08 July 2016

"Was he black?"

My thoughts are scrambled, which means I should probably keep them in my head. But alas, here they escape on the world wide web. Over the last few days, hate, confusion and death has spread through our country. Infecting every newsfeed known to man, and yet I remain quiet with my voice. Just keeping it to the kids' pictures, the happy memories I love to look back on. Always being careful not to offend or stir or be misinterpreted. Well, forget it.
Here it goes.
I am married to a white police officer. Yep, a conservative NRA republican man. When he became a police officer over 12 years ago, I was so crazy excited for him to live his dream. He has a servant's heart, a strong desire to help others, he is strong and skilled and has excelled as an officer. He serves and protects.
Slowly but surely as the rookie title wore off and his baby face got a few wrinkles, I started to be less excited, not so crazy thrilled for the line of work I had cheered him into. I was and am often asked, "how do you stay so calm?" "Do you worry about him?" My answer was always simple and true. I would say I had peace because I truly believed he was doing what he was made to do. He was right where God wanted him. I still do not doubt God's sovereignty over Kelly's position, but I wrestle with Kelly's role as a police officer. I wrestle a lot.
No longer do I think of his uniform as a thing of honor and something to be proud of. I view it as a target. He walks around with giant reflective letters, POLICE, on his back.
I haven't read a lot about the recent shootings, nothing more than my Skimm email included, so not much at all. I chose not to poke around the internet for videos of the shootings. So, this is not a post about these incidents specifically. It is a post about being responsible for our reactions and recognizing that when we speak out, whether through well thought out words or emotional outbursts, that we need to think about how our words are affecting the horrific division and hatred sweeping across the hearts of our nation. I am so sick of people justifying their disgust with the police. I am SO sick of hearing people say, "well, not Kelly of course." That's crap. Because, guess what, whatever we are saying is either pulling people together or apart. Kelly, and the other "not him of course" officers are the ones dealing with the socially acceptable culture of treating officers like beasts. So, is your social media feed, your break room banter, your post Bible study discussion, is it helping? Is ranting about how awful the police are as a whole, is that bringing resolve?
Acting like every police officer is the same is as ridiculous as acting like every elementary teacher is Mary Kay Letearnou just looking for her next boyfriend. It is living in fear that every camp counselor is a pedophile in disguise, it's as idiotic and low, hurtful and hateful as thinking every black teenager is a gang member. Yeah, I said it. So, react, speak out, push for change. But when you do, please realize that when you generalize the police, when you speak as though all police are the same, it is as ignorant as racial profiling. I don't have a solution. I think there are horrible evil police officers, racist power tripping punks, looking for trouble out there. But, I also know there are hard working, self sacrificing, underpaid, kind hearted, trustworthy amazing officers out there. Putting on their targets everyday, often under the scrutiny of the public papparazis just waiting for an officer to mess up. Just waiting for the video they post to prove how truly twisted the PD is.
Years ago, Kelly was involved in a shooting. After knowing he was okay, my first question to him was, "was he black?" I hate that I asked that, but I was never so relieved to hear "no" than in that moment. You see, had the answer been "yes," then the case would not have been allowed to be a case, it would have immediately been a media frenzy. The facts wouldn't have mattered, so much as the character profiles the media would spin. I understand that my lack of details and my speculation of what might have been, do not carry much weight, however, I believe it to be true. So true in fact, that years later when Kelly was involved in a physical altercation, on camera, with a black male, I knew it would be trouble. At first it wasn't. At first, all the facts were treated as facts. A guilty verdict was had, a sentence was served, Kelly's surgery was completed and life appeared to move on. Then, a criminal record seemed inconvenient to the young man, so a rookie reporter offered to uncover the real truth behind the "racial issues." The same little newspaper that has reported on Kelly for receiving a lifesaving award, playing in charity basketball games and various other 'atta boy' police work, decided to try and turn a case closed situation into something ridiculous. See, had the kid been white, the media would have laughed and been bored and dismissed the idea all together. Better yet, if Kelly was anything but white, there would be no story. It eventually fizzled into nothing and the reporter ended up looking like an idiot. But, the point is, the media loves to sell papers. They love to sell stories. And often, they are just that, stories. I am not speaking about the shootings, but I am saying, can't you see that the media loves conflict? They love to fuel it, the fear sells. They are in no way trying to bring peace and resolve to those involved in the story. Peace sells at Christmas time, otherwise it's left for the Hallmark channel.
I fear we are cultivating a generation of people who will be afraid to be officers. A generation who will realize that because there are some terrible people dressed in uniform, it is no longer a wise decision to wear one. A generation that believes you have to pick a side, a closed fist or a blue stripe. Gross, haven't we come farther than this? There are not just two groups. There are millions of different people, from different walks, facing different struggles. There are millions of people that although vastly different, are called to come together, as one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. For all. For those in plain clothes, no clothes and uniforms. Within this Nation there are some absolutely despicable people, and then there are some absolute gems. May our individuality be what strengthens our Nation, not what tears it apart.
When all else fails, pray.

08 May 2016

Mother's Day

(Picture caption: The day my heart and hands got fuller than I ever dreamed they could be.)
I love mornings. I love watching the day wake up, hearing the early birds (literally), and enjoying a moment of calm before the pace of the day wakes up and is on full blast until the quiet of the night. Levi's feet literally hit the ground running (but only for his jaunt to our room), it's the cutest thing to be able to so easily distinguish between the sounds of he and Georgiana waking up. I want to lock the sounds in my head and my heart. Levi flies into our room, flings the door open (usually smacking it into the wall/door stopper), all business and on a mission, he crawls into our bed (after being helped up) and then cuddles. If he does talk, his voice is extremely loud, which is funny (sometimes) only because the rest of the day, his voice is often so quiet that I have to constantly ask him to please speak up. He will say one of four things: 1. Is my Georgie already in here? 2. Where's my Daddy? (if Kelly's left for work) 3. I need to eat, now. 4. Did I sleep in my bed the whole night!?! (because he wants to earn a prize). Georgiana walks in like she is making a grand entrance, carrying her giant stuffed horse, Kiley, who is literally the size of her, and maybe a stuffed orca or two and possibly a blanket. If she is well rested, she wants to have a quick cuddle and then immediately head down stairs and start the day. She wakes up talking, like literally sometimes wakes up and finishes the last thought she had before bed. I'm not kidding, it's funny and impressive, and sometimes a bit much for 6am, but I wouldn't change her one tiny bit. She too wants to know if Levi is already in our bed, more so because she doesn't want to miss out on anything. If we are downstairs before she wakes up, it just throws her off. Levi could care less. She's my mini me, poor thing. In the midst of trying to navigate how to parent a 5 year old who gets stressed out, I said, "Georgie girl, I didn't learn how to lighten up until I was close to 18, so we've got to work on this now!" Everything is important to her, she's a rule follower, type A, go get em' girl. Which mean she has to be taught (even at 5), how to have grace for herself and those around her. I may have started to ease up in late high school, but I'm still very much learning how to navigate a life filled with grace. Which is one of the reasons I so genuinely laughed and cried through Jen Hatmaker's book, For the Love. I could go on a rabbit trail (a big ol' trail) about how much I truly LOVED this book and am so thankful to the ladies who recommended it to me (when 4 friends recommend something in a 2 week period, listen, God uses those around us), but I'll stick with my morning thoughts before I hear the pitter patter and save it for a post I hope to type up someday. Although quick on his feet, Levi is slow to wake up, he enjoys some minutes without the lights on. His sweet nature has taught me to be more patient with Kelly's lack of get up and go morning habits. It's probably terrible how cute I find Levi's morning routine and how much I tried to change Kelly's when we first got married! Sorry babe! I enjoy lights on in the morning, sorry, I just do. Poor Levi looks like he's been assaulted when the lights are first turned on.
I hear the troops, I just heard a door, my little guy is awake.
Happy Mother's Day mommas! Enjoy the moments today, the calm ones (if any), the loud ones, the fast paced ones and the moment your head hits the pillow ones. And seriously friends, check out Jen Hatmaker's book, I want to have a For the Love night in early summer. Sit around the fire pit (if it's not raining), or cozy up in my family room and chat about the book and life. If you are reading this, you are invited, and so is that friend you think would be fun to bring.
I'm off to say good morning to the troops!

26 February 2016

Catching Up on the Blog via Phone Pics

Last weekend, Kelly and Levi took a nap together while I took Georgiana to dance. 
Levi's not normally a napper these days, but after he was accidentally bopped in the face with a swing, our little guy was tuckered out!
 He slept for 3 hours! He was a sweet little sweaty snuggler. Kelly didn't plan on spending his Saturday on the couch, but considering he kicked the ball that hit the swing that smacked our little guy, there was no way in the world he was going to set him down. And, not to sound dramatic, but we probably don't have many more opportunities to nap with this little guy. I mean, look at him, he's not so little. But those cheeks, he still has a pinch of baby face in him and I adore kissing those cheeks!
 Sunday, we celebrated Grandpa Bill's birthday in true Smith fashion.
 The kids knew exactly what they wanted to get Grandpa, a nerf gun of course! 
 They know their Grandpa well, because they all thoroughly enjoyed themselves!
 Kelly gives the kids instructions, and it is funny to hear them reference building search terms and other tactical sayings while we play hide and seek or other games (like a nerf fight). Sometimes when we are "hunting" a stuffed animal, they give me a direction and I have to ask what they mean? 
 "Mom, go in the prone position!"
 Continuing along with catching up on the blog, I am excited to announce that I am the temporary owner of an antique Oshkosh Steamer Trunk. I say temporary, because hopefully this beauty (especially once it is all cleaned up) will sell at the Enumclaw FARM & Frills Sale in May. 
My sister and I are SO excited, like if you knew just how excited you might giggle a little because we are so, yes, dare I say it again, excited. Ever since my sister, Tiffany, introduced me to the Country Chicks sale last Fall, we've been talking about having a booth. We love to hunt down treasures, help restore and rejuvenate lost pieces or ones that are headed to the dump. It's refreshing to jog the creative and business juices and we would be beyond delighted if you stopped by to say "hello" to us at the sale! Don't you worry, as it gets closer I'll be putting more reminders out on the world wide web. For now, just look at this beauty. Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That is a true statement because this bad boy has grown on me! I told Kelly that we need to get all these milk glass vases and vintage trinkets out of the house, and quick. The longer they sit here, the more my brain is convinced the most perfect spot for them is in our home! Just imagine the possibilities with this...
 Switching gears again, all part of catching up courtesy of the iPhone. 
Last Friday, we went to the State high school wrestling tournament. To be honest, I know pretty much nothing about wrestling. When I watch a basketball game, I can pretty much understand the calls, a soccer game, most definitely (grew up playing), the same with baseball, easy peasy. Wrestling however, I unintentionally ask ridiculously obvious questions. I was in awe that my friend Emily always knew who the referee was giving points to. Seriously Nicole, the wrestlers are wearing color coded sweatbands on their legs! Thankfully, Emily and all the other informed viewers, were extremely patient and gracious and avoided using words such as seriously, but still, how did I not pick up on that!?! Anyway, in all honesty I just didn't get wrestling...
Until you know the person!! I remember watching Zach at State last year, I was sitting visiting and people watching and then he was up and anything that would have weirded me out before was completely out the window. I was yelling so loud, that I had to remember my project from my abdomen cheerleader trick. Suddenly, it didn't matter where someone had to put their arm to get the other guy down, just get him down!! I still don't know the rules, but I have a taste of why in the world someone would want to do it. Not me personally, but figuratively, I get it. It is intense, unpredictable, challenging and can be pretty incredible to watch. It really is an honor to cheer on such amazing athletes. We were also able to cheer on a wrestler from our church, both of these guys demonstrated such sportsmanship and humility, it was encouraging watching how young men can be an example to others. I was watching the Bible verse, 1 Timothy 4:12 "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life (conduct), in love, in faith and in purity," be lived out in person. 
 Two little ones were also watching carefully. 
They too were learning what was being demonstrated in front of them. 
 Maybe not so much spiritually, but practically.
"Let's wrestle like Zach!"
 Pizza night at the Smith house.
Thank you Trader Joes, wandering the aisles gave me some meal inspiration this week!
 Levi was pumped!
 He was not so pumped about more "treasure hunting" aka thrifting. He politely says, "do you like this store? I don't, I don't like it here. Are there germies everywhere in here?" He says it very matter of factly, he hasn't really whined about our adventures, especially when he slips a tractor cake pan in the cart and a few other goodies, but it's not his first choice. Thankfully, shopping doesn't occupy too much time, and we are building character, right!?! I need to record Georgiana's reactions to our finds. She is not so even keeled with her opinions. She cannot handle smells or dust or much of what we find. We are yet to get the trunk open, she is absolutely convinced we will find a dead rat. I must admit when she suggested that, I did cringe inside. Yuck and possibly true. 
But, if you are willing to dig a little, you may just find a bunch of silver and silver plated goodies just waiting for a second chance!
 I polished and this little guy vacuumed the entire yard and got all the germs up! We refilled the bubbles several times. I didn't realize until he was finished, that the bubbles were actually a cleaning solution, he was determined to rid the yard of any germs!
 With a little elbow grease, the yard and the silver both sparkled.
 Come back sunshine, the Vitamin D was quite enjoyable. Especially with this cutie!
Another shout out to Trader Joe's. 
I made a riced cauliflower version of fried rice.
Delish and super easy. Now, if I can convince the kiddos it was delish, I will actually make it again.
 So, there we are. 
Now, I am off to bed because my sweet little guy was asleep before 7pm, which means my Saturday is going to start bright and early! 

18 February 2016

deals of the day

Georgiana returned to school today just in time for Dental Day! She was so very happy to make it back, she said she even saw her favorite dental hygienist, Miss Jenny. A couple of yeas ago, Georgiana told Miss Jenny that when she grows up, she wants to be a mommy dentist. They've had a little bond ever since. Keeping in the spirit of dental day, Levi and I headed to Target to pick up the kids' fluoride refill. I forgot that the Target pharmacists take a late lunch, so we wandered the aisles a bit while we waited. We ran into some friends from church, a sweet young married couple that I called "cutie patooties!" Yep, they are a cute couple, but honestly this may be a cry out for more adult conversation because I just called these grown adults a kiddo nickname. Thankfully they were gracious and after bumping into them the second time and apologizing for my eloquent words, they assured me they hadn't even noticed and I was able to clear my head enough to find some clearance gems. The gems didn't come home with me, because I am not sure I have a spot for them. But, if you do, then run over to Target because they are deals worth running for. 
I've been seeing these geometric wire decor items pop up all over, but never at under $7.00 for the small and under $10.00 for the large!
 The only color on sale at my Target was the rose gold. Although I love the color, I wasn't sure I was ready to mix in another metal tone. I finally feel super comfortable with antique brass/yellow gold mixed with stainless steel/silver tones. Had I taken more time to think, these beauties may have found themselves in my master bathroom...
 These lamps. I love them. Marked right down to $24.98! I used self control on this one, I've been eyeing them for Kelly's office space, but seeing as though he's not much of an office guy, even at $24.98 I just really couldn't justify it. Aren't they pretty though? Oh, what if they were used outside of the box a bit for bedside tables...
See, if I let my mind go and I can talk myself into just about any good deal. Not always a good trait.
 I have to be careful, or I will end up with a houseful of bull heads.
 I saw this head pop up months ago on decorsteals.com, it was a screaming deal (compared to the comps I pulled up online). I originally purchased it to flip, but the longer it sat in my garage, the more I knew I had the most perfect spot for it!
 Kelly wondered why in the world I bought an idol!?! I was disgusted and said it was nothing like the golden calf in the Bible, it was a beautiful French country inspired bull. He came around enough to hang it up, but is still questioning my decision. So, needless to say, I'm trying not to be too impulsive with clearance finds while the head settles in. 
If you do not get the decor steals emails, you can sign up on www.decorsteals.com, I looked for a referral link but I didn't see anything I could post. It works like Zulily in that you get an email each morning with the deal of the day, some deals are super rare and sell out soon (each deal is only available for the one day) and some deals come around every week or so. When I was trying to hunt down these pendant lights I stumbled upon the site and have enjoyed the emails ever since. 
If you order these lights, just make sure you trim the chain and wire before installing, otherwise you get to do it twice. Seems obvious now, but I still thought I would share the tip, as we just got around to redoing the installation this past weekend. 
 Now they remind me earrings and I love them even more!
I'm off to read to my tiny ones, today's library picks were all about Easter, Whales and Sea Turtles. Georgiana and Levi are like little sponges, I just wish some of that retention would rub off on me! I've gone from pregnancy brain, to baby brain, to mommy brain, to "hi, I used to be able to have intelligent conversations, but now I'll just call you cutie patootie!" 

17 February 2016

Valentine's Day in Pictures

I am having trouble getting these pictures in any order that actually makes sense. There are quite a few and I am dangerously close to letting a big chunk of time settle in between blog posts. I know from the past, that can be a slippery slope. So, I give you warning, this is a simple post with a bunch of pictures so that when I blink and 3 years have passed, I can look back and remember Valentine's Day 2016.
Saturday the 13th, we got to attend a lovely Valentine's Day luncheon. Georgiana and her sweet friend, Averly play so well together! It is always a treat for them to spend time together. Georgiana even let me put a bow in her hair for the special occasion! She's growing up and these bow days are few and far between. I didn't get a picture of her pants, they are the widest bell bottom shaped denim pants with red and white polka dot bows on the side. They are adorably obnoxious and she most definitely will not wear them to school, "mom, I can't run in these!" She humored me this day, and it brought joy to my momma heart. A friend asked me if they were a fashion trend? To which I replied, "no, just a sign that I've been reading too many Southern blogs, and I am clinging to every little girl moment."
Completely out of order (you were warned). Georgiana enthusiastically writing her Valentine's Day cards, working on her first painted sign and Levi being creative on the floor. Valentine stickers and a distracted mommy equal one very happy 3 year old boy.
 Back to Saturday. On the drive home, Georgiana told me all about how she and Averly were feeding babies and having so much fun. "You know, asking what's 4 plus 6 and going back and forth like that!" I love that these cuties are cuddling babies and honing their math skills at the same time, future modern women right here. :)
 The kids were pretty convinced this was the coolest room ever.
 Hello adorable kiddos.
 Levi was happy to play Legos and hang out by Mr. Oliver. My hunch is these two precious boys will have similar demeanors. Truly sweet boys. 
 Saturday was so much fun, the kids were quite excited for Sunday. Like 6 am excited. So, here we are in all of our 6:20 am glory. Georgiana had secretly made and hid Valentine's Day cards for us. It was just about the sweetest thing, she loves participating and making holidays special. And Levi, on a sugar high just thinking about treats!
 Every bone in my body told me not to post this next one. Puffy, tired, wrinkly and one crazy eyebrow picture. But, I feel like each holiday I am getting closer and closer to editing myself out of the pictures. So, cest la vie, when I am 70 I will laugh that I ever gave it a second thought, or I will think, wow I was brave, haha!
 The common cold rebelled over the weekend and into this week, turning into mid-winter nastiness. I was thankful they opened dvds on Sunday, they've been well used already.
 And some new tunes, this boy was thrilled!
 Pumped about the cd, passionate about the cookies. 
 He calls them Home Depot cookies. Once, maybe twice, he's talked Kelly into buying a roll of cookies I can only think to call vanilla oreos. They are conveniently at the cash register at Home Depot and every single time we are in that store, he begs for them. So, he was sooooo excited to get a giant box! Later in the day, Kelly and Levi went to Home Depot for some lightbulbs and Levi said "I don't have to cry for Home Depot cookies, I have my own at home!"
 Scones, sausage and eggs. He sat here like this while I fixed his plate. His personality is definitely coming out! He politely insisted on two scones, no jam, and then ate an Atkins diet breakfast.
 This girl however is my unintentional vegetarian almost vegan sometimes. She isn't bothered by the concept of eating animals. She will bring it up and try to talk about it while we are eating, which I cannot handle at all. However, there are very few meat proteins she will eat. She will even pick meat out of her spaghetti sauce. As of yet, I haven't even pointed it out to her, but it is quite consistent, so it will be interesting to see how this develops...
 Her little facial expressions. 
 Later, they opened Valentine's Day snail mail, which they LOVE!
Starbucks.
 Cash.
Levi: "I earned a toy! Can I take my ticket to go to the store?"
Me: "Your money?"
Levi: "Yes, my ticket money!"
Georgiana: "Is this the 16th president!?!"
Me: "um..."
(google)
Me: "Yes, yes it is!"
Obviously I am not the first person to point this out, but isn't it crazy how readily available information is? If the kids have a question, they instantly say, "will you look this up?" Or, Georgiana just starts chatting with Siri about it. I remember we had a set of Encyclopedia Britannica's growing up. I thought it was so much fun to have what felt like endless information lined neatly in alphabetical order by the fireplace. Now, my kids are genuinely puzzled when the world's tiniest phone book is left on our doorstep. 
"What is it?" 
"Why wouldn't you just use your phone?"
Phone book meet recycling bin. 
A different world I tell ya.
 My Georgie girl's memory never ceases to amaze me. She spoke in detail of how she and Levi set the table last year for Valentine's Day. She was so excited to do it again!
 "Please take a picture of just the top of the table, and this sign, without me, just the table!"
 She folded the napkins into hearts. Yep. 
Mini Martha.
 Her assistant. 
They are dressed in this fabulous attire because they were exercising earlier, this was their chosen exercise apparel. Romper and bro-tank in the house.
 A very pink picture with the LOVE banner Georgiana made using the Cricut and the tissue heart from her class party. 
Speaking of class party, my grandma (aka Grandma Grandma) watched Levi so I could help with my full attention. The tissue paper hearts were not for the faint of heart, so it was a good thing I had two hands, and Levi soaked up his Grandma Grandma time. 
This is the sign she made for her teacher.
 The back was my favorite part.
Kelly and I were a little surprised by her name. We had the giggles over it, but don't worry they were concealed, we were very quickly corrected "It's a font."
 For her classmates, Georgiana brought globe beach balls with an adorable Etsy card (link HERE), that said "You Mean the World to Me."
 I was struggling with the fact that the cards and wrap didn't coordinate. So, it became another get over yourself moment. I let it go and remembered that they are Georgiana's Valentines and she was very pleased with them, mission accomplished. 

 He is so snuggly and just melts me.
 She is so strong and thoughtful, she too melts me.
 A facial expression for everything!
 We made Love Monster bags. My friend Jen had an adorable book called Love Monster and we added a little verse to his blue heart. We called it a love badge and it said, "We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19"

 Georgiana's teacher is so creative and I thought this Valentines book was such a neat idea!
 A page for each valentine.
 A little banner. I fear my blog is becoming a Dollar Tree/Walmart documentary. But, if I yet again take a get over yourself moment, I am happy to bring you my $2 banner. 
 I've purchased many sheets of glittery paper in my days, and one 12"x12" sheet can run $2 or more. So, these precut glittery hearts were a great deal. I already had the ribbon, so a few minutes of whole punching and voila!
 Georgiana didn't have school on Friday, so she asked if she could do her own hair and put on makeup? When I showed her this picture, she said "I really like that picture, except for the bath toys in the background." Oh Georgie girl, we are cut from the same cloth.
Georgiana asked me to take her picture and send it to daddy to say "good night." 
Whenever he works late, she always loves to send him texts or videos. Always thinking of him.
 Levi, although incredibly cuddly, has no interest in sending a photo or making a call.
 Lastly, a little President's Day message from Georgiana.
The top of the page says, "Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery. If I were president, I would..."


"make a rule that people don't kill animals if they aren't going to eat the meat."
Hmm... my future political vegetarian.