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Bo Knows…Diapers

This is a really random post but I wanted to share in case you either have kids or grandkids in diapers OR you are getting someone a baby gift – diapers are always helpful, right?!

<<On a side note, I feel a little bit guilty that I have a drawer full of wonderful FuzziBunz cloth diapers that I used on Rand during his first year of life, but I can’t even keep up with our regular laundry these days so I am not going to even attempt cloth diapering again until I am a little more on top of things at the house.>>

Back to what I wanted to share…

For the first time in a while, I had a really bad headache.  The migraine type that start behind your eye and then hurts so bad it makes your tummy hurt!  I’ve discovered that scents (like most candles!) are huge triggers for me.  We were low on diapers and at HT they didn’t have the ones I needed in Bo’s size so I bought a pack of Pampers and cannot believe how strong the scent is on them!  Bo still smells like them after a diaper and outfit change!  I had to toss them into the garage and will deal with them later.  You would think it was only USED diapers that would smell so strongly! Ha!  Anyhow, I am 100% certain they are the culprit of the migraine and will just have to shop online to find what I need.  I really don’t like buying bulky things online because of all the packaging but when I can’t find them locally…

Also, the company I work for, Beautycounter, posted a helpful blog post on non-toxic diapers a while back.  You can read it here.

Here are the diapers we prefer, in order:
1.  Bambo Nature – so soft!

2. Whole Foods 365 Brand

3.  Earth’s Best

4. Seventh Generation

5.  Honest Brand

6. Huggies Little snugglers (what I buy when I can’t find the above, they are WAY less scented than Pampers)

Please note, I did not price check the links, so shop around.  Also, here’s my personal Paper Road link – enter PAPERRD20 at checkout to get 15% off your order at – I use this site frequently for diaper orders especially when I have a coupon code!  Happy diapering:)

use code: PAPERRD20
Buy Baby Items at

New customers to, or other Quidsi sites only. $20 maximum discount. Subject to change or cancellation.


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Bo spam

I just can’t help myself…

And all three older boys have a hard time keeping their little hands off Bo too – he’s so lovable.   Wen is always saying…”mom, look at baby Bo, he’s so cute!”

This one looks like he’s had enough of my phone in his face. And I’ve only documented a “few” but there must be a couple hundred thousand kisses and cuddles and smiles I’ve committed to memory and enjoyed the moment instead of jumping up to find my camera/phone. As my dad used to remind me (when I would go slightly crazy trying to document moments or places), “Anna, some moments are better to just remember.”

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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Easter Baskets

So we went back and forth on the whole Easter Basket thing…and decided to do them after all.  We just don’t want bunnies and eggs and candy to take over this season that is meant to celebrate the fact that JESUS DIED FOR OUR SINS AND ROSE FROM THE DEAD…so we are trying to be careful…especially when deciding what our family traditions will be.

On the nights we do our “family-style” dinners in the dining room we each do an ornament for our lent tree and read the bible story that goes along with it.  The kids are at the ages where they are really getting into it more and even are recognizing the stories from church, reading their kids Bibles and from this cool Bible app they all like.  We also make a big deal about Holy Week, Easter Sunday, and going to church and celebrating that Christ is Risen.

So…with all of that I wasn’t sure if we needed to even do an Easter Basket (hey, can’t we just wake up Easter morning and be excited to celebrate by getting dressed up and having a good meal and going to church to praise God?) but Wes and I talked it over and decided to keep the tradition we both had in our families of having an Easter basket from the Easter Bunny our parents.

Since Bo is due in 3 weeks… I’ve needed to go ahead and do both the Easter baskets (and plan ahead for Rand and Philip’s Birthday’s which could be within a week or two of Bo’s arrival).

Don’t tell the boys, but here’s what their baskets have:

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African Bolga Baskets from artisans in Ghana – I love these baskets and use them in the house to store toys, trips to farmer’s market, etc. so not just for Easter!  I went with the 12″ ones.  I think you could go much smaller if your kiddo is under 5 years old.

New Organic Pajamas – Wen especially needed some, so I got the boys all some coordinating ones (Wen prefers short sleeves, the others like long sleeved ones) but these Hannah Andersson ones are so soft and thick and also are on sale HALF PRICE on Zulily!!!

Tshirts – Wen and Rand both are in need for Spring.  I got them each one locally at Bump and Baby, but you can also get them online here.  I’ve been trying to get better quality, organic (when possible) and thicker materials so that each purchase can potentially make it through 4 hand-me-downs (one of the many perks of having 4 boys).

Personalized Cash boxes – seems random, but now that we have a 12 year old we need to teach the boys the principles of tithing and “Give, Save, Spend” and they each need a place to keep their birthday, Christmas, Chinese New Year and allowance (any suggestions on starting this???) money.

Eggs – I like these Eco Eggs.  They are non-toxic, plant-based and able to be composted vs. the petroleum-based toxic plastic eggs that are made in China that you see everywhere.  I got some last year at Whole Foods but now they are also on Amazon too.  We have been trying to avoid (without going insane) bringing anything plastic into the house – especially plastics made in China which are incredibly toxic and unreliable.

Easter Grass – Tim’s Real Organic Easter Basket Grass.  We found this last year at Whole Foods but have also seen online.  Same as the eggs – instead of the petroleum-based plastic stuff this is REAL grass and 100% chemical free. Read the story about it!  Both the grass and the eggs are Made in the USA.

Egg fillers – We’ll go easy on the candy, but when we do have sweets, we like anything made by YumEarth and Annie’s.  Also, I have been collecting some little stickers and tattoos to put in the eggs as well.

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More news…

MD Wedding pics-9

(Photo cred: Meredith Macy Photography)


We are still waiting on our LOA (letter of acceptance) from China – this is the last major approval before we get our travel approval and we think we should get it in the next few weeks (based on the time it is currently taking other adoptive families to receive it).  Once we have our LOA we will travel within 3 months to China – it was exactly 3 months with Philip’s adoption.

In the meantime…the Lord has blessed us with a miracle…a baby!  We were surprised to find out I was pregnant and my due date is April 2nd.  We had an ultrasound today and it looked a LOT like it is probably a boy but we will keep you posted on that since it is really to early to tell “officially.”

We told the boys this afternoon and they were really excited.  Rand can’t stop smiling and talking about “the baby in mommy’s bump.”  We told WenXuan a little over a week ago (through a contact/friend who was visiting the orphanage) – since he’s our oldest, we thought he should get to know first!

Throughout our adoption journeys I’ve been asked the question a lot… “do you think you’ll ever have another baby?” While sometimes this catches me off guard as not really anyone’s business, I usually try not to be offended and share what’s true:   I have always had a desire to have more biological children and I believe that desire is from the Lord.  I have prayed “Lord, if a baby is not something you have in store for us, if you would take that desire away”…and the desire has never gone away.  Sure, it has taken to the back-burner lately as all we’ve been able to think about are Philip, WenXuan and also some really special kiddos we know about in China and are praying for the Lord to send them families, but the desire of having another baby has always been there.

We had help with Rand and our doctors told us it wasn’t impossible for us to get pregnant without help, but that it was probably unlikely.  For the past few years, we’ve just left that up to the Lord to decide for us and truly have believed that if HE wants us to have another baby that HE will guide us to the help we need or make it happen!

I do think the Lord also knows me so well and my heart for adventure, even though I never expected my next adventure would be adding THREE children to my family in 1 year!!!!  But we are up for the challenge and have never felt so incredibly loved and blessed by God.  A little over 5 years ago I remember being so sad that we didn’t have any children and now am experiencing the overflowing joy of knowing we will be a family of 6 by April – it is truly incredible.

And we know what everyone is thinking…who knows what that crazy Smith family is going to tell us next time they say they have news!?

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So…where did I leave off?

I am so behind in updating the blog, it is overwhelming to figure out where to start, so I’ll just start with today. While the entire day didn’t go exactly as planned…or as I’d hoped…we did finally end up making it to Star, NC to their annual StarWorks Pumpkin patch I’ve been DYING TO GO TO FOR THE PAST YEAR! My decoration style has always been “holiday minimal” but ever since I saw the most beautiful glass pumpkin collection in a friend’s kitchen, I’ve been wanting to go to this event! It is held once a year at the StarWorks glass/ceramic studio in Star, NC and they put all the glass pumpkins out in the grass and on hay bales.

So…we got there late and there was not a huge selection left (unless you wanted to spend $200-$500, and while it does go to fund the glass blowing program in the Montgomery County Schools, it was a little out of our price range) but we did get 2 smaller pumpkins to start off what will maybe be a fun fall collection.

Here’s Rand checking out some of the finer pumpkins…

The evening ended with a fun wedding with old friends.  But I think Rand had the best evening as he was spoiled (including a walk to the playground) by a fun evening with Uncle Sam, Kristen and Nina.

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Rand is pretty serious about his hummus. He loves to dip pretzels or cucumbers…or his FINGERS.  Anyhow, this “sensory activity” took place the other day under dad’s watch:







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Rand jams

Recently we went to Emerald Isle (I know…I need to download the photos!) and, on the way out the door, I grabbed a dvd that a sweet friend gave to Rand as a gift – Baby Einstein “First Signs.” Basically this dvd saved what could have been a pretty miserable 3.5 hour car ride and back. And now, he KNOWS there is a dvd player in the ceiling of the car and points to it every time we get in. When I start the dvd he lights up and claps. He’s even begun to imitate the words and signs – it is a hit.

BUT…we are sick of it! With another beach trip coming up, I have been searching for some variety. We just ordered Sesame Street: Singing with the Stars. I found another mom-review on a blog I like to read and her little one has taken to it so I’m hoping it will be fun for the trip.  So far, Rand has loved’s catchy number.

Side note: Rand doesn’t care for watching tv at home. There are far too many other things for him to get into. I know the American Association of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 2 watch NO tv whatsoever…and any of those fine folks are welcome to come and ride in our car for 3 hours!

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Happy Birthday to Rand

I’m sitting here with the baby monitor beside me (we got to bed a little late tonight, but hey, we had some celebrating to do!) It is almost 8:03 pm, the official time that Rand was born and our lives were changed. We love this little guy so much and are so proud of the sweet boy that he is.

I’ll post more pictures later, but here’s the best one today: Rand out on Grandmommy’s back deck eating cake and ice cream. Although you can’t see her in the picture, this smile was for Grandmommy (I think he was thanking her for cutting him such a big piece of cake with all the colorful icing).


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A glimpse into the future

They will probably be best friends.  And MJ will get his license 7 months before Rand…


You can come up with some really great captions for these photos…








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First Horse

On Wednesday we went for a long walk and we bumped into Frank and Shiloh (the horse) parked in front of the Pinecrest Inn. While Nina was a little skittish around the Shiloh, Rand was thrilled — Frank gave Rand 2 giant carrots to feed Shiloh! While Rand has SEEN plenty of horses, this is his first time getting to pet and feed one up close and personal! He even got a few kisses and nudges. Where else do you just bump into a friendly horse and buggy on your afternoon walk? Makes me appreciate where we live even more.



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Rand’s new favorite thing is swinging.

Yesterday Rand and I met Wes at the park for lunch.  After lunch, Rand did some serious swinging.  When we told him it was time to go, he started to cry.  Honestly, we were so surprised – crying when he doesn’t get his way is a brand new thing – we didn’t really know what to do!  So…we let him swing some more.   Eventually we did have to leave so we had to walk out of the park carrying a cute little boy with HUGE tears running down his cheeks.  It was so sad!

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Spring break

Wow – I can’t believe Spring is already here and Bubs is already 11 months old! Someone recently told me a baby’s first year goes the slowest of all the years ahead…oh no!

Yesterday we got some cute Easter decor (I’ve always been “holiday minimal” and my mother-in-law does her best to change that). Apparently she got this little dish at Michaels. It used to have more M&M’s in it…

And this Easter bunny rabbit, also from Michaels, is now in the foyer. Rand loves saying hi to it when we come and go.

In other Spring decor…these are some hot pink camellias we poached from our cousin’s new yard. We are so excited Brouck and Janie will be in Pinehurst for good in a few months!

Until lately, we’ve been spending lots of time outside, but the pollen has finally won out.

Bubs has spent lots of time in the tub lately too. Teething diapers are the worst. We have lost a few pairs of pjs and have taken a few less naps in the process. But we’ve survived so far.

This past weekend we went on a little “spring break” (i.e. a break from all this pollen!) ourselves to Austin, TX to visit Uncle James and Aunt Samantha.  In preparation for our trip, I’ve been watching THE ENTIRE SERIES of Friday Night Lights.

How did I miss this back when it was airing? While I admit that didn’t watch much tv pre-baby, I must have been living under a rock. While I wasn’t able to finish season 5 before we left, I’m down to 6 episodes (out of about 60!!!). I guess this is what happens when you have a child that goes to bed around 5:30 or 6pm every night and you can’t go anywhere.

Anyhow, more on FNL and TEXAS later…

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Catching up on phone pics

A few weeks ago on a rainy Friday, I took Rand to his first concert. We went to hear Homer Ferguson (friend and organist at Emmanuel Church) and Lydia Gill (friend and my former piano teacher!) perform in the “Bach’s Lunch” series at Emmanuel Episcopal in Southern Pines. It is a cool idea – you bring a bag lunch and sit in the pew and enjoy the music. Rand was on his best behavior until Ema and Bebo showed up with silly faces and a much tastier lunch in the pew behind us…then he wanted to go back and forth!

Saturdays have been filled with fun around here…but they usually begin with a big breakfast. One of Wes’ favorite things on the planet is breakfast at his mom’s house. A few weeks ago we took uncle Sam over to breakfast too. Here we all are in grandmommy’s closet – she has it all fixed up for her grandkids!

Grandmommy’s pancakes are good and she is always lots of fun…I think we may have begun a tradition that BOTH of my boys love now.

Last weekend Uncle James flew in for a whirlwind visit.  We had dinner over at Ema and Pops house.  Not sure what we used to sit around and do before Rand…

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Last weekend while uncle James was here we went to breakfast at the Track Restaurant in Pinehurst. Wes took Rand over to see the horses practicing.  I think Rand will love horses like his Ema does.
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Last but not least, we were so thankful we got to celebrate with Aunt Mary Devon getting “matched” with her 1st choice for her pediatric residency – Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC! Yay!!!!! This was our first choice too…since it is the closest to Pinehurst, of course. Photos of that celebration are on the REAL camera, so we’ll have to post em later.

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If you’re looking for us…we are probably outside…

Having lunch (getting messy practicing with a spoon…)


outdoor baths to rinse off all that yogurt

Soaking up the sun

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You’re ours to love

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Although the Lord had planted the desire in us to have children long ago, Wes and I never knew how much we could love until Rand was born. I know it sounds cliche to say this, but it really does feel like we celebrate love every day and, quoting a new Dave Barnes song that we dedicate to Rand this Valentine’s Day…

You’re mine to love
We have all been waitin’ on you
You’re mine to love
Come into these open arms
It took some time to wait it out
But I see it now, you’re worth all the dreaming of
You’re mine to love

So go download it on iTunes right now!!!

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Friday Photo Flashback and Summer Hair in February

This photo was taken when Rand was 10 days old…Uncle Sam was brave enough to be with Rand the first time we left him alone. I wish we could say we did something adventurous but Wes and I went to the grocery store and were gone less than an hour. I was trying to remember Rand as a baby because he is such a little boy now and no longer a baby at all. Also I was thinking of Sam because we are celebrating his birthday (a little early) tomorrow.

Also…as promised, here are the hair pics. You have no idea how terrible I am with a camera and “modeling” – I make the dumbest expressions. I took way too many photos (and tried out all the mirrors in the house) but most of them ended up showing off how dirty my bathrooms were instead of my hair. I also learned how to use the “self-timer” on my camera. Now I just need to learn how to get it to focus on the “self-timer” setting. Here you go. Gingham shirt is NOT from J. Crew. Target boys department for $12.99.

And you don’t want to know HOW LONG it took me to figure out that you have to look at the camera in the reflection, not yourself…

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Around town

Yesterday was a big day. Rand learned how to drink out of a straw! I really didn’t have to even teach him, just gave him a new sippy cup like this one with a straw, and he just did it on his own.

Wes’ mom suggested we try a straw sippy cup (we’ve tried the other ones and he can drink from them, but we have to hold them for him) and so I picked one up when I was out… unfortunately only color left was pink.   Really it made all the difference to have the straw. Now he is drinking water like a champ. The book I’m reading stresses that it is important for kids to have water with meals when they eat solid foods (more on the meals and Rand’s 9 month appointment later!).

Rand and I stopped by the local Habitat Resale store just to see if they had anything fun and although we didn’t find anything we couldn’t live without, we did see some cool things…maybe for your home?

I love this coffee table. Probably because it looks like the one I already own. Would look cool with the faux bamboo painted red, don’t you think?

Saw this fun preppy blue and green chair. It was in great shape, so you wouldn’t even have to recover it.

Really nicely framed horse lithographs. I may have to go back for these.

I must have been on a horse-kick because I was also drawn to this weathervane. I can just imagine it painted a bright pop color like green or turquoise or red. Apparently green is the “it” color for the spring…

That’s all for now. We are lying low today with some stuffy noses.

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Go heels

Today, although it looks like he’s wearing NCSU colors (ok folks…the last clean footie pj in the drawer), I tried to teach Rand about the Tar Heels.  Since he’s pretty much said his first words (Da Da), I figured “Go Heels” should be next.

While Rand was having his afternoon snack, I put on the fight song.  He was really interested for the first few seconds, but then he decided his Cheerios (and me making funny faces holding the iphone) were more interesting.

We’ll practice again before the big Duke game.

Go Heels!

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Friday photo flashback

(I know it is Sunday, but I’m trying to pretend it is Friday…) It is hard to believe that Rand was 9 months old on Friday. Here’s a photo of him at 3 months with his skinny little legs.

6 months later…he is SO BIG! At least he thinks he is. His “Ema” taught him how to put his hands over his head when you say “How big is Rand? He’s Soooo Big!” Funny thing, when he hears the video playing he’s been putting his hands up too. Raise the roof Rand.

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Introducing tooth number 3

This post is dedicated to a dear friend who came to visit Rand over Christmas.  Ryan was one of the first friends I made when we moved to Southern Pines 20 years ago! Hopefully Ryan (soon-to-be oral surgeon!) will remember all those times I helped him with his middle school homework whenever the time rolls around for this kiddo to have his wisdom teeth out…


Rand just cut his 3rd tooth!  I’m thinking there are 3 more close behind. If not he’ll be a little silly with the two bottom teeth in and only the one top lateral incisor (had to look it up). If you don’t know your teeth either, that is the one to the right (or left) of the two central incisors (front teeth).

Anyhow, we’ve been making a lot of these teething sticks lately. They are inexpensive and you can make them when needed. All you need is a slice of bread, some baby food (I use apples or pear puree but have used sweet potatoes too once when we were out of fruit), some cinnamon and a microwave.

If you can, try and use whole wheat bread – it works so much better. We only had white wheat left over and it didn’t get as hard as the whole wheat does.

Just cut off the crusts of the bread (I keep a bag in the freezer for the crusts and use them later for egg casseroles or breadcrumbs) and then roll it out flat. Spread a thin layer of puree and then sprinkle the cinnamon. Roll it up and stick it (seam down) on a microwavable plate. Start with 1 min (or 40 seconds if your micro runs hot) and then if it isn’t hard after a min, continue to microwave in 15-20 second increments until it is really hard. Believe it or not – it can burn up! If you’re making it to be used immediately, then pop it in the freezer for a min or so to cool down, but otherwise, once it is cooled you can give it to your little one.  Recipe is from

This picture was taken a while ago…I’ve been making these for Rand since he was about 5.5 months old.
rand teething

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