Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Raging Debate"

Has anybody else seen the video on Yahoo that talks about a mom who kicked her girls out of the car after she couldn't get them to quit fighting? One was 10 and the other 12. She then drove around the block with anticipation of just making the girls see that she meant business. When she got back, the girls were gone. They found the 12-year-old and couldn't find the other girl, so called the cops. Apparently someone had seen the girl waiting on the sidewalk, taken her for ice cream and then flagged a cop car down. When the woman went down to pick up her daughter, she was arrested for child endangerment.

This has created huge controversy and people are being horrible about this woman. I'm sorry, but this is ridiculous. Whether or not you agree with what the woman did, how many of these parents would drop their children off in that same area to socialize or hang out with friends? Obviously, if there was an ice cream shop right there, it is a definite possibility. How many parents don't even know where there kids are? It is not like these girls were 5 or 6. Really, it was the bi-stander who caused the problem, and the girl, who probably just loved that she got ice cream out of being in trouble.

Obviously, I am not an advocate of child abuse in any way, shape or form, but how are people supposed to raise their children anymore? Everyone else butts in, there is no real way to punish, positive reinforcement only goes so far, etc. While everyone is debating about this situation, children grow more and more apathetic, out of control and disrespectful. I'll be honest, I'm more scared about what these next generations will become than I am about a lady who drove around the block while her girls were supposed to be waiting.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Fond Farewell

Yesterday afternoon the kids' great-grandpa died. We had them for the weekend, so their mom called Todd to tell them, which means that we got to help them begin the grieving process. Grieving is definitely a new thing for them. They have only had one great-grandpa that they have known die previously. Ironically, they were with us when we found out about that grandfather's passing, as well.

For anyone who knows me, I am no stranger to the grief process. By the time I was their age, I had already been to my fair share of tragic funerals. Now that I am older, I have lost even more people who I have been extremely close to. Because of this, I know that the worst part of death is missing whoever has left, not getting that last conversation in, knowing that you can't just pick up the phone anytime and call them up anymore. (Thank Heavens I am Mormon and believe in eternal families. I can't imagine how much worse death could be.)

Our way of helping the children deal with this process was by writing notes to their great-grandpa, tying them to balloons and the kids let them fly up to Heaven...or at least out into the open. It always helps when you put something down on paper. It becomes more real. It also helps you to believe that the person you are missing can read what you have written, or at least knows how you felt about them.

The kids wanted us to take some pictures of the process so that they would have the memory...either that, or our camera-ready natures have rubbed off on them. Either way, here are a couple of the pics we took. Oh, and the photo-shopped one is not my best editing job, but it sure it hard to work with balloon ribbons.

...and I had to add Austin's homemade punching buddy (drawing courtesy of Kailey) created from a spare balloon.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Florida Fun

Here are just a few pics from our work trip to Ft. Lauderdale. We actually only spent about an hour at the beach, but we had fun in that short time.

The second pic down was taken in the Yacht Club docking area just across the street from the beach.

Sadly, as I look at and edit these photos, it is snowing/sleeting outside. Sigh...

Don't forget to click the pic!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mission Get-together

This email was sent to me, so I am passing it along via blog for all of those who served in the NCCM mission...or have spouses who did. ;)

Hey! Hope all ya'all are doing well!

A few have been asking about a N.C.C. Mission Reunion.

So how about a mission picnic instead.

June 6th it is then!!! We'll have it here at our home probably and we will say 4:00 to 7:00P.M.

WILL YOU pass the word along to all those you have an email address for and give them our email address to let us know about how many to plan on.

We will suggest everyone bring their own sandwiches/picnic and a cookie/brownie to share!

We love you!

President and Sister Smith

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Boston Tea Party of 2009

I am not the most political person, and although I consider myself fairly Republican, I do have certain politics and causes that I support from both political parties. My father, on the other hand, is extremely Republican while I have many friends who are as far left and more, as my father is right. All of these people have opened my eyes to different ideas and beliefs that lead me to believe that I am a fairly open-minded person.

Oftentimes, however, when I do share my thoughts and beliefs about politics, other people who claim to be open-minded have ridiculed me. This has happened more and more often as the country has become politically charged and our government has come to a crossroads. This is the reason that I was pleasantly surprised when my husband, parents and I participated in one of the hundreds of tea parties that took place all over the country.

We parked downtown and walked through the sleet-turned-snow to stand in front of the Federal building in downtown Salt Lake City and made our way through the crowd, toward the front. This group of people was bundled in Utah winter style with their homemade signs slowly dripping color as the snow progressively affected the legibility of their signs. There were flags, picket signs, people who were dressed up and I even saw a paper machete piggy bank on a stick with a sign that saying, “Keep your hands out of my Piggy Bank!” held by a small child.

What I saw was a large group of very diverse people from all walks of life, both political parties and of all ages, from the very young to the very old. As I looked around, one of the signs that stood out from the others stated, “I am no longer Democrat, I was never Republican. I am an American.” That was the theme of the event. It does not matter what political party you belong to and what your feelings about smaller political issues are. What matters, is that we are taking a stand against excessive government spending and the expanding control of the Federal government.

As the many speakers paraded across the makeshift stage, this theme became more and more apparent, in addition to the feeling that America has become a gluttonous nation who lives outside of their means and with many who feel very entitled. In a recent meeting where self-reliance was encouraged, it was pointed out that when a person feels entitled, that merely means that they are greedy and lazy. I agree.

“Spread my work ethic, not my wealth,” another sign demonstrated this feeling perfectly.

When did we become a country based on credit and laziness as opposed to hard work? Is this what all of our ancestors throughout the generation have fought hard and lost their lives for? I know that they wanted to create a better life for their children and their children’s children, but did they know that their lives would be used to support a lethargic nation who manufactures money to bail people out of bad business? I don’t think so.

On that note, I am greatly disturbed that the government is now deciding which of the large companies will survive this economic downturn, not the ever-changing marketplace. This is disturbingly similar to the East India Tea Company, who was, “too big to fail.” Sound familiar? This very cause was the reason for the original Boston Tea Party. Now our own government attempts the very offense that sounded a call to action against the English government by handing out “free money.” I was not a supporter of President Bush handing out free money and now President Obama incurs more debt than all past presidents combined in one fell swoop; TRILLIONS of dollars that the United States does NOT have. Doesn’t that scare you?

Yet we have become complacent. We have become that silent majority. We feel that sending our representative to Washington D.C. is enough. In recent years we have thought of those who protested to make their point as the small special interest groups who want to further their own causes in lieu of the majority’s interest. That is no longer. We do not have that luxury, as we watch the government begin to close in on our rights, and infringe upon our economic marketplace. Washington D.C. is trying to make us like every other nation that we have fought so hard to set ourselves apart from. The Federal government wants control.

This control is why the Constitution was created. This is why we are the United STATES of America. Our government was set up as a series of checks and balances so that no single government entity, federal or state, would have dominant power…unless we let them take it. As was pointed out by one of the many different speakers, “the constitution was not created to regulate the people. We have laws for that. The Constitution was created to keep our government in check.”

So, what I saw while standing in the snow, my toes numb and trying to hold my umbrella so as not to disrupt the view of those behind me, was a well organized, logical, passionate call to action, much like the Boston Tea Party of 1773, stating that the government does not employ us, we employ them. It’s time that they are reminded of this and that we act as a responsible board of directors.

As the end of the protest neared, our flags were raised, as we ended together by singing “God Bless America,” some with tears in their eyes. There we stood, a group of people who still believe in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Sunday, April 12, 2009


How do you know when your kids are being raised in a different day and age than the one that we grew up in?...other than just looking out your window...

We were sitting in a church meeting today and the kids were entertaining themselves by quietly drawing and passing notes to each other. I always sit between two of the children so that they don't get loud during meetings, but I had to laugh when the note passed in front of me and the title of it was, "Jessica and Kailey's Chatroom."

Thursday, April 9, 2009

For Jessica

I was looking through Todd's iphoto and came across some old photos that I don't have on my computer.

Here are some of the random photos that we took at Jessica's wedding. We didn't get any fantastic ones of the couple or their new family because of the crazy photographer lady who kept making them pose for their candid shots...yeah, that was weird.

I hope you guys ended up with some great pics for all the posing you did. You should be able right-click on the photo and save as if you want to keep these pics.

Jessica, there are a few more where those came from...and as always, click the pic for a better view.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fam Pics

Recently, Todd's mother informed us that her side of the family is putting together a book that will give a short history of each family member and their families. This meant that Todd had to write his history and include a family picture for the book.

He did a fantastic job of writing up his history and I felt that this would be a great time to get some non-wedding family photos...possibly one to go in the extremely awkward sized frame that fits perfectly above the antique upright piano in our entry area. (I have very slowly proceeded to decorating that area of the house and Todd's and my bedroom.)We enlisted our friend, Lisa, to take the shots and allowed ourselves a very small window of time between activities and crazy/insane weather. We always have so much to do on the weekends we have the kids to make up for lost time, so I have to thank Lisa for working with us during that very specific time. Luckily, I had already planned out where we were shooting and kind of the poses we wanted. I think we ended up with some great shots, even though we chose a bad time of day for lighting.

Here are the pics that we are giving Todd's mother to display in her home and above the piano, respectively. The one above the piano is also the pic that I included on Todd's history, but without the added "frame".

Click the pic for a better view. Also, the computer screen surely does not do the pic above the piano justice. It turned out really cool. I have to admit that I impressed myself with my photoshop skills.

This last pic is just my favorite picture of the day. I don't know if it is the composition, depth of field, bright contrasting colors, or just the look of sheer joy on both of the girls faces. I just LOVE it.