Thursday, October 31, 2013


What a day! Cinnamon roll breakfast with some neighbors, costume parade at the school, class parties, trick or treating, and watching the movie "Annie" to wrap up the night.  Today was action packed, filled with joy, and when I'm 85, I hope to remember the pure joy of my children, spending time with friends on this magical Halloween night.

Happy Simon is a black belt karate champion!  Every year the elementary school has a wonderful tradition.  The kids march in a parade in the gym while parents snap photos.

Reading to Owen's class.  Chef Lindsey.  Owen is Mike Zakowski (sp?) from Monsters Inc.

Jade got in on the action with a Halloween story of her own to the kids.

Eat the cookie balanced on your forehead not using your hands.

You know this is serious when the glasses come off for the fight.

Cal was Captain Kirk.  A very practical and honorable role.  Cal is showing off his pumpkin carving skills before heading out with his friends.

The bottom three went out together with a bunch of neighborhood kids.  Karate kid, princess with blood scars (who knows?), and a Ninja.  When evening fell, Owen wanted to match his best friend Cedric and so he busted out the Ninja costume from the toy bins.

Preston spent time at a friends watching a scary movie.  Jade got invited to a Halloween party with the teens from her seminary class.  Great night of fun, friends and candy.  Definitely Halloween weather with drizzle, leaves everywhere and a bit windy.  Great memories. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween is Nearly Here

Halloween is nearly here.
I've got my costume planned.
It's sure to be the most horrific
outfit in the land.

If you should see me coming
you may scream and hide your head.
My get-up will, I guarantee,
fill every heart with dread.

My costume may cause nightmares.
Yes, my mask may stop your heart.
You might just shriek and wet yourself,
then squeamishly depart.

And yet, I won't be dressing as
you might expect me to.
I will not be a vampire
or ghost that hollers "boo!"

I won't look like a werewolf
or a goblin or a ghoul,
or even like a slimy blob
of deadly, dripping drool.

I will not be a zombie
or some other horrid creature.
No, this year I'll be much, much worse...
I'm dressing as a teacher.

--by Kenn Nesbitt

No doubt that Kenn Nesbitt is a teacher! My hats off to our school district that some how managed to schedule the day after Halloween as a teaching professional day (as in no kids at school.) I guess it's only fair that if us parents are plannin on sugaring them up, then we should have to deal with the consequences of the crazy that is sure to follow. I'm so excited to help out with the kids Halloween parties tomorrow!

This is one of the best Halloween books ever written for children.  For real.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Neighborhood (ward) Halloween Party

10 points to Mrs. Amber Gardner for taking matters into her own hands and organizing a neighborhood (unofficial ward) Halloween party.  There were games, there was a chili cook-off, we had a witch come and make a "nice" brew in her cauldron, that helped people be kinder. We had costumes, we had cornbread, and chances are high, after all that chili, that we will all have gas tonight.  Basically, I love getting together with neighbors.  Basically, I love ward parties.  Basically, Halloween rocks.

Amber with one of her ninos.  I just loved her costume and think it is exceptionally clever.

What might those clever looking things be? WHy, those are the high quality trophies that I made for the chili cook off today! Who wouldn't want one of those bad boys?!

I got to help present the chili's for the voting (which was the time tested "clapping the loudest" measure.)

A werewolf friend with Owen Lightyear and Karate Simon.

Are there seriously more great trophies that Lindsey made? Why yes, yes there are. These are the trophies for the costume contest.

Gotta love a cookie-walk game.

Jade was visited by a herd of seminary students today.  So friendly, so welcoming, so glad Jade is making friends so easily. I love each and every one of these seminary students!  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Public Service Announcement to Home Depot

Dear Home Depot,

Today I went to your store to purchase some pine boards to repair a banister that vexes me.  I walked down the wood aisle, found the "pine" section, and located the wood that was very clearly labelled:
1"x 4" x 8'.  The wood sticker on the wood was labelled as such, and so was the nice little sign right in front of said boards.  I purchased.  I stuffed into my minivan. I drove home. Owen helped unload the wood.  I put the board against the banister... only to discover that the board was 1/2 an inch shy of what was needed.  How did this happen? We measured the banister!  I found the pine boards! Two independent labels declared that the wood fit my specifications!  Then the fine print, on the tiny little bar code (about two inches below the Bolded, larger typeface of the 1" x 4" x 8') it read 3/4" x 3 1/2" x 8.  Are you kidding me?  4 inches is not the same as 3 1/2.  Why go to the hassle of mislabeling the size of your wood? I firmly believe that Home Depot's motto should actually be "Home Depot: Do it Yourself, Do it Twice."  Before today, however, this motto was actually in reference to how most DIY jobs are done wrong the first time, requiring attempt #2.  Today my home depot motto took on new meaning.  By intentionally mis-labeling products, doing it twice gets to start that much sooner... oh, and by the way, don't try to give me the "Wood shrinks down from when it's cut, and dries out and shrinks during shipping so the labels that the logging company put on there aren't accurate," as explained by your store employee today. Home Depot makes the tags in front of the boards. Home Depot places the UPS stickers on the merchandise they sell. And Home Depot also sells tape measures.  Please use them from now on, and don't lie (as in mislabel) your products.  I was going to pay you $4 today for my purchases, but actually only gave you $3.5 instead. The money probably just shrank when I handed it over...

You Stink,
Lindsey Joy Smith

FHE: Carving Pumpkins.  Messy and fun.

Jade loved the carving, but not the scooping of the insides.  Preston's turned into Micky Mouse (Because his first idea was an epic fail.) Annie carved about 6 pumpkins tonights, including the little decoration pumpkins that I have along the front walkway ledges.

Happy Family!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

1st American Sunday

Jade Louise Herriot had her first Sunday in America today.  That meant: temple square, the primary Sacrament program, American Y.W.'s (aka a big program, at least compared to Scotland, with 20+ women and 10 leaders.)  All in all, today was lovely.  My favorite but of the day was doing PPI's with the kids, Personal Parent Interviews.  Each of them are so unique and wonderful, and Jade didn't request to go right back to Scotland, so that's good.

Inside the South visitrs center is a model of the Salt Lake Temple.  It is fantastic! Calvin, Jade and Preston are checking it out.

The clam shell fountain just South of the temple. 

Make a wish! So glad I had 6 pennies in my purse. It would have killed me to have had to decide who wouldn't get to have their wishes come true.

The gang in front of the Christus.

I LOVE the young women in the ward!  They came by tonight with this nifty candy card welcome sign for Sister Herriot.  Even better... Jade hasn't tried most of this American candy before!  What a treat!  What a great family.  We love the Porters!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Halloween Party Night

We were lucky enough to go to a wonderful halloween party tonight.  The theme was pirates, but we some how missed the memo and came as: (Ryan) A scots man (me) a chef (Jade) a vampiress (Preston) a zombie (Calvin) Captain Kirk (Simon) Karate Kid (Annie) a fairy and (Owen) Mike from Monster's Inc.  It was so much fun! Today was also the RS's big fall activity, which was so much fun: breakfast, lunch, yoga, scriptures, family history, healthy eating, friends, food and fun!

Slurpees - 7 Eleven rocks!


Owen with friend Noah.

Annie Joy.  She wore fake eyelashes, which was loads of fun.

Friday, October 25, 2013

American Seminary

TOday was a thumbs up for all involved.  My younger four got to attend the annual "Pop, Pizza and Practice Party" in preparation for the Primary Sacrament meeting program.  Preston got to enjoy another day in middle school. Ryan got to wrap up a two day conference (around 100 attending) that he was hosting, and Jade and I got to babysit two tiny people this morning, and sign her up to start seminary on Monday! FYI: seminary is a class that high schoolers can take as an elective.  They learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Very cool.  Happy day.

Jade filling out the seminary application.

Jade and Owen standing in front of the seminary building; a place where happiness, friendships and testimonies are grown.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


I haven't been yelling or shouting or singing at the top of my lungs, but I am officially speaking like a librarian.  I have almost completely lost my voice.  Which is totally lame because I have loads to say.  I have words of encouragement to share, I have scolding to do, I have schedules to announce, people to thank, friends to call, stories to tell... but it's all coming out like I'm in a library... My spirits are high, my dishes are done, my family is tucked in, my voice is gone.  Will I wake up without the mute button on? Only time will tell. As for me, in my house, I'm going to curl up to a good book.  After all, that's what a librarian would do.

Honestly, what little girl didn't dream of owning the Librarian Action Figure.
I absolutely love the Spanish word fro library: biblioteca 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Finally Here!

Today in pictures:

Simon and his Diorama.  He did it entirely out of Legos.  Parents were invited to come and check out the work of all the students, and interview them about the animals and wildlife featured. I thoroughly enjoyed our Q & A session.

Yes, you are a winner, Si-guy.

In preparation for Jade Herriot coming to visit us from Scotland, I made her an apple pie.  How very American.

The pie crust turned out entirely perfect.

Beautiful.  2 apples got consumed before they could make it into the pie.  I was planning on having more filling, but it all worked out well in the end.

"J" for Jade!  A fancy personalized pie!

SImply delightful.

This sad picture was the best I could get of a group shot.  Thanks for standing still everyone. Not.
Jade Louise Herriot, our Scottish Lassie (making 17 look fabulous) has officially arrived in Utah.  She will live with us for the next three months.  Yeah!!!!!

Ryan and Owen, helping out with the luggage.

Everyone was so very excited to see Jade.  Hello Smith family. Goodbye personal space.

Of all the running around today, I managed to take care of the very most important thing on my list:  Paint the heater pipes to look like fingers with Halloween nail polish. Check. (or "tick" if you're from Scotland.)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Owen with friends.

The kids picked some grapes from our backyard and decided to peel them so that I can make jam.  The grapes are small and full of seeds. Ain't no body got time for that.

Preston had a choir performance tonight.  He did great, and the whole thing lasted just 41 minutes.  Bam, That's how to get er done!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Safety Week!

You know your kids go to an awesome elementary school when they go to school with superhero shirts, and come home with masks painted on.  Muir Elementary holds a safety week every fall, with things like wear crazy socks and backwards clothes day. Each theme has some correlation to safety.  I don't know what today's safety message was at all, but I do know that my kids could get used to having me paint masks on them every day.  I would probably like one myself.

Owen and Cedric, and a Ghost McDonald puppet on a stick.

Simon, a.k.a. Batman.

Annie.  Apparently, the girls even got some glitter with their paint. How totally cool.
Three cheers for the PTO artist moms at the school during lunch break!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Charity Never Faileth!

Today I was sustained as the Relief Society President of the North Canyon 5th Ward in the Bountiful North Canyon Stake.  Isn't that a mouthful!  I am so super excited for the chance to work with all of the amazing women in our ward/neighborhood.  FYI, the Relief Society is the women's organization in the Mormon Church.  Our motto is "Charity Never Faileth" and is taken from the New Testament verse, 1 Corinthians 13:8, which happens to be one of my very favorite scripture passages of all time.  The Relief Society has three main purposes: to increase faith in Jesus Christ, to strengthen our homes and families, and to help those in need.  Bam!  We got this!  We're on it!  That's an organization I can be proud (... I mean pleased) to be a part of.  Many thanks to all of the wonderful Relief Society Sisters (my mom, my sisters, my aunts, grandmas, cousins, in-laws, teachers, young women's leaders, friends, visiting teachers ) who have taught me so much about being a daughter of God.  To all of my sisters who aren't members of my faith, my thanks also goes out to you for teaching me valuable lessons on life, love and friendship. Your righteous examples of womanhood have prepared me for this calling.  I'm Utah Jazzed to get this Relief Society party started!

Annie Joy's Baptism dress.  I wanted to get some nice pictures of her before the excitement of the big day.  We are so thrilled to have both sets of her Grandparents flying out for her big day. And much thanks to Aunt Lesley for the hair bow and bracelet.  Yeah Annie! 

A close-up.  Ryan and I were lucky enough to sit in on Annie's interview with our Bishop, where he asked her some questions to see if she was willing and ready to be baptized. When he asked her "Do you keep the commandments?" She looked straight in his eyes and immediately replied with "Our family is really struggling with that one." What the heck does that mean?! The three adults in the room got a very good laugh out of that. (Surprise!  The Smith family isn't perfect.) But this really increased her credibility when she was asked if she was honest. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Home for Real

Today at 12:48pm I got the call from Ryan Edward Smith, telling me that his plane had just landed.  We were already in the car, on our way to the SLC airport.  We collected him at passenger pickup #2.  When I parked the car, all the kids hopped out instead of Ryan hopping in, they were so excited to finally have their dad back.  And boy did we celebrate! Tuna fish sandwiches for lunch, a car wash and vacuum, a two hour stop at the D.I, and then a delicious dinner at The Mandarin.  There is no better way to celebrate than their honey walnut shrimp. It was surprising to me how complete our family feels now that Ryan is home.  Having him gone was like eating mediocre food: box mac n cheese, dino nuggets, etc. Your'e not eating well, but certainly not starving. But he's home now!  It's like we get to eat... Mandarin again.  I forgot how good it tastes.

This is Owen's game face.

Proof. We really did get our car washed.

Annie and Owen dipping around in the D.I. (Utah's premier thrift store.)
Annie ended up getting that keyboard game thing she's holding, and Owen also decided on that small pillow pet horse thing he's snuggling into.

Captain America and Annie waiting for our dinner table.