Friday, May 31, 2013

Balance Probably Restored

Unfortunately, my sat nav was stolen yesterday. Fortunately, when we visited Holland in April, we had to get a different sat nav that worked in that region (we bought a map, but can't read Dutch.)  As luck would have it (luck is just a shorter word for "blessings" in this and most instances) this second sat nav also works here in Edinburgh!  Ryan tells me he's "pretty sure" that he has it in his office.  Yeah! Good thing his office is about a 3 minute/ .25 mile walk from our home.  That is at the top of his honeydew list for tomorrow. A close second will be to have him do his Donald Duck impression. The kids just love that.  

Last night Calvin accidentally lost the screw on one of the arms of his glasses.  This morning we went to get them repaired. It took about 5 minutes and then were on our merry way.

Whilst at the glasses shop, Owen tried these on.  I asked the sales lady if this particular style ever gets purchased, and she told me they sell these quite frequently.  In fact, the author Alexander McCall Smith (as in The #1 Ladies Detective Agency!) just bought a pair from the same tiny shop that we got Calvin's glasses at. It's almost like me and Alex know each other now!

What to do when a basketball gets a hole in it... Make it into a hat of course! Lookin good Cal, especially with those glasses.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Theft at 85 Colinton Road

Yes, you read the title right.  There was a robbery at my house today. Specifically in my car. What is missing you might wonder? Simply the only means that I have of getting from point "a" to point "b".  My alert for when I am speeding. My friend Lia (as in liahona.) My sat nav (aka GPS) was forcibly removed from my car sometime this afternoon, whilst I was home. Whilst I was doing laundry. Whilst I was helping the littles practice piano. Whilst  I was preparing dinner.  Whilst I was helping the broken wing of a wounded bird... okay, I made that one up.  But whilst I was just trying to do my part, some common criminal snuck into my car and STOLE  from me.  How did I discover the theft? I hopped into my car to do some visiting teaching, a churchy opportunity.  What the what! May30th marks a sad day in Edinburgh.

Heads up to the thief: You may have stolen my sat nav, but Satan is trying to steal your soul. For real.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


My puppy plays piano.
It's the strangest thing to see.
It seems, while I was practicing,
he learned by watching me.

He started out on chopsticks,
then he learned to play some Bach.
It wasn't long before he knew
the blues and classic rock.

He also taught my kitten how
so they could play duets,
and then they taught guitar and drums
to all my other pets.

They formed a band and practiced hard
and traveled all around,
and instantly got famous
for their catchy "Pet Rock" sound.

They made a smash hit record
and it wasn't very long
before my pets were millionaires
because they wrote this song.
--Kenn Nesbitt

Preston with Lori Davis, Edinburgh's greatest piano teacher in the world.

Calvin with Lori Davis.

Simon and the piano teacher.
Annie also had a lesson today, but I forgot to catch her picture.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Scripture Cookies!

Ryan and I both work with the youth in our ward (congregation) ages 12 - 18.  We decided it would be fun to do a surprise joint activity with scriptures as the theme.  We divided the group into two and had them do a scripture search fill in the blank recipe game.  We all went into the kitchen and made the scripture cookies, and then Ryan played a "which book of scripture is this quote from: The Holy Bible, The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price." Points were tallied. Everyone won because we all got cookies in the end, even though they had raisins.  Here's the deal: the words "chocolate chips" are not found in scripture.  If they had been, then of course I would have made chocolate instead of the raisin, but in reality, the raisin cookies were really fantastic. And of course, tonight was made possible by Calvin Smith, my stalwart 11 year old who willingly, and without complaint, babysits his siblings while Ryan and I fulfill our church assignment of working with the youth.  Thanks Calzone.

The kids in line, playing a scripture game.

Handsome Ryan playing host with the most.

Delicious Scripture Cookies. 

Scripture Cookies
3/4 cup “The words of his mouth were smoother than ____________” (Ps. 55:21).

1/3 cup “Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy ___________and honey” (2 Ne. 26:25).

1 1/2 cups “To what purpose cometh there to me … the ________ ________ from a far country?” (Jer. 6:20.)

2 “As one gathereth ________ that are left, have I gathered all the earth” (Isa. 10:14).

2 cups “And Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty measures of fine __________” (1 Kgs. 4:22).

1 teaspoon “Take thou also unto thee principal spices, … and of sweet ________ half so much” (Ex. 30:23).

1 teaspoon “Ye are the _________ of the earth” (Matt. 5:13).

1/2 teaspoon “It shall not be baken with __________” (Lev. 6:17).

3 cups “Nevertheless, … ________ for the horse” (D&C 89:17).

1 cup “And they gave him … two clusters of ________” (1 Sam. 30:12).

1. Beat the first four ingredients together.
2. Mix in the remaining ingredients.
3. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.
4. Bake at 350° F (175° C) for 15 minutes.

Answers: 3/4 cup butter (softened), 1/3 cup milk, 1 1/2 cups brown sugar (sweet cane), 2 eggs, 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (leaven), 3 cups oats, 1 cup raisins.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Monday is Reset Day

Monday is reset day.  Time to find bearings, get motivated, reestablish the schedule and takt.  Guest post tonight is because Lindsey fell asleep in the lounge chair in the living room in the middle of helping Preston with homework.  She must indeed be tired from the reset of Monday.  Kids and homework, piano practice, running around to get prepared for the rest of the week.  I am coming off of a business trip to Austria that was tiring but inspiring.  I do love my job, and wish Lindsey could come with me every single time.  Tonight we went to our friend's house, Katie Graham, an American who married a Scotsman and lives in a beautiful home in Edinburgh.  We ate Mexican, had cookies for dessert, message from the missionaries and played, stick pull, afterwards.  The stick started out as a "Rod of Iron" from the Book of Mormon and rapidly became a weapon of sibling destruction.


Orthodox Cathedral in Graz, Austria

View from top of Schlossberg Park in Graz
 Fighting with Elder Whitt over the Iron Rod

Stick pulling between Simon and Galilee Graham

Sunday, May 26, 2013

80 Days Left

Flights have been purchased.  We can't stay in Scotland forever.  Only 80 days left.  80 days to soak up Edinburgh.  80 days to learn what we came here to learn, 80 days to magnify my church assignment, 80 days to share the gospel.  What remains to be done? How has the time gone by so quickly? What awaits us back in Utah? 80 days left to find out.

007 Calvin Smith.  At the fundraiser last night, we won this red hand-made bow tie.  Cal looks fantastic.

Annie Joy is all over planning high quality activities for family fun, which she arranged in the room that she calls her "classroom."  She could do so many things, but I can see already that she has a gift for teaching and party planning.

No Sunday would be complete without wrestle mania. I'm so glad that no one was injured tonight, but one of these days, I worry that...

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Winner, Winner Spaghetti Dinner!!!

What could be more fantastic than a spaghetti dinner with meatballs, salad, and garlic bread?  Eating that delightful dinner at a fundraiser for the teens in our church; an effort to generate money so that they can attend church summer camp (EFY) and a week at the Preston Temple. Good stuff, well worth the effort it took to throw such an event. My entire family was in on the action.  My oldest will be a recipient of the funds, but my younger four just helped out because they are awesome.  10 points for Polworth and Tynecastle!

Eating spaghetti.

Serving dinner with Annika, a Laurel (teen) and Silvia.

Calvin selling desserts.  What a guy!

Annie saved up some allowance money and bought this fantastic scooter at Asda today.  Simon, Annie and Owen made excellent use of the driveway and enjoyed the warm sunshine. Is summer finally here...?

Friday, May 24, 2013

A told B, and B told C...

Just as my twin finishes up her third year of running a successful preschool out of her home, I played the part of preschool teacher for the day.  My congregation has a mums and tots group that meets on Friday's and I was asked to do a pre-school/cooking class.  It was so much fun.  I chose the letter "B" for the day, mostly because I wanted to bake banana bread with bricks of butter and blow up blue balloons.  Many thanks to the moms and tots who humored me today by coming, helping, eating, and letting me enjoy your little ones.

After mashing bananas, they colored some Beautiful B sheets.

This bowl is huge, and is holding 4 times the normal recipe that I use to make banana bread with 12 mashed up bananas.

Alistair, our ninja, posing with the banana bread muffins.  He's always trying to sneak into pictures.

Happy, attractive mums and tots.

Owen dipping around with a cup.  The pink on his cheeks is leftover's from yesterday's lipstick incident.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Fish out of Water

Owen had a playdate today.  A good friend of his from nursery school, Oakley, came to the house to frolic.  They had a great time being super hero's, pretending to be in real school with Annie, pinching 5 bags of crisps! (chips), and eating chocolate chip peanut butter cookies. The activity they enjoyed best, though, was changing our fish's water.  Owen loves to actually grab the fish with his bare hand to put him in the temporary container while I clean out his tank.  Today, with the excitement of an audience, he accidentally dropped Chippy, a distance of about three inches, onto the kitchen table.  Quick as lightening he scooped it up and plopped it into the water.  Sometimes I feel like that dropped fish. Here in Scotland... as a a wife... on this planet... Just swimming along, then suddenly finding myself floundering, when I thought it was all going so well.  Like my Skype call with my twin, which concluded with Lesley saying "Hey, I don't know if you know this but Owen and Annie are putting on your make-up." Isn't Skype great.  Fortunately, Oakley had gone home and wasn't in on the face painting. Unfortunately, they used my ever-last lipstick that wouldn't come off tonight. Fortunately, we all have similar skin tones, so the color looks great on them... I'm ready to be put back into my tank now.

Owen (with some blue face paint), Oaks and Annie. Chippy in the water pitcher that I would later use for dinner, but forget to wash out: take that, make-up thieves! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Piano Party

I am very lucky that a wonderful family just moved to Scotland from Germany.  They live within walking distance and are members of our congregation (ward.) The Davis's have a 5 year old daughter who is just weeks older than Owen. And Lori, the mom, is an excellent piano teacher!  Whilst she teaches my older four, her daughter plays with all of my kids who aren't with her mom at the piano.  I had actually gone shopping at Ikea with Lori and her daughter  this morning, and was super surprised during today's piano lesson to learn (from her daughter) that it was Lori's birthday today. What was even better was that she told me in enough time to blow up some balloons, hang a birthday sign, and make some chocolate cinnamon cupcakes with Nutella frosting.  I even had ice cream in the freezer to go with it. What fun. I am always up for a party, and I love celebrating the birth of my friends.  

The cupcakes of birthday celebrations.  Un-necessarily large and delicious!

Owen made me a gas mask while I was away at a church meeting.  Isn't that adorable.

Owen: Mom, I just have so many art craft ideas in my mind. Most of them need tape.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pizza in the Park

With the forecast being bright and sunny, we decided to walk to the park. It was packed due to the happy weather and most of the kids had school off today as well.  I saw Spiderman, Batman, Snow White, and several plumbers (cracks.) Because the park is so blasted close to Papa Johns, I felt it my obligation to have them cater lunch: 1 lrg. sausage pizza, 1 lrg. pepperoni pizza, and a 1.25 ltr fizzy drink.  When Ryan ordered last week, he went with 2 soda pops, and only one pizza... sometimes I wonder how we ever got together.  He is in Austria right now on business.  Austrian business.  We miss him loads.

The sun was shining in their eyes when I took this shot, which is why Simon looks like he's about to cry, and why Annie is covering/closing her eyes.

I had one of those playing at the park, panicky moments where I had looked around a bit and couldn't spot my youngest two.  Silly of me to look at the 20+ play structures they could have been on, and not to check out this tree.

All five of them on this rotating Christmas tree thing.  Simon's head and legs are blocked, but he's in the green striped t-shirt in the back.

Our walk back home took for e ver, because Owen stopped to blow out each of the dandelion fuzzes.
I think he has about 16 wishes that he is hoping will come true.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Castle Campbell

What does a random Monday off from school look like when you are a Smith living in Scotland? Like this...

Why get dressed for the day when you can get dressed up?

Even Batman needs to read scriptures in the morning.

This was taken on the walk up to Castle Campbell.  This is not photoshopped. It really did look like this. Places like this do exist.

A little bit closer to the castle. Lily pads in the lake? You've got to be kidding me.

We had a picnic after touring the Castle.  My kids declared that they do not like orange marmalade in their pbj. Bummer.

We stopped at a park we passed on our drive to the Castle.  Random fun equipment.

Simon on the slide. Today was very humid and totally warm (65 degrees!)  It ended in rain, but all of our hearts had been warmed by then, so it didn't matter.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Curious Incident of the Towel in the Nighttime.

Here's the sad tale.  Today was lovely, complete with a delicious mexican dinner fed to my crew of seven, four missionaries, and a friend who is investigating our church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, aka Mormons.)  We ate, laughed, read scriptures together and in general had a lovely evening.  After playing the hostess for the evening, and getting the kids to bed, I decided that a nice hot shower was in order. I grabbed my towel off the hook on my bedroom door. After basking for a bit, I got a knock on the door that Simon had to use use the Loo, and someone else was in the upstairs bathroom, so I hurried out.  I walked into the kitchen to squeeze water from my hair and found my kind husband working on dinner dishes.  What a guy.  It smelled of old food in the kitchen.  Almost like throw up... I told him so and he just said that I had probably been in the kitchen cooking too long.  I went to my room and rubbed the towel over my whole body.  That is when I noticed the dried vomit on my towel.  The vomit that I had just rubbed on almost every clean, square inch of me. Some villainous individual had hung a puke towel on the back of my door.  Who does that?  What is the world coming to?  Please remember this story, and the lesson it holds.  If you think you've had a bad day, just remember that once upon a time, Lindsey Joy Smith wiped a vomit towel on her clean body.  That should cheer you up, and hopefully make you laugh.

This is what the towel looks like, when it is folded and clean and not covered in sick.

Calvin and Ryan made this fantastic funicular pulley cart after church today.  Totally cool.  

We were lucky enough to have some friends drop by this afternoon, Silvia and Gordon.  I got to chat for a bit with Silvia whilst making dinner, and Gordon got to be mauled by Simon, Owen and Annie. This was taken after the horsey rides.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Race

    So nothing terribly amazing happened today.  Lots of rain.  Cleaned our church building with the kids. Did a wee bit of grocery shopping in preparation of the sabbath. So I decided to post one of my very favorite poems in the entire world, the Race.  read it.  Share it.  Let it's message enter your heart!

    The Race

      attributed to Dr. D.H. "Dee" Groberg

    Whenever I start to hang my head in front of failure’s face, 
        my downward fall is broken by the memory of a race. 
    A children’s race, young boys, young men; how I remember well, 
        excitement sure, but also fear, it wasn’t hard to tell. 
    They all lined up so full of hope, each thought to win that race 
        or tie for first, or if not that, at least take second place. 
    Their parents watched from off the side, each cheering for their son, 
        and each boy hoped to show his folks that he would be the one.

    The whistle blew and off they flew, like chariots of fire, 
        to win, to be the hero there, was each young boy’s desire. 
    One boy in particular, whose dad was in the crowd, 
        was running in the lead and thought “My dad will be so proud.” 
    But as he speeded down the field and crossed a shallow dip, 
        the little boy who thought he’d win, lost his step and slipped. 
    Trying hard to catch himself, his arms flew everyplace, 
        and midst the laughter of the crowd he fell flat on his face. 
    As he fell, his hope fell too; he couldn’t win it now. 
        Humiliated, he just wished to disappear somehow.

    But as he fell his dad stood up and showed his anxious face, 
        which to the boy so clearly said, “Get up and win that race!” 
    He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit that’s all, 
        and ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall. 
    So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win, 
        his mind went faster than his legs. He slipped and fell again. 
    He wished that he had quit before with only one disgrace. 
        “I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.”

    But through the laughing crowd he searched and found his father’s face 
        with a steady look that said again, “Get up and win that race!” 
    So he jumped up to try again, ten yards behind the last. 
        “If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought, “I’ve got to run real fast!” 
    Exceeding everything he had, he regained eight, then ten... 
        but trying hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again. 
    Defeat! He lay there silently. A tear dropped from his eye. 
        “There’s no sense running anymore! Three strikes I’m out! Why try? 
    I’ve lost, so what’s the use?” he thought. “I’ll live with my disgrace.” 
        But then he thought about his dad, who soon he’d have to face.

    “Get up,” an echo sounded low, “you haven’t lost at all, 
        for all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall. 
    Get up!” the echo urged him on, “Get up and take your place! 
        You were not meant for failure here! Get up and win that race!” 
    So, up he rose to run once more, refusing to forfeit, 
        and he resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit. 
    So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been, 
        still he gave it all he had and ran like he could win. 
    Three times he’d fallen stumbling, three times he rose again. 
        Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.

    They cheered another boy who crossed the line and won first place, 
        head high and proud and happy -- no falling, no disgrace. 
    But, when the fallen youngster crossed the line, in last place, 
        the crowd gave him a greater cheer for finishing the race. 
    And even though he came in last with head bowed low, unproud, 
        you would have thought he’d won the race, to listen to the crowd. 
    And to his dad he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well.” 
        “To me, you won,” his father said. “You rose each time you fell.”

    And now when things seem dark and bleak and difficult to face, 
        the memory of that little boy helps me in my own race. 
    For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all. 
        And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall. 
    And when depression and despair shout loudly in my face, 
        another voice within me says, “Get up and win that race!”

In Highschool I participated in cross country and track. I am not in nearly as good of shape now as I was then.  But I think that those years of practice taught me more than just how to keep fit. I learned how to cross life's finish lines. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sunshine and Happiness!

Today a miracle occurred.  It was almost warm and sunny the entire day!  In celebration our Friday night was spent walking to the meadows (about 2 miles away) where, along with everyone else in the area, we soaked up the sun.  Lucky for us, Papa John's was just a block away from the jungle gym area, so dinner was sausage pizza.  I love the garlic butter dipping sauce they serve with the pizza.  Here's to another 3 months with weather just like today.  Not likely, but a girl can dream!

This is the golf area of the park we went to.  It is massive.  Sorry if the picture quality looks too bright... it was taken while it was... what's that word again... sunny!

A tree stump, worthy of hoping off of scooters to climb into.

The playground had a zip line, this huge group swing thing, a rock wall, etc.  It was loads of fun.

Simon giving the swing a shot.  My shadow whilst taking the picture.

Calvin, Owen, and Annie, trying to make themselves dizzy sick.