Saturday, July 28, 2007

Heading Out. .

The Smith family will be heading out for some R&R with family and friends. I'm not counting on internet, but maybe we'll be suprised. . see you next week!


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

My Maddie Girl is Growing Up!

I thought I'd just share a few observations about my sweet Madison that I made yesterday. .

*She slept until 9:00 o'clock. This is a completely new development this summer. Never in her life has she really slept past 7:30 or so on her own.

*Mid-morning, she decided to clean out my box of nail supplies--ON HER OWN!! She sorted the polishes, tools, and nail files into 3 different baggies and arranged them just so in the plastic box. AND she was very pleased with herself! (She IS my daughter, after all :) ).

*After we ran our errands, I dropped her off at her piano teacher's house. It's just still kind of strange to me that I can just drop her off like that. . .

*Later in the afternoon, when I typically ask her to work in her "Summer 2nd Grade Book", she worked and worked--doing way more that what is required--and seeming to enjoy it! She was reading so well, answering comprehension questions, doing double digit addition, and more! AMAZING!! She also read her new library books for about 20 minutes--really reading!

*In the evening, she invited her friend who lives behind us to come spend the night. She came over, and they just had a ball. They painted their fingernails (on a big towel in her closet so that Jackson wouldn't bother them!), watched a movie in her bed on our little portable DVD player (thank you, Maw Maw), and went on to sleep at 11:00 without any problems!

She is really growing into a beautiful, responsible, caring young lady. Two people complimented her yesterday. One was the owner of the cleaners that we use. He said that she was so happy and well-behaved. The other was our neighbor. When she dropped her daughter off last night, she said that Madison is a true friend who is always so kind. I feel the same way about her daughter, too! We are thankful for their friendship.

I'm so grateful for God's hand on her life. I'm still praying that I will know for sure that SHE knows for sure that she is in God's family. But for now, she has a simple faith that God loves her.. and He does. . even more than I love her. . .Thank you, Jesus, for my Maddie girl. May she always be secure in Your love for her.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tag Day

OK, I've been tagged TWICE at once, and this is exciting because it's my first time to be tagged at all! One is reflective and spiritual, one is just for fun. So, here goes. . .


1. I have flat feet. I had to wear inserts in my shoes until I was a grown-up and wanted to wear cuter shoes all the time! :)

2. I love to cook (most of the time). I'm constantly reading recipes. When I get a new magazine, I usually go the FOOD section first.

3. I'm not scared of bugs or snakes or spiders or frogs.

4. When I was about 22 I wanted a belly button ring, but my husband talked me out of it and bought me a magnet one instead that I never wore--not once. I have NOT wanted one since. It was a silly in-the-moment idea that I am SO glad I didn't go through with.

5. I love to shop at Target. If I could only have one store to do all my shopping out of, that would be it.

6. I love to read. I always have a book going. I particularly like historical fiction for relaxing with. . I'm currently RE-reading the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. It's set in Rome and VERY exciting. I also love reading to my children. Madison and I are flying through the chapter books now, too.

7. I can play the piano. I took lessons from 1st or 2nd grade all the way through a senior in high school. I'd like to start taking lessons again one day

And on a COMPLETELY different note. . .


1. He is faithful. He's been so faithful to me. He's always there. I never have to wonder if He'll love me, forgive me, guide me, provide for me. . .I also love how He is faithful to the ones I love. He'll always take care of them, too. Whenever I rehearse His past faithfulness, my faith for today increases.

2. He is GOOD. 100% good. He wants what is best for me. He is utterly incapable of making a mistake. He sees the end from the beginning.

3. He give me wisdom. I love His promise to give wisdom when we ask! I need so much!

4. He teaches ME from His Word. I love studying and learning His Word. I praise Him for this desire to sit with the Word and that He would meet me there is amazing.

5. He wakes me up in the morning. I never thought I would want to get up, but He wakes me up early and "the same power that rose Christ Jesus from the dead" works in me. . and I get up! Incredible! Such a gift.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Picture Day!

Jackson swimming at Papa Joe and MaMaMa's house in Friendswood

Madison floating and having fun. .

We're at the circus!

Maddie and me. .

The white tigers doing their tricks. .

The dancing elephants.. .

SEVEN motorcycle guys in ONE giant cage. .

Madison, Jackson, and Hope with their cousins, Morgan and Luke (We went to Maw Maw's on Sunday afternoon)

The brothers (Will and Stephen) holding the babies (Luke and Hope)
Morgan holding Hope

On the slip-and-slide at Splash Day (look at that handsome boy!)

Sweet baby Hope at Splash Day

Hope again. .

About to go down the water slide

On the water slide. .again. .
That's the last few days in pictures. . Thank you, God, for our family!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Good Times

I'm so glad it's summer! We are just soaking up all the good times with friends and family near and far. . . and because school doesn't start until Aug. 27th, we're only half-way through!

So. . .we DID go to the circus yesterday. I have lots of pictures, but I can't figure out how to get them off the camera and onto the computer here at my parents' house, so I'll post them another day. Anyway, the circus was oodles of excitement. It wasn't like I remember it, but I had only been one other time when I was about 7--and that was just awhile back, ya know! THAT story goes down in Zmarzly history because our car "blew up" while we were in the circus (according to legend). As we were looking for a place to park, that dark, rainy night so very long ago, our car (which was really my grandparents' car that we were driving with some friends) was smoking and over-heating. We parked and went into the circus. When we came out, the car was GONE. All that was left was my mom's Big Gulp cup, sitting all alone on the asphalt. Turns out, the car had "blown up", the wrecker had been called along with my dad (who obviously wasn't with us), and the car had been towed away. Remember this was WAY B.C.--before cell-phones! Okay, so yesterday, no cars blew up as far as I know, but we (my mom, my sister, M, J, and I) did have a marvelous time. Madison really liked the elephants and trapeze artists, and Jackson really liked the motorcycles that do this amazing trick. SEVEN of them were riding simultaneously in a spherical cage. CRAZY! She got an elephant, he got a motorcycle, they each got a snow-cone in a special cup, and I got $65 poorer on souvenirs!!!! YIKES!! Thank you, Mama, for supporting our circus endeavors.

Today we gallivanted about town in the style of the olden days when people went "visiting" on Sunday afternoons. We went from the Matte's (see below), to Maw-Maw's house (where we got to see Uncle Will and cousins Morgan and Luke--PRECIOUS!!), and to Lee-La's house (Stephen's great-grandmother--where we also got to visit with Aunt Mary Ann). So. . . it was a delightful day of good ole visiting.

Last bit of news from the home-front: Stephen came home early from his trip. Sadly, Greg's grandad is not doing well, and he's needed in LA, so they come home this morning (instead of Wed.). We are super happy to have him home already, but sad to hear the Matte's sad news. It worked out B-eautifully to pick the guys up from the airport, take Greg home, hug Kelly and Grayson, and head to Katy. So, there. . that's our weekend.

On a final note, God has been teaching me some really sweet things lately, and I feel compelled to share. . maybe tomorrow :). It's so precious when you know you're His daughter and He is yours. I am blessed. You are blessed, too, friend!

Friday, July 13, 2007

This is the great adventure. . .or at least it's some kind of adventure

We (3 kids, the dog, and I) are in Houston as of 5:45 tonight. Yes, I think I set a record. We left our house in Irving at exactly 1:23 pm and made it to Friendswood at 5:45. No stops. Seriously. We made NO stops. J-man slept, and then watched one movie. M watched one movie, and then read some books. Baby girl literally made not one peep. She fell asleep before we were on the freeway and woke up in Friendswood. I have the hands-down world's greatest baby! Gretel (the dog) slept the whole way, too, by the way. We made it in time to eat spaghetti and swim in the (blow-up) pool. . good times.

Also, I got my hair done today. What is it about going to get your hair fixed? It's always shinier, smoother, and in my case--a different color. What is it with me and changing my hair color lately? Really. What AM I trying to prove? That yes, you can have 3 children and still want to have great hair? That even though I do pony tales 4 days a week, I can still get fixed up when I want to? First it was the fire-engine red and vibrant blond (read: yellow) highlights. I told Glenn that I wanted dramatic, and I got it, all right. Red + yellow = orange. Well, it's dark brown now. Madison called it black. She also said she doesn't like it. I told her to wait 2-3 weeks or at least until after I shampoo it a couple of times. . it'll lighten up a bit. I told him I wanted to go close to my natural color, that I wanted a dark, rich brown. Well, it IS dark brown. Oh well. At least it's shiny and smooth.

Stephen's adventures continue, as well. He is now in Boston. He and Greg went to Harvard Square to eat tonight, and tomorrow they do the tourist thing. Tomorrow night, they are excited about going to a Red Sox game.

For us, tomorrow holds the promise of. . . (drum roll, please) the circus!!! Fun!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Holding On and Letting Go

It's been coming at me all day that mothering is about holding on and letting go. One of the first things Jackson said to me this morning was the precious thing that my friends who are mothers-of-boys told me he would most likely say at some point... "Mommy, I love you. I wish I could marry you. If I was a dad, I'd marry you." Oh-my-goodness!!! If that doesn't melt your heart! And my little baby Hope--I just want to hold onto her being little--but do I really? Yes! And no. And my Maddie girl, I dropped her off at the church at 9:00 am and didn't pick her up until 5:00 pm, and she was at a water park all day long without me! I just can't believe that she's old enough to do that! But I'm so proud of her. . she's responsible and trust-worthy and ready to. . be let go a little bit. . just a little bit. Tonight we snuggled in bed and read "James and the Giant Peach" (we're excited about finishing the story tomorrow), and I wanted to just hold on. In my mind I picture this funnel, gradually widening that corresponds to my children's growth.. . their worlds gradually expand along with thier ability and readiness to go out into the world. Does it have to be an either/or kind of job, this thing called being a mother? Do we hold on OR let go? I don't think so. . at least in my 7 years as a mom, I think I've learned that my little ones need me to hold on AND to let go. . at the right time. . .not too soon and not too late. Thank you, Jesus, for 3 precious little ones to hold onto. Give me your wisdom to gently let go bit by bit. . while holding on.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Happy Anniversary to us and Hello White House (among other various happenings)

Isn't it funny, you fellow-bloggers, how some days you don't think you have anything interesting to write about and other days you have more tidbits to talk about than you have time to type about! Well, today is such a day for me. ..
First, yesterday was our 13th anniversary. I am so thankful beyond words for Stephen and who he is. It's just unbelievable to think back over our 13 years and how much we've changed! If there's any one word to sum up our marriage journey so far--it might just be change--which is usually a good thing! We were both so very young when we got married (I was 19 and Stephen was 20) that we both had a lot of dramatic maturing and changing to do! We've also changed together, as one. I'm especially grateful for this aspect of change. We've learned to listen, to give care, to be patient, to endure, to encourage, to work things out, to speak each other's "love language" just a bit more fluently. We've experienced a lot of life change together, too. One of the most wonderful things about our marriage so far has been the absolute privilege of getting to sing together and lead worship together in so many different settings--both small and large. What an incredible thing that God would let us do this music thing at all, and to do it together is amazing. Three more life changes: Madison, Jackson, and Hope. It's beautiful to have a like-minded husband to share this role of parent with. Stephen loves our children, and I love him as he loves our children. It brings my heart great comfort and peace as I look to the years ahead (God-willing) when I realize how much change we have survived and even thrived through. God is good!

Second piece of news--Hope is just about rolling over! She can get on her tummy, but she doesn't get both arms parallel to the ground--she's kind of half-rolled over--kind of stuck! She's so cute! Here's a picture from yesterday--though she didn't roll over again once I got the cameral out (notice the huge mosquito bite ON HER LITTLE CHEEK! Yikes! It's already a lot better today, in case you're worried!). . .

She's such a happy girl!

And she's just so sweet!

Third--my friend Jamie is in Dallas and unexpectedly has a couple of hours, so she's coming over tonight! I'm so excited!

Fourth--and just maybe the most unbelievable--Stephen was at the WHITE HOUSE TODAY!!! He's on a trip with Gregg Matte (our good friend from Breakaway days at A&M and also at Houston's First Baptist Church--he happens to be the pastor :) ). Gregg knew somebody from A&M whose husband is the Military Security Director. This couple picked up Stephen and Gregg at the airport this morning and took them to the White House! They had lunch in the Executive Dining Hall in the basement of the West Wing. It had impeccable service and food, and just about everything had the executive seal on it, including the butter! They had some White House specialty called Freedom something for dessert which was chocolaty goodness. They were standing right outside of the Situation Room when Mr. Gates and Condelissa (I don't know how to spell her name!) Rice walked into it! Gregg said "giggem aggies" and Mr. Gates (who is the former A&M pres.) turned and shook his hand. Ms. Rice was so close to Stephen that she just about "brushed his shoulder" as she walked past!! Now, they are at the hotel (which is without power due to bad weather) and are going to rest a bit. They have all kinds of awesome things on their itinerary in the next week, so I'll let you know! :)

Fifth--I just have to say that Curtis Jones preached an absolutely amazing sermon on Sunday, and it will eventually be up on the pod cast of our church's website at We were blessed to be reminded that God's definition of success doesn't necessarily equal our Americanized idea of happiness. Thank you, Curtis.

Sixth--this picture just might sum up my life with 3 kids--I never really know what might happen and Jackson is bound to make me laugh. Yes, he's naked. He's between going potty (Hallelujah for the "potty train" as he calls it) and playing in the sprinkler.

Have a blessed day, friend. I pray that you are successful--pleasing to the Lord--in all you do today!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

One Word: LASIK

Yes, I got LASIK yesterday!!! This is truly a dream come true for me!! I know that sounds so corny, but I have been wearing my glasses all the time since last October when my eyes became intolerant to contacts. I had to wait until 3 months after Hope was born to be eligible for the surgery and now. . it's done!!! I'm reluctant to share the depth of my feelings about how I've been looking over the last 10-11 months--first because I even hate to articulate it and second, because I don't won't anyone to feel the need to correct me! So, just I'll just leave it that the last year of my life has-I think-been one of the least attractive--second only to my 12-13the year when I had huge hair that I did not know how to fix, big huge-framed peach glasses, and a chubby body that had not yet lost the "baby-weight" that would come off by itself my freshman year of high school! (I couldn't even find a picture of myself at 13 because so few exist--which proves my point! That, and the fact that the digital pictures I have don't go back before 1998 :)). But now at long last--step one to getting back to the "real me" is done!!! Yeah!!!! Now I won't feel like I should be going to bed at any minute (because that's the ONLY time I've worn my glasses since I was 13 and got contacts!). LASIK itself was an interesting process. The surgery was truly pain-free, but I was uncomfortable last night. This morning, though, I woke up feeling great! No pain. . no discomfort. . and I can SEE!!!! I know there is a definite spiritual lesson in all this "seeing" for me, and I'm still mulling over it. . maybe I'll share once I figure it out exactly. . .

So. . . next time you see me, I'll be glasses-and contact-free!!! Hallelujah!!!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

4th of July Festivities

Our crew!

Waiting with great anctipation for the floats (or fountains as Jackson kept calling them) to come our way. Notice the Main Street shops in the background. Cute!

Baby Hope taking her morning nap in my arms. The little dress she's wearing is one that Madison wore on her first 4th of July. I remember that special day at the Smith farm in Hempstead so clearly. . . we celebrated Stuart's, Bunk's, and my birthday that day. . all of our families were there. . . it's funny how seeing Hope in the dress had me walking down memory lane all day long.

One of the beautiful floats/fountains.

In the evening we had a blast with the Richardson's out in Highland Village. We love hanging out with them! We grilled steaks, and the kids played and swam. It was a great night. . the kids fell asleep on the way home.. . and it was a peaceful end to a good day.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Recent Pictures from Recent Events. . .

Stephen and baby Hope at camp in MO last week. This hat is just amazingly cute! :)

This is as the kids were coming in one morning. We love leading worship-through-song with the Smith Band at camp. What an honor and blessing for us!

This is right before Jackson's party on Sunday night. We had a double party with Jackson's buddy, Titus. He turned 3 last week, too, so his mom, Amber, and I thought this would be so fun. We had a Bob the Builder Party, and invited Titus and Jackson's friends from church (Daniel and Lauren; Kate, Ben, and Drew;Jackson J.; Campbell; Caleb and Hannah; Annalise) plus their parents and a few extra friends. Amber made the most wonderful appetizer veggie pizza, delicious cupcakes, and to-die-for cookie-dough cheese cake (from SCRATCH!!!). Stephen and I grilled hot dogs and hamburgers and had all the trimmings (including my friend Jamie's incredible spin art dip, a personal favorite). Though the weather didn't cooperate (it rained super hard in the late afternoon and left everything muddy and soggy), we still had a blast. .. just without the construction site (a.k.a. sand box) that was to have been a big hit of the party! Oh, well. . . the kids still had fun.

The 2 birthday boys at the big moment.

Stephen watching Jackson open his presents. . . a high lite of the party when you're a kid! :)

One of my favorite parts of the party was when the dads prayed for the birthday boys. I'm so thankful for the example of Stephen and other men (including Titus' dad, Vernon) who point the way to godliness for Jackson, my big 3-year old!