Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Yoga and Sunday Breakfast

 Our family enjoys exercising and several times a week we follow an exercise program on the tv screen. We have several exercise dvd's that we own, plus we check others out from the library and we get exercise channels on our Roku device (The Roku is a box that allows you to have internet channels on your TV). I love the picture above of Elisabeth in Child's Pose and Nora looks like she's dong some sort of twisting half moon pose or something :).
 Sunday mornings we almost always cook a breakfast for the family before going to church. Other days of the week the family is kind of on their own for breakfast, sometimes scrambled eggs, sometimes toast, sometimes granola, and I always have a green smoothie and will share it with a few.  Scott and I have been adding frozen blueberries to the batter once we've made plain pancakes or waffles for the kids. We love blueberry waffles and pancakes! Then you can top it with a little natural peanut butter, sliced strawberries and bananas and it's perfect!

 And this particular Sunday, Elisabeth and her friend/neighbor Emily sang a duet, 'Gethsemane" during sacrament meeting which was beautiful!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Raingutter Regatta

Charles is a Wolf in Cub Scouts and this past week for our pack meeting we had a Luau-themed 'Raingutter Regatta.' The boys raced the boats they had put together at home from a kit they got the previous week during scouts. Then they blew on their sails to see whose boat could get down the inflatable raingutter the fastest.
 Scott had Charles put a little glue on the sides of the boat to attach the bottom of the sail so that it would stay put and it worked.

 Charles won the first place blue ribbon!
 We had a dinner of rice, meatballs, cooked veggies and watermelon with popsicles for dessert. They ended the evening with the Limbo :). It was a fun family night! Many thanks to all the cubs leaders for all their hard work and preparation!

Friday, July 25, 2014

How to have a happy marriage

Today Scott and I are celebrating 11 years of marriage! It has been the best 11 years of my life, and somehow, each year gets better! I am so excited we get to spend eternity together! Tonight we'll go out to dinner and tomorrow we'll go to the temple and do sealings together as we do each year, so we can better remember the covenants/promises we made to each other and to God 11 years ago.

Here we are 11 years ago:

 On our honeymoon:

Here we are today(and we have 5 children we've added into our family):

Since ten is a note worthy number, last year for our ten year anniversary I posted, on my blog, ten personal stories/examples from our marriage. You can find and read that blog post here. I know 11 years of marriage isn't much in comparison to many (my parents have been married for 40+), and my degree in Marriage really only gave me 'successful marriage ideas from a text book" but I thought I'd share five specific things we do to continually nurture and strengthen our marriage.

1.) Weekly planned dates. It is so important that you nurture your marriage and part of that is continuing courtship. These dates don't need to be expensive, in fact, most of our dates are 'in-home' dates where we'll put the kids to bed early and then Scott and I will play a game, get take-out, do yoga, make a smoothie, work on a hobby together, watch a movie etc. Most of those things are free! About once a month we actually pay for a babysitter and get out of the house on a date, which is SO nice but it also costs a little more:).  It's important to put some thought into your dates and plan ahead, even if it is an in-home date.  You could switch off planning every other week or talk mid-week and plan something together, but make a plan so you have something to look forward to and be excited about with your spouse each week.

2.)  Go to bed together. This will allow you time each night to be together alone, to connect, and to have uninterrupted "talk time", and don't forget to pray together. Going to bed together will also (hopefully) keep you from watching some late night trash on tv or just wasting hours on mind-numbing electronics. Also, if you go to bed together you'll be on the same sleep schedule. You'll be tired together; you'll be able to sympathize more and help each other get up early to exercise, if you like to do that kind of thing, which we do :).  So go to bed together.

 "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Genesis 2:24

3.) Give love notes. This can be in the form of texts or emails, a little love note on a napkin in their lunch, a sticky note left on the bathroom mirror. A simple and short expression of love written down so they know you were thinking loving thoughts about them when they were away, can go a long way.

4.) Be respectful. Speak kindly to one another.  Demonstrate patience. Have control over your emotions, don't let them control you. This goes against the media's portrayal of happy families which are sarcastic and disrespectful, always teaching you to one-up the other guy, but don't let that fool you. You would be wise to follow these prophetic words written thousands of years ago:
"A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger." -Proverbs 15:1

"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minster grace unto the hearers." - Ephesians 4:29

"And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive." - Alma 7:23

Great advice that was true then, and is still true now.

5.) Put your spouse's needs above your own. And that being said, don't keep score! Love and serve one another and don't expect anything in return. Be a good listener so you know your spouse's needs. I love this quote, given by a prophet of God:
“True love is not so much a matter of romance as it is a matter of anxious concern for the well-being of one's companion.” - Gordon B Hinckley

A good marriage, like anything in life, requires work, effort and constant nourishing, so plan your schedule accordingly! Make your marriage a top priority.

Happy Anniversary Dear! You're the best!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Teeth, Honey and Cafe Rio

Annabelle has recently lost her two front teeth. It's awesome to hear her talk and listen to her try and pronounce her 's's! The Tooth Fairy, once again, forgot to leave some money under the pillow but no worries, I told Annabelle the Tooth Fairy left it in mom's purse for safe keeping because she was afraid it would get lost when she saw how often Annabelle moved and rolled in her sleep.
Elisabeth's good friend Emily L has bees at her house and their family just harvested their first batch of honey. We were the very lucky recipients of a jar of their raw, local honey! I buy a big 60 lb container of raw, local honey each year and we go through it all so we know what blessed goodness is contained in this little jar and will use it with a grateful heart. Thank you!

 And last but most definitely not least, we have a Café Rio that just opened up about ten minutes away! We have a few others in Colorado but the closest one was about a 40 minute drive. We went during opening week because Desi gave us a '2 free meals' coupon that had to be used on a specific day. It was packed! I waited in line about 20 minutes, but  it was so worth it! I love Café Rio, it's pretty much my favorite place to eat. And I almost always get the same thing, a veggie salad. After typing it, it doesn't sound that great but it is AMAZING! Every ingredient in that salad from black beans, to whole wheat tortilla to rice and salsa and dressing is perfection itself. Oh, and kids six and under get free quesadillas so that's pretty awesome too. I can see myself going on a lunch date once a month with the youngest two when the older kids are back in school.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Beautiful Creations and Harry Potter Obsessions

 The other day we saw this beautiful rainbow out our back window. Scott and I opened the back door and stepped outside so we could more fully take in it's beauty and magnificence. God has created a beautiful world for us to enjoy!
 And he has helped us create these beauties! Well, we created half of these beauties. The other half belong to Desi and Mike :). They're watching a movie and eating popcorn after they played for a bit while their parents were on a date.

 All our children have been blessed with bodies that are healthy and strong. We've taught them over the years to take care of their bodies and to treat them with respect since they house their spirits. They've done a good job and through hard work have kept them in good condition and made them even stronger and more flexible. Here are Elisabeth and Charles doing a "couple yoga pose" that Scott and I learned during one of our in-home dates nights and taught them.
Crash landing :)!
 I was photographing their yoga poses until Jane stole the camera. I told her she could take one picture of something she loves. And she choose me! Thank you Jane! :)
Scott is SO close to being able to touch his toes! He'll get it.
 Wow, and then for these girls it's just plain easy.
 And switching gears, have I mentioned that Elisabeth has read all 7 Harry Potter books, that as a family, we've listened to the first 4 Harry Potter audio books and watched the first three movies (Once Elisabeth finished reading all 7 we allowed her to watch all the movies but only with me and Scott so that we could fast forward any scary or questionable parts and talk about things). My kids live and breathe Harry Potter right now. Really, they do. After they're done with their chores in the morning they put on their Harry Potter robes and scarves (I crotched those scarves about 7 years ago... two of the four things I've ever crotched, all of which are scarves :)), and actually, I take that back, Charles put them on before chores were completed the other day and then did his chores in them, but I told him he wasn't to do that again because it took FOREVER to get his chores done since every time he saw a sibling he'd yell a curse like "Stupify!" or "impedimento" or "expelliarmus!" They are banned from saying the killing curse; if they do they lose their wands and robes for the day.
 They quote the books all throughout the day and are continually make-believe playing, Harry Potter. If I had to come up with three words to describe the use of our time this summer they would be 1.) Family 2.) Swimming and 3.) Harry Potter
 Love this picture! Harry and Hermoine shouting, "Expelliarmus!"

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Nora and friends

Where did the chips go? In the bottom of the bag, but Nora had a hard time figuring that out because her hand kept going through the hole in the plastic screen of the bag and she'd move her hand around on the table saying, "All gone."
I think with each child our level of what is acceptable has gone done a bit, or at least, we don't stress over seemingly unimportant things too much and we've learned to just 'let it go' :). For example, the other morning I walked into the kitchen and the kids were eating breakfast. Annabelle said, "Mom, Nora is eating grated cheese out of the bag and she won't stop." My response was, "Okay." And that was that.

Our good friends and neighbors the McNabs moved out of their home this past week...they're not moving far but it'll be different not having them in the neighborhood. Annabelle and Kylie are good friends as are Charles and Wyatt. They will be missed.

The day after we got back from our roadtrip our friends the Taylors came to stay with us for a night. We loved having them over! I hadn't seen Shayla for a few years. We were college roommates at BYU our freshmen and sophomore years after which time I married Scott. Their family now lives in California where her hubby works for Apple so they will probably be there for a long time. We'll have to go pay them a visit and do the California sites; Scott has never been, or the kids, so it would be a fun trip.

Thanks Shayla, Quinn, Ellie, William, and Amelia for stopping by! We loved having you with us!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Road Trip Part 3 of 3: The Beach

While we were at the beach, a few of my kids had a fever for less than a day and they were tired too; those were about the only symptoms. It was strange. One morning we went out to the beach and while there Jane didn't seem herself. She played in the sand for a few minutes but then she was done. And she just sat by me in a chair and seemed very tired.  Though now looking back, I'm wondering if they all had some heat exhaustion. I know Elisabeth did(bad headache, went to bed early, at that point realized what happened and brought her a water bottle and told her to drink. She did, nearly finished it, and by morning she was better). They were out playing in the water nearly all day some days and I'm sure they forgot to drink and I didn't think to remind them.

Annabelle and Anna playing in the sand.
We had a pool at the house we stayed in but 4-5 days we still went to the beach; we usually went over from around 9am-lunch. We'd come home, eat, put babies down for naps and the kids would go out and swim again and the adults would take turns being the lifeguards.

And sometimes we'd get in and swim with them.

Quite a few mornings after breakfast the kids(and sometimes adults) would do the Wii Just Dance 3 for exercise :)
Whoops! I guess Scott didn't want me documenting/videoing his dance moves! I did get some good video footage too but I think we'll save that for the eyes of family only :). Love you dear!

Corolla Beach is kinda far away from almost everything besides one grocery store and a couple fast food places, even getting to church took almost an hour! So we set aside one day to make a trip out and do several things...the first was actually pretty close. The kids and I have never been to a lighthouse before and so we went up the Currituck lighthouse.

What a beautiful view!

Next we went to the Wright Brothers Monument and museum in Kill Devil.
Jenn, Anthony, Annabelle and I hiked up in the heat to the monument. I promised Annabelle that if she could make it up by herself that I would carry her down on my back :). It was REALLY hot and humid so I was grateful she made it up on her own.
This is where they pushed off their plane and went down the hill for their first flights.

This is baby Ruth, the youngest grandchild on the Smith side. I thought she looked like myself and Annabelle with her fair skin and blue eyes, don't you think? :)
Since 5-month Ruth was the only baby in the house (though I actually consider Nora to be a baby too, and I guess that means Holden too but they're a little more independent...meaning they can walk), we took turns holding her and rocking her and putting her to sleep. I love babies; but it was a good reminder of how much work they are! Krissy, I promise you'll get more sleep soon!
Jane was so stinkin' cute trying to do the Wii dance moves!

My top three favorite things about our beach road trip were 1.) spending time with family 2.)seeing Nauvoo and Carthage and 3.) going for a morning jog along the beach each morning, and usually with Scott. Since Nora slept in our room and would usually start to stir about the same time Scott and I were headed out for our job (630am or so), I would go grab Elisabeth from her room and she would come lay down with Nora until we got home. Sometimes she'd grab her kindle and let her watch part of Frozen, and other times we'd come home and she had given her breakfast and they were just playing. It is SO nice having older kids that can help the younger ones, and it was nice to stay in a home with lots of other adults so that we were able to go on a jog together each morning and not worry about kids safety etc.
Nora and Holden became friends and would partners in crime :).  They liked doing this like dumping out Holden's bottle into a cup and then onto the carpet. But they're so stinkin' cute we went easy on them :).
While there I experienced another first (after visiting a lighthouse), and that was being in a hurricane. Hurricane Arthur to be exact. We got a lot of wind and rain in the middle of the night and in the morning but where we were there wasn't too much flooding. About 20 minutes down the road there was more flooding that went over the roads but they got it cleaned up pretty fast.
Grandpa Smith was recovering from his open heart surgery but we were still so glad he came. He's got a fun and loving personality that is contagious. And the kids liked snuggling up with him on occasion (very carefully, of course).

Some more pictures from the beach:

Some family pictures:


And then we were off for home. The first day we drove 8 hours (left Corolla around noon) and stayed in Charleston, VA in a hotel that had a HUGE breakfast: your typical hot breakfast items like Belgian waffles, eggs and meat, plus gravy and biscuits, an omelet bar made to order, cereal, fruits etc. We ate a lot :). The next day we drove 11 hours to Kansas City, KS where we stayed with our BYU friends Cameron(he worked w/Scott in the engineering building..can't remember what the job position was called right now) and Lori and their kids. We had never known them with kids and now they have three! A lot of time has passed! It was so good to see them again and visit for awhile, they are such good parents, and I'm ticked I didn't remember to get a picture!

 The long drives for those six days really weren't bad at all, well except maybe on Sunday...we won't drive on Sunday again. Why? Because we knew we weren't going to make it to church which was a big bummer so instead we brought a few church movies (not enough!!! should have brought more!) and we listened to an old general conference for a little bit, but the kids, without their Harry Potter audio cds, got into more disagreements and annoyed each other more and whined more than at any time which was hard on everyone. So even though we tried to make that Sunday a day that was different and set apart as a Sabbath day, it didn't work and we had more feelings of frustration. But we're not willing to give up our Sabbath worship so yeah, next time, no Sunday travels. But really, overall, 56 hours of driving in 12 days, so basically 6 days of driving and 6 days of not, they did fabulous! And no one threw up this time! I blame that on the audio books, they were amazing. Jim Dale who is the narrator for the Harry Potter audio books, is AMAZING! Anyway, and because they did so well we're already thinking about where we're going to go next! (though I don't know we'll do such a big trip like this for a long time).