Friday, May 13, 2011

We're Moving. . .

to another blog site.

One that gives us a little more anonymity yet allows us to stay public.  Same ol' blog with a new address.

Follow us to:

Especially if you want to see more of this adorable mug.

Background on new blog name:
My mission companion Wheeler used to call me Ami (pronounced Ah-me) - based on my maiden name and the name kinda stuck. Lance's friends used to call him Smeems in high school.

I will eventually be deleting this site once people have realized we have moved.  So make sure you bookmark our new address and become a follower of our new blog.  We will see you there!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Top Five

The top five things we have observed about our Little Man now that he is five plus months old:

1.  He frequently sucks in his lower lip and puffs out his cheeks like a chipmunk.  

Carsten with his chipmunk impression.
2.  He is so incredibly laid back.  He rolled from his back to his front and his front to his back when he was four months old and has only done it once or twice more since.  He is strong enough to do it.  It is almost as though he is saying to me "Meh.  I am fine where I am mom.  No pressure, please."

Wearing Ellie Bear's glasses the same way she wears them.
3.  He wakes up and sings to his doggy mobile.  Sometimes he is awake for a hour before we even realize it.

Watching early morning cartoons with the cousins who came to visit.

4.  He L-O-V-E-S our dog.  More than any member in our family (much to his mother's chagrin.)  He flaps his little arms and legs and squeals with delight when that mangy mutt comes near him.  Sofi apparently senses this love as she has started to sleep in his room during the night and takes her morning nap with him next to his crib.

Sofi snoozing next to her buddy.  Not the best picture but you get the picture.

5.  He is still the easiest, sweetest baby that ever walked the planet.  This kid is going to get whatever he wants - because his Mama can NOT resist his blue eyes, sweet laugh and cuddles.  Help me Rhonda!

The picture that causes my uterus want a dozen more of these.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Running Fool

I used to think anyone who enjoyed running was a crazy fool. Why would anyone want to engage in such a monotonous sport that was so hard on your knees and feet and was basically torture?  Besides, I am flat-footed with shorter than average Achilles's tendons.  My body isn't 100% suited for running - or at least that is my cop-out for saying I am really an exercise wuss.

Then my SIL talked me into preparing to run a 5K with her.  I thought - why not?  I could add it to my "bucket list" of 2011.

I reluctantly started to run.  (Or I should say slog.)  Sometimes I hated it.  Occasionally I found it enjoyable.  More often than not I tolerated it  I was never ever able to make the whole 5K distance without walking. 

Me AFTER my first race. I am one HOT specimen of health, don't you think?
And then the day of the 5K arrived.  I thought of every excuse of how I could get out of it, especially since it meant I had to get up at 5:00 a.m.  But I went and RAN all 3.6 miles of my first race without stopping once.  The sense of accomplishment along with the adrenaline rush of running with others in a race has become addicting.

So I am adding "jogging" to my list of interests as I prepare for my next 5K.  I love when we sometimes surprise ourselves in life!

Thanks, Vickdid.  You are the sister I never had and I will either sing your praises or curse you as I continue to pound the pavement with my double stroller and beagle in tow.  Let's meet up in 2012 at some exotic location so we can run a 10K and then party it up with just us girls.

Vicki and I before the race. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Living the Dream - An Announcement

In response to the polite phone conversation starter "So what are you up to?" my friend Amber, a busy SAHM with four beyond-cute kids who are active in (you name it), who also is in charge of primary(our ward's children's ministry) and does (who knows what else), replied "You know - living the dream." And even though we laughed, I really think she means it.

This is something that has been on my mind lately.  Living the dream.  What is my dream?  I am a mother of two who is constantly TOO busy with a husband who also works hard. I do contract instructional design work and get paid a not-at-all-too-shabby amount to do it.  I can set my hours, can work from home and do what I enjoy.  Perfect job, right?  And we don't even have to pay childcare because I watch my friend's little boy twice a week and she watches my kids twice a week.

Yet I am unable to give 100% to anything.  And that frustrates me.  I have wrestled with what to do about this for a few months.

Thus, I have decided to stop working and just be a stay at home mom for the time being once I finish out my contracts.  Maybe someday when my kids are older and the perfect job opportunity arises, I will reconsider.  But right now, they need their Mama at home and my husband needs someone to support him at this time in his life like he supported me while I went through school.  And, as much as I do not LOVE doing domestic chores, they have to get done, and there is something that can be said when a house has order and my baby doesn't have to live with dog hair in his diaper.  I worked way too hard to get my babies here in our family to not be there for as much of their lives as I can and provide a home for them that gives them a place to thrive.

Besides,  I want to have the time to do the other things that matter most to me - like helping others who need help, serving the Primary kids at church, attending the temple on a regular basis, staying in touch with my family, spending time with my friends, writing to my blog, scrapbooking, smocking, running, cooking healthy meals, etc.

I am grateful I earned my Master's and had the opportunity to work for the many years I did.  It was the right decision at the time. Now, this is the right time to scale back and hunker down in my nest and take care of my baby birds.

My friend Becky says to me quite often that "You can have it all, just not all right now."   And something about that saying solidifies the peaceful assurance that I am making the right decision.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Sweet Sixteen

Dear Carsten,

The bane of being the second child.  While your sister had posts on her growth almost immediately after her monthly milestones, yours are always a month or so late.  But, rest assured we don't love you any less.  In fact, I can't imagine loving a baby even more than I love you.  Here you are at 16 weeks donning the same flirtatious smile that melts my heart every day.  

16 weeks is such a sweet age for you.  Here is how you spend your days:  belly laughing, chatting in baby talk, screeching at your toys, searching with a smile for your sister when you hear her voice, napping three times a day, falling asleep on your own in your own crib,  sleeping through the night (started at 12 weeks or so), snuggling, sucking your thumb, drooling all over, and just relaxing.  

Lest you try to rub it into your sister's face on how you were perfect, there is one thing that makes you furious with me - tummy time.  You hate it.  And loathe me for forcing you to do it daily.  I never thought a baby could tell a parent off.  But you have done it.

I am not sure what I did to deserve such a well-mannered, mild, happy baby but I am running with it.  

Your stats:
Weight:  14 lbs 14 oz (50th percentile)
Height:  26 1/2 inches (95th percentile)

Still my long and semi-lean green bean.  Love you little man!


Monday, February 14, 2011

One Word Valentines

We hosted a dinner party with two other couples in which one of the attendees had these really interesting conversation prompts:  Such as "Besides your wife and kids, of what are you most proud?" and "If you could describe your spouse with one word what would it be?"  I thought the latter was very clever.  So here is one word descriptions of my Valentines this year.

My Valentine #1:  Lover

This boy is a lover and probably the most amiable and easy baby that has ever roamed the earth.  We say every day, multiple times "I love this baby."  He is so easy to love.
He already likes to flirt with grown women.  And I am already jealous.  Heaven help me for when he
eventually marries.  Because I love being the woman in his life.

My Valentine #2:  Determined

Is this happy, animated, friendly, kind, beautiful, emotional girl ever determined.  She is chattering and on the move from the moment she wakes up to the moment she crashes for nap. When she sets her mind to something she doesn't give up.  She's full of life and spunky.  And just like her Mama.
Start praying for us now that we survive the teenage years.

Valentine #3:  Genuine
This man has no pretense, always sees the good in others, loves to relax, is accepting of others,
and has a wicked sense of humor.  He is so good that sometimes I pick fights to try to get him to get mad and make me feel better about my faults.  Not surprisingly, he rarely is ruffled by this goading.  He does everything he can to make me happy and is desperately trying to teach me the art of Zen.  Keep hoping he doesn't wake up one day and ask himself "Why am I married to this crazy lady again??"  He's the glue that holds us together and his son takes after him.

Monday, January 31, 2011

On a lighter note

Streaming Netflix through my new birthday present has become a guilty pleasure for me the nights Lance works late.  I get to watch movies like this without Lance here to tell me that:
A.  The movie was something only teenagers would enjoy; or
B. The Rotten Tomatoes rating was -20% ; or
C.  It was the worst movie ever made.

Lance walked in the midst of this newest Miley Cyrus movie to see this:

Our conversation went something like this:

Lance:  What are you watching?
Kristi:  "The Last Song"
Lance (with the most serious look on his face):  Wow.  I looked just like that in high school.
Lance and Kristi:  ***Both completely silent for about 20 seconds
Lance and Kristi:  ****Both burst out laughing simultaneously

I will let you determine why we were laughing.  (And still are, for that matter.)

2010: A Blur

 I remember calling Lance from my usual all-day-long Saturday studying location as we were frantically trying to figure out how we were going to get everything done that weekend.  We needed 100 more hours than we had.  He needed to work all weekend on an important case at work.  I needed to make substantial progress on my graduate thesis if I wanted to graduate.  And our daughter needed us. We had a million things to do for our callings at church.  We both felt so alone and exhausted.  My first trimester was kicking me in the rear.  We needed help but really didn't have any family to rely on and already felt we had exhausted the kindness of our friends.  We both cried.  For a long time. (well, at least I was crying.  Lance probably just shed a tear or two.)  And then we wiped our eyes, made a plan for how we would proceed, said a little prayer, agreed this was the hardest thing we had ever gone through, and then hung up.  No use wasting more time on the phone when we already short so many hours.

This was 2010 for our family.  A blur of good memories and stressful times.  I didn't set any resolutions that year for a reason.  But we grew as a family and realized an important lesson.  Lance and I have each other.  And, with the help of the Lord, we have the strength to all things. 

Lance and Elisabeth attended RyGuy's and Britnee's wedding in Nebraska in March.

My brother Tommy came to visit for his annual visit.  We took a trip to Palm Springs and Disneyland.

I miraculously graduated with my Master's degree.  My Daddy'O came to witness this.

We celebrated 8 years of marital bliss with a three day get-a-way to Pismo Beach.
And awaited the birth of a baby boy.

We threw a HUGE graduation bash with my friend Katie Christenson at our home in June. 
Think we had about 100 guests attend.

Planned and attended the Smemoe/Richardson family reunion in August.
Attended Chris' and Princess Wendy's wedding in UT in August.

Welcomed the happiest and sweetest little boy, Carsten, to the world in October.
Natural childbirth was AWESOME.  Can't wait to do that again.

Hosted Chris, Loren and Dad Smemoe (and their spouses/families) for Thanksgiving weekend.
This is when we blessed the little man at church.

Spent a few days in the CHOC hospital after Carsten was diagnosed with RSV.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Happily Ever After

I lay in bed on New Year's Eve at the late hour of 9 p.m. reviewing my year in my head.  I remembered, for some reason, that 16 years ago I had attended a Sunday church service at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the first time in my life.  Funny enough, I was in Anaheim of all places when I did attend.  (Seeing as I am from Minnesota, attending church in SoCal for the first time is a little odd, is it not?) Our High School band took a trip to San Diego/Orange County to participate in the Holiday Bowl and do fun touristy things out here.  That was the beginning pages to the book titled My Life from Here.  Due to my parents dislike of the LDS church, I did not join it until I was 18 years old.  From 16 to 18 plus were dark times in my memory.  There was great turmoil at home with my family and within my heart and soul.  I couldn't see past the next month much less envision what my life would be like as a soon-to-be 32 year old.

I never foresaw me attending BYU or going on a mission to Finland.  I never imagined meeting my dear husband or marrying him in the temple.  I never saw my blond-haired, blue-eyed angel babies or seen myself trying to raise a family based on the teaching's of Jesus Christ.   I definitely never thought in my wildest dreams I would be living in Southern California - especially after hearing my mom tell me it was going to fall off into the ocean someday.  I never could imagine the blessings God had in store for me.

But here I am.  And I am the happiest I have ever been in my life.  Not the kind of happy where everything is perfect and exactly how you want it.  Because we are far from that type of bliss. Not the kind of happiness where there is an absence of heartbreak.  Because I have seen a good amount in the past 16 years and am sure I will see more in the years to come.  But the kind of happiness that fills your body full of peace and pours warmth out of your heart.  I feel like so many of my dreams have been fulfilled.  I followed my heart and joined a church that has taught me personally how to better follow our Savior.  I am married to a wonderful man.  I have two children whom I love more than anything.  I have both a bachelor's and master's degree.  I am surrounded by family and friends who are as close as family.  I am loved, I am safe, and I am healthy.

One of my favorite pictures from my wedding day almost 8 years ago.

Sometimes Happily Ever After does happen - even for a moment. 

Now to find another dream.