Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Special Day

With another birthday comes another Special Day with Nanna and Grandpa.

Big Boy #2 was sure to get in all of his favorite things, starting with breakfast at IHOP:

Bowling with Nanna and Grandpa:

Back to Nanna's and Grandpa's house for games:

Then off to see Cars 2:

Yet another wonderful special day for Big Boy #2!

Monday, July 25, 2011


Baseball has been a great this year. Big Boy #1 was able to be part of a really successful team and loved winning so many games. Big Boy #2's team didn't have such a great season, but he personally had a great year with tremendous growth.

Big Boy #1 played second base for most of the season.

He had some great catches and loved being part of a winning team.

Hitting was a bit tricky this year. Historically, BB#2 relied on the weakness of the pitchers to get walked. That strategy didn't pay off for him this year - the pitchers have become too good. It took a little to get the hang of playing at that higher level.

This year Big Boy #2 was able to get on the same team with his friends from the old neighborhood. They loved playing together and picked up right where they had left off.

This was Big Boy #2's first season pitching and he loved it! He is particularly proud that he pitched a couple no hitters and was able to take down the powerhouse Yankees. (I love the picture below. BB#2 plans to use it for his baseball card someday.)

BB#2's coach told me that he loved working with him. He loved that BB#2 has such a great love for the game, and is "all heart." Before the last game of the season, BB#2 hurt his shoulder playing dodge ball. There was talk of him not pitching at all but coach put ended up putting him in after BB#2 was good and warmed up. After his second strike out in as many batters, the coach just put his head back and laughed "He's not hurt!"

I really loved watching BB#2 pitch. Baseball is a slower game and most players only touch the ball every so often. It was great fun to watch BB#2 in the heart of it all. It's so rewarding as a parent to watch your child utterly enthralled with the thing they are doing.

Of course the Caboose wanted in on all of the action. He gots out and played with the big kids whenever he could.

He has even taken to being the umpire when the boys play ball in the back yard with friends. He's got all the motions and terms down. It cracks me up to hear him call "full count!" or "SAFE!"

Having both boys busy with baseball definitely made our summer hectic. That said, it really was a fun year. Both boys had positive experiences with good, upbeat coaches.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Just Trying to Help a Friend

As many of you know, my BFF Vern and I have been involved in a bit of prank war that has lasted well over ten years. Vern had the last go when she gift wrapped everything in my fridge while I was out of town. Today I decided to provide some improvements to her car. While she was at church. (I think you can be a good person, even if you play a prank on someone while they are preoccupied at church, dontcha think?)

Of course, being the good friend that I am, I started out by doing some service. Her back window was awfully dirty. (BB#2 took some of these pitchers, so they are a tad blurry.)
Once her window was all clean, it looked a little plain. I figured I would jazz it up with some decals.
When it was all done, I thought it looked pretty good. Definitely an improvement.

Each decal was selected carefully to reflect Casa de Vern. (For those of you who know Vern, she has two kids, but I figured that she probably has extra kids just hanging around. And I'm sure there's been a rooster in the yard at least once - maybe.) I'm particularly fond of how Cory is so proud that "My wife is HOT!"

Despite the fact that I was done working on her car by 1:00 this afternoon, she didn't notice until after 5:00. It leaves me a little concerned that her teenage driver wasn't checking her rear view mirror very well.

I can't take too much credit for this. I really just copied the prank that Dodi, Martha and the other Parkview ladies pulled on Tracy. But it was SOOO clever, I just knew it was perfect for Vern.

I did make Vern promise to leave the decals on for at least a little while.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Memory Lane

As we were driving into Utah Valley at the beginning of our vacation, Big Boy #1 spotted the "Y" (for BYU) on the side of the mountain next to campus. He said he wanted to hike up sometime during our trip. So, on the fourth of July, Diamond and I took the kids up.

Even though our niece and nephew Adrienne and Jake live only 20 minutes away from the Y, they had never been up, so we took them too. And we just made our other nephew Michael come along for fun. He was not a fan of hiking - but he managed to get up to the top.

I had only been up to the Y one other time. My freshmen orientation group went up the week before classes began in August 1990. (See below) I remember breathing hard as I adjusted to the thin mountain air of Utah. Somehow the hike didn't feel any easier this time around. Maybe adding twenty years is about the same handicap as adjusting from sea level?

Diamond had also been up once before, freshmen year on a hike with his girlfriend Julie. (Here is Diamond in 1988.)

No too much has changed; other than that we are now married and have three kids. OK, a LOT has changed.

While we were town, my old college roommate Kristi also happened to be in town visiting family. We were able to meet up and took the kids to a movie at Movies 8 (and talked through the entire thing.) On our way back from the movie, we decided to stop by our old apartment. And why wouldn't we knock on the door and ask the current resident for a tour?

Kristi and I in our shared bedroom in 1993. We made a tape line, dividing our room in half at one point, just to be stupid. (We did stupid a lot back in college.)

And here we are back in the same exact room, seventeen years later.

Back in the old kitchen:

You can see the old kitchen in the background of this picture of all our roommates. Kristi's in front and I'm in back.

Whenever we spend time in our old college town the memories flutter in and out. But this trip hiking the Y and touring our old apartment was crazy fun. It was almost surreal to be back in those places with my kids and husband. SUCH a good time!

Friday, July 8, 2011

I Can't Make This Stuff Up

Utah is a fabulous place. There are beautiful mountains and good people everywhere. That said, there are things in Utah that you just can't find ANYWHERE else. Utah County (were I took all these pictures) is the most Mormon part of the state, with close to 90% claiming the faith. Growing up as a Mormon in New York there was nothing like what I saw after spending just one week in Utah. On our latest trip, I took my camera with me for proof. I can't make this stuff up!

The billboards are one of the ways that Utah County shows its color. This one, for "Modbod" is advertising a shop that only sells modest clothing. ('Course I go shopping everytime I come to town - you've never seen such a great selection of cute, modest clothes!)

This is my favorite billboard. DearElder.com which offers same-day delivery service to the Mormon missionaries-in-training housed in Provo's Missionary Training Center (MTC).

At the Utah Valley 4th of July parade there are always the religious themed floats. This one makes reference to the Book of Mormon parable of Lehi's dream - complete with an iron rod trailing behind the float. This wouldn't make ANY kind of sense to anyone who wasn't familiar with the Book of Mormon - but they know their audience!

And what kind of parade would it be without the Mormon missionaries? Yea, they walk in it every year. And they always get a standing ovation. ('Course the Democratic Party is either ignored or booed.)

Even the radio has a unique flavor. We had been listening to one particular radio station which had been playing a mix of pop rock hits. But on Sunday? It was broadcasting instrumental versions of hymns. I swear it. I checked the station three times before I realized that it just plays different music for the Sabbath.

Even the names of the banks and stores reflect the unique Mormon culture.

I think this is my favorite of all. A giant, inflatable missionary (complete with backpack and tie) atop a store called the Missionary Mall. And the slogan below? A two year guarantee on suits - for those two year missions.

In full disclosure there are plenty of bars in Utah. And chain stores. And rap music that plays on the radio every day of the week. Only 62% of the people in Utah are Mormon, but Utah County has its own unique thing going on. And I'm not even mentioning the abundant churches (often two on the same street) or the Religion section in the newspaper, or the towns named after Book of Mormon prophets.

It's fun to make fun of it all, but I do love to visit. Visit.

70th Celebration & Reunion

With so much of Diamond's family living in Utah, it feels like a family reunion every time we come to town. But this year, we made it official. The Smith's planned a family BBQ, talent show and family pictures.

Cheryl's husband Tyler took control of the grill. The flames? He says they were on purpose.

While my mother in law Ann knew that we were having a family reunion, she didn't know it was also a surprise 70th birthday party for her. She was moved to tears when Diamond came out holding her birthday cake:

The queen of the evening:

The grandkids put together a little talent show in honor of Grandma. Annie did a Taylor Swift song, Jake and Ad did a Justin Bieber impersonation and my boys did the Duck Song as a skit. It was all very entertaining! Really, it was hysterical!

My favorite act was when all of the grandson's did a little tribute of My Girl for Grandma:

The Caboose is ready to go:

While this was all about Ann, it was still a family reunion and we had to snap some pictures of everyone. Here is Diamond with the original Smith clan:

Cheryl and Tyler's family:

Our family:

Craig and Jill's family:

Bryan and Melanie's family:

All the grandkids:

It was a wonderful evening and a great celebration.