Sunday, December 9, 2012

Delaine's Mail-in Baby Shower

Delaine is having our first baby girl in the very near future, which makes us very excited! But alas both sides of the family are quite far away, so the family decided to put together a mail-in Baby Shower. It was a total surprise, and Delaine had no idea what was going on, so our attempts to conceal the event were 100% successful. (Good job everyone!)

Delaine's oldest sister put together this wicked cute smilebox invitation, a screenshot of which can be seen below:

Well, on to the reveal itself... So early on Sunday morning at around 7:00 AM before church, I had the downstairs all set up for the surprise, and here is a picture of the room before Delaine was any the wiser:

(You will notice that all of the presents were wrapped, due to the big help of Teddy Pesch, who allowed us to shower her home with gifts, and who made the extra effort to wrap on top of that. How about a nice big virtual round of applause to Teddy, not only for hosting the local shower for Delaine, but also for facilitating this one. What a great help!)

So, I had to break up the video into several segments, because the videos maxed out my SD card, which is good and bad, because you have to look at each video segment separately, but the plus side is that you can pace yourself through the videos a little better with the three videos. Well, that is enough of the disclaimers, here are the four video segments with Delaine's initial reaction as the first, and the following three being the actual gift opening:

(Here is the first video)

Update: I am trying to upload the other videos, but it might take some time, so hang tight until its done...

Monday, November 12, 2012

This Hiatus Was Too Long

We are fully aware of the fact that there has not been a post on this blog for nearly one full year. Although, it may seem that this is largely due to the fact that our lives have been so boring, that no new posts were warranted. Although our family's intercontinental adventures have been put on hold, our continental journeyings have been quite active.

This time last year, we lived in El Mirage, Arizona. After graduating from Thunderbird in December 2011, we took a job in Portland, Oregon, and in August of this year we almost unexpectedly took another job in Rhode Island, which continues our inadvertent living relationships in micro-states in Europe and the U.S.

But wait, there's more, we are expecting our third child, finally a girl! So, we have a name already in mind: Celia. Delaine has been such a trooper with this pregnancy, but she does not have too much longer to wait, as we are but four weeks away from welcoming her into our family. She will be born in a different state than both of her brothers, Everett (Utah), and Liam (New Hampshire), who are enjoying Kindergarten and Pre-School respectively.

So after several years of meeting friends in new places, one of our favorite things to say when people ask: "So where are you from?" is... "Our Heavenly Father." So, we know where we are from, even though we sometimes don't know where we are. One thing's for sure, home is certainly where the heart is, and although it is currently in South Kingstown, RI, it will follow us wherever in God's green earth we may find ourselves!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Smith Letter 2011

This has been our most international year, and that is saying a lot for our family. We have watched our kindergartner—Everett—enjoy school on two continents, Liam developed his life’s passion: snakes. Delaine successfully navigated the German language living in Austria and Liechtenstein, and Steve completed his MBA at Thunderbird, in addition to accepting a full-time job with Hilti in Portland, OR starting in January 2012.

Liam has blossomed into an adventurous 3 year old. He loves doing flips on and off of the couch, playing in the dirt, collecting sticks and rocks, and learning everything and anything about reptiles. He is a true herpetologist. He plays with his toy snakes, eats with his snakes, bathes with his snakes, and sleeps with his snakes. He will not allow us to miss a week at our local library so he can pick out his weekly assortment of snake books. He loves it when we read to him and he takes every chance he can to physically challenge his brother in what he considers to be a perpetual, winner-takes-all cage fight. His ninja fighting skills are pretty awesome., and he loves to sing and rock out to music by Led Zeppelin, Duran Duran, and the Ramones. He is so excited to start primary this coming year. He is a true character, and makes our lives so much more LIVELY.

Everett has had so many milestones this year. He attended Kindergarten in Austria this year (they start at 3 yrs old there), where he became fluent in the German language. His daddy is super proud! He was devastated to leave. He loved Europe so much, and we hope to get back there soon. Upon our return to the USA, Everett started Kindergarten in Arizona. Despite being the youngest in his class, he is thriving. His teacher says he soaks up everything they cover. He LOVES to learn. He can read very well, write more legibly than his dad, and loves everything about school. He was awarded student of the month in October, he was on the principal’s list for both quarters, and he earned a special Howl Award every month. He is heartbroken that he has to leave his school, he’ll start in the Northwest soon. He is not only our little academic, but he has also advanced to a green belt in Karate! Basketball is the next sport on his list.

Delaine has spent her year being a trooper. She has worked hard at planting roots in Austria, Liechtenstein, and Arizona. She is also a full time chauffer—in Europe she escorted the kids by bus, train, stroller, and by foot. In Arizona, she drove Steve and Everett back and forth to and from school several times each day. She spent the rest of her time, cleaning, cooking, and enjoying outings with the family. She particularly enjoyed our trips to Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Italy, Neuschwanstein (the Princess Castle), Bavaria, Lego Land Deutschland, Oregon for Delaine’s Grandfather’s funeral, and the Grand Canyon. Needless to say, she is excited to settle in the Northwest for a while. Delaine wins that Smith family prize for PATIENCE and DILIGENCE this year.

Steve fulfilled many of his dreams this year. He was able to work in his mission area in a large company. He also got his family to be Germanophiles, too. He has also succeeded in learning Portuguese. And to top everything off, he GRADUATED from a highly ranked business school. While in school, Steve worked as a Campus Ambassador, Foundations Leader, and a Peer Career Advisor where he advised his fellow MBA students on resume writing and job searching tactics. He has refereed countless family wrestling matches and various other spur-of-the-moment homemade games. Although his schedule was crazy, he led the family in family scripture study, family prayer, faithful church attendance, and regularly scheduled date nights.

This has been a remarkable year for us, full of great experiences and accomplishments. We wish you all the best for the coming year 2012. We miss you all, and we wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Well, reluctantly and happily we have returned!  We have had a blast in California with family and now we find ourselves in Arizona for our next short stint.  There are positives and of course some negatives--but that is life.  The boys love having family closer (6 hours) to us!  We were sure to unload the storage unit and have their bedroom and their playroom completed before they showed up!  They are so happy to see their old toys again.  It really is fun.  It is a furnace out here though!  We miss our old friends, and Everett really misses his school.  We have been visiting schools to get him all signed up, and he cried saying he missed his old teacher.  Transition really is hard on kids, no matter how much people tell you kids are resilient (which they are,as long as you are strong--which is key to international living), they will have hard times with moving.  As parents we must be patient and understanding.  However, the boys are adjusting very well.  Everett was really excited to learn that his new school will allow sugar and snack food in his lunch.  We love having the Glendale Library system again!  WE LOVE IT there!  I guess our job is to adjust here as well as possible until the next move in 6 months!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Always a Positive

When we decided to move here, we agreed to that we would not buy a car here and only use public transport.  Very logical since we would only be here for a year.  I mean come one--I served a walking/bus mission in Brazil--and believe me I did my fair share of walking!  I love the thought of being out with everyone, being among them!  I also love trains/buses etc.  I was ready for this grand experiment...however doing it with a 4 year old and 2 year old in tow is a whole different world!  I used to complain about having to buckle the kids in and out of the car...NO MORE will I ever do that.  Lets just say wiggly kids!  After these many months I am happy to report that our kids are fairly calm on Buses etc.  You can only point out so many cows/sheep/tractors on our 2 hours bus ride to church.  Try taking  your kids to school in the morning, especially when you have to go through 2 countries to get there EVERY DAY.  And never ever forget to factor in, that it is cold out here...who would have thought winter in the Alps would be cold!!!  My two awesome boys survived all of the elements!!!  Rain, Snow, Wind, Shine they did it!!!!  I thought I had it bad with New England winters when I had to run and turn on the heat before I had to drive out.  Try plowing a stroller through the snow--EVERY DAY! I have new respect for the pioneers!!! 
Soooooooo, I have compiled a list of positives from this no car experience with 2 kids here goes:
1. Walking, I walk a lot more and I am sure my body is thankful for it! I mean, we have legs for a reason right.
2. Being out in nature.  I love looking at the trees, clouds, leaves.  I love to hear the birds and the wind in the trees.  It is so beautiful here.
3.  It really provides great teaching experiences for me with the boys, they ask me about every flower, bug etc.
4. I am with the people (good and bad), I learn from them!
5. WE ARE PUNCTUAL PEOPLE!!  Those who know us well know that this is not easy, but we must be on time to catch every train or bus.  We work like clocks now! 
6.  The shock to learn how many groceries you really CAN fit at the bottom of a stroller! 
7. Because of our distance to church, our trains get us into church 40 minutes early--great PIANO practice time!
8. Church--I can't complain about 9 am church anymore--we go from leaving at 7 am- to getting home at 2:30-3:00 pm. 
9. Arm strength.
10. MY FAVORITE!  QUALITY TIME! I spend anywhere from 2-4 hours on buses or trains EVERY DAY!  That means I get to be with my favorite people uninterrupted for all of that time.  At first I dreaded this because the boys are busy and not easy to control.  However, we use our bus time as reading time!!!!  We read everything.  We go to the library often and books have become our life.  We read them over and over again.  My kids are sponges with learning.  We get these awesome children dictionaries.  They get so sucked into these!  They are now experts on bees and pollinating, volcano's, penguins, panda bears, lady bugs (they are fascinating), the growth of trees, hedgehogs, snails, apes, etc, etc.  They suck in this knowledge.  We love book reading time.  I only hope that we can keep it up to this level when we get our car back NEXT WEEK!

There are positives in everything.  We just have to find them.  I am so thankful for my time to just stop and literally smell the roses!  I hope my boys when they are older will be thankful and will continue to love the world as much as they do now! 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Living in Europe and Being in Nature!

Our boys have become very curious about the world that surrounds them.  Now that spring is upon us, they are SO into finding bugs, rocks, sticks, slugs, leaves, flowers, and virtually every living thing around them.  There are times when we as parents get a little tired of the constant flow of flora and fauna that makes its way into pockets, floors, mouths, tables, etc.  But when I really reflect on this trend, I am so grateful for the beautiful world in which we live.  The boys are merely rejoicing in the beauties of the world that Heavenly Father created for us.  This has actually been a recent development.  When we were in the States, the boys weren't really out and about in natural settings, and when they were, we lived in a desert.  So, it has been a blessing to see our little Everett play with slugs (see below), whereas he used to be afraid of anything that moved, even dogs and cats.  Liam on the other hand has always been unafraid of everything in nature, so this opportunity to experience the Spring in the Alps has put him in perpetual bliss.  He would live outside, if we would let him.  In short, our boys love to play with creeping things, and we love to see their curious little minds race!

Yes, this is Everett playing with his first slug of the season!

Here are the boys watching a local beekeeper maintain his hives.

Here is a horse and rider out for a stroll in the fields behind our place.

Loving the Bubbles!

Daddy recently found out the the cheap store-brand shampoo makes the best bubbles in the world.  And we have had fun for our bath time ever since.  Our investment of CHF 1.10 has certainly been worth every Rappen.  

Everett would make a great Santa Claus!

Very rarely do we catch a picture of Liam smiling, let alone with a million bubbles on his head!

Monday, April 11, 2011

My Hubby

I just want to shout from the mountain tops how wonderful my husband is.  He really is.  We tell each other often how much we love each other, but I realize on this blog we make no mention of it.  How weird, because in our family it is often brought up.  Steve is often the quite guy at church, but everyone LOVES him.  I have never ever met someone who didn't love him.  He can talk with guys about sports because he LOVES sports, all kinds--one of those men who knows every player in every game and gets REALLY excited when he talks about sports, however he doesn't watch it very much ( we haven't had TV in years so that contributes to that, but he quitely every morning gets up too early to check scores, rankings, you name it he knows it.  Steve also gets along with women really well.  He is just one of those people after talking with him for a few minutes there is no weirdness and he seems to be one of your best friends.  He will never make you feel bad, always trying to make people feel better about themselves.  He is full of energy--always playing with the boys--and I mean ALWAYS.  He will lose himself in games of soccer or sand castle building, and will play UNO over and over with the boys.  He takes a lot of time for me too.  He comes home and I am always the first person he kisses.  He compliments every meal I make (and really they are not that great), he still holds my hand, is so overjoyed when I try new words in German, he is beaming when I give way broken church talks in sacrament meeting, he can tell in my eyes if I've had a rough day--and it doesn't matter that he has had a long day, he takes the boys right away.  He is the last one asleep and the first one awake everyday.  He sings in the shower, and is always whistling.  He almost always wakes up cheery (except when he has stayed up too late watching a game on the computer and his team has lost).  He LOVES to dance.  We have family dance parties instigated by him.  He makes the most amazing crepes a few times a week.  The man never seems tired.  He puts the kids to bed so I can get a break from the day.  He works hard.  That is an understatement.  When it comes to taking care of our family he does everything possible.  He NEVER thinks of himself.  I can never get him to make me a list for for Christmas or birthday wishes because without fail he will say--"lets save the money for this or that, I'm really fine".  Last Christmas all he asked for was a $15 pen that he had been eying, yeah try and shop for someone like that--drives me crazy sometimes.

Really he is just wonderful.  He works so hard, especially during this hard economic time and him being an MBA like many others out of work.  He stayed up late nights (MANY LATE nights) perfecting and perfecting resumes and applications to secure us 3 GREAT opportunities. 

I feel so lucky to call him mine.  I can't believe he tolerates me with all of my quirkiness.  He is a man full of hugs and kisses.  Loves to help me clean, is a fantastic singer.  Kisses me in the morning and kisses me goodnight.  He NEVER critiques me or what I try and accomplish. He is faithful, he is true to his covenants, and is always trying to be better and searching for ways for us to improve in all levels.  I don't write this to brag, I write this to record how dang lucky I am.  I hope anyone who reads this doesn't feel any lower because their spouse doesn't do this or that, never ever ever do I want someone to feel saddened or compare themselves to us.  I REALLY don't like comparison.  It makes everyone sad.  We all need to search out the best things in everyone, including ourselves.

I love my husband for everything that he is and all that he is trying to be.


Well, I often don't get an opportunity to write my thoughts down, much of our efforts on the blog are to record experiences, however this lack of thought unloading doesn't mean I don't have any.  Quite the contrary, my brain is always streaming with ideas, spiritual and non.  I think of how trials make us stronger and how they are given to us often to benefit others.  I think of my boys and their continual growth--I often strongly contemplate if I am being a good enough mother--is the house clean enough for them, are they eating enough nutritional foods, do I smile enough so they know that I am happy, am I being an example of the believers everyday and every moment, do I give them enough extra curricula activities, what will they be like when they are older, what will happen when we add another child to the bunch--will I stay sane, and often I think of this experience we are having out here and if it is benefiting for them.  Everett has grown a great deal in many ways, he has friends, is now bi-lingual,  loves to rides bikes, knows how to read, is taking greater chances, and is just so happy and so dang smart I wonder where he came from--sweetest boy in the world.  Liam on the other hand is always by my side, though this is a good thing, a times it is hard for him, he has not been able to have a regular play group which I always had with Ev at least 2 days a week,  so he has major clingyness issues.  He is nearly 2 1/2 and still won't go to nursery, he screams when we leave him for just a little while (except with my mom which is not often because she lives in the US).  He is super talkative and confident, fun as any kid I have EVER seen, and I am so happy that he is mine, I can't help but feel guilty that  he seems a little displaced.  One thing for sure though, we try to stay constant.  When we go somewhere we are there as a family--we will always be together (Everett prays for that every night).  We continually do family home evenings on Mondays, we try and get our scripture reading in, prayers are constant, we play together OFTEN, we try and keep our routine, because we have been so displaced for the past 3 years that is all I can give them with normalcy is a routine.  Hope our displacement will end soon--scheduled to Jan. 2012--can I hang on until then?