Monday, December 31, 2007

What a season to be merry!

I can't believe that Christmas is already over. It seems like we just barely had Halloween.

This was our first year to stay at our home in Pittsburgh for Christmas and I loved it!!! My mom and dad came for the week, (my mom is still her :)) and we had a wonderful time. My kids were especially happy to have them come, and then hearing that Grandma was going to stay another week?!!!! Life couldn't be better.

We had fun building a ginger bread house with Grandma and Grandpa and licking all the candy and frosting right off. The elves came to the house to bring our Christmas jammies, Grandpa read the boys some classic stories and the quote to remember was when Noah put his head down on the carpet and said, "I can't stay awake." He was trying so hard and just couldn't do it anymore. There was lots of shopping, cooking and just having a great time together. It really was wonderful to be at our home this year.

Christmas morning was fantastic. Santa left lots of toys for the kids and they were gleaming with smiles. When I asked Jackson what his favorite toy was he said, "The Polar Express Train." WHAT!!! That isn't even from Santa. So . . thanks Dad. We should have just let you be his Christmas. :)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Jackson and Nora sitting in a tree. . .

Jackson had his school Chirstmas party a couple of weeks ago and he especially enjoyed his quality time with his little girlfriend Nora. She is darling. Jackson told me about three months ago that he knew who he was going to marry.
He said, "Want to know who I am going to marry?" And I said, "Yeah, who?" And he said, "Nora."
I asked him how he knew that and Jackson said, "Because she told me so."
Welcome to your life Jack. We girls are the bosses!! :) Always will be.

I am still alive!

Did anyone wonder where I have been? Our computer died on us a couple of weeks ago and I have been out of the blogging world ever since. But my brilliant husband fixed it, (who knows how) and now I am back. So get set!! I have some serious catching up to do. :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I need some help

Hi people. I just sent an email asking for your addresses. If you did not receive that email, it is most likely because it didn't go through or something. So, can you please email me your current address for Christmas cards. It isn't much, so don't expect to see a family picture of all of us. It is just the kids. And that was hard enough to do. :) So, I just need addresses now please. My email is janaksmythe@gmail.com Thanks everyone!!! Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Time to SIT

The perfect calling is finally mine. I know what you are all thinking, "She doesn't know what she is talking about. I am the Relief Society President or the Primary President or even the gospel doctrine teacher and those are the perfect callings." (HAHA!!) But WRONG!!!! Activity Chairperson is by far the best. If you asked me yesterday or even last Wednesday, I would have felt very strongly the opposite.

I was called about a month ago and honestly I was very excited about it. Party planning? Hello? Jana? PERFECT!!! Originally there was no budget for the Christmas party. Waaaa!!! Who plans a party with no budget? I know some of you are creative enough and "wise" enough for that, but me? Are you kidding? And in the end, I was given enough money to plan and prepare for a wonderful night. And most importantly, a committee. :)

I spent much of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in my kitchen and at the church. Exhausted. But the party was a great success and t
he food was excellent. Or so I was told. Maybe people are just saying the "right" thing like the way so many do after someone has just given a rather boring talk in sacrament. You know you have all done that. But I do think the party went great.

The Primary did a superb job at the nativity. The chaos is what makes it so good. We had a few BEAUTIFUL musical numbers. And SANTA came
!!!!! I even told a few of the girls I saw his sleigh in the sky and one little girl ran to the window doors and stuck her face there until he really did come. They were falling for it hard. Noah was too freaked out to sit on his lap. :) I really owe a HUGE thanks to Melanie for doing all she did. And Zach too. What would I have done without your help? We owe Zach majorly for his babysitting skills. Did you use a tank of gas for those stupid table cloths? I never even had to ask for your help. Thank you!

And thank you to Libby for all you did. It is amazing what a mom can do with a baby in her arms at the same time. :) You set a beautiful table. :) I know it was hard to do everything you did with a husband at work and studying so much. I REALLY appreciate all you did!! Thank you to all my friends not on the activities committee for everything you did to help. Bake, babysit, serve, clean, you name it. I have been very blessed with great friends.

And here is why my calling is the best. Yes, it is CRAZY the week of the event and especially the day of. But when it is done and the mess is all cleaned up, I can just sit and relax until the next one. I am especially loving that my calling does not require any public speaking. I hate that. Seriously. And again. . .I get to plan parties!!! :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Just because

I had to get those little boots because. . .did you see them?!!!

Anyone that knows my little Noah knows that this is his FAVORITE sleeping position EVER. Once those arms go behind his head, I know he is toast! :)
Jackson's version of "quiet time." In the basement, on the futon, on top of his chair, "not sleeping" and NOT watching Spongebob. He better not be! :)
She is just pure JUICE!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Enjoy!!

Here are the recipes that have been asked for. Enjoy.

Mashed Potatoes
check it out
I used light cream cheese. Fat free has a different funk to it. Really. And I don't think it matters if you used the fat free half and half. I didn't. But I would. I just didn't have any.

Green Beans

1 bag frozen green beans. Or fresh. Whatever
bacon bits. I use real bacon and chop it chunky.
1 garlic clove minced
onion chopped finely (add however much you like. I use lots)
chopped almonds
Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

place beans in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Drain and run cold water over them to keep the color. In a large skillet, heat a little olive oil and add bacon, onion, garlic, almonds, salt and pepper. Saute. Then add the green beans and stir until heated through. Place in a casserole dish and add Parmesan cheese. I like to add lots. Then enjoy!!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Treadmill time!

It was good. SO good. I woke up with a little bit of self control and lost it all by 9am. Wednesday was spent cooking and preparing for the FEAST of Thursday. And totally worth it I might add.

Brooke and Cody came over and she brought some very scrumptious rolls. What would Thanksgiving be without homemade bread of some sort? And her potatoes and dessert were also extremely yummy. Thanks Brooke. And I hate you for making me eat so many good things. :)


Wednesday I made the pretzel-jello salad, coconut cream pie (thanks Jill for the step by step instructions), stuffing and also mashed potatoes., Thanks again Jill for seriously walking me through it every 30 seconds. She even answered the phone, "Gourmet cooking class" or something to that effect. Too true. :) Then on Thursday we did the turkey. I had to leave the kitchen
while Jason did his duty and removed all the parts. What the heck with all that. Does anyone really eat any of it? When they bag them up, KEEP THEM! No one wants to see it. Except Jason, who was looking at each part and talking to himself about it. THROW UP. I could never be a Dr. (For many more reasons than just that.) :) Study habits especially. But never mind all that. The turkey turned out great. At least I tell myself it did. And the mashed potatoes were divine. SOOO fattening. Which is why I loved them. Cream cheese, butter, seasonings, MORE butter. What's not to love? My sister Jill shared this recipe with me and I will keep it always. Never again the same old boring mashed potatoes. For those of you that like green beans, I have a great way of making them. My mom and dad did them this way all growing up. Which might be why I love green beans. Real quick, they have almonds, bacon, onion, garlic and Parmesan cheese. HELLO!!! Good. :)

So, I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with great friends. Sorry to my mom for all the years I did NOTHING to help. I have changed my ways. My body is a little sore from standing in the kitchen for 2 days. And my husband is on call so no back rub form me. But come on, we all know what that means. . . . . .:)

Off to the treadmill I go. Or not. Chubby is growing on me. :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sugarland what?

OK, who the heck is Sugarland? And could they be any lamer? Did you all just see that performance on the American Music Awards? B-A-D!! And Beyonce? What the! That was so sick. I hated every second of it. I had to blog ASAP on it. Before I became numb to my true feelings. There. . . I feel much better.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

It is over

The trips are finished. I didn't think I could be so happy just sitting at home, NOT packing to go somewhere for the weekend. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED all our little jaunts here and there. But I am ready to live out of my dresser and not my duffel bag.

We got back from Disney World and left two days later for Ann Arbor. Jason had an interview there for his fellowship. Then, we got back from An Arbor and I left two days later for New York. Such a fun girls trip. Then, we finished with a trip to Charlottesville, Virginia for another interview. And we are back. Ahhhhh. . . .. Big sigh.

Ann Arbor was super fun. We stayed with Lisa and Shawn and loved it. Truly some of our very best friends. And the cider mill was heavenly.

New York? Well, FUN FUN FUN. Delicious food, GREAT shopping and even BETTER company. It was just what I needed. Thanks Lisa, Emily and Arah. Or Debbie. I call her both. And Emily D. who lives in Manhattan and directed us to some of the best places. It was so great to see Emily D. after almost 5 years. You girls are wonderful and I had a blast with each of you. I will post pics and possibly an update about it later.

But now for your help. Where should Jason and I live for a year after Pittsburgh. We are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go back to Ann Arbor, where Jason will finish his training in MSK Radiology. That has always been Jason's number one. But we also were offered the chance to go to Charlottesville for a year. Both are fantastic universities. So, what do you all think? Charlottesville was beautiful. Small. But I can do small for a year. :) Thanks to Amy and Ryan Quinn for hosting our family with great food and new friendships. I had a fun time with Amy all day getting to see the city, and eating all her pumpkin chocolate chip bread. What the heck?! I am on a diet! So, I am curious to your opinions.

It feels good to be here, sitting on my bum, in the living room, knowing I am going to our ward tomorrow and Christmas is around the corner. (That was random). :)

Monday, November 12, 2007

They're here!

I leave for a few days and get home to my little baby having TWO teeth. Those teeth are the cutest little things I have ever seen. I can't stop myself from feeling them and tickling her so that her mouth opens wide and I can get a good shot of them. I just had to share.

I will be posting my NYC Girls Trip as soon as the pics are emailed to me. So fun!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Disney World

We are back. After a long awaited trip to Orlando, it has come and gone already. I can't believe it. Disney World was an absolute blast. Extremely exhausting, but some of the most fun I have ever had. My entire family went, minus Ben, my brother in law and I loved spending time with all of them. It has been a long time since we have all been together at the same time.We all got to Orlando on Thursday, the 25th and checked into the resort. Jason and I were the first family to arrived and so we had a great time just discovering everything around while we waited for the rest of the family to arrive. Once we were all there, it was a late dinner to Chili's. Aunt Jocey bought my boys some fun balloon shapes and that made their night. Soon to be followed by all the kids. :)The first day was spent at the Magic Kingdom and by far was my boys FAVORITE park. Noah could ride so many things and Jackson even got to go on Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain. Too fun!!! Unfortunately we started the day on Stitche's Great Escape and that was NO GOOD for Jackson. Why don't they tell you that it is PITCH black in there with Stitch seeming to crawl and breath all over you. Needless to say, Jackson screamed bloody murder the whole time. And once the splash of water hit us, he was inconsolable. I kept wondering what would happen if someone went into labor or something in there and needed out ASAP. I panic a bit. :) But the rest of the day was a blast. We had a great time.
Day two was off to Epcot. Very fun. But onto the best for small kids. My favorite part was watching the Kohler Family compete for the Robot race. Nate won, which was no surprise. That kid is an athlete. But all the adults were screaming for their child to beat the others. We can't help it. It is in our blood. And yes, tears were shed. What is a competition without some cries from those of us that didn't come in first? :) Is that mild abuse to the kids? :) I know people say that they don't care if they win while playing games. But come on. Why play if you aren't even going to try to win. That is the point right? To win?
The biggest bummer about Epcot was not getting to ride Soarin. We were on it. Rising to the sky and the smell of Napa Valley oranges was in the air. When it went black and we were then being moved to another theater. By then, Jackson claimed to have to go potty and there was no way he was going to hold it. What do I do? Risk an accident or give up on the ride. I gave it up and we went to the bathroom. But not without a little talking to about holding it. That line took forever. Even WITH the fast pass. Oh well. There will be other times for Soarin. BUT. . . not to forget, the heavenly empanadas for lunch. My mom, Jason and I (and my kids) wandered through all the different countries in search of food. My dad was there. And then he wasn't. What did he eat? As for us, when I saw Argentina, I was set. Empanadas and dulce de leche. It took me right back to the empanadas I had on my mission. Mmmmmm!The next day was Sunday. Some went to church and some didn't. We didn't. :) Once everyone was back to the resort we all went swimming and relaxed. And to be honest, I could have done that a few other days as well. The pools were a lot of fun (pirate themed and ALL set up for kids) and my kids were able to nap. Ahhhh. . . . Sigh of relief.The day spent at MGM was wonderful. Rainy, but so fun. Jackson and Noah got to meet the Little Einsteins and go to a fun Disney's Playhouse show. They loved it. And I even got Jackson to go on Tower of Terror. He was scared, but he made it. And I even saw him laugh and smile during the ride. All the dropping made his tummy tickle. he heard the older cousins say that and he thought they said, "Made their tummy's stretch" so he kept asking me and Jason if his stomach was going to stretch. :)

Then we spent the next day at the Animal Kingdom. I loved it. We had so much fun there. It was all so new to me and very interesting. We went to some shows, (Bugs Life 3D was hilarious), rode the rides and had a great time. Expedition Everest was awesome!!!! I had no idea that it went backw
ards. :)
The Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party was super neat. All the kids got dressed up and off we went to trick or treat and see some great fireworks. But of course we got rained out. So after fighting it our for a long time, we gave into mother nature and headed home. Who wants to be dripping wet and in costumes. Ewww. That was an expensive bag of candy if I do say so myself.Out last day was spent back at the Magic Kingdom. That is where my kids could do the most and had the best time. Even little Ellie could go on rides. If you can call Winnie the Pooh a ride. :)

We headed home on Thursday and NOW we need the vacation. :) Thanks Mom and Dad for all the help every day with my family. What would my boys do without Grandma Joanie and Grandpa Ko-der? And ESPECIALLY thanks for the time shares. It's about time we all get some use from them. :) That was a wonderful vacation, filled with some very memorable times. Now for p
lanning next years big trip. How about we actually take a VACATION?! :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Copy Cat

You Are a Yellow Crayon

Your world is colored with happy, warm, fun colors.
You have a thoughtful and wise way about you. Some people might even consider you a genius.
Charming and eloquent, you are able to get people to do things your way.
While you seem spontaneous and free wheeling, you are calculating to the extreme.

Your color wheel opposite is purple. You both are charismatic leaders, but purple people act like you have no depth.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Back again


Aunt Jocey came back to visit and it was so much fun. Nothing like a last minute trip to Pittsburgh. Needless to say, my boys were DYING for her to get here. We had a great time together and I was begging for her to stay longer. We of course went to Pamela's and went shopping. What else do we do? Eat. . . shop. . .eat. . .shop. :)

We went to the Pittsburgh Strip District and that was interesting. Fun. Jason and I had never been there so we thought it was a gre
at time to try it out. We walked the street and looked at all the different artisan shops. We did find some very tasty bread. This is where all the vendors for fresh sea food come each morning on the river and where all the foreigners sell their specialty foods. After the Strip District we headed to one of the funnest things we did. The pumpkin farm. It was great. Beautiful fall weather and lots of fun fall activities. I thought the boys would love the petting farm. Wrong. Jackson wouldn't even go in it and Noah just followed me around while I fed the nasty things. And they would not leave me alone. Anyone that knows me, KNOWS I do not like animals. Especially ones that have poop hanging off their bum fur. But I had to play "fun mom" and so the animals were fed. And I even got Noah to pet them. Purell, here we come!!!Thanks for coming to see us again Jocey. We all love you very much. And can't wait to have you come again. Maybe next time you can bring Ben with you. :) See you in a few days. (Get set. . . the boys are counting down the days until Thursday and they can see Aunt Jocey again.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Did you see it?

Um, hello. Did you all see Wade Robson last night on "Dancing With The Stars?". I typically don't watch that show, and was flipping through the channels since NOTHING is on on Tuesday and saw a quick glance of Wade. So, I waited. And waited. And then it came. He did an AWESOME dance with several others and I loved it. He can move. That is all I have to say. Now I am all hyped for "So You Think You Can Dance" again. Too bad it is so far away. LOL!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Simmons Farm

Monday, October 8, 2007

Check out my Slide Show!

Click on the speaker on the lower left to hear the music to go with the slideshow.