Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sugar and Spice

We went to get our 20 week ultrasound yesterday and found out we are having a girl. We both were convinced Baby Nemo was a boy so I had the tech check a few times to make sure that the vital male parts were missing. The tech swears it is a girl and has a grainy picture to prove it.

So - Yeah! Poor Lance is going to be outnumbered three to one (if you include our dog).

We are still trying to let the news sink in. I am finally starting to get nervous about being a parent and having this little life join our family. As excited as I am, I have had fleeting thoughts, such as "What are we getting ourselves into?" I am sure every first time parent has some jitters.

Only 20 more weeks before Baby Girl Smemoe is scheduled to arrive. We can't wait to meet her. We are also enjoying the last weeks we have to sleep in a little late and go on dates without having to find a babysitter.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Thanksgiving...Just a Little Appetizer

Like I said, I really needed to do something besides research a paper or take multiple online quizzes. So, here is a small appetizer to wet your taste buds for the real deal.

We went to the San Clemente beach with the whole crew (all 11 of us) the day before Thanksgiving. We couldn't have asked for better weather.

Alex LOVED the sand. Here my little nephew just gets started to get himself dirty. When we left the beach he was covered head to foot in sand.

Lance taking a little snooze on the beach.

Luke, my dad, myself and Adrianna posing for a family photo. You may be able to notice the little belly starting to poke out.

Reasons for Wanting a Girl...or a Boy

I decided I needed to take a break from homework to write a bit more on our blog for my sanity. We find out on Dec. 19th if we are having a boy or a girl. Deep down inside, we really will be happy to have a healthy baby, no matter what the sex will be. However, I have started to make a list of silly reasons why I would prefer one over the other. Hope you enjoy!

Reasons for Wanting a Girl
  1. I can sew cute dresses for her and do her hair with pretty bows. Basically, share my femininity. (For which my friend Sparkey says is one of my "talents," whatever that means.)
  2. When she is old enough, we can go to the American Girls store in LA - Because I secretly want to go there myself now but would feel silly going there as an almost 30 year old without a child.
  3. We can have Jane Austen movie nights while Dad is off watching football in the other room.
  4. I can give her the middle name Dorothy after my mom. (Can't say Dorothy works if it is a boy.)
  5. We can have another girl in the family because heaven knows, I feel outnumbered on both my side and Lance's.
Reasons for Wanting a Boy
  1. He would most likely have a better chance of inheriting Lance's mild manners and less likely to inherit my emotional side.
  2. Overalls. Little boys look so cute in overalls.
  3. Someone to enjoy watching football with Dad so I can get off of the hook during football season.
  4. Easier teenage years. I was a teenage girl once - not looking forward to that with a daughter.
  5. Someone to rough house with the dog. She got along quite capitally with my nephews during their visits.
Either way, we can't wait to find out!

End of Semester Crunch

I feel bad because I haven't posted in a long, long time. My semester ends this coming Monday so I am basically doing homework whenever I am not eating or sleeping. I promise to post some great pictures from our Thanksgiving adventure with my family and more updates soon.
For now, hope you enjoy some shots from our annual Christmas card shoot yesterday. Thank you Jenny for taking the pictures. You can't tell but my belly is getting bigger and is starting to definitely "show."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Would you like a glove with your salad?

I stopped at Trader Joe's yesterday during my lunch break to pick up some tasty French Market Lemonade for Thanksgiving dinner. Since I hadn't packed a lunch, I decided to try one of their in-house made salads. (Note: I am finding that with the decrease of my nausea, there is a noted increase in my appetite and my stomach is slowly growing outwards. I eat much more often these days.)

I rushed back to my office and started devouring the Fiesta Chicken salad. After about 10 bites, I noticed that there was an odd looking piece of lettuce - a cream colored piece to be exact. After further examination, I discovered that this piece of lettuce was actually the finger tip of a rubber latex glove. I didn't dig around further to see if there was a finger or more of the glove. How does a piece of latex glove get into a salad????

As you can imagine, finding a rubber glove in your salad is quite disgusting and made me loose the little lunch I did eat. Since I didn't have any cash on me to buy something else, I munched on the Anise Licorice Scotty Dogs I purchased for my brother Tom for lunch.

After work, I trudged back to Trader Joe's to get my lousy $3.99 reimbursed. I didn't care about the money - I just wanted to show them what was in their salad. The manager was equally disgusted and eagerly gave me my money back AND nice bouquet of flowers. Though I will never buy a salad or any other in-house made food from them again, I do plan to continue to patronize their unique grocery store for such things like trail mix, French lemonade and cherry tomatoes.

I am thankful for these odd is things like this that make my life unique and gives me material to write about on my blog.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Expecting the Unexpected

Here are some signs that we should be expecting the unexpected:

  • Finding unusual things touching enough to bring tears. Example: After watching the season premiere of CSI and crying for at least 30 minutes afterwards, Lance asks "Isn't this show about police investigating dead people?" My reply (between sobs) "Yes. But it is so touching!" Lance replies, sacractically, "Oh. Right. Very touching."
  • The constant feeling I can only label as "yuck" along with a hate/hate relationship with most foods (especially meats) Did I also mention throwing up?
  • An absolute loathing of the smell of my refridgerator and bad breath.
  • The need to go to bed at 8:30 p.m. and sleep in as late as I can, despite being a night owl.
  • A whole closet full of pants and skirts that no longer fit.
  • Cravings for food I swore off when I graduated from college - such as Spaghettios and Ramen noodles.
  • Many trips to the doctor accompanied by a handful of ultrasounds that show a little baby moving around with 10 fingers and 10 toes and a strong heart.
  • A "D" day of May 6, 2008.

We have come to expect the unexpected in life and this surprise is very welcomed, highly anticipated and fills our hearts full of gratitude. Five years of waiting and we can now await our little miracle!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween Humors

Yesterday was Sofi's second Halloween and she LOVED it. We haven't been good about taking pictures lately but I wished we would have taken out our camera last night and this morning because there were some sweet moments.

For starters, we had to put her doggie playpen fence up around the door so she couldn't maul the trick or treaters or try to steal their candy. Every time the doorbell would ring, she would be posed right next to the fence, looking eagerly back at us like "Well, are you going to answer the door?" She would then proceed to receive adoring pets and comments from our neighbors. She was loving every moment of it.

She did manage to steal a few pieces of candy from the bowl and was on a sugar rush all night. She was driving us nuts with her whining and restlessness.

On her walk this morning, she found a pile of candy that was left on the walking path. Before Lance had a chance to stop her, she grabbed a tootsie pop and refused to let him take it out of her mouth. (She has the strongest jaw hold of any animal I have personally met and a pretty scary growl when you are trying to take something out of her mouth she is unwilling to give up.)

When she got home from her walk, she went and "hid" behind the lazy boy, using her paws to hold the tootsie pop stick as she found out how many licks it takes to get to the center. Being the softies we are, we couldn't take the candy from her as she looked so darn cute eating her sucker. It was a very happy halloween for Sofi.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fire Update

Just wanted to post a quick message to let everyone know we are okay. Luckily the fire that was miles away from our house is now under control and we were never in immediate danger. Everything does smell like one big campfire, though, and we were told to stay inside as much as possible until further notice as the air quality is horrible.

I have to laugh that I posted the message about the Santa Ana winds yesterday. By the time dinner rolled around, we had a major fire of our own nearby, fueled by these winds. Luckily, we have very little loss with our fire as compared to the area surrounding Malibu. I still like the Santa Ana winds. Just not the problems that come along with them.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

"They're Here."

Lance woke me up early this morning after his walk with Sofi. All he said was "They're here." I thought in my sleepy state - Who's here? Aliens? The Mafia? The police? The cast from the Harry Potter movies? I mean - It was only 6 a.m. or so and for him to wake me up, it had to be someone special.

It turns out he was referring to the Santa Ana winds. This is our second year of experiencing the Santa Ana winds and I have to admit, I never cease to marvel at this geographic phenomenon. (Another name for them is the Chinook winds and I will never forget what these are because I missed this question in my US Geography class in college.) All of the pine needles from the tree outside of our fence are now are back porch and the cool breeze you expect to feel as you watch the leaves on the trees blow turns out to be quite hot instead.

Even though these winds can cause great destruction, as seen as the massive fire in Malibu this weekend, I feel they are, in a way, magical. Like, as Jack Black says in the movie "The Holiday," anything can happen when they blow. What an amazing world we live in. I knew I majored in Geography for a reason.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007



We decided early on in our marriage that Lance would be in charge of anything relating to the cars. This includes maintenance, tab renewals, car washes--you name it. Occassionally, I will fill up the car with gas, but that is pretty much where my role ends. I also discovered early on that waiting until the last minute to do things is just part of who Lance is. ( I must admit I procrastinate a bit myself...but only with certain things like sending birthday gifts or doing homework.) He will always get things done...just on his own timetable.

With these two facts revealed, you can now guess why my Rav4 is sitting in the garage, waiting for the '08 tabs to be delivered and we are forced to carpool to work every day. Lance gets to hear me kindly "urging" him to hurry up while he gets ready every morning, listen to my grouchy comments at the radio annoucers and put up with my not so chipper attitude about his choice of conversation on the way to work. I think next year we will have our new license tabs well before they expire. Lance will remember this week and be sure of that.

To his credit, he usually just chuckles at my comments and thinks my "I wish we didn't have to carpool, don't talk to me before 9 a.m., I hate mornings" attitude is cute. I think one of the most amazing things about our relationship is no matter how flawed we are as people, we have the ability to look past those flaws and see the good in each other. And laugh and tease each other about our silly mannerisms. Maybe that is what love is. Whatever it is, I can't WAIT until I can drive myself to work. Less stressful (and peaceful) for all involved.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

One of Our Favorite Things

Seeing as we haven't had a proper date for weeks, we decided to try to have an official one this afternoon. (Sorry Lance, but staying at home to order pizza and watch football or a DVD is NOT a real date. ) We started out by going to Tom's (my older, charming brother's) favorite restaurant - The Soup Plantation. We snuck in there at 3:55 p.m. so we could still qualify for the lunch discount price but still be able to take advantage of the dinner menu that starts at 4:00 p.m. Sneaky and frugal. That's us.

Anyway, our second destination was to be the local dollar theater so we could watch Hairspray. I wasn't too fond of the original one, but for $1.00 per ticket, I could suffer through it. However, my stomach wasn't feeling so well after our salad (or in Lance's case - pasta and baked goods) gorgefest so we decided to just drive around in the rain for a bit.

I have to say, this was much better than a movie. AND we saved two whole bucks. We talked and laughed about lots of things and listened to our iPod. We decided that car trips that involve listening to (and often singing along with) Katie Melua, Norah Jones, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Williams, the MoTab, The Fray, whatever 80's band that Lance has liked and Nickelback are one of our favorite ways to spend time together. (SIDENOTE: You KNOW our kids are going to think their parents are so cool with the types of music we enjoy. :-) )

I am now happily doing my homework, grateful that Steve Jobs invented the iPod. And that Lance is good about downloading music that not only he likes, but songs I like as well. All I want to do now is freeze frame this moment in my memory forever.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Because sometimes someone can say it better

My good friend Lisa and her husband just adopted a baby boy after a VERY, VERY long and difficult struggle with infertility. Their situation gives a whole new meaning to suffering (in my opinion.) She sent us an invitation to a "welcome baby" shower and the following poem was included on the invite.

We prayed and prayed for a baby to love.
We looked for answers from God above.
As time went by our hearts seemed to break.
Was our faith being tested, how long must we wait?

Please listen my child, your prayers I hear.
I have a plan, put aside your fear.
From the begining it was meant to be.
This precious baby is your gift from me.
So open your arms and dry your tears,
I give you this child the rest of your years.

Author of this poem is unknown but I must say thank you. Thank you for penning words the fill so many couples hearts who struggle with infertility. Thank you for reminding us that there is hope. Yes, sometimes someone can say it better.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

In over our heads

I am happy to say I just finished my first grad school assignment. Have you ever had the feeling that you are the dumbest person in a room? Or a gut instinct that whispers "what have you gotten yourself into?" Well, I have had both of these feelings..A LOT...this week. Oh well - I guess that means I have a lot to learn from my fellow co-hort members! I am not trying to be the top of the class, that is for sure. Passing would be the best gift EVER. I am hoping it will get easier over time.

Funny side note: Sofi discovered how to open her doggie treat cupboard yesterday. I came home from dinner to find she had eaten four "greenies" dog bones and a good portion of her milkbones. She was lying on her side, whining a little when I walked into the kitchen. I guess her stomach was a little queasy. She made multiple trips outside in the middle of the night to relieve this queasiness. I should have taken a picture of our little glutton. It was a sight to behold and I couldn't help but laugh as she looked up at me with her "I don't feel so good" eyes. Serves you right, Miss Naughty!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

And then there were six....

Welcome Neil William Anderson!

The Smemoe clan seems to be averaging at least 1 if not more babies per year. We are happy to announce that Lance's sister and brother-in-law welcomed their third son to the world on Friday, August 17th. Lisa and baby Neil are both healthy and happy and we now have a total of four nieces, six nephews and one great niece to claim as part of our extended family. And I am sure the family will continue to grow.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Some Fun Goals...

Well, this posting isn't really going to tell you what we have been up to as of late...mostly because there isn't much to report. However, I have been pondering the meaning of our life lately and decided that Lance and I have not fully taken advantage of our time without children. For those of you who don't know, we have not been able to have children yet. I won't pretend it is a secret. It has been a rough road.

Well, I have been thinking about dreams I had that I put on the burner for whatever reason. And, well, I am ready to make a "To Do" list of things I want to do before we have kids. Not only am I ready to make the list, I am ready to complete the list. Okay, I will admit some of the goals are lofty and would require great courage on my part. Others would just require a little convincing Lance to take time off work so we can travel.
  • Travel to Europe. I especially want to go to London. I love Brits. They have the best accents, produce the best actors/actresses and phenomenal writers. I wouldn't mind visiting Scotland or Norway either.
  • Start up a book club. Why? Because I love to read and read and read. And I love to take on iniatives, for some odd reason.

  • Write a book. Yes, I have always wanted to be a writer. Young Adult fiction would be my genre. Now, to conjure up an idea. I wrote a book when I was 12. Maybe I could do something with what I already wrote.

  • Try out for a community play. Probably a shock to many, but I have always secretly liked acting. When I didn't get a part in the One Act play in HS, I gave up this aspiration. So, I figured it was time to explore this avenue again. Can't hurt, can it? This is the scariest idea. Not sure if I will get enough guts up to do this one. BUT, I know quite a few people who have done something like this so it is worth a try.

  • Attend a movie premiere in Los Angeles. Not sure which one or how to get tickets, but wouldn't that be fun? I mean, come on...we live so close to Hollywood. Might as well take advantage of the few perks Hollywood can give.

  • Go back to school and get a Masters. (This is the easiest...already on my way!)

  • Spend the summer in Finland. Not sure if this would be financially feasible, but I would love to go back and often.
  • Take the train up to Northern California and camp in the Redwood forests. No explanation needed here.

I really hope to live a life without regrets. So, maybe, just maybe, you will see postings in the future, documenting my completion or attempts at this To Do list! Now if I could just gather up enough courage and find the time....

*Note: I asked Lance what he would like to accomplish and he just said "Do a good job at work." Hmm...guess I will have to be the creative one for now.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Be Our Guest!

We have had visitors every weekend but one since moving into our new home last month. The first set of visitors were Lance's brother Loren, sister-in-law Kara, niece Arianna, nephew Lincoln, and brother Christopher, who visited us for several days. It would have been a tough crowd to accommodate in our old place, and we were glad to have a couple extra bedrooms.

We grilled, had fondue, went to the dog park, went to the beach, and walked to Kristi's favorite frozen dairy product destination, Yogurtland, during the first few days. We also rested up for the big day that we had planned on Tuesday: visiting both Disneyland and California Adventure.

Chris, Loren, Arianna, and I arrived at Disneyland in the mid-morning and went straight to Space Mountain. The indoor roller coaster would be Arianna's first theme park ride. Aria was quite a trooper--she told us that she was not scared on any of the rides except for the Matterhorn. And I don't blame her for that one. Nobody likes the abominable snowmen that are camped in the dark recesses of that mountain.

Kristi joined us at California Adventure in the afternoon, after we went home to allow Aria to take a quick nap. Kristi was hoping to ride the raft ride, Grizzly River Run, but the wait was almost an hour. Fortunately, a stranger handed her two Fastpasses for the ride just as we were passing by.
As you can see, Kristi and Arianna were grinning from ear to ear on the way in. They were soaking wet but still smiling on the way out. I think many of the visitors found it entertaining to see two girls in pretty dresses plummeting down the big waterfalls.
We had a great time with our guests and look forward to having Kristi's family visit in November!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Sparky and Ammi

Sparky - I dedicate this post to you! Hugs (since we both know how much you liked to be touched) - Ammi


I treasure the type of relationships where the passage of time does not have an affect on the friendship in the least bit. You know - the kind of friend you probably haven't seen or talked to in years but when you do finally catch up, it was as though you just saw each other a week ago? You can just pick up where you left off, despite the major life changes and challenges each person has faced.

That is the way it is with my friend Jenny Wheeler. We first met when we were assigned to be companions in the Missionary Training Center in Provo. I thought for sure we would kill each other. Imagine the Odd Couple....That was us. Amazingly enough, we quickly learned to embrace each other's differences and became the best of friends. In fact, Jenny was my maid of honor at our wedding and we have silly nicknames for each other.

Last time we saw each other was in May of 2004. Last Tuesday, she shows up on our doorstep, with one of her younger sisters, for a week long visit. Instantly, we picked up exactly where we left off and spent a week joking, teasing each other (Lance and April were the brunt end of the fun making as well), reminiscing about our time together in Finland and BYU, and laughing about absolutely everything.

While Jenny and April were here, they visited Disneyland, went on a day excursion to Catalina Island, did some sightseeing in San Diego and ate enough food so they could "roll from location to location."

I was sad to drop Jenny off at the airport yesterday. She even let me hug her goodbye...a rare treat. Thanks for the laughs and good times!

Wheeler and Amundson on Catalina Island, 8/3/07
Hmmm...we still look the same as we did on our mission...

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Only 24 Hours

I finished it. It only took me 24 hours (not consecutively) to finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I don't want to spoil anything for those who still need to read it or who are waiting for the movie to come out BUT I will say that Ms. Rowling did NOT disappoint me. (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.) I feel the $18.00 was money well spent. (I couldn't even talk to Lance until I could finish it. The book is that spellbinding!)

Despite the bloodbath and the intensity of the book, I can honestly say I set down the finished book feeling very uplifted and touched. J.K. Rowling has, in my opinion, a very good grasp on humanity and on the weaknesses and strengths of people. This series (of what I have read so far) reminded me of C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Well, back to reality! (And enough of my tribute to the Harry craze. Because I usually have much more important things to write about, such as the gardener seeing me naked and my dog hugging a stuffed animal :-). ) I wish I could spend the summers reading all day long like I did as a child. But, adulthood is what it is and I must work and be responsible.

Monday, July 30, 2007

A Rat, A Break-in, and Two Old Men

So, even though my weekend was mostly taken up by the reading of the Harry Potter book (Yes, I broke down and purchased it on Friday), I did manage to have a few exciting events happen while Lance was out of town.

The Rat. We decided to buy Sofi a Remy rat at Disneyland. Remy is the main character in the new Disney film Ratatouille. With Sofi, you never know what she is going to do with stuffed animals. Usually, she destroys them and tears out their insides. For some reason it was different with Remy. First, I caught her in this position in the hallway with her new friend.

Then, I caught her doing the following a few minutes later. Luckily, I already had my camera.

Who would have ever thought she would love this rat so much?

The Break-in. Naturally, I locked all of the windows and doors as soon as I got home from work on Friday - including the door between the kitchen and the garage. A woman who was going to be alone all night needed to take precautions. Deciding I better put on Sofi's flea repellent before I went to bed, (why, I don't know) I ventured into the garage to find it in one of our unpacked boxes. Sofi followed me and the kitchen door closed behind me. I discovered only seconds later that it was locked and I couldn't get back into my house. 10:00 p.m. at night, no shoes, no keys, and Lance thousands of miles away with our only other key. Luckily, my good friend Becky lives down the road so I roused her and her husband out of bed. An hour later, my trim around the door was removed, but Martin (Becky's husband) had successfully broken into my house. The good news is it took great effort for him to do it so I know our locks hold up well! I slept better all weekend knowing this.

Two Old Men. I spent most of Saturday with my good friend and adopted mom, Margaret. We went to the Carlsbad Outlet Mall to do a little shopping. While there, we decided to have a bite to eat at Ruby's Dinner at one of their outside tables. While we were eating, we noticed that two men walking by our table and grinning. They were definitely past their prime of life. Finally, one of them asked if they could join us for lunch. I am sure they were hitting on least I hope so! Anyway, we politely refused and they asked a few more times before they finally left. Hmmm....Can't say I have ever been hit on by an elderly gentleman. Needless to say, I am VERY glad Lance is home again, safe and sound.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Peer Pressure and Media Influence

Okay, as I have stated before, we are not a Harry Potter-crazed family. I have only read two of the books (One and Six). Lance isn't at all intersted in reading the books but loves to see the movies in the theater. I prefer to rent them because it is cheaper and I figure I can wait to see them. So, can someone explain why I all of the sudden can not wait to purchase the last HP book and read it non-stop until I finish it???? Is it because I shouldn't miss out on what the media claims to be the "end of an era"? Is it because almost every youth at church has already read it or almost finished? Maybe because my boss is reading it before she starts work in the a.m. and for a solid hour during her lunch break? Or maybe because I am re-reading the Beverly Lewis' Abram's Daughters Series for the third time and I need something new for my imagination to grasp onto? Or maybe, just maybe, I am a true Harry Potter fan and am just trying to squelch the secret desire to get lost in J.K. Rowling's make-believe world?

I think I will break down and go purchase it from Costco on the way home from work sometime this week. I am not even concerned what happens to Harry. I figure good will overcome evil and if he dies, he did a great thing for the greater good. If he lives, ah, well that will be alright as well. (Now I am probably creating enemies from all of the Harry lovers out there.)

My biggest and only concern is that Hermoine and Ron end up together. They better or I will forever be mad at J.K. Rowling!!!! (Not to mention will kick myself for purchasing a hardcover book when I could have waited a little while and get it much cheaper in paperback.)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Kristi and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Morning

I knew from the moment that I woke up to Sofi's whines coming from my side of the bed at 5:30 a.m., it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad morning. I will try to give a condensed list of the reasons why my morning soured quite quickly.

  • Since Lance worked until 4 a.m. last night, I had to take Sofi for a walk. (You all know that mornings and I are not friends to begin with.)
  • Sofi dug up and ate something very rancid on our walk around the neighborhood. See below for why this was very, very bad.
  • I couldn't find my pants in all of our luggage today so I had to wear one of my winter skirts.
  • I couldn't get the hot water to work in the shower and had to wake up the not so chipper Lance to show me how to work the complicated shower knob.
  • As I was showering, a strange man with a mower walked by our curtain-less bathroom bay window and saw me completely naked.
  • Just as I was about to put my towel on, mower man walks by again, most likely seeing me in my full naked splendor once again.
  • Lance decided to let Sofi out to play in the backyard unbeknownst of the dangerous weed whipper the gardener was using.
  • As our doggie treats are buried in the garage under some boxes, I had to use part of my lunch (string cheese) to lure Sofi into the house away from the weed whipper.
  • Just as I was about to leave the house for work (10 minutes late), Sofi threw up all over our freshly cleaned carpet. I am sure whatever she ate on the walk didn't agree with her or the string cheese she inhaled earlier.
  • As I was attempting to call my boss on the way to work, to inform her of my impending tardiness, I realized that my cell phone was dead.
  • I arrived 20 minutes late to work without a lunch.
The thought going though my head as I drove.
This must be what it is like to be a mother of a toddler. Awww...splendid.
Hopefully, like the little boy, Alexander, my day will improve as it goes on.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

We've Moved!

After being on our feet constantly since early this morning, I thought I would take a short break to update everyone. We have officially moved into our new home. The move went fairly well. The only downside is it took the electric company until 5 p.m. to turn on our electricity at our new house. (Thus, all of our refrigerated and frozen food is still at the old house.) The movers were very efficient - and very forward. They flat out asked Lance if he would buy them pizza for lunch. Oh well...I suppose they worked hard and deserved it.

My goal is to unpack as much of the kitchen tonight before I have to head back to work tomorrow. It's good to be home.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cherish the Thought

Our niece, Arianna, along with her parents, little brother and Uncle Chris will be coming to visit next weekend. Since Arianna's 5th birthday was at the end of June, we decided to send her a certificate for an all day pass to Disneyland and California Adventure Park, along with some Carebear stickers I bought at the store. I spent a few minutes making an "official" certificate on our computer at home before guiltily dropping it into the mail quite a few days late.

Ari opened up her card after breakfast yesterday and was very excited about this simple gift. My sister-in-law told me that Ari couldn't wait to share her new stickers with her friends. She also couldn't stop talking about the "four" rides she was going to go on at Disneyland.

We received this picture by email and couldn't resist. We had to post it. Isn't it cute? Remember a time when you were excited to receive somethings as simple as a few sheets of stickers for your birthday and couldn't wait to share? This image warms our hearts and reminds us what the true spirit of generosity is and about the simple pleasures in life.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Celebrate Life

Grandpa is the 2nd from the left. This was taken Christmas 2005.

Besides finding a nice home to live in, we have a few things to celebrate this week. First and foremost, Grandpa Richardson (Lance's grandpa) was finally taken off life support yesterday and he is breathing on his own. Grandpa was in a major car accident and has been in critical condition for almost two weeks. He is miraculously able to talk. Miracle of miracles. ICUs and Life Support are both things that cause my heart to sink in remembrance of my mom's last few weeks. I was relieved to see him pull through. We both love Grandpa for his upbeat attitude and his smiling face. We continue to pray for his recovery.

David goofing around on Christmas with Alex and his wife Vicki.

Also, my big brother David celebrated his 48th birthday yesterday. I have been missing him a lot lately (as he lives on the other side of the country) so I just wanted to post a mini-tribute to him. David has always been a good brother to me and my brothers. We especially love his incessant teasing, odd quirks, his guitar playing and the fun songs that he sings and his ability to mimic our voices in the stories he tells of our youth. Happy Birthday Davie!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Sneak Preview

Though I don't claim to be a huge Harry Potter fan, I was very excited to be able to see a sneak preview to the newest Harry Potter movie "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." Lance's law firm rented out a theater and let all employees and their immediate families watch the movie two days before the release for a mere $3.00 a ticket.

It is neat to see these actors grow up as their characters do. I especially liked the character of Luna Lovegood. She reminded me of Ivory - a sweet and unique 14 year old in Minnesota. There were some really good messages in this movie. My favorite was that we all have good and evil in us (a.k.a. the natural man). What is important is the side of us we choose to act upon.

I am also pleased to annouce that there appears to be a subtle romance between Ms. Grangier and Mr. Weasley. Truly the only reason I want to read the last book is to see them end up together. Oh yeah - and I want to know if Harry does overcome evil and whether or not he lives. Major message of the movie - There is always hope. I really believe that. There is always hope.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

And so it begins....

Well, we found a place to lease about a mile from where we live now. We absolutely love the home and we were excited to learn of the lease-to-own option the owner is offering. If all goes well, we move on July 18th. The great news is it has a BACKYARD and four bedrooms PLUS a driveway. Yes, some people do have driveways and yards bigger than a patio here in Southern California. I plan on taking pictures when we go to meet the leasing agent on Thursday. Oh yeah....did I mentioned we will be able to stay in the same ward and my Creative Memories consultant lives three doors down?

So, our move is in about two weeks and, as you can imagine, our days have turned into a flurry of moving-related activities. I still plan on posting pictures soon of our vacation. But, that may have to wait until after our move. I hope Move #6 will go smoothly, and more importantly, it will be the last one for awhile.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Like a Good Neighbor

One of the best things about our current home is that we have wonderful neighbors. Of all of the places we have lived in our short time together, we would have to say our OC neighbors have been the most friendly and helpful. (Go figure? I am guessing this is because we don't have family around so we have lots of time to go visit and chat with our neighbors.)

From Margaret, my sudo-mother/scrapbooking partner, to the Manlers, our adopted family complete with two boys and a beagle of their own, we are going to miss seeing them walking their dogs, riding their bikes or watering their flowers.

Sofi even knows where each family lives. Sometimes, she will go over to Parker's house (Parker is a dog her age that is Sofi's best friend), scratch on the door, and Joe or Maia will let her in to play with Parker for a bit.

I don't think you could find a better group of people. We will miss living next door to our new best friends.

(Above is a picture of one of the neighborhood boys that Sofi adores. Every time they go skateboarding by, she whines incessantly until we let her out to say hi. Sofi is going to be sad when we move to another house as well!)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Settling Down

We found out when we returned from vacation that we have to move as our landlord is selling our property. (Actually, he was a major home investor in our area and has decided to start unloading his property. What does that tell you about the real estate market?)

Anyway, I am quite depressed about this forced life change. I love our neighborhood and our neighbors and our little house. I just settled into our ward and into my calling. I am finally starting to feel like I belong after feeling so lost out here.

My friend, who is a therapist by trade, told me "You know what you need more than anything right now, Kristi? You need stability. You need to settle down and stop moving. I think you would find great peace and happiness after settling down." Amen, sister.

I am SO tired of moving. My sister and brother-in-law have moved 10 times in the 7 years they have been married. I have moved 5 going on 6 in the five years we have been married. I have no desire to beat their record.

As silly as this sounds, I am desperately praying we will be able to find a house in our neighborhood and soon. AND I want to figure out where we are going to live the next five years, move there and stay. No more adventures for me. Just give me the white picket fence, the mortgage, and the kids to play in the backyard (or the patio, if you happen to live in Southern California.)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Rest and Relaxation

We just returned from the Smemoe/Richardson family reunion in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I can't wait to post pictures but, alas, find the daunting task of unloading 300 photos from our camera a little overwhelming tonight as I am still suffering jet lag from our trans Atlantic flight.

We had a great time and already miss all of the nieces and nephews and Uncle Eddy's Frozen Custard. This was the most relaxing vacation I have ever had. I would wholeheartedly support anyone's decision to go on vacation there. In fact, the NC Visitor's Bureau would benefit by having me as one of their spokespersons. Anyone up to the trip next year? We would love to get a beach home and share it with you!! I will post a long, summary of our time at the beach soon.

Oh yeah...did I mention I received my acceptance into Cal State Fullerton and have decided to complete my MS degree in Instructional Design and Educational Technology with them? School starts on August 18th. Here I go...onward and upward, right?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Flowering Boulevard

I have been thinking a lot about my mom lately, remembering her endearing quirks and the small things she enjoyed. She loved flowers (though allergic to most perfumes) and every spring she looked forward to the blooming of her lilac bushes. My boss at work informed me one day that we had lots of Jacaranda trees in our neighborhood and they would bloom a pretty lilac color soon.
Did they ever! Every time we take Sofi for a walk or drive to work, I enjoy the natural beauty along our own "boulevard." We are very blessed to have these little pleasures in life.

Belated Birthday Pics

As promised, here are the pictures of Lance's baked good birthday surpirse that was delivered to him on April 17, 2007. I wish I had Photoshop so I could edit these pictures. Maybe that will be on my Christmas wish list this year....

The cupcakes were scrumptious...and the chocolate chip cookies divine. Lance was nice enough to save me some.

Awww...My husband knows I scrapbook so he saved the card I sent and took a picture of it. How sweet.

Lance and his serious, GQ pose with the hideous castle box the cookies came in. Albeit, the box is more suited for a little girl, but hey, it is the thought that counts, right?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My Prince

Yesterday Lance and I celebrated our five year anniversary. We had a very laid back day and a sweet, romantic dinner at The Waters Restaurant. We reminisced about the last five years, realizing we have moved six times, lived in three different states, graduated with both bachelors and a Juris Doctorate degree, helped take care of a sick parent, lost a parent and two babies, adopted a puppy (who is now our baby), traveled around the country and to Finland and shared many more laughs, good times, tears, worries, frustrations, heartbreaks, prayers, and lots of love.

In honor of our anniversary, I wanted to list a few little-known facts about Lance that make him the wonderful, unique husband that he is.

  1. He brings me a glass of water to my nightstand every night in case I get thirsty.

  2. He tells the same quirky jokes over and over again. Sometimes annoying, but mostly, endearing.

  3. He loves to eat anything that is not good for cream, alfredo sauce, brownies, cookies. Whenever I send him to the grocery store, he always comes home with a food that is not on my "eating healthy" list. But once he grins and gives me his puppy dog eyes, I can't help but smile at this sweet antic.

  4. He gets up early every morning to walk our dog because I like to sleep in.

  5. He loves children movies and movies made in the 80s/early 90s. He would rather watch Curious George than Ocean's 13.
  6. He will do the dishes every night I cook. He claims that is his job.

  7. When he cooks, he follows a recipe to the "T" down to the amount of time he needs to boil the pasta. This exactness is carried to every aspect in his life.

I am so grateful that we found each other. It has been a great ride so far and we are looking forward to the years ahead. Here is a recent picture of my bubba and our little girl. (And Sammie the Cockapoo...Sofi's buddy.)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Best Way to Spend Money

This Saturday we volunteered at RESOLVE's Adoption Conference in Pasadena. It was an all day event and we learned a lot about adoption, finding out when to move on from infertility treatments to adoption, birthparents, international and domestic adoption. You name it. Every woman there cried at least one and a few men were moved as well. A wonderful, touching experience.

Attending this conference made me think about our lives and the challenges we face. We have to make very tough choices. Either we adopt or buy a house. Either we save up money to do IVF cycles or we save up money to go on a trip to Hawaii with Lance's family in a few years. We can't do both. We can't afford to do both. I am sometimes very discouraged by these decisions we are forced to make. So many of those around me don't and won't ever have to make this type of sacrifice to have children. (Though I recognize that all women do sacrifice for their children...just not always in this way.) For lack of a better adjective, this just sucks.

After sharing this idea with my friend Jen B. at church today, she said, lovingly.
"Well, what a better thing to spend your money on."

She is right. This way is not always easy, but it will be worth it. So, we will gladly forgo Hawaii in 2011 and buying a home with a yard and save up our money so we can do everything within our power to have a family. Not just one child, but the 6 we always dreamed of having.

We want to adopt domestically and internationally someday. Lance said he would love to have children from the U.S., from Russia or Ukraine or Kryghystan, and Asia. We may end up doing infertility treatments again. And one day, years from now, I will read this post and smile to myself and look at my little family, knowing the hard work, sacrifice, mourning, tears and love that went into finding all those that needed to be a part of our family.

Jen, you are wise beyond your years and a great friend.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


One of my all-time favorite movies is "The Cutting Edge" starring Moira Kelly. It is a story about an ex-hockey player who grudgingly learns how to figure skate in order to become a far-from-pleasant female figure skater's partner. For each character, this is their last chance to make it to the Olympics. As you can imagine, they hate each other at first but in the end...well, it wouldn't be one of my favs if there wasn't a bit of romance and a happy ending, right?

Anyway, there is a line from the movie where their Russian trainer says "We....Are.....In," as they watch a pair of skaters fall during the Nationals. Basically, he meant they were going to the Olympics.

So, I use that saying now. accepted me to their M.A. in Educational Technology program. Bienvenue Malibu!

I am still waiting to hear from Cal State Fullerton. I was told the decisions will be sent out the first week in June. Keeping my fingers crossed that I will get to make a choice between these schools.

Weekend of Nostalgia

During the first weekend in May we decided to take a shortened road trip to St. George, UT to visit our mission president and his wife (Kim and Pam Johnson, a.k.a. Kimo ja Pammi). Sofi was dropped off at her favorite doggie hotel Friday night for a weekend long playdate while Lance and I left first thing Saturday morning to make the 6 hour trek through the desert. We were home by Monday for Lance's a.m. meetings and for my set of doctor appointments.

The weekend was splendid and we felt so at home at the Johnsons'. Sisar Johnson sent us home laden with Finnish candy (Fazer...yummm...), mehu (juice) and sinappi (mustard) and spoiled us all weekend with homecooked meals. We spent a lot of time reminiscing of our days in Finland together and they were kind enough to look at all of my scrapbooks that we lugged along. (Literally, we had to basically drag them out of the car as they weight at least 50 lbs. all together.) We attended a session in the St. George temple and played a couple mean games of Rook during the two short days we spent with them.

Overall, the weekend was the best weekend I can remember having as of late. I felt so loved and cherished in their prescence. The Johnsons are upstanding, righteous examples of charity and service. They are also extrememly accepting of others. They are and will always be special to both Lance and I. We look forward to our next visit. Maybe this August? They reassured us that Sofi was welcome to come the next time.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Lance's Birthday

So I am only a week late in reporting how Lance's 27th went. He really didn't want to do much this year nor did he ask for anything. Sure makes it hard to plan a huge bash for the birthday boy! I did want to make his day special (as he always does for me) so I did the following:

  • I almost got up in time to make him breakfast. But, alas, getting up early will NEVER, EVER be my strong point. So instead, I bought him a pastry at the grocery store the day before and made sure we had orange juice.

The Wonderland Bakery put together a huge castle box full of cookies, cupcakes and bookmarks and delivered it to his work. Luckily, I dropped the camera off at his workplace during my lunch break so we will have pictures to post of this. He sent me an email to say:

I received a huge, house looking box today. I am sure you had something to do with this. Thank you, honey. Now, if I could just figure out how to open it.
  • For dinner we went to the Melting Pot again. We had a coupon that we couldn't let go to waste :-) I made sure to have balloons, a card and roses waiting there for him.
  • I purchased a gourmet german chocolate cake from a fancy local bakery. (Let's face it - working full time, taking care of a hubby and puppy AND volunteering takes up most of my free time and leaves little time for baking. ) I only had one small piece but thought the toasted coconut on the sides of the cake added a special touch. Lance agreed and proceeded to eat the cake over the next few days.
  • I decided to buy him an iPod Nano. He loves music and loves Apple products. (We are definately a MAC if we could just purchase a MAC computer one of these days :-) ) He has been using this gift constantly ever since. More than once I have heard him belting John Elton's "I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues" on his walks with Sofi.

The only disappointment of the whole day was that he forgot the camera at work so I don't have any pictures of the festivities. Once the camera resurfaces at home, I will post pictures of the tasty surprise.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Buon Giorno Principessa

Our Early Morning Routine
5:45 a.m. - Sofi wakes up, stretches, scratches her ears, cleans her unmentionable parts like a cat, yawns really loud. Her way of saying - Get up and take me for a walk.
5:50 a.m. - Realizing we aren't moving yet, she jumps off our bed (don't get me started on why we have a dog in our bed) and makes her way to the front door.
5:51 a.m. - Sofi scratches the front door, whines a little, and then sits patiently in front of it. This is Lance's cue to get dressed and take her out.
6:00 a.m. - Sofi and Lance leave for a quick walk. I go back to sleep.

Are you picturing this yet? Well, this morning, Sofi decided to mix it up a bit. She woke up at her usual time but both Lance and I were NOT getting up that early. Lance worked until 2 a.m. and I never sleep well when he is gone. Needless to say, we were beat.

She did her usual scratch, lick, yawn, stretch bit and then scratched relentlessly at the front door, whining quite loudly. We both pretended we were completely deaf and in comas. Realizing we weren't going to budge, Sofi trotted back into our room.

Silence. Silence always means trouble when you have a snoopy beagle. I dared to peek out of one of my eyes, only to see her sitting right next to my side of the bed, her head cocked slightly to one side, looking for signs of life. I should have been an actress because I was doing a great job of pretending I was asleep. Sofi knew better.

Next thing I know, she is up on our bed, burrowing herself underneath the covers next to me.

"Good." I thought. "She is going back to sleep. Good girl."

Boy, was I wrong. Definitely wrong. No more monkey business for this dog. She thrashed around under the covers for about 2 minutes. When I say thrash, I mean THRASH. As though she was bitten by fleas. Hoping to win my Oscar for this great sleep scene, I laid as still as a stump.

Sofi peeked out of the covers every 30 seconds or so to see if I was awake. Then, seeing I wasn't going to give in, she went back to her undercover burrowing. After her doing this twice, I couldn't feign it any longer. My laugher gave me away.

She proceeded to bound out from underneath the comforter, shower me with puppy kisses, then sit at the edge of the bed looking longingly at the door. (I am not exaggerating. She has these looks about her. Guilty looks, sad looks, mad looks, begging looks. Her eyes are quite expressive.) Against every fiber in my being, I got up, put on a coat and shoes and took that silly dog for her morning trot around the block.

Mission accomplished, Princess Sofi.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Congrats Vicki!

My sister-in-law Vicki just told me she got the job of her dreams, working as a faculty member at a branch of West Virginia University. Three cheers for Vicki! I am really excited for much, I had to post it to our blog.

Red Cross Graduates

Yesterday, Lance and I completed the Red Cross Adult/Child/Infant CPR and First Aid Certification. We even bought a CPR mask, in case we will need it in an emergency.

I am even toying with the idea of becoming a member of the CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) and completing the training program they offer.

I did decide we need to make sure we have a good 72 hour kit and need to store more water. You can never be too prepared in S. California!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Death of a Bunny

I should be writing my essay for Graduate school right now. But, I have been procrastinating this task for a month now. So I figure, why not procrastinate another 20 minutes?

Top Ten Reasons this Easter Weekend Rocked

10. I didn't have to make a huge ham dinner.

9. My deviled eggs were perfecto. (Thanks again to my Aunt Lorraine for the secret recipe.)

8. Ferris Bueller's Day Off came in the mail from Blockbuster.

7. The Easter Bunny was quite good to Lance and I.

6. We got to chaperone the Irvine Stake's Youth Dance. Loud music, a bunch of LDS teenagers, and Lance having to stop boys swinging from the basketball hoop. Best time EVER.

5. I was asked to dance by a 16 year old boy. I politely refused...But sure, I was flattered! Looking like your 14 yrs. old when you are actually 28 can be a compliment, right?

4. Sofi loved her new stuffed bunny.

3. Cheap stuffed bunny from Ralph's: $9.99. Watching Sofi tear the bunny up: $0. Vet bill for removing stuffing from her intestines: $1000 Lance getting to use the shop vac to vaccuum up the blanket of stuffing off of our floor: Priceless.

Disclaimer: We really didn't have to go to the vet, as I feared. Apparently, Sofi's digestive system is quite mature and can handle a lot of polyester.

2. We were able to talk to most of our family members on the phone.

1. I was able to teach a lesson on Easter and how it relates to us @ church. What a great way to remember the Savior and the true meaning of Easter! I love teaching....

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Yes, The Easter Bunny Delivers

Feeling very homesick for MN, my mom, and the Easters I had as a kid, I decided to become the Easter bunny this year. I felt that the non-married males in my family needed an Easter basket surprise. I headed to my two favorite stores to buy Easter goodies - Harry and David's and Target.

I spent way more than I should at Harry and David's but figured it was okay because they sell my beloved Jordan almonds, some tasty gummy bunnies and Lance's fav - truffles. (I can thank my Auntie Lorraine for helping me to discover this great candy store. Another reason to be MN homesick.)

But, my Easter spending spree did not stop there. I went to Target and decided that no only would I send baskets to my brothers and dad, but I would send a package to Lance's little brother who is on a LDS mission. As I unloaded my CARTfull of marshmellowy peeps, chocolate eggs, jelly beans, pastel-colored plastic eggs, M&Ms, Milkyway Bunnies, Crunch bars, etc., the checker's eyes grew large.

Checker: "Wow. Your kids are going to be really happy this Easter."
Kristi: "Why do you say that?"
Checker: "I have never seen anyone buy that much candy for Easter baskets and I have been here a few years."

Thanks Targetman! I guess my kids will be lucky. Not this year, though, since I don't have any kiddies at home. I filled my baskets last night, getting ready to ship them and Lance and Sofi BOTH were stealing some chocolate off of the table. Lance ate so much candy that he didn't eat much of his dinner and Sofi had an upset stomach all night.

I guess I do have some "kids" at home afterall.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Picture Perfect Pup

Isn't she beautiful? We can't help but adore our little girl, Sofi. She is full grown now so she isn't so little anymore. The only way we know she is still a puppy is because she still chews up everything she can find....Pens are her contraband of choice. Good thing we invested in the Green Mean Carpet Cleaning Machine.

Fun Times with the Fam

Luke came out for his Spring break in March with his girlfriend Jamie. We had a lot of fun at Disneyland, the beach, Knott's Berry Farm, and just hanging around. The weather was perfect when they were here - upper 70s and sunny.

Sofi, of course, LOVED Uncle Lukie. She even slept with him one night. The picture above is my favorite picture of the whole trip. We were headed to Newport Beach and Sofi didn't want to sit in back with the Ladies. She had to squeeze her way up front. She got the attention from the boys she desired. Spoiled dog.

Luke refused to wear sun screen so he returned home a little crispy. Here we are at the Dog Beach in Huntington Beach. We tried to have a picnic but unfortunately learned that sand, turkey sandwiches and lots of dogs, don't really go together. Jamie gathered sea shells to take home to her mom and found quite a jackpot in Huntington Beach.

I was very sad to see Luke leave. I couldn't help laugh, though, when he and Jamie returned to two feet of snow in MN and we stayed here with our perfect weather.

California Missions

If I was trained in photography, my first artisitic journey in California would focus on the Catholic missions here. I would make a point to travel to all 21 mission and take pictures of these beautiful locations.

The San Juan Capistrano Mission is my favorite. The picture above is one I took while visiting it with Luke, my brother, last month. Not bad, eh?

I brought both of my visiting brothers out for a visit to this mission when they came to visit in Feb. (Tom's Visit) and in March (Luke's Visit).

Friday, March 23, 2007

New Chair Volunteer Position

I have always wanted to be a leader in the community. Almost like one of those dreams you have when you are a kid. (Like being the first female president. Yup, had that dream.) I always thought I would serve on the school board someday and maybe even be a city council member.

Well, I am getting a taste of this aspiration. And I am not even sure I want it anymore!!! I am now the Local Area Affilliate Chair for the Orange County Affliate of Resolve. (I offered to help after the former chair resigned, not knowing my offer would land me this position.) Ahhh!!! What did I volunteer myself for??? At least 4 hours of volunteer work a week (sometimes at up to 8 hours), a new email address just for Resolve and many challenges.

I am excited to work with all of the volunteers, though, and really believe in what Resolve stands for. I want to help other families who struggle building their own families. I hope I can do a good job. They can't fire me because it is a volunteer position. What a relief, right?

Sunday, February 25, 2007


We are trying mighy hard to train Sofi to NOT beg while we are eating at the dinner table. Our lessons are not well received so Sofi spends most meal times locked up in "time-out." We can't help but laugh at her naughtiness sometimes, however. Here is some evidence of our little beggar. (Note: The first picture is of Sofi peeking through Lance's arm as he eats his lunch. She tries to be sneaky, by poking her nose through our arms at first. After that, she decides to be bold, and jumps up in plain view.)

Bringing Romance Back

Valentine's Day went by quietly for us this year. We did use a coupon at a local steak house and received a fairly decent meal after a long, long wait. Lance surprised me with roses a few days before Valentine's Day and I bought him candy after Valentine's Day (gotta love the 50% off deals!). Before you think romance has left our marriage, let me reassure you it hasn't! Romance just waits for the weekend now.

We went a very mini-retreat to Pismo Beach, a city north of Santa Barbara, and took advantage of my President's Day holiday. The drive up the coast was delightful and the central vineyards refreshing to my eyes. California is a geographic wonder - you can delight in beach, mountains, farmland, forests and lakes, all in the same state.

Our hotel came with complimentary fuzzy bathrobes, a living room and a balcony overlooking the ocean.

We had a late night dinner at The Cracked Crab and dined on the the famous Bucket-O-Crabs. The watress dumbed two kinds of crab legs and shrimp, potatoes, corn and cajun sausage on our butcher paper covered table. No plates or silverware. Only special crab cracking tools and bare hands allowed. Melted butter and crab legs. Yum.

Here is a view of the ocean from out hotel room.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Family Visits

February and March are going to be busy months here at the Hotel Smemoe. Below is a list of all of the current/upcoming visits.

  • My brother Tom came to visit this past week for a few days. We visited the San Diego Zoo, ate at the Fish Market on the San Diego Bay, went for a walk on Point Loma, toured the Mission at San Juan Capistrano and ate at President Nixon's favorite Mexican Restaurant in San Juan Capistrano.
  • Luke and his girlfriend Jamie will be here for a week at the beginning of March. I will be taking a day or two off of work to show them around. We will be hitting lots of amusement parks and spending a lot of time on the ocean during their stay. Sofi can't wait for some love from Lukie.
  • The Loren Smemoe Family and Chris Smemoe Family will be here for a weekend. Right after Luke leaves, Loren, Kara, Arianna, Lincoln and Chris arrive for a quick weekend visit. Walt Disney looks forward to our patronage that week.

We hope to have more and more visitors over the years. I am hoping my brother David will come with his family soon.

Friday, January 26, 2007

You're Hired!

I got the job! I am now the new Operations Manager of the Humanities Instructional Resource Center. Whoohoo!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Change Will Do You Good

Well, I have decided that my life is in a rut and instead of feeling sorry for myself, I am going to do something about it. Call it New Years resolutions. Call it a bee in my bonnet. Call it whatever you like. The point is 2007 will be full of new adventures and initiatives. Lance is 100% supportive. Below are the following things that I have either done or in the process of doing to take advantage of the time given me:
  • Full Time Work - I have decided that I really need to get a full time job that is meaningful and will help me achieve my professional goals. I have an interview this week for an educational technology position at UCI. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will work out.
  • Grad School - I am applying to both Pepperdine and Cal State Fullerton for their Instructional Design/Educational Technology programs. Both programs are online and would allow me to work while I am going to school. I am praying really hard that one of these schools will accept me.
  • Resolve Volunteer - I am the current Public Education Coordinator for Resolve. This iniative really was a moment of inspiration. I decided I need to 1. Become more involved with this group for my own sanity and 2. Needed to volunteer outside of church. What does this mean, you may ask? I basically plan the monthly infertility educational meetings for all of Orange County. I get to help decide on topics (Such as Mind and Body, Adoption, Invitro, etc.), find professionals willing to speak and take care of all the details for annoucing it to the public and Resolve members.

More updates to come on our lives. I hope I will have good news!

Monday, January 22, 2007


This has to be the funniest sight we have seen in 2007. Sofi snatched a box of Cheez-its from the table while we were watching E.T. We heard a persistant "crunch-crunch-chomp" coming from the bedroom floor. When we peaked over the side of the bed, we saw this. Our creative little gal had figured out how to get as many crackers as she wanted by thrusting her whole head into the box.

Yup, our dog is a glutton. Humorous, cute most of the time, but a glutton nonetheless.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Paljon Onnea

I (Kristi Ann) celebrated my 28th birthday last Sunday. Those of you who know me know I LOVE to celebrate anything so my birth-day turned into a birth-extended weekend. Saturday I spent the day scrapbooking at my friend Becky's house. Scrapping without my Hufnagle gals and buddy Amber isn't the same. . .I especially missed the roses. :( However, I did get a gift certificate from my neighbor and enjoyed the company of my new California friends.

Sunday we had our friends the Williamsons and Nelsons over for a steak dinner, a friendly game of Balderdash (which I lost), and homemade Finnish Birthday cake (taytekakku as the Finns would say) topped with whipped cream and strawberries. Lance did the dishes. Best birthday gift ever! In fact, he seems to give me this gift every day practically.

Monday night was our "date" birthday celebration and we dined at my favorite restaurant, The Melting Pot. I never grow tired of having fondue. After we rushed home to take Sofi for her late night potty break, we headed to the dollar theater to see "Stranger Than Fiction." My review? two thumbs up. Enjoyable for both sexes and the right mix of comedy, tradgedy, life lessons and happy endings.

Overall, a very good birthday. Thanks to all of those who offered their well wishes and provided gifts.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Hoping for a Better 2007

We started our New Years taking it easy. We watched all 12 hours of the extended version of the Lord of the Rings over the course of New Years Eve and New Years Day (LKSmemoe family tradition.) Something can be said for watching an epic consequetively. Things make much more sense and one seems to get more emotionally involved with the story.

Lance has been working long hours at the firm, catching up from what he missed over Christmas break. He even worked a 8 a.m. - 6 a.m. shift last Friday. (No, that wasn't a typo. He worked 22 hours straight.) I bought him a computer game for Christmas and he spends the free time he has trying to beat it.

I have returned to my old routine and am working on getting the what few Christmas decorations I put up, down. We have a tradition of leaving our Christmas tree up in honor of the 1. Orthadox Christmas 2. "Wisemen Day" 3. Our procrastinating tendacies. I say it is because of the first two, but secretly I believe it is because of the third.

I feel that change is brewing. Let's see what 2007 holds for our tiny family.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Christmas in Review

We had an enjoyable Christmas in the frozen north. I was still recovering from my surgery when we left so the holidays in MN were not as we expected. Here are some pictures chronicling our holidays.

Goodbye Sofrina! We left Sofi in CA for ten days at the PetSmart Hotel. She posed so adorablelike before we left (literally hugging her stuffed beagle as she dozed off on the carpet.), we almost could not leave her. But, we did, and happily since I was too sore after surgery to chase after her.
The Earl Inn: We stayed with Tom, my brother, Tera, my niece, and her toddler, Adrianna. Tera relinquished her bed for sickie ol' me & Bubba and I can't thank her enough. Adrianna loved having two extra playmates and we spent many a late night playing games and snacking on treats. Adrianna so graciously introduced us to the Teletubbies and Lance and I are still singing the song. (Not sure what a hangover is like, but I am sure having this song stuck in your head is just as bad!) Here she plays video games with Uncle Lance. The picture is so cute it almost convinces me that video games are not evil and good for bonding with children. Notice I said ALMOST.

New Duds: Here is my new Christmas dress, courtesey of Hanna Andersson and Lance. I love this outfit.

Eve of Christmas: I was still feeling very poorly when Christmas Eve rolled around but was able to make a semi-homemade ham dinner with Tera's, Vicki's and Lance's help. While we were doing "women's work," the men did their work. You guessed it - watched a football game.

Smemoe Monopoly: Late Christmas Eve we broke out the Disney Monopoly game so we could honor the Smemoe family tradition. Lance was pretty disappointed because no one in my family is a big monopoly fan and we were pretty lenient with trading.

Our Christmas Miracles: We went to my Dad's for Christmas brunch. Their house was miraculously clean and beautifully decorated. It was almost as though my mom was still there running the Christmas festivities. Jeremy and my dad worked really hard to make a nice Christmas for us. Notice my Grandma Hufnagle's sweater (which I have worn every Christmas day since I was 11 years old) with Lance for our Christmas shot.

Our second miracle was I finally started to feel better Christmas. Sometime let me tell you about my trip on Christmas day to Walgreens and the wonder tonic I had to purchase. Embarrassing tale.

Aunt Titty Tat: Here I am with Baby Alex, David and Vicki's little guy. Can you believe I had invasive surgery not a week before this picture? David and Vicki started calling me Aunt Titty Tat (Gone with the Wind fans will understand) and Lexie Luu sure loved his Auntie. The feeling's mutual, Kid.

Cousin Love: Everyone seemed to love Alex, especially Adrianna. She would rock him in his car seat, pat his head when he cried and her favorite word was "Baybee." Here she tries to burb the baby with David's help.

Friends Again. . . Family Forever: I still wasn't 100% after Christmas and we weren't able to go visit Lance's sister Lisa in Canada. We did manage to visit a few friends and family between my naps and days of rest. We took our Heule friends to the Build-a-Bear Workshop. Lanceypoo is still Tatiana's favorite. (Tatianna is perched on Lance's shoulders in case you couldn't guess which one she was.)

My "girls" - cousins Helen, Sheryl, aunt Ruthann, and friend Amber went with me to enjoy lunch at Biaggi's. Four words: White Chocolate Bread Pudding. I love my cousins (Amber is an adoptive cousin as well) and my aunt. They were the medicine I needed.

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jog: And then it was over. We returned the day before New Years Eve, picked up Sofi, and took a LONG nap to recover from our travels. Over all, Christmas was a success even though I wasn't feeling well for most of it.