Thursday, May 10, 2018

Leaving... On a Jet Plane

After almost 14 glorious years living in the great state of Utah, the Lindsey and Ryan Smith clan will be embarking on a new adventure in June. We are moving to Pullman, WA where Ryan has been hired as the Director of The School of Design and Construction at Washington State University. Basically, he's an academic rock star, and if I weren't already his wife, I would definitely be that groupie that security keeps their eye on. Our caravan will include our turtle, *5 of our 6 children, and honestly a boat load of tears. More details about the decision to leave shall be forthcoming, but for starters, I want to document the first step in the exit: selling our home. Below are some pictures (many of you have already seen these on our MLS listing.) I love this house. In the course of living here over 11 years, we have re-done the roof, the flooring, the kitchen, all three bathrooms, painted everything, replaced all 33 windows (half of which are custom sizes), re-done the driveway and sidewalk, landscaped the front yard, and built a small fence to hide our trash cans so that our neighbors believe we don't generate trash... but we don't just have trash. We also have dirty laundry, and all of it is coming with us when we move to Pullman in a little over a month...and now it's time to cry again.

* Our oldest is forever welcome to join the crew, but as a Sophmore in college, who is happy with his living arrangements and University, he's staying behind. The others have no choice:~)

I loved the way our realtor described our home. Usually, house listings are boring... but our realtor, who loves Midcentury Modern Homes cranked out the following:

Much like Joseph Eichler, who developed some of California's most celebrated tract residences, Ron wanted to create community; he wanted to build homes for the creative modern family. Ron Molen-designed homes are all about the spaces. The public, or gathering spaces, are joined together with the private areas of his homes by what he liked to call "open, free, and spontaneous space." His belief was that, "a true family house offers a vital, imaginative, productiveenvironment.... a place for creative family living." Okay, so not every kid who grows up in an Eichler is going to become Steve Jobs (like Steve Jobs did), but it's safe to say that Ron has also influenced his fair share of creative kids over the years. This home is located on the Bountiful bench, and is well-sited to take advantage of the lake views from the back. The main structure balances like a delicate bird perched atop a brick wall, with the carport extending like a wing, held up by thin posts and beams. When approaching the front door, a small row of Japanese maples reach their arms up and beyond a cutout in the roof, bridging the indoor and outdoor spaces. The interior of the home puts the gathering spaces on full display. A gourmet kitchen that seats 24 is unlike any other Ron Molen home you'll find. My seller just happens to be a professional chef, who designed her kitchen to be a place in which she can teach. Just like the hearth in a Frank Lloyd Wright house, the kitchen has been the pulsing heart of this home for her family. The open living space and family areas sit just below the kitchen. And, in a home full of windows, the conversation pit is a great place to hide from it all. It's a space where families can play Chutes and Ladders, or dream big while building their Monopoly empires. It's also a space to simply huddle, quietly, in front of the fireplace. This home has been built on some enviable core principles. This home is about freedom of expression. This home is about finding common ground, and each other. But, most of all, this home is about family. 

Friday, April 27, 2018

Saying Goodbye to Cricket

Last week the hearts of our family broke a little as we said goodbye to our beloved Cricket.  Just four years ago, sweet Cricket came into our lives. She was born and bred to serve. Her bloodline provides some of the nations greatest seeing eye dogs. As a puppy she spent her first year of life, growing and displaying her gentle ways with her foster family, who named her "Cricket." From there she went to her training with Guide Dogs for the Blind. Over several months, and at the price of several thousand dollars, she proved her natural abilities necessary to be a successful guide dog: intelligent, loyal, focused, obedient, both a leader and a follower.  After 7+ years of being a guide dog to an incredibly amazing woman, Becky Andrews, and after both giving and receiving an abundance of love, it was time for Cricket to retire.  Becky is a member of our local Mormon congregation. By divine providence, we caught wind that she was hoping to place Cricket in a home for what she called an "open adoption," meaning that when her family came into town and wanted to snuggle Cricket, they would be welcome, and when we went out of town on any trips, Cricket would stay with her whilst we were away. To say it was idyllic would be an understatement. Our children immediately fell in love with her kind, gentle ways.  She regularly was overfed and over-treated by the family, all 8 of us being guilty of attempts to spoil a dog who couldn't spoil.  In her last few months, it became apparent that her age was starting to show. She slowed down, panted heavily for no apparent reason, and couldn't kick a very persistent cough, in spite of medication and excellent medical care. After a few meetings with Becky and her husband, we determined that it was time to ease Cricket's suffering, and send her to receive her well deserved Heavenly Reward. In truth, I always thought it silly that my sweet dog was named after another animal. I used to joke with visitors when I introduced her by saying "This is Cricket, but she's a dog... not a Cricket." A few days after we put her down, I was reading Pinnochio to Norman, and it occurred to me for the very first time that Pinocchios conscience is named "Cricket," with the job to guide, direct, and help. I now appreciate the name my dog carried. She will be missed.

What a classy dog.

We went over to the Andrews to say our goodbyes and got to be there when she passed.
Not related, but somehow important, this is 4 days after Becky ran the Boston marathon.

Becky and Steve are simply high-quality individuals. Becky is the most active, positive person that I know, notwithstanding being visually impaired.
She wrote an incredible book about her journey with losing her sight, becoming a therapist, and the guide dogs that have helped her achieve independence. It really is a wonderful read.

Becky gave these little ceramic paw heart tiles to the kids.
About 1.5" big, they're perfect for a jewelry box or nightstand; 
a sweet reminder of our Cricket. We called her our Dog Hero, and indeed she was.

Monday, April 2, 2018

PJ Masks Pajama Pancake Party

Norman Harold is no longer n his terrific two's. He's officially three now that the beloved (not often celebrated) "Pi" day has arrived. My last, youngest son is now three. His birthday is also a special time of reflection. During his delivery my handsome husband was battling cancer, and so I can't help but celebrate these two boys; both my husband who has lived to see more birthdays of this little guy, and my little Norman, who's birth was a bright light in a pretty dark time. How did we celebrate? Why with a PJ Masks Pajama Pancake Party. This was a winner for several reasons. We didn't need to get dressed for the day. I didn't need to make a cake or pie... yet (I made a chocolate silk pie on his actual birthday since his party was over the weekend.) We got to wear masks. It was was short, bc three year olds are just as happy with an hour and half party as they would be with a 4 hour party... in fact, probably happier with the shorter party! My little man child is silly, officially potty trained, loves the movie Boss Baby, enjoys doing anything that his big sister is doing, and loves a good tackle with his brothers. What a guy.

I love three! Old enough to open their presents. Young enough to love everything they get!

We played a rousing game of "Hero, hero, Villain."

Pancakes and fruit kababs.
Happy Birthday!

On real birthday we went to the zoo. It was pretty rainy, except for the hour that we were at the zoo (yeah!) Which meant the zoo was virtually empty of other animal lovers, and the animals were all out and eager to show their stuff. 

Gotta love the carousel.

What a pie Ryan brought home! It was the largest (incredibly delicious too) pizza I have ever seen.

My adult woman size hand is in this just for comparison... it was like 4 pizzas in one.

And finally we had his real birthday treat: chocolate silk pie.
I love that sweet little smile... on both of them.

3.14.15...on 3.14.18

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Choir Concert!

Simon decided to turn in his clarinet so that he could pursue other musical opportunities: he's now in concert choir. He loves to sing, is loud and I personally believe that now that he's singing with them, the choir has now idea how they ever made do without him. 10 points to the powers that be that planned the concert, bc the music was lively, the choir sounded great, the program was well organized, and the whole affair was an hour. It was a lovely night. I love my Simon!

Simon: so good he didn't even need to wear his tie (that he had in his pocket.)

He put it on after the concert, to great his fans.

I'm his biggest fan. He's easy to love.

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018


Annie and Owen both played Jr. Jazz basketball this Spring. Both of them had a great time and both had kind encouraging coaches.  Some of the games were at 6-7 pm. Others were as alte as 9:00, which was just total silliness. Annie enjoyed herself enough that she's kicking around doing a basketball camp this summer. I was never any good at basketball so they must get their ball skills from their Dad.

Annie is #3. She's totally fast and can get to the other side of the court in no time. She admits that once she's there, she has no idea what to do:~)

Owen made several baskets during his season due in part to his cool basketball socks.

Winter 2018

Bouncing Castles

A rare Saturday morning found my older three* at a churchy opportunity, leaving us with Norman and Owen. Q: How do we entertain the a 2 year old and a 9 year old, when the weather is lame and we're sick of the house? A: Kangaroo Zoo, a bouncing castle place. Fun.

I love me a good bouncy castle... not really but my kids sure do, and since I was still 39 in this picture, I wasn't too old to participate.

RYan, being over 40, decided to just stand by and watch... not really, bc he was actually all over the castles with the crew, but in this picture, he's just offering fatherly counsel on how to properly slide down.

Saturday, February  24th, 2018.


I totally love bowling. I"m not that good at it, but I've always enjoyed it. On the regular, when I'm throwing out family activity options, bowling is listed and frequently looked over. How lucky for me that Owen's pack meeting for Scouts had a family bowling night. I still bowled as poorly as I usually do, but I think the whole family had a great time.

Owen made a great ball.

Part of the fun was that the carts the kids sat on actually didn't go in a straight line at all.
Not sure if we even got to 20 points!

February 21st, 2018