Saturday, January 31, 2015

Super Bowl Saturday

I don't think that I have ever seen an entire Superbowl game. I have no idea who is playing tomorrow, and have no favorites that I'm rooting for.  I still have no idea how football is played/scored/what the rules are.  My house is not stocked with game day goodies. But it would not be true to say that I haven't looked forward to the SuperBowl, because I have.  My very favorite part of the this season is Superbowl Saturday... at Costco.  A few years ago I wandered into Costco on the Saturday before the Superbowl, and was met with such an exciting array of samples, like 3x the number that are normally offered if you hit Costco around lunch time.  Ever since, Costco on Superbowl Saturday is an event I look forward to year round.  Today's offering did not disappoint, and afterwards, I always feel so very connected with the other Americans who enjoy the Superbowl football tradition.

Ryan felt a car wash was absolutely necessary, and he even went to a place that you have to do it yourself.  He is definitely feeling much better this week than he was last week.  He is still going to bed around 8:00pm, but feeling loads better none-the less.  The kids always love being in the car when it's getting washed.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Epic Birthday Gift for Ryan's 39th!!!

Ryan met with his surgeon today for his post-surgery follow up.  I woke up this morning and said a prayer: if the test results were bad, my hope was that they just wouldn't be ready for today and that we would simply get no news. If the results were going to be good, then I hoped they would be ready so that Ryan could get the best birthday present ever.  After removing 10 inches of his colon, and twenty two nodes surrounding it, after carefully testing everything, the results are in: not a trace of cancer was found anywhere, in any of the tissue that was removed.  She said his body responded incredibly well to the chemo/radiation and the surgery. It truly was the best birthday present ever. From now on,  January 30th won't just be remembered as my handsome husband's birthday, but as the day he was declared cancer free.  What a day...

Now the ball is in our court.  Typical "standard of care" is that Ryan would do one more round of chemo, just to make absolutely sure that all traces of cancer are gone. However, this precautionary measure is not like bringing a sweater with you just in case it gets cold outside.  Chemo itself is poison, and can leave long-term, lasting ill effects.  We meet with his oncologist on Tues to hear his thoughts on the matter. We will be praying and fasting that we make the choice that is best for Ryan's long term health.  Decisions, decisions.  But for now, for today, what started out as a regular birthday will end as a day to be forever remembered. What a blessing! What a man! What a birthday!  Long live Ryan Edward Smith. 

No, Ryan is not in London (although if he were,he would fit right in.)
He is in front of the Huntsman Cancer Center,calling his parents to tell them the good news.

Where did we go to celebrate his birth and excellent health?
Nielsens' Frozen Custard.
It's where we often go to celebrate.

Breakfast this morning.  Simon gave Ryan that handsome mustache.

RYan's mom sent his this totally awesome board.  You paint with water, and within about a minute your design vanishes and you get to do another.  Totally cool.

Owen was helping me tie my shoes.
At 34 weeks along tomorrow, this is much appreciated assistance.

Calvin is on campout. He loves campouts.

No birthday cake or ice-cream tonight. Ryan had no interest.
Dessert was baklava, one of Ryan's favorites.
Happy birthday Ryan!  


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Early Out

This week my elementary kids have early out due to parent teacher conferences.  They normally exit the building around 3:30pm, but this week the freedom bell rings at 1:30pm... unless your child is in kindergarten, and then school ends two hours after it has begun. It's entirely ridiculous.  In reality, it's harder to peel my kids away from tech when they have these long stretches of time at home, but with Ryan still home, trying to recover a bit more from his surgery, it feels a little bit like we are having multiple Saturdays in a row.  Long live early out week!

My little's were begging to go to the Dollar Store today, so away we went.
Nothing quite as fabulous as a duct tape belt adorned with ninja paraphernalia.
Looking good, Owen.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


I know that Ryan is eager to get back to work, and that I should be just as eager for the progress that would imply, but I simply love having him home.  I love walking the dog together in the morning, getting the kids off to school.  I love chatting about random things.  I love eating lunch together. I loves stealing a kiss while he's emailing, and snacking together (he's eating several, small meals a day.) It's like I'm getting a tiny taste of an upcoming retirement (about 25 years early) and I'm loving it!  Ryan is starting to look much better and stronger... and I'm trying to invent ways to "help" him stay home a little longer... any suggestions?

Owen made this hat. It is fantastically weird.

Some friends gave us this wonderful dice game.
We have a few new fab games, and we played them all tonight... but I forgot to take pics. I was lost in the moment. I love when that happens.

Cancer should be called "Can't-cer." It can't stop Ryan from playing games, enjoying Gatorade, or 
watching several movies a day.

Owen made this for his "100" projects at school, with the help of his lovely sister Annie.
I just think it looks awesome.

Annie made this temple out of sugar cubes at a church activity. 
As soon as she got in the car, she asked if she could eat it when she got home.
"No."..."Why?"..."Because it's just plain sugar."

Monday, January 26, 2015

Someone that could Help

After 6 days and 5 nights at the Huntsman Cancer Center, Ryan was finally able to come home on Sunday.  Time in a hospital can feel like an eternity, and I am so very thankful for a few little miracles that came during our stay: Ryan's operation went smoothly, he woke up after the operation, his parents were there for love and support, neighbors brought in meals, friends babysat, Calvin Smith (my 13 year olds son) stepped up to the plate and chipped in with everything from doing the dishes, to helping his siblings get dressed for church, and Ryan was able to get a Priesthood blessing during his stay.

A couple days after his operation (which was on Tues, the 20th) Ryan had been given the green light on eating a normal diet, a Thursday.  He had been told to walk a bit, drink a lot, and get plenty of rest.  He had done exactly as instructed, and the day brought nausea and painful vomiting (imagine how your stomach muscles tense while throwing up, and what that must feel like after major abdominal surgery.) Not fun. We were told that if things got worse or didn't improve, an option would be to go into surgery again and have a tube put into his intestines to help food move through his system better.  I think it was intended to bring comfort, the knowledge that options were still available, but it sounded like one of the worst case scenarios of how to treat the problem at hand.  After medication, a return to the liquid diet, and a prayer (in reality, we had been praying non-stop for the last few days) we felt like it would be best if he was given a special blessing by someone who holds the Priesthood in our church.  It was late at night.  I walked out into the hospital hall and said yet another prayer, just asking that I be directed towards someone that could help, and if possible, I would appreciate it if the first person that I saw be the helper God was sending to us.  I decided to turn left, and just around the corner was a nurse.  I walked right up to him, briefly explained my situation, and asked him if he was able to give my husband a Priesthood blessing.  Through the grace of God, this man knew what I was talking about, was a member of my faith, and was willing and able to help.  Typically two men participate in a blessing for the sick.  He was able to call on a friend and shortly thereafter Ryan was blessed with peace, comfort, and the promise that he would process his food, that his system would wake up and cooperate, and that God was watching out for him and was aware of his needs. It was beautiful, and it came to pass.  

To all my dear friends and family who have been through similar experiences, I now understand a little bit better what a trial of health can mean, how the prayers of others truly can lift people up, and (sadly) how much company we have when it comes to cancer.  Thank you for your faith on our behalf. I know God lives, that He loves His children, that He hears and answers when we pray.

A slight change in Ryan's diet is that he is supposed to drink lots of fluid, with 1/3 being water, and the other 2/3 being Powerade/ Gatorade. So for breakfast on Sunday morning, he had some scrambled eggs, a bit of banana, a strawberry yogurt... and an artificially blue, large Powerade. Mmmmm.

Ready to leave, happy to go.

I had a midwifes appointment today, and she asked how I was holding up with Ryan's surgery, and baby coming in just a few weeks (I'm just past 33 weeks along.)  I told her I felt lots of love from family and friends and that I had a really great support system, that was making everything so much better than it could be. Just as I got home, I found a package that a friend I've had for almost 30 years had sent me.  In it was a lovely letter and a Baskin Robbins gift card for Ryan. She gave me a cancer necklace, complete with blue gems in honor of colon cancer.  Her amazing sister passed from cancer a few years ago, so this friend truly gets the trial of cancer.  Ryan and I both cried a little at the thoughtfulness of the gift, and at the countless ways people have shown their love and support.  Thank you, dear friend. It's my new favorite piece of jewelry... and I think it makes me look skinny.

My picture isn't great, but the bottom of the circle reads "Hope." I love the word hope.

Not fifteen minutes after putting my necklace on, two dear neighborhood/church friends dropped by with what is probably the biggest care package I have ever seen. The women from my congregation gathered gifts, cards, a bear that sings and dances to "My Guy" by Mary Wells, candy, bubble bath supplies, plants, cozy socks... and love for me.  So naturally, I cried again.  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I will never be able to properly express how much this means to me. I will eat the candy quickly, and keep the cards forever. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Double Tattoo Scandal

The events of the Big surgery day went as follows: Breakfast with the kids, hanging out, packing for the hospital.  Preston went to play practice (Marry Poppins) and Owen, Annie, Simon and Clavin went to play at the Hunters.  Ryan, his parents and I checked in at the Huntsman Cancer Center at 1:30pm.  Ryan was finally taken back to the OR at 4:30, since his Dr. was tied up a little later than expected in another surgery.  We were told it would take 4 - 6 hours.  For me, that first 1/2 an hour was the hardest.  How grateful I am that my in-laws were with me.  Were weren't constantly chatting or holding hands the entire time, but just knowing that we were all there together, that I wasn't alone was more comforting than words can express. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my kids went home and met their sitter for the night and were met by a delicious dinner that a friend dropped off.

At 10:30pm, the surgeon met with Ryan's parents and me, telling us that everything went well,that Ryan was waking up in the PACU, and that about 10 inches of his colon were no longer with him. The plan was to remove right around the sight of a tattoo that marked where the cancer had been. She explained that surgery took slightly longer than she hoped, due to finding an unexpected second tattoo marking, she titled the event "The Double Tattoo Scandal."  I think that Heavenly Father wanted to make sure that all the bad bits were removed, and just to be sure, he gave the surgeon (and Ryan) a bonus tattoo, making sure that not a cm of colon remained that shouldn't remain.

Waiting Room.

Trying out this ridiculous blanket that fills with warm air.  It's way lamer and else effective then simply using a warm blanket.

Minutes before Ryan, and my heart, get whisked away.

Ryan's dad hung up his Grover in the recovery room.

Tired, patiently waiting for their son to get wheeled in.

**** This post is for January 20th, 20115***
10 days before Ryan's 39th birthday.

Monday, January 19, 2015

One Day More...

The day before a big event, like a birthday, interview, competition, test, departure for a trip, etc...we always play the song "One Day More" from Les Miserables.  Ryan goes in for surgery tomorrow afternoon.  The house is clean, the laundry is done, arrangements for the kids have been made, Ryan is enduring yet another liquid diet for the surgery prep, prayers have been said, cards have been delivered, and now... we wait. To quote the Les Mis song:

"Tomorrow we'll be far away,
 Tomorrow is the Judgement day
 Tomorrow we'll discover 
What our God in Heaven has in store!
One more dawn
One more day
One day more."

We went to see Paddington Bear at the theaters today. It was a very enjoyable family movie.
9 thumbs up from the Smith family.

I caught Calvin, Preston and Annie all singing the Hannah Montana song "Butterfly Fly Away."
It's actually one of my favorites.

The non-winner of tonights FHE game got to dance the funky chicken for us.
Grandpa Ed was a good sport.

The night finished with a lovely performance by Annie.
First she sang "Broken Hallelujah."

That was followed by a quick costume change and the Miley Cyrus song 
"Always Find Your Way Back Home."
I love to hear my kids sing!

Creme Brule Sunday

Ryan's parents flew into town this morning to help while Ryan has his surgery. It's scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. His surgeon will remove part of his colon. So far, all signs show that the radiation chemo has been successful, and that the cancer hasn't spread.  All of his doctors tells us that we will really know what's going on when the operation occurs.  In honor of his last meal (liquid diet on Monday and Tuesday morning) I made an epic meal for him for dinner: lasagna, home-made pasta noodles,crazy good artisan rolls, and for dessert: creme brule with blueberries and strawberries.

Even more exciting than the dinner menu was the family conference call.  All of Ryan's family tries to get together on the 3rd Sunday of the month via Googlechat.  During the video conference call, his mom gave him a card that all of the siblings signed and a "Super Grover" which was his very favorite character on Sesame Street.  He dressed up like Super Grover all the time as a child, even cutting his head on the fireplace mantle when he tried to fly. And yes, that resulted in stitches.  It was just incredibly thoughtful.  Today the topic in our last meeting of church was prayer.  TO quote my twin, I'm so grateful for so many people that "have our backs on their knees."

Calvin and Annie love to help me in the kitchen.

That's a lot of creme brule.  I double the recipe,which called for 16 egg yolks and 5 cups of heavy creme. Yum!

Ryan is holding that card that we will hold as a treasure for the rest of his life.

Showing his siblings his new "Super Grover."

Showing his wife his new "Super Grover."
Ryan and his dad smiling.

*** This post is for Sunday, January 18th, 2015.***

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ryan and I, a 24 hour adventure!

On tap today:Ryan made some phone calls for his church calling while I watched "Extreme Couponers."  It was very inspiring.  We had croissants and omelets and eggs benedict and wandered around the mall. I found some pregnant tights for just $1.60.  Ryan had his very first massage. Then we enjoyed some tasty Korean. I love this man and enjoyed my time with him.


Korean food is sooo good.

I loved the hot pot dish. The portions were large, and I know what's for lunch tomorrow:~)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Late start to my Hot Date.. But worth the wait

The plan was to meet with Ryan this afternoon at 1:30pm to start our epic "Let's avoid thinking about the fact that Ryan has an epic surgery in just 4 days." In reality, the date got pushed back 3 1/2 hours encase of Ryan's flight debacle, which returned him 19 hours later than planned, and had him take 4 flights to get from Boston to Salt Lake City. Date plans were altered a bit, but tonight was a smashing success. We caught the Jazz vs. Lakers, where the Jazz won, we hit an Italian restaurant, and our hotel is close to the City Creek shopping mall so we got the chance to wander around.  I'm so glad that Ryan's home and am super grateful to my aunt and cousin for watching, playing with my five monkeys while we're gone. Long live date night!

My day started with a TV demonstration on KSL's Studio 5. I showed how to make pasta from scratch.  It will air on Monday at 1:30pm... but if you are out and about on MLK day, I will post the video on my website at 

Nachos at the game tonight. Nothing says pro-ball game like processed cheese.

Nosebleed seats, but we still had a blast.  The last jazz game we went to, Ryan was finishing up his chemo and radiation treatment, and he couldn't clap b/c his hands hurt too much.  It was so wonderful to hear him cheer on players, boo at a bad call, and clap as loud as he wanted to. Blessings.

Not a great picture but we won, and streamers were dropped. It was very exciting.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Failed Flights

Let me tell you about Ryan's short business trip; what the plan was.  Fly to Boston early Weds morning. Fly to SLC late Thursday night.  In an effort to make Ryan never want to fly again, this short business trip has turned into a traveling nightmare.  His flight to Boston got re-routed about 30 minutes after it left due to some poor woman choking/having seizures.  No big deal to the rest of the passengers, but it delayed his arrival to Boston by about 5 hours, and caused him to be late for dinner appointment.  Enter today. He gets to the airport, hangs out way longer than anticipated due to some maintenance issues,  gets loaded onto the plane... then waits another hour. They finally take off, only to land in Midway (Chicago) where all the passengers have missed their connecting flights... and the soonest flight to SLC leaves... tomorrow morning, but it isn't a direct flight (of course) so he'll have to fly into Vegas and then catch another connection to SLC, to land him home around 4:00pm, and not the 9:50pm tonight we had planned.  Lame. I think there should be a rule that if you're flying, things are only allowed to go poorly on half of your round trip, and not the whole thing.  Ryan was totally inconsolable... Alright, he was actually fine, and seems to be handling this whole situation with grace and patience, but if it were me... and I was stuck...

This is just a reminder that things don't always go the way I plan, that patience is a virtue, and I should take time to relish when the little things go right.

Owen took almost 100 pictures of himself with my phone during a drive.
He's not smiling in any of them. Weird. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

When the Moon Hits Your Eye...

For Christmas, Ryan Edward Smith gave me a lovely gift certificate to a fab cooking supply store in SLC, called Gygi's.  With so many fabulous things to get, it was hard to narrow down my list. But in the end, the high quality, made in Italy pasta maker spoke to my heart.  Tonight was it's maiden voyage.  Annie and I made some wonderful fettucine noodles. It was dressed up with alfredo sauce, and served with some steamed broccoli and sour dough bread.  The meal was wonderful.  I love this machine, the pasta, the daughter who made it with me, the husband who funded the operation, and the people who dined with me tonight (my sometimes well behaved crew.) Long live Pasta!

Dough, waiting patiently to be turned into magic.

The machine clips perfectly onto the counter.

I nailed the dough, because it wasn't sticky or crumbly, and the strips were cut perfectly.
The entire assembly time, movie like Moonstruck, and Only You kept playing in my mind. 
"When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's Amore!"

Annie is a girl of many talents. Now pasta preparer is on the list.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Dental Health and pregnancy don't seem to be very compatible. During the first months of pregnancy, brushing my teeth makes me totally nauseous, let alone the minty taste of tooth paste which might as well be syrup of ipecac.  Luckily, brushing and flossing is no longer a big deal as I enter my third trimester.  But the desire to vomit has morphed into an insatiable appetite for Tums to kill the heartburn that simply won't die.SO back to the teeth. I can't imagine that a steady diet of nighttime Tums, loaded with sugar, isn't killing my teeth. But I went to the dentist today, and he said that everything looked really good. Which is a small miracle.  I'm so grateful for healthy teeth, and that my appointment didn't result in 4 (four!!!) cavities like it did last time.***

I took Annie with me to get her teeth cleaned as well.

Annie loved getting away from school for a bit.

I totally had to convince her to join me for lunch.

She barely consented.  I love that girl.

Tonight was our neighborhood monthly cooking group (all neighborhood gals are always welcome to come!) The theme ingredient was cinnamon and it was super wonderful. I'm lucky to be pals with all the ladies in this room.

I got chilly and the hostess with the mostess got me this lovely, cozy afghan that she made.  My friends thought that my belly looked silly and so they took a picture of me.  Baby belly's are indeed silly looking.

Owen decided to take some fruit from our fruit platter and make some breakfast art.  
I think it looks just like Ryan. 

*** Still no news on Ryan's  colonoscopy results. I hate waiting for answers. Hopefully, 
no news is good news...:~)