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Smith 2012!

Wow, I can’t believe it is December!  I don’t know about you, but 2012 has flown by for us! We’ve had our fair share of busyness this year and we are hoping it will slow down, although we don’t see that happening in the near future. We look back and wonder what we’ve done this year, and why it has gone by so fast.  Here is what we’ve been up to…

January:  Our very own “Mimi” spent some good quality time with Darby while she continued to look for a job.  We were so happy and sad for her to rejoin the work force in January after spending so much precious time with Darby. We miss you Mimi!! 🙂

_MG_1395 Todd was invited to be on the board at The Greenhouse,  a non-profit, 501c3 organization located in the Gardenland Northgate neighborhood of Sacramento, California.  They offer after-school tutoring, mentoring, spiritual development, and leadership development for under-resourced youth. He’s kept busy, but has really enjoyed every minute of it. If you’re interested in finding out more about the Greenhouse, check it out at www.thegreenhousecenter.org.  Jen was asked to be on the vision team (kinda like a board of deacons) at our church, Sanctuary Covenant.  They have been really busy preparing for a move to Clunie Hall in East Sacramento come January 2013.  We’re super excited and look forward to what God has in store!!

During this month, Darby was officially potty trained.  Diapers during naps and bedtime, but throughout the day panties all the way!!  Such a big girl!!

February: Todd and a bunch of guys went to a family owned cabin in Kings Canyon for a Men’s Weekend.  As you can imagine, there was a lot of eating, gas, and guns. He had a blast! _MG_1697

March: SHINGLES came back around for a second time with a vengeance.  Poor Todd was out of commission for a few days, though in pain for several weeks. I’ll spare you the pictures 🙂

April:  Our efforts to began Urban Homesteading (partially joking here :-)) started with plans for our front yard garden and the purchase of 3 baby chicks. Boy, have we learned and laughed a lot over the last year.  Ask us and we’ll give you plenty of stories:-)_MG_1897

Meet Laverne (top) and Shirley ( bottom), and well, I don’t think we ever named the black chick in the middle.  It died within 48 hours.  We then picked up, Squiggie, at the local pet supply store…What a spaz!!!

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May:  Baby chicks were getting bigger and Darby enjoyed loving on them:-)


Here is a before picture of the front yard after a few bomb treatments to kill the grass.

Yard before

And the front yard after (minus the plants :-))….

Garden 2

June:  Before we could go on a trip to CO for a church training conference, we had to get the chickens out of the house ASAP.  Not only were they growing at phenomenal rates, but they smelled and were getting their dander all over the kitchen table each morning.  You can imagine how eager Jen was for the chickens to be out of the brooder!! 🙂 Todd found chicken coop plans, “The Taj Mahal” to be exact and built it just in time.  What amazing skills!!!Chicken coop

While down  in So. Cal to visit Jen’s family, we made a trip to Manhattan Beach for Darby’s first taste of the glorious sea air, warm sand, and cold ocean waters.  She LOVED it!!!

Darby at beach

July: We had so much to learn about gardening on a much larger scale compared to our 5′ x 20′ garden in our back side yard the year before.  At this point, there were gads of produce coming out from every nook and cranny we were giving it away, and meeting new neighbors in the process.  It was awesome!!

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Garden in July


Oh, and we learned one of many lessons when raising chickens that month….One being, when they start flying over things, it’s a good time to clip the wings.  When you don’t, one chicken can fly over the next door neighbor’s fence and be attacked/killed by hunting labs.  Hence starting over with baby chicks in the house once again, ugh!  Now we have 5 chickens.  We’ll have eggs coming out of our ears next spring!!!  Meet Zora (looks like Zorro), Wilma, and Cocoa (from left to right).

baby chicks second attempt

August: Our little Miss Helper was expressing her independence in lots of charming (a tad of sarcasm) and fun ways:) She decided that thumb-sucking was no longer necessary and dropped it all together.  Not sure if the conversations about seeing Dr. Joel (the dentist) had anything to do with it. 🙂Little Miss Helper


September:  While Darby was living it up with Nana and Baba in Sac, Todd and Jen took a trip to see our good friends, Kevin and Linda Swanson in New Jersey.  We walked our tails off all over NY!  What a neat time!  What very special friends!!

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About mid-September, one of the two chickens of laying age, laid her first egg.  It was a pretty neat experience and in our personal opinion, tasted far superior to store bought eggs.  Now, if Laverne would follow suit, that would be great. 🙂

October:  Family photos in October.  Our friend Amy was having some mini photo sessions and we jumped at the chance.  Jen’s parents were planning on being in town the same weekend, so it worked out so well. Thanks Amy! We love them!

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Toward the end of October, we enjoyed picking pumpkins from our garden and carving funny faces on them with fun friends, Brit, Sophia, and Ezra.  We love you guys! 🙂

Fall Fun

November: Wow!  A lot happened in November….Darby turned 3 years old on Thanksgiving Day!  A fun breakfast and present hunt was scheduled that morning, followed by lots of Thanksgiving preparation in the kitchen.  We had all the fixings, of course, though later that evening Darby was upset to find we were having pie instead of strawberry cupcakes and candles 🙂

rain boots surprise

Bike surprise

The day after Thanksgiving, we planned the 2012 Turkey Baster Olympics.  What the heck is that you may ask? See our post on it http://wp.me/p2uRh-lE

The day after that we had Darby’s birthday party with a few close friends.  Strawberry cupcakes, candles as well as lots of sugary toppings were on the menu.  Darby was happy!

Darby's 3

December: This month has been a whirlwind.  Jen picked up some extra shifts at work, continued helping out with preparations for Sanctuary’s move to Clunie Hall, and a long list of to-dos for IVF preparation as well (These details will be in the post to follow). Todd has been busy with several large projects at work, Greenhouse board activities/ to dos, and construction projects for church and Greenhouse.

All in all, we’ve had a great year, and we are so thankful for God’s provision in our lives in so many ways… a year of limited thoughts about cancer, our health, our sweet little girl, our church family, our family and friends, etc.

We end this year seeking to learn more about how to slow down in this fast pace culture, to enjoy the simple ways of living, and to remember daily why we are here and what we’ve been created for, so that we can share the freedom we have in Christ with others.

Merry Christmas!!


2012 Turkey Baster Olympics

Happy Thanksgiving!  We hope you enjoyed a lovely holiday.  Boy, do we have a lot for which to be thankful.  Yesterday we hosted our first Turkey Baster Olympics.  Although the goal was to raise funds for our IVF endeavors, we really wanted to be with family and friends, have fun and give thanks to the One who has provided all that we have. All of that, and more were accomplished.

About 30 people came out to participate in, what we’ll say, were interesting and unique events, all centered around the IVF theme. The Eggs and The Swimmers competed against each other – two rounds for each game.

The games consisted of a turkey baster ring pass between partners, baby block stacking (A shout out to Rob Crandell’s craftsman skillz.  Thanks to  you!), and sucking up m&ms (eggs) with a straw and placing them in bowls (petrie dishes).  The most popular games were the raw egg toss, and the turkey baster finale which included a vat of tapioca pudding (I’ll bet you can imagine what this represents) and turkey basters. What a blast these games were to participate in and especially to watch.


In the end, we had three definite winners, and the bronze, silver and gold were handed out.  Thanks to all who came and partipated, as well as to those who were with us in spirit!  The 2012 TBO raised a little over $1500, which brought us to our current total of $5,000.  This is incredible news and such a blessing!  Thank you, all!!  Here are a few extra pictures to share…..

Keep a look out, because in the next week or so we’ll be working on a post which will include details regarding the next steps in the IVF process. We want to keep you guys in the loop. 🙂