to see and play with their cousins so much.

Ellie, Zelda, Emily, and James playing in the backyard:

Things got even crazier and more fun when Tiffany (Jason's sister)'s family got into town.

One day we all went to Orange County Zoo. In this picture, back row from left to right: Brynn, Mikayla, Emily, Ellie, and Aubrey. Front row from left to right: Skylar, James, and Zelda.

We got to pet the goats:

 So many little girls:

Fairy bubble play time in Nana and Papa's backyard:

And dinner at the kids' table:

Friday, January 15, 2016

Captain's Log, Week 299

Weeee're baa-aack! After a rough (very nauseous) start to this pregnancy, I am now 17 weeks and really starting to feel better. I have so many photos from over Christmas break that I'm going to do a series of little posts to catch up. This is my "general" catch up post, explaining where we've been since I posted our last real Captain's Log (like two months ago!).

November, in general, was very low-key. I was nauseous the whole month, so most days involved me lying on the couch, trying to move as little as possible while the girls played around me. Our Thanksgiving was good; we went to our friend the Johnson's house with some of the other student families.

Back in November, Ellie was really sick for like a week. She had a high fever (103-105 degrees) that just kept spiking up whenever she wasn't on medicine. She wasn't eating much and was lethargic and not herself. Over several days, after a trip to Urgent Care, her regular doctor's, and the ER, she finally started to get better on her own. They don't know what it was; they ruled out some of the more common things. Just some nasty virus. We were so relieved when she started feeling better and acting like herself again.

Jason finished up his psych rotation the first week of December, and then had a week off before we left for California. We were going to fly out December 13, and Ellie's birthday was December 14, so we wanted to do a little birthday party at home for her before we left.

Very excited Zelda

Zelda helped Ellie blow out her candles:

Our flights out to California were pretty good. We had to get up suuuper early in the morning on the 13th and our friend Lacrecia drove us to the airport, where we took one flight to Atlanta and then another to Orange County airport. The girls did pretty good on the flights, but we were all really tired when we arrived in California.

The next day, December 14, was Ellie's fourth birthday, so we had a little birthday party for her at my dad's house. The girls were laughing at how Grandpa was making a loud noise with a balloon party favor:

Ellie loved her little party (which was dinosaur-themed, by the way).

The next couple weeks were filled with grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, trips to the zoo, trips to the park, Christmas, and more.

We flew back to North Carolina on New Year's Eve. Since then Jason's started his new rotation (family practice) and the girls and I have played and read a lot. My nausea is finally starting to get really under control, which has been great. I've felt like eating (and even cooking!) again and have been able to clean and do all sorts of things it's been hard for me to do.

So that's where we are right now! Back home and having a good start to the new year. :)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2015 Book List

Well, I only read about half as many books in 2015 as I did in 2014, but that's okay. I plan to read a lot more this year. I made a list today of books I want to read and am excited to get started on it.

There is one book that I feel like reading this year was a real accomplishment - Don Quixote. I wanted to read it before our trip to Spain, and I'm really glad I did. It was a great, clever, funny book. I listened to it on LibriVox - a site where you can listen to free audio books (that are all in the public domain). It took me a very long time to listen to all of it - like a whole month. I listened to all of Volume 1, which was published in 1605. There is still all of Volume 2 (published in 1605) for me to listen to, which I feel will be kind of hard work (like the first one was), but just as rewarding.

The books I read in 2015 were:

- Rogue Knight (Five Kingdoms) by Brandon Mull
- 13 Suspicious Incidents by Lemony Snicket
- "Shouldn't You Be in School?" by Lemony Snicket
- The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch
- If You're Reading This, It's Too Late by Pseudonymous Bosch
- This Book is Not Good for You by Pseudonymous Bosch
- This Isn't What It Looks Like by Pseudonymous Bosch
- You Have to Stop This by Pseudonymous Bosch
- 123 Magic by Thomas W. Phelan
- Don Quixote, Volume 1 by Miguel De Cervantes, translated by John Ormsby
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling (reread)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (reread)
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
- Steve and I by Terri Irwin
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- The Princess Bride by William Goldman
- Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
- The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
- Entwined by Heather Dixon
- Bad Magic by Pseudonymous Bosch
- The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
- The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard) by Rick Riordan
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (reread)
- A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett 
- Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan
- Crystal Keepers (Five Kingdoms) by Brandon Mull

Looking over this list, I really like most of the books I read this year. All of the Brandon Mull and Rick Riordan ones were great. Lemony Snicket was good ol' Lemony Snicket. The Pseudonymous Bosch ones were all pretty kid-ish, but amusing reads nonetheless. Don Quixote was awesome. Winnie the Pooh was delightful. Entwined was one I just found on the shelf of the library that turned out to be a surprise favorite (it's a retelling of the fairy tale "The Twelve Dancing Princesses").

I read "The Secret Garden" and "A Little Princess" for the first times this year. I've seen the movies of course, and it was really interesting to see how they compare. To be honest, I don't really like The Secret Garden movie, but (surprise, surprise!) the book was way better. I still like the A Little Princess movie better than the book, but the book was good too. The thing that surprised me most with that book was that the book and the movie had two different overall messages - the movie's message is about how we all have inherent worth; the book's message was about always trying to do the right thing even in hard circumstances. Both are good messages.

So yeah! That's what I read this last year. :)

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Joining us in 2016...

will be Thomas baby #3!

I'm about 3 1/2 months along right now, and due mid-June. My morning sickness (plus the long Christmas vacation we just took) is why I've been absent from the blog these last couple months. But I'm feeling a lot better now, and  hope to catch up on the blog soon!

We don't know what the gender is yet, but if it's a girl Ellie wants to name it "Ellie" and if it's a boy she wants to name it "Grandpa." :D