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)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

E. Dehellerin's-- A Paris Institution

Most of you who have seen the movie Julie and Julia and will remember the scene where Julie Child visits the cooking supply store in Paris to purchase everything she needed to become a great French cook. The store was Dehellerin’s. Its an institution for real chefs in Paris. Its where chefs buy things cooking related that can be had no where else in the world. It’s where they take their copper sauce pans to be re-tinned. It’s where wanna-be-chefs hang out and dream. At the entrance of Dehellerin’s, we were randomly approached by a very giddy middle-aged women from London who wanted to show us all that she had just purchased, “They’ve got everything in there! Have you ever seen herb scissors like these?” she asked. I was thinking to myself, “I didn’t even know there was such a thing as ‘herb scissors’ let alone specialized or unique ‘herb scissors.’” Who knew?

Dehellerin’s looked like a mess in the movie. After having actually been inside the store, I’m convinced it was given a thorough Hollywood make over and sanitized for the movie. In real life it’s way messier and way cooler. Dimly lit, with raw hewn timbers exposed, it’s has the feel of the Seattle Goodwill store, but chic and way more expensive. There’s stuff everywhere. I saw no computers behind the counter—I’m pretty sure that our tab was calculated on an abacus. It’s a wonder they have even have electricity. It was truly remarkable that the helpful clerks were immediately able to locate everything that we asked them about.

The cook that I sleep with was giddy the moment she crossed the threshold and upon entry exclaimed, “How am I going to get all of this home?” “Indeed,” I mused. This was an experience for the She-wolf that I was just happy to witness. What concerned me most was not that she wanted to buy out the store, but rather her absolute confidence that she didn’t need to buy everything because she would be back and could get it next time. Say what?! What a silly boy I was to even think that this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So, if you need us to pick you up a little something from Dehellerin’s, just put it on a list, I’m sure the She-wolf would love to help you out.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Graduation Pour Deux

I had to include this picture just because Syd looked so darn cute!

A very proud mother and her way "SMART" daughter!

Sydney and Nick Jordan graduated last month. Well actually they just walked, but graduation is "almost" a formality at this point. We are really proud of them and look forward to what next year brings in terms of grad school, etc. I know they are excited to progress and move into the real world beyond Happy Valley, Utah, even that means more schooling.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Party On

Happy 50th Birthday, Mom!!!

As I've reflected on Mom's life today, I couldn't help but think of all that she's accomplished in her 50 years.
She has a marriage worth emulating, largely due to her ability to serve and listen. Keep in mind she must listen to my dad say the same things over and over and over and over again. It's a true sacrifice...
She's given birth to 6 children and been able to raise 5 to adulthood. Now that I'm a mother, I can truly appreciate what that entails. Four of her children who are old enough have been to and are currently worthy to attend the temple. Two of her children have served (or are serving missions). Two of her children are sealed in the temple to incredible, hard-working people. All three of her children who are old enough have Bachelor degrees. She's an A-mazing Grandma. I could go on and on, but seriously, just take my word on this one.
Mom has served diligently in numerous callings in the church including the Young Women, the Relief Society and the Primary programs. She serves in the temple weekly. Who knows how many lives she has changed through her service?
She's well-read. I can always know the latest books to read by talking to her. She's never steered me wrong.
She's physically active. Mom works out daily. She has climbed Mt. Hood, an 11,000 foot peak and can still take it to the lake on water skis.

She's an accomplished cook, entertainer and decorator. No week passes by without her entertaining people: church leaders and members, close or distant relatives, friends of her children, missionaries and sometimes perfect strangers. Not only are her dishes delectable, but they are a feast for the eyes as well. In addition to being an exquisite entertainer, she has mastered the art of service. She can anticipate what those around her need before they ask. She remembers what each of her kids like and don't like and she plans meals accordingly.
She has learned how to furnish and decorate like nobody I know. And she has even earned the status of Fashion Icon, well at least in our family. It's true, like my dad always says, she's "smokin' hot"! How many 50 year olds can say that?

I know there are things I'm missing but I had to share a few things that struck me today as I reflected on what she's accomplished and hope that by the time I'm 50 I can say that I've spent my time as wisely as she has spent hers. I'm a direct beneficiary of how Mom has chosen to spend her fifty years so far.
And so in closing, to let mom know that turning 50 is not the end, it is necessary to quote Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar, "Party on, (Mom)! Party on!"