Saturday, March 28, 2009

Leprechans and Cougars

Like the O'Smarts, the Stevensons come from a long line of rainbow-seeking little green men. As tradition in their family, we threw a party to celebrate their heritage and our wannabe heritage.

Melissa made us a tasty dinner of corn beef and cabbage, meat cobbler, and bread pudding the Sunday before St. Patty's day. Then later we celebrated with our friends with green foods and games like beer (water) pong.

Tyler and I played against Michele and Adam and unfortunately lost at the very end after being ahead the whole game. I am still convinced they cheated but we gave them the win to keep up the festive mood.

The next week we headed to Philly to cheer on the Cougs in the first round of NCAA tourny. Our cheers didn't help the cougs win but it was fun to see them play and show off our BYU paraphanila.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Elder Smart

Hey everyone as you all know, Elder Shea Smart is going to the Raleigh, North Carolina Mission. Im leaving on June 24th. Three of my roommates have all been to the south so i've heard quite a few stories. Im expecting a lot of rednecks, trailer parks, black people, and eating some squirrel. Im very excited considering the south is basically a different planet, and of course nervous. Anyways thanks everyone for the support and hopefully, ill see you all soon at Sydney's wedding

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Super She-She

Super She-She came to my rescue again last week. We were hoping for some fun days of playing around Portland while Brent was on the Dirty South Tour, but instead were slaves to the wicked illness enslaving my poor babies. Grandma She-She and Grandma Patti saved me on day 4 of 7 from certain death due to overkill from vomit and diarrhea clean up. Honestly, those poor boys were suffering and there just wasn't much more to do besides hold them and clean up after them. Well, She-She and Patti were pros and kicked me out the door for some desperately needed retail therapy after being cooped up for days. They held, nursed, fed, bathed and walked boys in the very late and very early hours of night and day. They also laundered, cleaned and provided sustenance for me. Seriously, I would have died or at the very least committed myself to the insane asylum if they had not come to my rescue and allowed me to sleep and collect my frayed nerves. It's funny how a mom never stops being a mom, even when you are supposedly grown and responsible. It's funny how you never stop needing a mom either. Someday I thought I would arrive at that stage but now I know better. I will ALWAYS need my mom. Thanks for saving me again!
I have to add that somehow both She-She and Patti caught the nasty illness and were sick for days. They still don't regret coming. That's what moms and grandmas are for I guess...true dedication.

Have no fear, because my little troublemakers are back doing what they do best...

Eating Treats
Stealing toys (and pretending to look innocent)


Reading stories (and tearing pages)

Smearing fingerprints and goobers.

Yes, life is back to usual and honestly, I have a new appreciation for it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Most Worthy Daughter!

Darel earned her Young Women's Medalion recently. Two Sundays ago, the Yakima 2nd Ward honored her and Valerie Christensen in a special presentation that was part of Young Women's in Excellence evening. Naturally, I forgot to take my camera to this event. I have been waiting for Brother Parsons to send me a pic from this special night so I could complete this post. Sister Thompson did a fantastic job with the program.
Darel is not only beautiful, but is remarkable in so many ways. She loves to serve others, particularly, if it can be exotic service, such as feeding the homeless or anything to benefit children in Africa. However, to be candid, she does struggle a little bit with more mundane service, such as thinning the carrots in the family garden, taking out the trash, or doing nice things for her most excellent older brother. Regardless, she is clearly motivated to help others. I am confident that she will accomplish amazing things in her life. We are so proud of her. Sheila and I were asked to speak that night. I had a difficult time expressing to Darel how her mom and I feel about her. As expected, I was way too emotional. What I wanted her to understand is that we share more than a name. Sheila and I were meant to be together. She was meant to be our daughter. I don't pretend to know why all of us were thrown into this most interesting soup called the "Smart Family," but I am absolutely convinced that there are purposes for us to share our lives. Shea and I talked about this at length 2 years ago. I have obviously thought a lot about this. We were meant to learn significant things from each other. Sheila and I continue to learn from our children. And I continue to lecture in an attempt to have them learn something from me. I know, I know, no one listens when I lecture, but it's all I know how to do. And to be honest, I think I'm pretty good at it. We are all blessed to have Darel as a member of our family. Some of the reasons why she is a part of us are quite apparent. Others will yet be revealed. She is a joy to have in our home. Congratulations Lil' D!
Oh and by the way, the lectures will undoubtedly continue until morale improves.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bachelor Season Finale

It's a DC girls tradition to have a pseudo FHE during during each season of the Bachelor or Bachelorette. There is a group of about ten of us girls that meet together each week to find out who is still in the running to finding their true love on national television. For the season finale, we pull out all the stops and have a big party inspired by the themes of the season.

The girls. This seasons Bachelor was from Seattle and so the fare and decorations were inspired from the great Pacific Northwest--notice the Space Needle designed by Melissa.

Instead of roses, the girls were asked to accept a red delicious apple--This is Michele my favorite Washingtonian.

No season finale would be complete without games. This year it included Guess the Dress and Pin the side burn on Nicki.

We celebrated the outcome and as you can see on our faces there was a surprise ending.

Dessert was representative of the new Bachelorette, Jillian from Canada! So prepare yourselves for the best season yet starting in May. I know many Smarts will be counting down the days until it starts including one of my favorite brother in laws:)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Birthday Festivities

Nick's B-day was a blast! I think he enjoyed turning 23. We got lunch at J-dawg's which is a hot-dog stand south of campus started by a BYU student. It's fairly lucrative and everyone is basically obsessed with it in the summer. For those of you who know me well, you know that I refuse to eat hotdogs. However, it was my dear fiance's birthday, so I made an exception. It was my first hotdog since Darel choked on one at Dave and Abby's (and almost died, luckily Abby saved the day). Anyway, I was nervous, but I put those feelings aside and surprisingly, didn't mind the hotdog too much. According to Nick, they get their buns especially made (fresh everyday) and the barbeque special sauce was the owner's Grandma's secret recipe. How can I say no to that? Anyway, we enjoyed a semi-relaxing day and then flew off to CA where we had a great weekend. (See SNICK for more details). A couple days before Nick's birthday we went to Color Me Mine with a few of our friends. It's this really cute place where you paint ceramics and they let you pick them up a week later. As you can see I made a plate. Nick opted for a more practical option - A frog piggy bank. Before you knock his crazy-eyed frog you must know that he is now the "Date Frog." When we fill up the frog with change, we get to go on a date. Its all part of our budgeting as a soon-to-be married couple. I will not lie, I think Nick is a genius. I owe all our great future dates to the "Date Frog."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Chi-Chi-Chi-Le-Le-Le Vi-va! Chi-le!

Returning to Chile was like coming home for the first time after first semester of freshman year--everything looks better then you remembered. The Chile part of our trip was probably the craziest. In 5 days we were in 8 cities including 2 over night bus rides. But hey...Go hard or go home, right??? So here are the top 10 reasons I 'heart' Chile...

#10-It's has penguins! As most of you know, I hate animals but there is something so great about birds that live in igloos. We didn't make it down to the real penguin colonies, but these were representing southern Chile in a huge mural in Santiago. Plus anything goes here. Melissa showing off her tagging skillz--as you can she she is quite the graffiti artist. But this is why Chile is so great--anything goes. For example, anything can be used as a bathroom for the male sex-bushes, walls of buildings, and a bench in a city park

#9-History and Nationalism. Chile has a great history and while I have read tons about it, it was fun to go to the places that impacted where Chile is today. Plus can you really be a Chilean if you have never been to La Moneda (their White House)? So I guess that makes me official--too bad my Chilean ID has expired.

#8-Inventive transportation. And I don't mean crazy buses with vibrant colors and loud ghetto music (those do exist). I am talking about gondolas and lifts, small train like things that take you straight up a mountain side. Or then there are always the stairs. Valparaiso, one of Chile's coastal cities is build right into the mountain side, so in order to get anywhere you either have to climb up step stairs, that make Mt. Hood look like a Sunday stroll, or take the ascensores (lifts) to the top. We did both and my back side is probably better for it. We took a lift to the top of the biggest hill that over looks Santiago and headed down on a Gondola. Santiago is an enormous city.

#7-Great food. As you may be able to tell food was kind of a theme on the trip. Meliss and Kevin kept trying to convince us that trying everything was part of the cultural experience. While Chile cannot compare to wonders of Argentine beef, the seafood is pretty amazing. We were not allowed to eat seafood on the mission because of the risks of getting sick, so this was a new experience. On our last day in Santiago, we went to their version of Pike's Place Market. We found this hole in the wall place b/c we were told those places had the best fish. Potential internal eruption aside, we took a chance and we were not disappointed. I had the best swordfish I have ever had in my life!! Shortly after a make out with my scaly friend below, they cut him up and cooked him for us.

#6-It has some great beaches. We went to 2 beaches one in Vina del Mar and one in Isla Negra and then we went to a black volcanic rock beach on one of the lakes. My desire to get tan outweighed common sense on several of those days and I ended up with strange tan lines and lips burned so bad they put Angelina Jolie to shame.

#5-Pablo Neruda is from Chile! After taking tons of Latin American literature classes in college, I discovered one of my favorite poets:Pablo Neruda. Not only was he an amazing writer but an influential political activist and ambassador. He is one of the most famous Chileans. Obsessing over Pablo was another theme of the trip. He has amazing collections of lots of things but one of the coolest things he collected was maps and globes! All of his houses have some kind of nautical theme and all but one have incredible views of the ocean. I brought one of his poetry books so we could have a poetry reading with him. We ate his favorite meals and his favorite restaurants and even rented an apartment named for him. It was a total Neruda love fest!

#4-Best produce in the world! If you don't believe me asked Costco--most of their produce comes from southern Chile. One of the things I miss the most about Chile is the incredible produce and its really cheap. We were there during their summer so it was the perfect time. If if would have been legal, I would have brought home a whole suitcase of plums, avocados, nectarines, and tomatoes.

#3-Mountains, Lakes, Volcanoes--o' my! I talked everyone into taking a 9 hour overnight bus ride to see the beauty of southern Chile and we were not disappointed. The region is called the lakes region because of all the lakes (we went to three). They are all surrounded by mountains and volcanoes and on a clear day you can see part of the Andes. We paddle boated around one of the bigger lakes on a wood paddle boat that looked like it was made in the 1970s. We only almost capsized once so I am pretty sure it was verily safe.

#2-Great company. What is better the going to my favorite country with my favorite people? The SoCone Cinco made a great team and we are already planning another trip! Just kidding..sort of:)

#1-My peeps live there! One of the best things we did was spend a whole day with the Familia Mera, one of the families I baptized on my mission. I spent my last Christmas in the mission with them and they are some of the greatest people. I love the Chilean people, so much that sometimes I wish was Chilean:) I forgot how warm, loving, and helpful they are. I felt like we made friends with complete strangers where ever we went.

Returning to the "homeland" (aka Chile) was a great experience. I can't wait to go back and spend more time in southern Chile with more of my peeps. We did 10 cities in 3 countries and saw all the major highlights. We made it back to the DC in one piece with all of our stuff, a "few" extra souvenirs:), sunburns, swollen feet, and exhausted after the 10 days journey, but it was worth it!

Smarties, For a complete photo log you can check out the Smart Family Shutterfly page.