Ringing in 2011

Whenever we are in Michigan with my dad and Marilyn it always seems to be about relaxation, food, beer, and wine!  Our New Years trip was no different.  We indulged in a delicious rack of lamb Kirk made, oysters, and dark chocolate gelato from Zingerman’s.  Kirk also was able to find some limited production Michigan beers he was thirsting to try.

Eliza got some fun new toys as well, including her first trip to a giant toy store.  Watching her dart for the first toy she saw, then trying to carry it to grab the next toy, and then the next, was quite hilarious.  She was so excited to play that she only took one twenty minute nap the entire visit…that NEVER happens at home.  She was exhausted by the end of the day and slept until grandma or grandpa would come in and rescue her in the morning.  She loved it as much as Otis, who can’t wait to see Wesley and gets excited as soon as we get in the car to head north.

Eliza loved cooking in her new kitchen from grandma and grandpa! She made lots of soup and cake and washed dishes in her sink.

Wesley was sad that we took his bed away from him.  Sorry boy – the owner’s name is clear as day!


B is for…

Eliza’s getting really good at recognizing most letters of the alphabet. If you were to ask her what the letter B is for she would be quick to tell you…


Coming this July – a new Smiley!

We can’t wait to be a family of four! Eliza and I had fun surprising Kirk with the news at the airport.

Merry Christmas

Christmas Eve was spent at my mom’s house.  It was a great afternoon and Eliza learned how to open gifts and tear wrapping paper.  Her favorite present was a princess tent that her Papa (Jerry) gave her.  It had to go up as soon as we got home, and it was very hard to get her to go to bed that night since she didn’t want to get out!

Christmas morning was very relaxing since Eliza’s still too young to get too crazy or excited, although she did start to catch on pretty quickly.  As soon as she got out of bed she had to go play in her new tent.  Soon after waking up our friend Mallory came over to celebrate Christmas morning with us.  She wasn’t able to go home for the holidays and we love spending time with her.  We were able to relax, hang out, open presents, have cinnamon rolls, listen to Christmas music, and watch Eliza play - a perfect morning!

Hanging out with Mallory before opening presents.  We were all in our pajamas just as Christmas morning should be.  Eliza had a horrible case of bed head!

For lunch we headed up to West Lafayette to celebrate with the Smileys.  Eliza had a great time and by then was an expert at opening presents.  In the picture below she’s holding a new dress from Kirk’s aunt and uncle that she loved.  She calls all dresses tutus!  Kirk’s parents gave her a nice wooden train set and that has been a huge hit (and has taken over our living room along with her princess tent)!

Eliza had to go down for a nap so we took an adults-only photo of the Smiley family.

Christmas night was beautiful in Indianapolis.  There was a light snow so Kirk went out and got some photos of our peaceful street.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Isaiah 9:6

Santa Claus Came to Town

Our neighbors have a “Santa Party” every year, and last year Eliza had no clue what was going on, but this time around she got excited to see her good friends.  The party is held a couple weeks before Christmas, so when Santa comes the kids have to hide and not let Santa see them (“hiding” is a very loose term for a toddler).  Santa comes in and brings one gift for each of the kids and gives a reason for each gift like, “This is for Eliza for sharing with her friends” or “learning to use the potty.”  Then there is a Christmas blessing and Santa departs since he is a busy man!  Eliza has fallen in love with Elmo from a book that we have and she says his name all the time.  She still hasn’t figured out that he also has a TV show (thankfully!).  We got her an Elmo doll and she really enjoys it but we learned that toys that make noise and move are much more exciting for a party atmosphere!

Waiting for Santa is hard to do!It was way past bedtime, and we were not in the mood to take a picture.

Thanksgiving 2010

We spent Thanksgiving this year at McCormick’s Creek State Park with the my mom’s side of the family.   It rained on Thanksgiving day here then the following day was below freezing so Eliza and I didn’t really get to hike.  My mom and Jerry brought their camper so that we could have an easier time with a toddler and a dog, and we were very thankful for it.  It’s always so great to spend a few days with extended family who we don’t get to see too often.  Thanksgiving at a state park has been a tradition for over ten years on this side of the family and next year we’ll visit Pokagon State Park.  They have a toboggan run which should be a blast (for Eliza and the adults, too)!

Eliza had fun seeing her Gram as well as the other family members.

Eliza’s first real Thanksgiving meal (since last year she wasn’t eating many solids yet).

The whole family (minus me) during our Thanksgiving meal.

We play games at night and dominos is a common favorite. Eliza helped her Aunt Brittney play this year.

Most of the family braved the cold weather and took a few hikes. Eliza and I stayed at the inn and played in the common room. Really, Eliza just watched other kids that were also at the inn as they ran around and made a lot of noise.



Notice anything interesting about the picture below?


Eliza loved running up and down the lodge’s hallways, including a little gradual incline that was hard for her to perceive with the monotone walls and carpet.  She’d start to run, realize it was suddenly harder to run due to the steepness, and the confused look on her face made us laugh.  Here she is playing “chase” with Uncle Wyatt.

Every year we play “The Present Game” thanks to Jerry.  When your name is called you get to pick a present from the table or steal one from someone else.   We don’t open the gifts until all the presents are gone.  Each year a few presents become the most popular based on their size, shape, or weight, and they get stolen over and over again, even though you’re not really sure what they are!

Eliza even got into it the action this year.  She was a great “present stealer” for her mom and dad.  Who could say no to such a cute little beggar?!

We are so thankful for all that God has blessed us with this year!


Fall Getaway 2010

This year marked our third fall getaway with our house church/small group.  We headed up to the Fort Wayne area and spent the weekend at Alex’s mom’s house out in the country.  Eliza and I had just gotten back from D.C. the day before and Kirk had literally just walked off a plane from New York right before the car trip up, so we were definitely a bit tired but looking forward to a relaxing time with friends.  The weather was still warm and beautiful so we were able to take a long walk.

That evening we took a trip to a local grain elevator.  Kirk and I didn’t know what to expect and were able to learn a great deal about what goes on when a farmer tries to sell their grain.  For those in a similar less-rural boat, grain elevators are storage facilities that house grain and prepare it for eventual shipment.  Sometimes this means sending it to a manufacturer, but sometimes it just means selling it to another larger grain storage facility.  A grain elevator can be a single building or an interconnected series of buildings (which look like a bunch of silos).  The storage units control the environment around the grain, too, to help it not to rot.  It was really cool seeing the different conveyors and elevators used to get so much seed from one place to another.

Eliza loved to play with the kernels of corn and once she learned that she could put her hand in the bucket it was even better!

Check out Josh going up in the one-man elevator. He's a professional elevator installer, so we knew he could handle it by himself even if it got stuck.  Manlift indeed!


Eliza would tell you that the best part of the weekend was getting to see Eli for 36 hours!  Every morning she woke up looking for him.

Huge thanks to Alex’s family for hosting us!

Washington, D.C.

Eliza and I took a trip out to D.C. to visit my Dad and Marilyn in November. We flew out there just the two of us, and I prayed for weeks that the flights would go smoothly. It wasn’t Eliza that I was worried about, but rather that I wouldn’t have enough hands along the way. I traveled with a large rolling suitcase, three shoulder carry-ons, a car seat, and a large stroller…and a walking child! My prayers were answered in so many ways, but the greatest was that for each flight there was an empty seat next to me so Eliza didn’t have to be a lap baby! It went better than I could have hoped for, and Eliza had fun reading on the plane. Marilyn had to work while we were there but dad, Eliza, and I went out each day to see the sights. I love being with my dad and it was great to see Eliza take in new things and play with her grandparents!
We took the subway everyday and really got the hang of it with a stroller. It’s not always easy when you don’t know if you’ll find an escalator.

Ford’s Theater

Marilyn and I saw a ballet, Romeo and Juliet, at the Kennedy Center. I had been to the Kennedy Center before but this was the first time that I got to see an actual performance. The ballet was well done and I enjoyed watching it with Marilyn who studied ballet in NYC when she was younger.

Eliza loved having a dance party at the townhouse each night. She learned how to spin and bounce on her knees, and she would point at the floor and tell us exactly where we should be dancing with her.

The Lincoln Memorial is probably my favorite monument in the city. The week brought AMAZING weather. I certainly didn’t expect it to get in the upper 50’s in November! Eliza did great with simply her coat, hat, and bundle-me blanket!

I had never seen the Korean War Memorial before and it was really powerful. I loved the faces that they engraved on the wall and that you could see the reflection of the statues as well.
Eliza loved seeing the dog at the Roosevelt Memorial. This was one of my Dad’s favorite memorials of the trip.

One night Dad and I took a few hours to walk around the city after Eliza went to sleep. Kirk’s a big fan of this picture (and a bit jealous he wasn’t there).
The last few days of the trip we spent at the Smithsonian, which was quite new to me since the last time I was there, I was an 8th grader and didn’t have as much interest in history. We were able to see Julia Child’s kitchen, the first American flag, the Hope Diamond, and so much more. The picture below is of Julia Child’s cookbook shelf from her kitchen. As you can see, a majority are her own cookbooks but on the top shelf is one of the Davis/Smiley favorites! The Victory Garden Cookbook is hard to find now that it is no longer in print but we highly recommend it if you ever come across a copy. Dad gave me a copy a few years back ,and now that Kirk has become a gardener it has been very informative…and as you can see I think Julia would agree!

We had heard great things about the cafe at the American Indian Museum. “The Mitsitam CafĂ© (Mitsitam means "Let's eat!" in the native language of the Delaware and Piscataway tribes) offers various foods found throughout the Western Hemisphere, including the Northern Woodlands, South America, the Northwest Coast, Mesoamerica, and the Great Plains. Each food station features cooking techniques, ingredients, and flavors found in both traditional and contemporary dishes." Dad loved that you could sample so many different regions of food, some more obscure than others. I would highly recommend it for a lunch while at the Smithsonian.

I really loved the Presidential Portrait Museum and since we only spent an hour there I will definitely go back on my next visit. This sculpture of George Bush (the elder) playing horseshoes continues to make me laugh.

Eliza still talks about our time in D.C. She loved the subway and playing with ice every night in her grandpa’s travel cooler. It’s amazing what kids find entertaining and interesting! I have always loved the city, and this trip only added to that feeling.
More pictures can be seen on our flickr site.