Sunday, May 31, 2009


One of the best things about summer and friends is getting everyone together for playdates! I LOVE being able to have the kids outside. This particular day last week, my friend Kara from Nebraska came down with her boy Braden. Our friends Amanda and Shannon and their kids Taylor, Mason and Eli, also came for fun and lunch.

We fixed mini pizzas for lunch and had some other yummy food. Here are the kids eating--Ollie, Eli, Braden, Taylor and Mason in the highchair.

And here's Mason after eating, getting cleaned up. This picture just cracked me up!!! And we just saw this little guy this evening, and boy does he have a CUTE hair cut! You may not recognize him now!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Courtney!!!

From Ollie and Lily, to you:

Hope your 24th is a super one, sis. We sure love having you around! Here are a few random memories to wet the eyes:

*sharing a room when we were young
*playing barbies non-stop
*selling dirt out of a wagon. (oh wait, that was just you)
*you spending weekends at Bethel with me
*going to Manhattan together in high school in my boat
*playing hair dressers
*your whale spout hair-do
*the scars we gave each other (and still have!)
*shopping and saying LOUDLY "Courtney, here's the Backstreet Boys shirt you've been looking for!"

Ahh....memories. Hope we have lots more together!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Harvest Begins...

I love this time of year. I love planting flowers. I love gardening. (Okay, I have to be honest...I love the IDEA of growing a garden.) And I love working outside in the beautiful weather. I took a few pictures last week of some of what is growing in our yard:

3 bushes of BEAUTIFUL roses.

Bright red geraniums. These are some of my favorite flowers to put into pots because #1) I can actually keep them alive and #2) they are so gorgeous. They add so much color to our yard.

In the garden area, we have:
GIANT tomato plants (cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes and two other 'normal' kinds)

Raspberries (sure to be a BUMPER crop this year!) Oh, and I just found out how to make berry jam in my bread machine--so that will DEFINITELY be happening later this summer!

Onions, lettuce, spinach...

And radishes. Nice, healthy, radishes. I was out weeding today and realized that the radish stems were to my knees. Upon further inspection, I realized that several of the radishes were the size of apples! I'd say they're ready!
We have some other things growing too, that I'm very excited about. And I'm hoping to actually can salsa this year, as my past two attempts at freezing it did not work. So, if you know of anyone selling their canning equipment, let me know! It's high time I learned that trick.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


This post is all about Oliver.

He loves to sing. His favorite songs lately are "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", "Fishers of Men", "Mighty to Save", and "My God is so Big". Here is a video of him singing "Fishers of Men". He sings and talks pretty much non-stop. We hear him talking for at least 15-20 minutes each night before falling asleep. And in the car? Constant. We have tried to implement no-talking times, to no avail. He lasts 3o seconds on a good day.

Oh, and here's a picture of him in his new snazzy underwear. He LOVES it. He even tried to pee in his underwear this morning just so he could put a NEW pair on. I gently explained that it doesn't work that way. :-) We're on day 4 today--and he even took a nap AND drove to and from El Dorado (45 minutes away) in underwear yesterday!
(He's helping Joel make french toast)

This next video is of Ollie reading to Lily. He likes to do that now, especially before bed. He grabbed this book while I was cleaning this morning and sat down to read with her quietly. It was very sweet. She didn't really listen all that well, but at least he tried!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Potty Training, Take 1

Here we go. We (somewhat) reluctantly have entered the world of potty training. We say 'reluctantly' because neither of us has really been excited about the idea of having to always be within close range of a bathroom, deal with accidents, etc.

Ollie has been SO ready though. Since about last October, his little potty has been out in the bathroom and he frequently sits on it and tries to go. He'd been successful a number of times. He always talks about going potty, tells us when he's going in his diaper, and in the last week, had been taking off his diaper and pants and going to sit on the big potty.

Okay--we get it. You're ready!

So Saturday morning we put underwear on him, and started. He's done amazing!!! We have the occasional little accident, but most of the time he goes in the potty. We have had diapers on him for night and nap time, and church, but other than that--it's all underwear!

We'll give it a week and see how it goes--hopefully by next weekend we'll be done!

Friday, May 22, 2009

The End.

The school year is officially over. Everything is cleaned out of my room...and is downstairs in our basement. I HAD collected as much as I expected. (much to Joel's dismay...) Ollie and Lily came yesterday after school to help me move this picture, Ollie was taking care of the secretarial duties:
(saying "Hello? This is me.. Okay Daddy!")

But what a way to end the year!!! We had SUCH a sweet group of kids this year. And wouldn't it make sense to take a cute picture of them all? Yeah. It would. But I forgot to, in the chaos that IS the last day of school. Take a look:
We had an incredibly beautiful day! Here are a few pictures of field day:

Such a great finish to a super year. I'll sure miss the kids, Mira, June and Denise, as well as the whole staff. What a great place to teach!

When I got home today, I found this:
I sure am looking forward to this new phase in my life. My little ones are SO precious!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Last Day

Tomorrow is my last day of teaching 3rd grade this year. And for a while.

This was my 6th (can you believe it?) year of teaching. 3rd Grade. At Slate Creek! Obviously, I've been so fortunate to work in the same grade level, which I love, at a school, which I love.

We'd always thought though, that I'd stay home after having 2 kids, and for many reasons, it just worked out this year.

I always thought it'd be a pretty easy decision. It wasn't. Around March, I started having second thoughts. I'd always felt like this was a ministry--a way to show God's love to these kids (albeit VERY imperfectly). So a big part of me hated to be away from that.

I also know that I don't do well at home all day for days on end. Even with two kids! But having 3 months of maternity leave prepared me for that somewhat, and made me realize that each day, it's good to have SOMETHING to do--even a trip to Walmart!

Finally, with the photobooth business we started, that gave me a way to make some money, as well as get out of the house occasionally. So with lots of prayer, and many circumstances working in our favor, we decided this was the year to stay home.

So, here's my classroom.
I will miss the staff and students at Slate Creek TERRIBLY. It helps to know that this is just another step--there are other opportunities for me to be a part of, and in a few years, once the kids are in school, I can always go back.

It's also good to know that this was the right decision for us. I have felt tremendous peace about this decision--and that makes a HUGE difference!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

so much for originality...

So Monday, my 3rd graders were talking about seeing my kids again. One of them kindly asked, "Mrs. Smith, did you name your kids after Hannah Montana?"

Lost, (after having never seen the show) I said, "No. Why?"

They ALL proceeded to explain that there is an Oliver AND Lily on the show. Great.

My friend Kirby sent me a helpful link to further explain...and sure enough...they were right. Rats.

Meet Oliver...

And Lilly (at least its spelled different...)
Hmmmm...maybe no one watches "Hannah Montana." At least, like my mom pointed out, this way, in 10 years we'll seem VERY young and hip.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Perfect Evening

Start off with a vanilla creme creamer from QuikTrip...

Add an outdoor concert...

With my 3 favorite people...

AND beautiful fireworks (along with perfect weather!)...
It's the PERFECT evening!

Well, almost...
A few preliminary fireworks went off during the concert, and Ollie was TERRIFIED. Shaking. So we held him for a while. We didn't know how well the fireworks would go after that...although he was scared, he did okay. Notice in the picture of he and Joel laying down, he's closing his eyes.

Surprisingly, Lily sat and watched the whole thing contentedly.
It was one of those nights that I'll remember for a long time.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Clay Center

Last Saturday, my sister Courtney and I went to Clay Center to see 2 of the best things in the world: Chelsie (my best friend growing up) and the Tasty Pastry Bakery.

Brief history: I moved to Clay Center when I was 5, moved away when I was 13, moved BACK when I was 14, then left for college 4 years later. Then my parents moved to Minnesota.

So, I consider this home, although no one in my family lives there any more...

But here are some pictures from the day:

THE Tasty Pastry Bakery. I worked here for 3 1/2 years in highschool.

And no offense you Newton 'Druber's fans' folks, but these are the BEST donuts any where around.

And the clown cookies? To die for.

My friend Chelsie:
and her cute house:
So, here's the story about me and Chelsie--we were both in 2nd grade together and since then have been friends. One time, on picture day, we were playing 'swans' at recess. (that meant we were swinging on our tummies). So, Chelsie fell forward and scraped up her cheek (on picture day, mind you!). I was supposed to go to her house that night. Being the good friend that I was, I cried when she got hurt. Because I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to go to her house anymore...

Our house that we used to live in:
Chelsie, me Ollie and my sister:

Chelsie is one of those wonderful friends--no matter how long it's been since I've seen her--we always pick right up where we left off. We have SO many memories together, and I'm so thankful for her!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ode to my Mom

(my mom would LOVE the fact that I have this picture on there...sorry.)

Mom, here's a poem, just for you! (cause it would only be appropriate!)

My Mom
Many things about you
I admire and love:
Your kind heart, your encouraging words
Your being from that great country above (Canada).

Your fingerprints on MY life
are obvious, I'd say:
Our looks, our laugh,
and even how we start our day! (coffee!)

But the most important things
that I see in you?
Your steadfast commitment
to the things that are true.

Your love for Dad,
Your commitment to the Lord,
These things speak louder
than any of your words.

I'll say "Happy Mother's Day!"
but realize, too-
I admire you EVERY day
for the things that you do.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


The other day at lunch, Ollie prayed:

"Dear Jesus,
Thank you for heaven,
thank you for Jesus in heaven,
thank you for Lily
thank you for strawberries,
thank you for Cora.

I have this on my fridge, and I just smile every time I see it. It's so sweet.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Ollie has been singing his ABC's lately VERY WELL. Surprisingly, he even sang it on video for us. 3 times!!! (that's how long it took to get this one.) You'll notice he watches himself on the viewer the whole time...

And here are a couple pictures of Lily. Tonight she started cereal (she'll be 4 months tomorrow!). She seemed to get it in we'll see if it goes well!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Kendalls's Top Three...

organizational tools. Okay! I hear you laughing!!!! I know I'm not probably the one you'd have come to for organization advice (see my kitchen drawers, my classroom at school, and my closet...)
but I HAVE found a few ideas that have helped me keep sane. So, here are my top no particular order.

(ahem...drum roll, please...)

#3: My list of meals
Every couple of weeks I plan out a week and a half to two weeks worth of meals. Then, I do ONE big shopping trip for all of that. It's nice to KNOW what I'm making before the morning of (or an hour before!) and it's fun to look through magazines or recipe books looking for meals. This way, I can also plan one big shopping trip for a certain morning of the week, instead of having to run to Walmart several times. (At least, that's the idea. Some weeks I completely space things out and have to go back...) And a bonus--this way saves money!

#2: My first year baby calendar
I make a 'first year' scrapbook for each kid. I like to record milestones, how much they weighed, important events, etc. for each month. To make this easy--I keep that page on our fridge and add to it when something happens. This page isn't started yet, since it's only the 2nd--but I'll add her weight from her appointment this week, the fact that she's getting dedicated on Mother's Day...things like that.

#1: My basket of goodies

This has been HUGE!!! Before, the piano became the collection place or everything: the checkbook, books, mail, checks to deposit, pictures, you name it. Now, things fit into this handy, yet stylish basket. And we always know where something is if it's not where it's supposed to be! :-)

So, if you're wanting to get ideas from expert organizers, talk to my friends Mira or Amanda, or my sister, Courtney.

But if you're just wondering what to do with all that clutter on your piano, I'm your woman!