Thursday, December 18, 2008

Brynlee is 1 month old!

Marinne and Blake had their school Christmas program last night, and I was reminded why I choose to drive the 15 minutes to and from school twice a day instead of having them walk to the neighborhood school. Notice I said "Christmas" program, not "Holiday" or "Winter" program. The title of the show was "Come to the Manger", and most of the songs were about Christ and the true meaning of Christmas. I'm so grateful my kids attend a school that can have programs like this. The music teacher does a great job with the kids and they really like him.
Aunt Bethany surprised Marinne with this skirt to wear for the program. Wasn't that nice?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Quick Update

We had a fun Thanksgiving and are especially grateful for our sweet baby girl and the joy she brings to our family! I had to post this picture of James sporting the ever popular pillowcase indian frock!
1st bath!

1st Piano Recital

Blake was student of the month! His teacher is great and we are proud of his hard work!

We won't include the one of him holding his certificate over his face while they try to get the group yearbook picture!

My Blog Was Kidnapped! (or is it blognapped?)

I made the mistake of letting Ray post the baby pictures on the blog, therefore giving him access to post other things - such as the lovely Superman clip in the previous post. He said we needed to "mix it up a bit", meaning he thinks my blog is boring. So, be forewarned that Ray may sneak un-approved content into my once
un-adulterated blog.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

No Such Thing as a Free Lunch? I Beg to Differ!

Have any of you ever been here?It's owned by the same people as Joe's Real BBQ, but they have more variety. The food is delicious and their shakes are to die for. They have lots of seating outside so the kids can run wild while you eat. Amy & I went today and got FREE lunch, including a huge cheeseburger, fries , and a drink!!! They gave meals out to the first 3,000 people and we only had to wait about 10 minutes!
For some reason I love cheeseburgers when I'm pregnant, not so much when I'm not.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hammond Halloween

We had our annual Halloween party with pumpkin bread bowls and soup, followed by trick-or-treating and homemade doughnuts (thanks Karin!).
Ray has worn this outfit every Halloween for 7 years now. We're all waiting for him to shock us one year with a different costume. My choices were quite limited this year!
My cute sister made all of these Star Wars costumes for her fam - quite impressive!

Grandma dancin' in the street!

Recognize the pink dress, anyone? Bethany decided to put on one of my old dance costumes and be me for Halloween. She even drew on the mole that I have since had removed. Ray said I should be honored, but somehow I think she was mocking my 80's fabulous-ness!

Blake as Batman, Marinne as Nancy Drew (she's read about 30 of those books), & James as a dalmatian, along with some cousins and a friend

The Gang

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Ghost of Halloween Past

This Halloween season has caused me to reflect on Halloweens long ago when my father would turn the Smith residence into a fabulous haunted house. Trick-or-Treaters would wait in line for the privilege of entering. It started small and then grew year by year. I believe the witch vacuum was the first creation, followed by many additions, including the Tesla coil that shoots out purple lightning, Jacob's Ladder, the talking skeleton (who was usually dressed as Norman Bates' mother, but had at least one appearance as a cyclist on the roof with E.T.'s head in the basket), Fred the Head, who's mouth moved in time to a recorded voice, Frankenstein, who would rise up on the chiropractic table, Marie Antoinette and a bloody guillotine, The Phantom of the Opera playing the old organ, a dummy who fell out of the attic, and the list continues. Scary Halloween music would blare through the outdoor speakers to attract visitors. Needless to say, our Halloweens growing up were great fun. Sometimes we were allowed to help and bring friends to help as well. It made Halloween so much more exciting than just going Trick-or-Treating. I'm grateful for my dad's creativity, and we are the only family I know who has LITERAL "skeletons in the closet".

Here are our carving adventures this year:

Yes, for you observant ones, that is a "KISS" inspired jack-o-lantern created right out of Ray's brain, and James' shorts are on backwards.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Snippets from Fall Break

Cousins at the Zoo"Papa" with all the Grandchildren
Pumpkin Patch
Corn Maze
This is how James fell asleep on Sunday...

P.S. Notice the tangled slinky on the floor. Do those things ever last more than a few days without getting mangled beyond repair?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Saturday morning Ray and I went to the temple with my sister Amy & her husband Sam. My mom watched the kids, and when we went to get them, we walked into a room full of people, presents, and food! My mom and sisters planned a surprise baby shower for my SIL Adina and I! I had no idea! I think it's silly to have a shower for a 4th baby, but I had gotten rid of Marinne's baby stuff, so it was great to get some nice things for the baby. Thanks for all the fun gifts, everyone!!! Amy made some cute invitations...
Erica is in town for a few weeks, so it was fun to have her at the shower!

A Great Book

A group of women from my ward have a book club, and our latest read was "These is my Words" by Nancy Turner. It's about a family that settled in Arizona in the late 1800s, written from one woman's perspective. It drew me in from the beginning and I read it in a few days. Although it isn't about Mormon pioneers, the family goes through many of the same hardships and it made me appreciate those who crossed the plains and all they sacrificed. I love historical fiction because I feel like I am not only reading a good story, but learning something as well. Anyway, it's a great book and I recommend it! Now I need to get the sequel!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Marinne's Recital

Marinne had a violin recital last Saturday and did a great job. I hope she will stick with the lessons so she can develop this talent. I love the violin, it just takes a long time to get it sounding really good. We are lucky to have such an amazing teacher for her. Blake started piano lessons and loves it so far. I think it's important for music to be a part of my kids' lives. I'm hoping they got the good Hammond singing genes instead of mine!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Creativity and Compassion

I loved Pres. Uchtdorf's talk at the R.S. broadcast tonight. He talked about having joy - Godly happiness. In order to have real joy, we have to emulate the kind of happiness Heavenly Father has. He is a God of creation and compassion, therefore when we are creative and compassionate, we feel true joy. This really hit home for me. He talked about our desire to create, to make things that have not existed before. As women, motherhood is our most important creative role, but he also talked about beautifying our surroundings through things we create. It is important to develop our talents and creativity because in doing so, we are becoming more like our Father in Heaven.
Our compassion can be an answer to someone's prayer. The best way to allieviate the pain of our own burdens is to help lift someone else's. Serving will heal our hearts.

If we ever feel a lack of joy in our lives, we can focus on these two aspects of Heavenly Father's nature. Be creative and compassionate!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Call for Sabbath Activities

Another peaceful "Day of Rest" at the Hammond Home...
I woke up this fine Sunday morning to children playing the Wii and fighting over it. I promptly had them shut it off. They then decided to do "big shoe races" in which each child must wear a pair of their parents' shoes and then race around the house (where do they come up with this stuff?). Needless to say, this lasted but a moment before fighting once again ensued due to claims of cheating, etc. Next on the agenda... a punch out championship between the boys while Marinne pouts in her room. I would like you, the reader, to provide some creative ideas for Sabbath activities other than the ones my kids came up with today. Thanks!

First Day of Preschool

There is some unwritten law that once children reach school age, they cannot smile naturally for photos anymore. They must instead paste on a fake, awkward smile for every picture taken during their elementary school existence!

James is in his Aunt Libby's preschool (is that one word?) again this year. That means for a few hours on Mon., Wed., Fri., I have no children. I am trying to soak this up because come November I will have a newborn in need of constant attention! James was so funny about getting his picture taken on his first day of preschool. He reminded me every two minutes that morning... "Make sure you take my picture, Mom."

Sunday, August 31, 2008

"My naaaaaame is Jaaaaames, that's what mother called me..."(sung in a Brittish accent)

My baby James turned 4 on Thursday! He was the most mellow baby ever! He has such a happy outlook and has been a real joy to have in our family.Do you think I am encouraging violence by giving him these? (at least they're real soft)
I can't believe he's four! I just love his personality. Every time we go somewhere without him, he tells us to have a great time, and then he always asks, "Dad, how was work?" or "How was your meeting?".
Happy Birthday James!!!