The Year in Review

Another busy year is coming to an end and I thought I'd take some time to review what the Hall-Smith Family did over these last twelve months.


Ok, so it was technically December 30th, but it didn't fit into any other year end review so here it goes:

Chris and I went to go see Jeff Dunham at the Bilo Center!!! Sooooo awesome!!!


Chris and I went to Myrtle Beach

to see Alice in Chains!

We also brought home a souvenir. Had he been a girl, we would have named her Evangeline Alice (as a nod to that weekend); however, he was a boy and his name is William Lucas.


We took the kids to see the circus at the Bilo Center


Chris celebrated his 33rd birthday and

we heard "Pistachio's" heart beat for the first time.

Chris and I also went on a hiking day trip and found five waterfalls and two caves in one day.


Gabriel turned three and got a big boy room


Cadence graduated from kindergarten!


We took the kids and went with Emily and Christy to Great Wolf Lodge


My baby sister got married!!!

This meant a trip for Chris and I to Niagara Falls!!!


Cadence began first grade


The whole family (dogs and all) went camping over Labor Day weekend. We met Charlie & Elizabeth at got to go out on their sailboat.


We went apple picking at Nivens' Apple Orchard

We went to Gatlinburg, TN over my 29th birthday weekend

and Cadence celebrated her 7th birthday


At 7:50pm on Saturday, November 20th, William Lucas Hall entered this world weighing 9lbs 6oz, measuring 22 inches long and completed the Hall-Smith Family.


We celebrated our first Christmas with Liam

Merry Christmas

We hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas filled with great memories. William was baptized on Christmas Eve. I can't think of a better night than the holiest night of the year for a baptism.

This year was the first time that Cadence and Gabriel were not here in the morning. They came to church with us on Christmas Eve and then spent the night with the father at their nanny and papa's house. They came home around 10:30 a.m. on Christmas morning. This meant that Chris, William and I were able to sleep in and enjoy a bit of quiet time before the craziness began.

We opened presents at home as soon as Cadence and Gabe arrived. Cadence received a clock/docking station for her iPod, a Barbie movie and some clothes. Gabriel received a movie, a Toy Story game and clothes. Both of the kids received some Wii games. William received his first Christmas ornament, some rattles and a piggy bank. Chris received a blu ray player, some clothes and a movie. I received some clothes, jewelry, bath stuff and chocolate.

After the kids had some time with their toys we went over to Grandma's house where we ate lunch and opened more presents. My amazing sister gave me a new camera! I was very excited. I received my old camera when Cadence was just over a year old. It has been through a lot (including a drop in a toilet) and was beginning to show signs of it's many years of use.

After a nice visit with Grandma, Papa, Jacob, Dianne and Brandon we went to Grandma & Big Jake's house for dinner. Charlie, Elizabeth, Erin and John were also there. The big kids had a great time opening presents and Cadence was very excited about the clothes for her American Girl doll. The day was a bit long for poor Liam though. He got a bit overstimulated by all of the commotion and was inconsolable for almost two hours.

We enjoyed looking at the snow on the way home and the kids were looking forward to going out to play in it today. Liam calmed down after we had been home for a while and slept until about 3am. He ate and went right back to sleep.

Today we went out for lunch and then Chris, Cadence and Gabriel played in the snow near the neighborhood playground for about two hours. They came back in and had some hot chocolate and settled down and watched Toy Story 3.

Overall, it was a great Christmas.

This week is my last week home with Liam and I'm already having a hard time thinking about leaving him during the day. I know that I have to work and I like my job, but those first few days back are always so difficult...

"Snow" Day, how I detest thee...

Yesterday morning, after waking up at 2am and 5am to feed Liam I discover that Greenville County schools were on a 2-hour delay due to inclement weather. Ok. That's not too bad. The kids would get to watch a few cartoons and Liam and I could sleep for another hour or so. No problem. No more than an hour after I discovered that there was a delay did the county change it to a full closing. Seriously? SERIOUSLY!?!?! I looked outside my window. The road was wet and, although there were a few frozen rain drops, for the most part it was just raining.

So now it's nasty outside, school is closed and I am home with all three kids. I could have sent Gabriel to day care (because they have common sense enough to distinguish snow from rain and were therefore open) however I did not want to send him off when Cadence was home. So I figured that we would have a nice day home together. We'd watch some movies and just hang out. I was wrong.

Over the course of the day the following happened:

1. Cadence started playing with the ornaments on the Christmas tree. She's SEVEN! She knows better than to play with the Christmas tree!

2. I sat Cadence and Gabriel down at the kitchen table to eat lunch. Gabriel had already finished his and was working on seconds. Cadence had barely eaten two bites. I turned off the TV and told her to finish her lunch. No more than five minutes later she said she was finished. I didn't believe her so I went downstairs to investigate. Her empty bowl was in the sink. She said she had hurried and finished it. Anyone that knows Cadence knows that she is a terrible eater. She even makes herself throw up to get out of eating. It regularly takes her an hour to eat a few tablespoons of food. I told her that I didn't believe her. She said "I promise, Mommy. I swear to God. I ate it all gone." I addressed the issue with her several times throughout the day. At the end of the night, she finally admitted to feeding it to the dog. She waited until we were out to dinner to fess up (she probably worried less for her life confessing in a large crowd). We took some of her favorite items out of her room when we got home for lying. I need a more effective manner of punishment for lying and welcome suggestions. I'm thinking soap in the mouth right now.

3. While I was upstairs getting a clean outfit for Liam (who had spit up all over himself and me), Gabriel took a nativity candle holder that I was given for teaching Sunday school at my old church and hit it against my Christmas snow globe. The snow globe shattered, leaving shards of glass, water and glitter all over the couch. Fantastic.

4. Late in the afternoon I had sent the kids upstairs for "quiet time" (aka Mommy-is-at-her-wits-end-go-away-for-a-few-minutes time). They both ended up in Gabe's room and were running all over the place stomping and yelling. They woke up Liam who was sleeping soundly downstairs.

5. I put Cadence and Gabriel in time out in the center of the living room floor for #4. Apparently Gabe snuck a black crayon into time out with him. He marked on my living room carpet (which was professionally cleaned on Tuesday).

6. Cadence would only eat one bite of her chicken nuggets and 3 mandarin oranges for dinner. I probably shouldn't have allowed her to have such a special dinner after behaving so poorly all day. We took them to Chick-fil-a because it was our last chance to get a picture with all three kids with Santa since Cadence and Gabe are going to their nanny and papa's house today until Christmas Day.

Here is the picture that I had to have. Cadence's eyes are red because she had just been informed of the fate that awaited her for lying. I told her that her only hope of any for of redemption was to give me the biggest smile in the world so I could get my darn Santa picture!

After a day like that, I have to remember that they are always going to be bad days. Sometimes my kiddos manage to be total angels.

...or shepherds. You get the idea. :)

24 Days

Gabriel and William

Liam is twenty-four days old today. I know that most people don't consider anything special about turning 24 days old, but I do. Liam's big brother was twenty-four days old on the day his mommy became a single parent. As difficult as it was at the time, I love my life and wouldn't change a thing. Chris is an amazing parent to all of the children and I know that he would give anything for them. We are very lucky to have him in our lives.

Cuddles with Daddy after bath time

Off to Hollywild!

Every year we pack the kids into the car and head to Hollywild to see the lights and feed the animals. We always make it a point to go on a Monday or Tuesday night as the weekend crowds are ridiculous! Chris got out of work on time on Monday and we loaded all three kids up into the van. We stopped by McDonald's, as we do every year, and ordered a 50 piece chicken nugget and some fries. I don't know how chicken nuggets and french fries became part of our Hollywild tradition, but they did and the kids know it.

The lights were beautiful, as always. We have taken the kids each year since 2007 (and I took Cadence before that) and now they know what to expect - they enjoy looking for the gigantic whale light and the rocking horse.

We skipped the food in the deer park area this year thinking that we would get out and feed the animals near Santa's Workshop. Last year some of the large animals with really long horns got a bit friendly with my car and Chris wasn't too excited about the thought of the animals doing damage to our not-so-cheap minivan. Plus, he has a thing against the ostriches after one tried pecking him in the head a few years ago. ;) We drove around and looked at the deer, the zebra and the gigantic freakin' cows. I've never seen cows that big before!!

Then we headed up to the area where we could get out and feed the baby animals and visit Santa. Normally we spend quite a deal of time here, however, it was 26 degrees outside and VERY windy. The kids were miserable. I was wearing Liam under Chris's jacket, but even he would whimper when the wind hit just right. We bought some hot chocolate and dropped in to visit Santa. Liam and I got up into Santa's sleigh with Cadence and Gabriel and I unzipped my jacket so the kids could get their first picture of them all together with Santa Claus.

Gabriel looks terrified, as always. ;)

We raced back to the car to thaw. The kids had a great time at Hollywild but were definitely happy to be out of the cold.