Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Cheer: Griswald Style

Clark Griswald's greatest joy (after his Christmas lights of course):

Christmas Card circa 1994.

Merry Christmas!
With Love,
The Griswalds

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Yakima, The Palm Springs of Washington and...

...the least brainy city.

I will not jump off a bridge after viewing the results because:

1. My roommates' hometown also ranked in the top ten

2. I live in one of these cities

4. Yaktown is ranked #6--it could be worse

3. My last name has to account for more then geography

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Shopping therapy

My sistas are doing this together in Portland without me and I'm jealous.

In order to feel apart of the fun, I went shopping today. Nothing like a mall to channel my favorite ladies!

PS. I gave into societal pressures and started my own blog...Check it out.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

If you want Princesses, Marry a Queen!

Of our many most excellent family mottos, perhaps the recent is the best yet: "If you want Princesses, Marry a Queen." It truly captures my life in a nutshell.
Above is a picture of the Smart Family Royalty, all in their West Valley High School Homecoming Crowns. Hey, what is Keith doing in that picture?! Keith and Cole kept asking to wear a "hat" as well. Keithy keep staring, maybe someday you'll have the panache to date a pretty girl that wears a crown.

This post was prompted by Lil' D's selection as the 2010 West Valley High's Homecoming Queen. This is apparently a big deal for young women. Actually, it seems to be a big deal to women of all ages. I don't remember Brent being all that excited to be on West Valley's Homecoming Court, nor do I remember Shea being disappointed that he was not chosen to be on Court. So I can only assume that interest in this event is basically a matter of gender.
Below is a picture of Sheila as a member of the West Valley High School Homecoming Court in 1977. Pretty cute, huh?!

Our future Princess, Baby Ally.

Below is a family picture that amply demonstrates that who you marry truly matters. I married the best looking girl that I could. My children should be eternally grateful for my determination to marry up--way up!

Sydney frequently asks, "How did YOU (pointing to me) get THAT (pointing to her mother)?!" Indeed!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Twinkie Twins

When I was a super senior at BYU and Syd was a freshman, in order to increase our sister bonding time; we decided to take a class together. However our majors were not even remotely related so we decided an elective course would be the way to go. As the older, wiser sister I suggested we take an ice hockey class based on the following factors:

1. We’re half Canadian and our Grandpa played so it’s totally in our blood

2. We’ve seen all the Mighty Duck movies—it didn’t look that hard

3. I had always wanted to take the class and I couldn’t find anyone dumb enough willing to take it with me

4. It might be a good chance to meet boys

5. It would be a great work out

6. I knew we’d have some awesome stories

Looking back, I actually think I registered Syd for all her classes her first semester and might have snuck the ice hockey class in there unbeknown to her. Anything for a chance to bond with my sister, right? On the first day of class, I realized I may have overestimated our abilities. But that was the least of our worries. As I looked around the rink, I noticed the class was seriously lacking members of female sex. On the first day there was one normally looking girl, besides us, but that was the last time we saw her until the final day of the semester. There was one other “girl” but she more closely resembled the opposite sex—she body slammed boys like they were feathers. She didn’t really count as a member of the “pink” team which left Syd and I to represent the ladies in our class. As if we didn’t stick out enough, we showed up to class one day (unknown to the other sister) in matching outfits—pale yellow sweaters and black yoga pants. One of our socially awkward teammates nicknamed us the “Twinkie Twins” and our fate in the class was sealed. After that day, Syd was so mad at me for signing her up; she rarely spoke to be during our class. We both passed the class, grateful that our grade was not based on our ability to score, pass, or skate.

Fast forward a few years, I still love hockey and am the proud owner of my own hockey skates and sticks (even if I rarely use them). I love any sport that allows players to duke it out until they fall to the ice before the refs will break it up. It’s hard core and not for the faint of heart. DC has a team, the Capitals, and they actually did pretty well last season. I was lucky enough to win tickets to last week’s game. We ended up having great seats—10 rows up on center ice—right in the middle of all the actions. Unfortunately, the Caps lost but we did get to see 2 great fights. Hockey brings out an interesting crowd and the house was packed. I brought Melissa with me and was so glad I did because she flirted her way to free diet cokes from the guys next to us. It didn’t matter that they were old—anything for a free diet coke! It was a fun night and brought back so many great memories of the glory days of the Twinkie Twins!! Syd, should we bust out the skates at Christmas?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Come Back!!

The past 6 days have been pure bliss!! Between late nights chats, great dinners, shopping trips, and a little bit of touristy stuff, Mom and Patty have been spoiling me like crazy. We fit a lot into their visit like a White House tour, Arlington cemetery, Smithsonian museums, Capitol tour, eastern market, and the Holocaust museum. I even dragged them to my work conference and our 4th Annual I fall for Fall party. Mom and Patty made the jaunt to the east coast and the party didn't stop until they got back on the plane to go home. I am seriously going through withdrawals. I loved getting some much needed motherly advice and being spoiled by gifts, shopping sprees (Patty and Mom in a mall is a dangerous combo!), homemade meals, and great restaurants. Please come back soon!!! But next make sure to do a better job of screening calls from Big D and Lil' D. They each called on average every couple of hours and once because they couldn't find any bread in the house. Call me crazy but when most people run out of bread they go to the grocery store to get more. Just a thought.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Thank You, Darel

Thank you, Darel, for letting the Smart Family relive its glory days

Thank you for pretending to be asleep so that Syd and I could make our surprise complete

Thank you for not judging us when we wore these all weekend.

Thank you for giving me a reason to squeeze these babies

Thanks for allowing us to celebrate our favorite oldest sistas big day

Thank you for giving Brent a reason to bust this shirt out. It's a tragedy we missed getting a picture of him in his letterman jacket. Cole and Keith were sad to learn that Number 41 is now retired at WVHS.

Thanks for giving Durrelly one last opportunity to walk the red carpet at the WVHS Homecoming Game.

Thanks for allowing Syd to wear this all weekend.

Thanks for allowing Syd and I a chance to babysit these guys. It made us have a deeper appreciation for Darc’s life.

Thanks for helping Cole put on his “hat”

Thank you for allowing me to fly 3,000 miles to serve your friends dinner like an unpaid waitress (I would have taken a picture but I was too busy serving plates of Shelly’s deliciousness to the 30 teenyboppers scattered around our house)

Thank you for representing the last of the Smarts so well at WVHS

Thank you, Darel, for keepin’ in real

Sunday, September 12, 2010

She-Wolf's Birthdayness

In true Smart Family tradition, "Birthdayness" is more then just a one day affair. In order stretch Mom's special day out a little longer and let her know that we can't go much longer with her not being on the American continent, the sibs composed a few of our favorite things and memories about Mom.

1. Jesus Reyna. I can't find Jesus Reyna! Where is Jesus Reyna?!!!
2. Driving to Grandma Great's funeral in Canada and helping dress Grandma for burial. That was a neat trip because it was just me and Mom.
3. Mom's help when Keith and Cole were born. I could not have survived that first week if mom hadn't flown out to Boston. I was a wreck with the boys in the NICU and since they came so early I was not prepared. Mom got me everything I needed so I could live in the NICU and be there with the boys. She came back 2 weeks later and lived the sleepless-night routine that comes with newborn, premie twins. She still cooked, cleaned and did laundry. I'll never forget how grateful I was to have her there taking care of me so I could take care of my children. This was the beginning of when I started to realize what it means to be a mother and realized that I could never thank her enough for all she has done for me.
4. Darel's Tupac sugar cookie. Mom: "Who's To-Pack?"
5. Mom surprising me in the back seat of Chelsea's car when I flew to D.C. for a visit a few years ago.
6. Climbing Mt. Hood with mom when she was 40. I remember thinking how proud I was of her. I knew it was a really difficult thing for her but she did it and I was so proud that my mom was so cool (and still is).
7. Mom has excellent taste. I've always appreciated that about her.
8. I love Mom's book collection in her closet. Whenever I'm home, I raid it.
9. Mom's thoughtfulness. She remembers everything! If I just mention that I like something in passing, she mails it to me or gives it to me for my birthday or for no reason at all. She's constantly trying to make everyone around her happy.
10. Mom is one of the very best listeners in the whole world. She is truly one of my favorite people to talk to because she actually listens to what I am saying. That is a rare talent that has blessed me so much.
11. Her pantry. I remember in college the first thing I would do when I came home for a visit is just open it up and stare. I would have to plan my snacks carefully so I could fit in all the good stuff I wanted while I was home.

1. I love that she always has a bunch of avocados waiting for me when I come home. They are my favorite thing but way too expensive for me to buy. I don’t have to ask (though she does always ask what I want her to make when I come home) but I always know there will be some yummy avocados waiting for me in the pantry. And if we don’t get around to eating them, she doesn’t judge me if I pack them in my suitcase to take back with me!

2. I basically went on my mission because of Mom. Dad attended a wrestling tournament with Shea and wasn’t able to take me to the MTC (priorities???). So Grandma Phyl, Mom, and the sistas took me. As we were pulling into the parking lot, I had a mild nervous breakdown. Ok so it was more of a panic moment but Mom talked me away from the ledge and reminded me of the reasons I wanted to go on a mission. I never would have entered the MTC doors if it wasn’t for my calm, cool collected mom.

3. Mom always talked me out of doing stupid things I thought were cool but that she knew I would regret. Like the time I wanted to shave the bottom half of my hair (I swear it was cool at the time!) in order to put my hair in a pony tail better. Thanks Mom, for not giving in to my pleas!! What was I thinking??

4. Mom is a great friend. She’s loyal, trustworthy, a good listener, and a great advocate.

5. She is generous. One of my favorite Smart sistas traditions was taking shopping trips to Seattle and Portland. Mom would spend the whole day helping us find cute things. Let’s be honest, she always found a few things for herself but the focus was always on us/

6. I love that mom feeds the whole world. No one leaves the Smart house without gaining a minimum of 5 lbs. There are always strangers around the kitchen table who come from wide and far to sample her cuisine and experience her hospitality. She fed one family going through a rough time every Sunday for an entire year.

7. She-She is the original party planner. From ornate, money filled birthday cakes to enough decorations to beautify a small country; Mom knows how to throw a good party.

8. Mom has a great relationship with her parents and with Dad’s parents.

9. I loved taking swimming lessons with mom and then helping her with the lessons as we go older. Then as we got even older she would drown us while playing pool basketball!

10. She supports me no matter what I want to do with my life. Whether I’m 18 and traveling to a third world country or choosing to move to 3,000 miles from home, she lets me be me.

1. How supportive Mom is with everything we do. I think she was more excited about my college graduation than I was, but it meant so much to have her there. And it meant even more to know how supportive she has been through the last 4 1/2 years. Graduating from college is just one example of how devoted Shelly is as a mom. I love how she makes a big deal of all our accomplishments and never fails to make us feel special.
2. This is would not be a Shelly appreciation post without a mention of her fabulous cooking skills. Its obvious Mom is in a league of her own when it comes to cooking, but what puts mom in that league is her constant efforts to please everyone's tastebuds. I cannot remember a day when Mom did not pack me a lunch or remember to make a special salad with no dressing for me. She never forgets what I love, or what anyone loves for that matter. My sophomore year of high school Mom even began putting my french toast on a paper "to-go" plate so that I could take my breakfast to seminary with me. Now THAT is love!
3. Mom might be the best advice-giver ever. Whenever I'm unsure how to approach a situation, or I need advice on how to respond or act in a certain situation, I always call her. It might be all the Jane Austen books and movies, but Mom sure has propriety. I'm not sure I've learned any of it as much as she'd hoped, but I still always go to her when I need help with a difficult decision.
4. Mom is the best grandma! Even though Nick and I don't have kids of our own yet, I love to see how mom adores her grandbabies. I'm sure she loved and squeezed and spoiled us just as much when we were little babies. It is so cute to see her so excited when she is spending time with them. It just shows how important family is to mom.
5. It also would not be a birthday post if I didn't mention Mom's incredibly fantastic physique. Mom is hot! Never would she be caught dead in Mom-jeans, or weird stretchy pants after 1988. I think all the Smart sistas can thank their lucky stars that they had a mother who taught them how to dress. Mom is always so chic and classy and I am never embarrassed to admit that we might have the same sweater in several different colors.
6. This is just a memory of Mom, but it definitely shows what a special Mom she is. I will never get how special it was in the Brides room on my wedding day. Mom was so attentive to me and just made me feel so special my whole wedding day. She even dealt with a Bridezilla like me in a dignified way throughout my entire engagement. And lets be honest - Shell knows how to plan a party!
7. No matter how much Dad can brag about his dance moves, we all know we inherited our booty shakin' skills from Mom. The girl can dance, and she has great taste in Motown tunes. I will never forget all the Smart family dance parties when Mom and Dad put us all to shame.
8. Mom is charitable, probably one of the most charitable people I know. And Mom never serves because "she has to." She always serves others out of love and compassion. She is constantly giving her time as well as many others things just to help others. Mom always taught us to be kind to everyone. When I told her Shaun Sharma had bad B.O. in the fourth grade and that I didn't want to sit next to him despite our last names starting with the same letter, Mom said, "Maybe his family can't afford nice deodorant. You should be nice to him, etc." And even though Shaun's dad is a cardiologist and they live in perhaps the biggest house on Scenic Drive, Mom was still trying to teach me to find the best in people.
9. Mom is always right. In the six grade when I showed up to gym class having not shaved my legs over the summer LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, I went home complaining to mom that I didn't want to be called a "wolly mammoth" anymore, begging her to buy me a razor. She told me that one I started shaving my legs, I couldn't stop shaving my legs and that I should seriously think about my decision before rashly giving in to peer pressure. Like an obedient 12 year old, I stole my sister's razor and shaved my legs that night. When I tried to lie about it, Mom caught me in the lie and asked me if I enjoyed having to shave my legs everyday. I sadly had to admit that she was right, and that shaving my legs was not all it was cracked up to be. Plus, instead of being called "Wolly Mammoth," I was called Edward Scissorhands for my superb shaving skills and abnormal amounts of band-aids.
10. Mom loves to give. My last favorite memory of Mom occurs every Christmas when I'm helping Darel wrap the last remaining presents. Mom is always so excited to pull out presents from the closet and explain how she found this for someone, or how she can't wait to see how excited so-and-so is when they unwrap this present. It is so fun to see her excited because I truly believe that seeing her kids happy is one of mom's favorite things.

1.Cinnamon rolls
2. Cutting my hair and talking with her
3. Cooking with her specifically cookies
4. All of her emails and packages she sends I think a lot of other missionaries are jealous of me for that.
5. How flexible she is with letting me do what I've wanted to do
6. Being a great example and drawing the line by telling me things I should or shouldn't do when necessary. (Her opinion is included in that)
7. Her sincerity when giving compliments to people. she focus's on what people are really good at and lets people know what those things may be, she is hearty in her approbation and lavish in her praise of others
8. Her listening skills and responding to others (she gives practical advice and thoughtful answers.)
9. Her fun loving nature and laid back personality, she knows when it is time to be serious and when it is time to have fun.
10. Her good looks, it has helped me more than she knows.

  1. She knows EXACTLY what kind of food I like and she will still buy/make it even though she hates it; chicken roll ups, Hawaiian haystacks, Hot Cheetos, and Sour Punch Straws.
  2. Trust. I can tell mom anything and I know it will never get out. I trust her more than anyone and I can talk to her about everything.
  3. She makes me breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day.
  4. She listens. Everyday after school I go in her room (while she is doing my laundry) and we talk for at least a half an hour about how our days went. She genuinely wants to know about my day and gives the BEST advice.
  5. She brings stuff I forget to school—no matter what.
  6. She takes me seriously and treats me like I’m important.
  7. She’s selfless; we go out to dinner once a week with dad—she usually let’s me pick.
  8. We get pedicures once a month together.
  9. She worries about me (sometimes a little too much), but still trusts me to make the right decisions.
  10. She has a special nickname for me; Belle.
  11. She has the ability to forgive me immediately, even when I’m being a bratty teenager.
  12. She’s my best friend. (I know this last one is corny, but it’s true)