Monday, August 28, 2006

Friendly love.

Grace and Haley. She is a friend who is the same size as Grace. They are both really tall and big for their age and their arms and legs are nice and squeezable. They are cute together because their coloring is so different.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Above is our attempt at 'ragging'. I wanted to texture the paint so badly, but it turns out my talents are in other areas... like...walking. Definitely not good at ragging. We decided to roll it on as a solid color this time around. Jake took a picture of it before we fixed it because we were laughing so hard. Mostly, after he dubbed the room "jungle fever" were both of us dying with laughter.
Jake hates to paint. I love it more than a pedicure. I took forever to pick out these colors, and I love how they turned out. We have no curtains, wall hangings or cool furniture, but we have PAINT.
The yellow bay window is my favorite! It makes me feel like I'm having breakfast at Martha Stewart's place, know what I mean?
The brown's a bit... brown... but it looks better in natural light and it warms the room so much.
My friend Lisa posted her paint job and it really made me want to post mine, since it's such a big deal to us!!! Our first real decorative job (the cinder block 'green' that we did at the University apartments a few years ago does NOT count).

Monday, August 21, 2006


We spent six glorious days on the beach in Florida. Jake's parents flew all of Jake's brothers and sisters out and we all stayed in condos on the beach. It was beautiful every day and it rained almost every evening. Above are Ruby's feet in the sand. Below is a photo of Ruby and Grace on a kid's ride at Busch Gardens. That was a fun day of riding roller coasters. Jake and I felt so young as we screamed our heads off on the fast ones.

We celebrated our fifth anniversary while we were there. We ate dinner at an ocean-side seafood restaurant that was delicious! We laughed so much and talked about the best and worst things that happened in the last five years! We are so lucky.

A photo of Jake and his cooperative girls! Always.

Ruby likes to take off. Anywhere. Anytime. Especially in a big open place like the shore. I looked away for a few moments and the next thing I saw was her back to me and she was doing the closest thing to a run that she knows how to do.

Me and Rubes. She LOOOOOVES me.

This is everyone together. From left to right, Grace, me, Ruby, Jessie Smylie, Jake, Aliza Smylie, Donna & Steve (the parents), Alex Smylie, Levi Smylie, Rebecca (Levi's fiance), baby Reef, Ashley (married to Austin) Smylie.

Look at all these beauties! Rebecca will fit right in.

We had a great time. We were in St Petersburg, which is on a peninsula close to Tampa. We were on the Gulf of Mexico and the water was really warm and the sand very white. So different from the beaches where I grew up! It's weird to think that we're starting yet another fall. It will be September soon and we have a 3 1/2 year old daughter, my baby Ruby is going to be 2 soon, and Jake and I are entering our sixth year of marriage. Time is flying by. Faster each year. We love and miss all of our families all over the world!

Mr. Energy

Pictures from our trip to Florida are coming soon...
Just a funny story.
We got back from FL and the day after (Saturday), I went to Real Estate School for a few hours. Upon returning home I was pleasantly surprised to find that Jake had fed the girls both breakfast AND lunch, Ruby was down for her afternoon nap, he had taken the girls on several errands including Toys 'r us and Home Depot, and the house seemed to be in pretty good shape. I commented on his great energy level and attitude and also on the fact that he had gotten so many things done (which is normal in a woman's typical day, but men aren't quite as used to multitasking with screaming children).
After Ruby woke up from her nap he kept over-achieving and surprised me on several occasions. We went shopping for paint at Lowe's later in the evening and he seemed so eager to help calm the kids down and had abundant enthusiasm for the bedtime routine.
We got into bed after a long day of activities and Jake mentioned he had trouble going to sleep. I asked him, "you have done so much today, I can't imagine why you wouldn't be exhausted right now!" He had a momentary puzzled look on his face, then clear understanding as he said, "well I did have two energy drinks and a Dr. Pepper today".
I laughed so hard. He is such a great husband, but we all know that Moms are used to this kind of chaos and Dads are usually surprised at how much energy it takes to shop w/kids.
I can just picture him on his first errand of the day thinking, "I better have some caffeine or I'll go down in a flaming ball of impatience and stress".
So funny.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Old friends. I hate using those two words. I would choose... "invaluable friends", or "friends from a long time ago that still hold a part of my soul". Anyway, in the middle is Celeste from Arcata and on the right is Tasha from McKinleyville. The three blondies are Tasha's three kids. I remember sitting on the dock at the lake at girl's camp, I must have been 18 and Tasha was one year younger. She sat there with me really late at night one night and we talked for hours about the future that we knew nothing about but tried to speculate on it as normal young girls do... lots of laughter and not too much knowledge.
Celeste and I met at girl's camp as well. She grew up only a few minutes north of the town I grew up in. She and I stayed friends for a long time and eventually lived together in Provo during that magic Fall Semester that I will never forget. Celeste served a mission and now is married and lives in Riverton, UT. She is one of the most Christ-like people I have ever known. I love these girls so much!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

This country, this world.

I am saddened. I can't believe this world we live in! Terrorists suspend the entire world in fear. Every day. 10 flights were planned to be bombed mid-flight, blowing up into pieces over the ocean. How could anyone even THINK of doing this? A lot of people I know, including myself, are taking flights this month and these horrible things ruin quality of life for everyone.
There have always been groups of people that are grievously inhumane. Throughout all of history. We were watching a documentary on Auswitz and I cried thinking of the children, and others that died in the death camps under Hitler's regime. But these things are STILL happening. They are much scarier when they happen in my own life span. I watch them happen. I search for things that are lighter- and I find them, but my mind always comes back to these horrible threats that are REAL. So real.
My children are growing up in this world and I hope their happiness is not overshadowed by increasing fear. Where is the humanity? The world is a big place, I certainly hope we can help each other.
Also, is anyone else as concerned as I am about the absolute chaos and destruction in the middle east? I mean, first our involvement in Iraq which isn't exactly prevailing... and then Israel unleashing wrath on Lebanon which isn't exactly 'just the beginning'... it can only end in shocking proportions. Then we've got our genius of a president who likes to use "sh" words to explain Lebanon's plight. And get taped saying it. Makes me want to cry.. then punch him in the nose.
It is so hard to worry about cooking dinner, cleaning my house, and going to appointments, when I feel like I should get my food supply, hunker down, and wait for things to clear up.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Feel like crying today?

Someone emailed me this story... I've heard it before, but it is good to feel grateful again for all that you have.
Strongest Dad in the World
I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay for their text messaging. Take them to the swimming pool.
But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.
Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars--all in the same day.
Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?
And what has Rick done for his father? Not much--except save his life.
This love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.
``He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life;'' Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. ``Put him in an institution.''
But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. ``No way,'' Dick says he was told. ``There's nothing going on in his brain.''
"Tell him a joke,'' Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain.
Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? ``Go Bruins!'' And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, ``Dad, I want to do that.''
Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described ``porker'' who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. ``Then it was me who was handicapped,'' Dick says. ``I was sore for two weeks.''
That day changed Rick's life. ``Dad,'' he typed, ``when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!''
And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.
``No way,'' Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year.
Then somebody said, ``Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?''
How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried.
Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii. It must be a real downer to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you think?
Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? ``No way,'' he says. Dick does it purely for ``the awesome feeling'' he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.
This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time'? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992--only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time.
``No question about it,'' Rick types. ``My dad is the Father of the Century.''
And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. ``If you hadn't been in such great shape,'' one doctor told him, ``you probably would've died 15 years ago.''
So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.
Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father's Day.
That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.
``The thing I'd most like,'' Rick types, ``is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.''
Here's the video... you must watch it.

A surgery.

Ruby had tubes put into her ears on Tuesday morning. I have to admit, I was a little nervous. Anesthesia. It's hard to spell, but it's even harder to imagine your child under it, completely limp, on an operating table. Would she be cold? Would she remember anything? Would she scream right before, when they put the mask over her mouth and nose? Would she wake up and remember that we let her be whisked off by a couple of complete strangers and brought to an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar things?
I hate the subconscious mind for its weazly ways. It breaks into your shallow situation and makes things deep and dark. I imagined the cloud that would appear when the doctor came into my waiting room and explained to me that Ruby wouldn't wake up, or something else just as mind-melting. Earth-shattering.
But that never happened. All of my worry and sleepless Monday night did nothing to deter the path of fate, which happened to be a perfect success.
She was under Anesthesia for ten minutes. That's the length of time it takes to order food in the Wendy's drive-thru. They handed me my baby Ruby wearing a hospital robe, cotton balls in her ears, and something taped to her toe.
We prayed for her, and being the little Heaven-sent child that all babies are, she was blessed by her Father and protected in her cause on earth. I feel very blessed. Especially because this was the most minor thing that any child has to go through, and hope this is all the medical problems she ever has.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Bits of news.

Jake took a few pictures of Gracie and I last sunday. She has an aversion to sitting still, but who doesn't?
Well... what's new with us... We bought one house and now we're buying two. We close on the second one in September. I start real estate school next week and I will be done soon enough to list our house when we sell it. I love real estate and am very interested in it and have sold by owner before, so I am really excited to sell and buy for family and friends and for Jake and I as well. I am going to work for Realty Executives when I finish.
What else is new.. hm.. we are going to Florida for a week, we leave on August 13th. Ruby is getting tubes put into her ears on the morning of August 8th, and we are all really excited to hear less screaming and more words!
Jake's brother Levi is getting married, and we're really excited for him. Salt Lake temple, sometime in October. He graduated from Law School last summer and has been working in New York. He met his honey there and they are so great together!
Ruby's favorite pasttime is pulling Gracie's hair and the look on Ruby's face is hilarious while the look on Grace's face is horror. It's tough teaching Ruby, who is 18 months, not to be so vicious. She just blinks her eyes and acts innocent, but if she understands, "Ruby, go upstairs and get a shirt out of your drawer and bring it to mommy", then she understands, "Don't pull Grace's hair". I'm crossing my fingers that she won't be the kindergarten bully.
We love our girls so much. Jake gets them out of bed sometimes at 11pm for an 'extra snuggle'. They can't fight the snuggle when they're asleep, so we'll lay them in our bed and we'll examine their little faces and hands. They are amazing creations.