Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Adam

Guest Post Alert - Ryan

The day before Christmas Eve has become known as Christmas Adam.  Yesterday, on Christmas Adam, Lindsey and I spotted an SUV in the grocery store parking lot with a live pine tree on the roof.  We started talking about how Christmas was different before commercialization.  I am sure a tree on Christmas Adam or Christmas Eve was not uncommon along with one present exchanged on Christmas.  We now have not only Christmas gifts, but also Christmas Eve gifts of pajamas, many traditions, and much celebrating.  I lamented at how complicated Christmas has become, while Lindsey exclaimed that we are finally doing this holiday right!   

Because we are not doing Christmas simple, a family meeting on the first day of the winter break this year we all gathered to compare ideas for activities we might engage in over the holiday.  Swimming, sledding, movie, bowling, service project, cleaning the house (Ryan typical), eating lots of great food (Lindsey typical) and ice skating.   So on Christmas Adam night we went ice skating, Annie's idea, with the entire family.  8 pairs of skates, a skate "walker", gloves, hats, coats, and plenty of people.  To top it off, the rink had classic Christmas songs being broadcast over the speakers.  It was memorable.

Norman skated for the first time in his life. He hated it for the first 30 minutes crying as he held our hands and the "walker".  But the night ended with him smiling as he road in the stroller and each of his older siblings pushed him around the rink.  We capped it off with a drive by the Bountiful Temple neighborhood nativity display.  

Love you all and Merry Christmas Eve!

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Last Noel

Last year we didn't get to hear the wonderful holiday song say the High School choir because about three feet of snow dumped in Bountiful in such a short time, that most if couldn't get to the school. It was very sad, which is why I was super excited to go to hear Preston and friends sing tonight. It was just lovely. I filmed the last song of the night that was accompanied by the high school orchestra as well. I know that I am just one of the parents, but I really think this group sounded incredible. 10 points to the Choirs, Madrigals, Concert Choir and the Orchestra of Woods Cross High School. Tonight was wonderful.

This was taken after the concert. Norman was uninvited (and is uninvited for the next two years to any kind of performance where good audience behavior is required.) Preston's good friend joins dus for the family shot. We love Abby!

The link to that last song: 

Christmas in Color in Kearns

I heard a random ad on the radio the other day about a Christmas light drive by experience in Kearns, UT. The ad was short, but it is so stinking cold here that the idea that the entire light show is intended to be enjoyed from the comfort of your warm cozy car was enough to capture my attention. So the crew loaded up into the car on Saturday night and had a blast in Kearns. They even had us tune into a radio station where the lights had been timed to go along with the fabulous Christmas music. What fun. And since were driving through a parking lot, Mr. Norman was granted permission to enjoy the lights whilst wandering around our minivan. We would love to also do temple square... from the comfort of our warm car:~)

Driving through the tunnels was especially fun.

All of the lights were coordinated with the music. Pretty incredible.

This rainbow bright tree, probably twenty feet tall, was simply fantastic. 

The snowman sang along with the music. As in his little snowman mouth actually moved with the song. A Christmas miracle.

On Sunday, we had a lovely extended family Christmas party with my Grandpa, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and their kids. Santa came to visit... Norman apparently doesn't want anything from the man in the beard. HO, HO...NO!!!!

*** December 17 and 18th, 2016***

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Dickens Ball/ Winter Formal

Tonight, my handsome husband and I, along with my oldest son and his date, attended the Charles Dickens Christmas Ball. It was lovely and random. I'm pretty sure that my costume was about 30 years pre-Dickens era, but old fancy was still loads of fun. Ryan really had no costume, and so we got what we got.

Also pictured is Preston's Winter Formal dinner, which they had at our house. Preston and his date, along with 7 other couples dined on home-made fries and cheese burgers (by request... I actually can cook some fancy, complicated things, but they had no interest in that. But burgers and home-made fries are still a pretty delicious menu, so I complied.

Waiting outside the restaurant. Don't they look dapper?! 

My Scotsman, staring deeply into me eyes.

Some friends. I think Ryan was supposed to wear something a little more like this.

But aren't we still having fun!

Preston's boots. Abby's fabulous puffy sleeves.

Winter Formal food. Owen made labels for every single dish on the table.
"Winter Formal Ketchup"... and "Winter Formal Pickles", etc. Totally awesome.

No one yet.

16 teens pigging out. Super fun time.

Preston and Alayna. Formal Winter Fun.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Ask the Question

On November 18th, Annie Joy and Owen Ryan competed at the Davis School District Level MLK Speech Contest. They both won their individual divisions in their Elementary School, and this was the next level of competition. They rocked it, but didn't win (the competition was pretty steep) but seeing my littles work so hard to recite the blessed words of Dr. King filled my mother heart with joy.  I know that he was not a perfect man, but many of his speeches are clearly God inspired, and I'm amazed at how his words, almost 50 years later, are still applicable.

Owen meeting the judges.

Owen getting his certificate and book.

Annie being introduced to the judges.

Annie's turn in the spotlight.
Both kids were given treats, an epic MLK pin, and got to select a biography.
Annie grabbed the book on Michelle Obama, which once again killed me dead.

Below is part of the speech that Annie memorized. Owen's came from the "I Have A Dream" Speech. 

Cowardice asks the question, is it safe?
Expediency ask the question, is it politic?
Vanity asks the question, is it popular?
But, conscience ask the question, is it right? And there comes a time when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.” 
-        -   Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Simon performed tonight in his Jr. High's Band concert. He is rocking the clarinet, and Norman is no longer invited to to attend such culturally enriching experiences. Most of the rest of us are fighting off boredom, wicked colds, or vomitous flu. Not the best time to be a Smith. But Simon sure sounded great!

Simon with his band teacher. They are cut from the same cloth.

Handsome blue tie. The Santa hats were a nice touch, but made it harder than necessary to see the kids in the back rows. Just sayin.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Mac Attack, I'm Back!

I was indeed not pleased with the presidential election results of 2016, but I wasn't so heartbroken that I decided to never post again: my computer decided to crash like it was the stock market in a great depression. I went to the Mac store, not once but twice and eventually had my computer wiped completely clean and returned to factory settings... and bc it was on the fritz I couldn't access/ print out all my passwords for everything so I (with the help of my handsome husband) had to re-set them. Tears have been shed over my sad little laptop. Now, when things of a technical nature don't work properly, my family kindly asks me to scoot a few feet away, in an attempt to have me take my techno vortex out of range. In the meantime, loads of exciting Smith events have occurred: winning speech contests, birthdays, snow falls, Christmas tree auctions for charity... and a boy coming into my son's 9th grade earth science class and firing a shotgun... just stuff like that:~) Seriously though, I plan on getting out the details of some of our more major happenings, but mostly, I'm planning on my computer simply working when I go to use it, now that it's been fixed by the genius's at the genius bar. If it gives me any problems, I vow to document me throwing it out of my moving Honda Odyssey, and driving over it just to make sure I've properly killed it. The way it has been killing my electronic sanity.

I'm doing a pumpkin donut demo on the television show "The Place."

The two lady hostess are twins, and I can't tell them apart at all.
At. All.

*** I did this demo on November 16th, 2016***

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Election 2016

I, like many American's, am still trying to process the events of this week. I have many dear friends that voted for Hillary, for Donald, and who opted to write-in a candidate of their choosing. But when the dust settled on Tuesday (in spite of Hillary winning the popular vote) the electoral college has designated Donald as our next president of the United States. And with regards to this election, "united" is something we are not. I'm not going to get all doomsday, but I am going to state how incredibly sad I am that of all the good people, in various political parties, of all the qualified, intelligent, honest, hardworking individuals that could fill this role, we are left with him. Many that voted him in are staunch, proud supporters. I know that some Donald voters held their noses as they cast their ballots. In exit polls, over 20% of the population stated they voted for him, but didn't think he is qualified to do a good job (what sense does that make?!)  What is to be said? We are a nation divided.  I still can't fathom that anyone saw the video that was leaked just a few weeks ago, and found him worthy of a vote.  Even worse, is that the video didn't shock me. His character has been on display for years.  I'm just so incredibly sad. In reading one of my favorite blogs (by common consent) I found a comment about the election that resonated with me. I'm sorry I can't thank the anonymous poster personally. It eloquently explains my feelings on why my heart is heavy from the choice America has made.

PS - please know that if you voted for Donald, we can still be friends.
PPS - please don't reply to this post explaining the faults of the other candidates. We are left with Donald as our president. This post is about him, and about us for choosing him. Thanks.

And evidently, America didn't see Donald's treatment of women as a deal breaker either.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

TV Time!

I recently did another television demo.  IN honor of fall and warm comfort food, I made an adult grilled cheese sandwich (think several tasty cheeses, and spicy mayo) and home-made tomato soup (so much better than anything you ever get from a can, you'll never return to the convenience.) Not rocket science, but hey. I love doing demo's, and I seriously love the Studio 5 crew.

Getting ready.


Friends forever! I love taking my girlfriends to the Studio. They all get the same speech: I'm a little bit nuts and stressed before the demo, but once I'm done, we'll go out to lunch!

*** This post is for November 2nd, 2016***

Friday, November 4, 2016

Simon the Thespian

Tonight was performance 2 of 4 for Simon Stander Wright Smith.  He is an extra in Thoroughly Modern Millie.  He smiled, danced and sang with all his heart. He loves the stage and is such a cheese ball.  Ryan and Owen attended attended the play.  I went last night with Calvin and Annie.  

Tonight Annie had a swim meet in Utah County. A sick Norman, Annie and I travelled an hour both ways to see Annie swim in a couple of events and miss one because she was otherwise distracted.

Preston had his first rehearsal for the big play in February.  He is again on a high note.  This time of year always brings out his smile and laughter and incessant singing and dancing all over the house - when he is home.  Calvin is at a "friend's" house.

Yeah to the weekend!  

Go Cubs.

It's impossible to overstate the joy that my husband felt on the historic evening of November 2nd, when the Chicago Cubs won the World series, after 108 years of coming up short. When he was just a little guy, Ryan had the privilege of being one of the bat boys for a few of the Cub's games. As luck, or rather destiny would have it, he was at a business meeting in Chicago the night of the game. He watched the game in the hotel bar, and to suggest there wasn't electricity in the air would be a total lie. He came home exhausted, because even though his room was on the 20th floor, fans on the streets were so elated that the partying was none stop from the moment the game was over. Miracles do happen, dreams do come true. Go Cubs!

The day after the game,
Owen went to school in his dads official Chicago Cubs batt boy shirt, 
that Ryan wore just 30 years ago..
Owen shouted "Go Cubs!" in every room that he walked into.
GO Cubs, indeed!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Failing to Post

There are a few reasons that I fail to post sometimes

- Nothing exciting happened
- It's late and I'm tired
- Interesting stuff happened, but it's too personal to throw out there
- I forgot to take pictures about what I want to post on (and pictures are the real reason most of you come;~)
- I want to post about something somewhat important (at least to me) and I feel pressure to have the post be perfect: funny, cheerful, honest, grammatically correct, interesting...

That last reason is why I have failed to post about being released* from the assignment that I held in my church's congregation (Mormon) for the last three years: the President of the Relief Society (the women's organization in my church.) We have 166 women in our ward, and I was blessed to work closely with several of them. I helped out with funerals, after births, with service projects, got food to those who were struggling to make ends meet, visited ill sisters in the hospital. I sat in leadership councils and offered opinions, volunteered for activities, opened the building, purchased tablecloths, organized closets, taught lessons, held planning meetings, gave several talks in sacrament, spoke in stake conference, sang a lot, prayed a lot, and cried a lot. It was the best of times.

The list above sounds so good! But the truth is, these last three years have been a refiners fire of sorts.  During my time as president, I hosted a lovely young woman from the foster system in Scotland for 3 months, I started a business (The Chipper Chef), I got pregnant with my caboose and one month later, found out that my husband had colon cancer. In the midst of those challenges, I** struggled to help my oldest son, who is gay, who hadn't come out of the closet yet and was battling school, depression, church and his parents...add to the mix some new church policies. And there was my four other kids that deserved a high-quality mom. And for those of you that don't know me well: I'm a raging feminist. Being a feminist Mormon isn't an easy path, and I constantly felt inadequate and frustrated to be all that I wanted (and felt) a proper RS Pres should be. It was the worst of times.

The Relief Society is not a one woman act. I had councilors and some secretaries, several committee chairs, coordinators, committee members, pianists, teachers; I worked closely with the Bishop of our congregation, and he earned a solid A+. I was surrounded by hard working, faithful, dependable, organized people who pulled their weight, and in hindsight, often pulled mine. Thank you. Those words seem inadequate. But thank you, none the less.

My understanding of myself, the gospel, and the church have changed because of my time as the RS President, and I have been changed for good.

A friend of mine made me an edible thank you for my service:
Home-made strawberry Lime jam and wheat bread. It was delicious!

Thanks to everyone who has hugged me and shared kind words with me since my release. It has meant a lot to me.

*Released isn't like being "let go" from a job (I wasn't "Fired"... although sometimes I felt like I was on that edge:~) In our congregation, the women's president typically serves for around 3 years, and my time was up. Also, it's worthy to note that I wasn't "elected" to the "calling." God made it known to me and the Bishop that this was where He wanted me to serve - a few months before I got home from our sabbatical in Scotland... an interesting story for another day:~)

** I almost forgot! Many "I"s in the post could/should be "we"s. Ryan isn't just eye candy, he's also a fabulous friend, supportive spouse, and an excellent kisser.

*** I was released on October 16th, 2016***
The new RS Presidency is going to do a great job!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Halloween Tricks

I like the saying "Trick or Treat" because it implies options. It would be rather enjoyable though if a knock on a neighbors door led to some sort of magic trick... how many snickers can one toddler eat anyways?! But instead of simply getting loads of treats on Halloween night, we got a few nasty tricks as well. First, one of my creative children accidentally left a can of yellow spray paint out, which rolled under my car, which I accidentally drove over, which exploded upon impact, which got paint all over my bumper and the concrete in my driveway. Mull that over for a second... I wasn't keen to call Ryan to report (seeing as there wasn't much he could do and I didn't want to ruin his last hour or so before she got home)... so about 30 minutes later, I got a call from him. He was in a little fender bender himself. The other car and driver are fine, but his Volvo didn't fair too well. What are the odds that we would both have a Halloween car story?! But since bad things come in threes, I'll continue. After a good two hours of trick or treating in the somewhat chilly weather (we got root beer, homemade pumpkin donuts, roasted hotdogs, and lots of traditional candy: my neighborhood is just incredible when it comes to Halloween) I headed down to tuck my littles into their beds... only to discover the toilet overflowing: an inch of water on the floor, and plenty soaking into our brand. new. carpet. For the love of all good things... how many times have we had the "the appropriate amount of toilet paper to use" lesson?! And in the event of an unforeseen toilet incident, where more TP is required, just do an intermission "courtesy flush"!  By the end of the night, I was ready for all of the goblins and ghouls and witches (myself included) to go to bed. The Smith's definitely got Halloween-ed.

Trick or treating with some neighborhood friends.
Owen is the jail bird, Simon is Prince Charming, Annie is Harley Quinn, and Norman is an elephant.

Calvin is a 1950's greaser.

My elephant at the Halloween library story time.

Gathering together to walk to school for the Halloween parade.

My Halloween fruit platter.

Hat day at school: Highland Cow, Scottish golfing cap, and Loch Ness Monster.

Bathing Brothers.

Last adventure at Lagoon Theme Park.

Norman getting into trouble.

*** Happy Halloween... sort of.****

Monday, October 31, 2016

Holding a Wombat

On our last official day in Sydney, Ryan and I partied like it was 1999. We took a bus tour to the blue mountains, took a ferry boat ride in the harbor, hiked all around the blue mountains, and went to a petting zoo and actually petted exotic Australian animals. It was the perfect ending to a dream second honeymoon (and unlike our first honeymoon in Acapulco, I didn't get strep throat, my glasses weren't stolen on the beach, the sewer didn't back up into the coastline, we weren't stranded on an island for several hours, and we weren't blackmailed by locals on the beach.) Definitely an upgrade in romantic vacations!

I'm petty a wallaby! How lucky is that?!

This was probably the highlight of my time in Sydney.
I'm holding a wombat that is 6 months old, with Ryan as my witness.

Her name is "Piglet." And if I could have smuggled her on the plane with me, I would have.
It's illegal to have wombat as a pet, even in Australia... but people didn't think that we could land on the moon, and everyone thought the Berlin wall wouldn't come down... so there's still hope.
(And FYI... I got to hold a baby lion on my honeymoon at what I'm sure was an illegal petty zoo. I have this thing about holding random animals... it fills my soul.)


This is what Piglet will look like when she's older.

Ryan was legit scared of this koala. Isn't that sad. He had to be asked to scoot in a little closer for the picture. I was on the left bc that was the side that was allowed to pet the koala, and I came to Australia to pet a koala.

Ryan wasn't afraid to feed the kangaroo.

Neither was I.

This is an overlook of the Blue Mountains. It's the only shot where my eyes were semi-opened.
Ryan kept teasing me about it, but he's got a hat on.

I had a kangaroo burger for lunch. A little gamey, but with beets and swiss cheese, it was delicious nonetheless. And they call that black bun a "Bush" bun. I'm sure it's just to amuse the tourists, but it works!

Hiking at the bottom of the rainforest in the Blue Mountains. 300 foot waterfall.
Camera ran out of juice. Bummer.

In several shops I saw lotions for sale that included "placenta" in the title.
As an American, that just doesn't have the same appeal that I think it does for the people of Australia.
Incidentally, as an American, I had more than a few people ask me about the "crazy American election" and the leaked Trump video. I imagine it would be easier to explain the appeal of placenta cream, than it was to explain our election.

Our flight home was cancelled, and so in the interim of finding a new flight, we hung out in the sky lounge with tasty treats.

They even had a massage chair in the lounge.
And it's official: I like massage chairs.

From start to finish, my trip was incredible. Thanks to my handsome husband for making this happen, and to my wonderful nanny and friend for holding down the fort whilst we were away. All were safe and happy upon return.