Monday, January 26, 2009

Sunday Competitions

For those of you who know the Smart clan - you know we can be extremely competitive with one another - just ask various in-laws who have married into the family - our actions were almost a deal breaker. I have even received a phone call or two from my sibling that lives in Argentina in order to settle a disagreement as to whom REALLY won the card game (no names are mentioned, but it doesn't take a nuclear phyisics degree to figure it out...)

So - why on earth do we foster these so called "family bonding" activities??? Because it's so freaking FUN!!! Last night - we ventured on a rousing game of Phase 10. Here's a list of the players:

Minday Udall, Annette Thompson, Mom, Matt Brown, Lindsay Brown (whom you constantly have to watch like a hawk b/c she thinks she's a sly cheater), me, and Grandma Pat (OK - she didn't really play - she served as the office card shuffler & dealer...we try to include anyone who may want to be apart of the mayhem.)

As the game ensued, the swear words were more frequent, mom's grunting noises going up decibals each round, and the cut throat skip cards threatening to break up relationships. The picture below pretty much encapsulates how "Christ Like" the actions of the players were...(I'd also like to point out that mom's expression doesn't exactly say "let's play nice" either)

Grandma the card shuffler, Lindsay, Matt, Mom, & Mindy

Never fear - we all leave as friends. Just as the intensity level may have reached a bursting point - Annette threw her cards down on the table and exclaimed "I'm not playing any more" just as she realized she was missing the latest Hallmark Hall of Fame movie that started 10 minutes previously (we tryed to persuade to stay by telling her that someone has already died in the show - where's it going to go from there - but she wouldn't relent.) That's the great thing about being a "Smart" and marrying into the craziness. We may be out for blood, guts, and use cut throat tactics to win the game (as exhibited each year in our kick off summer event of 'death match pool stick competition') but we always leave as friends & lovers. It's an intensity that we leave at the game table and it patiently waits for us to return each week...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sweet Song of the South

The more I visit the south, the more I love it. I made the trek this year over the busiest weekend for travel and went to see my Lettie in Greensboro, NC. Aside from me being one of her early Christmas presents, I made the request that this time when I came that we go to the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. Nola (Lettie's mama) promptly got online, bought our tickets, and reserved our time for Friday - the day after Thanksgiving - for the 9:00 a.m. tour. I know what you're thinking - 9:00 a.m. - perfect time - not too early and not too late. Well - let me mention that there is a 2 1/2 hour drive tacked onto that which meant we were out the door and on the road by 5:30 a.m. Followed by a 6:30 a.m. breakfast stop at Bojangles, we were back on the road and to our destination in plenty of time. Although the morning hour was tough - kudos to Nola for booking us that early. We beat the crowds, took our time w/ the audio tour, and explored every nook of the Biltmore House open to the public.

For those who have not been to the Biltmore House - it should definately be on your top 100 of places to go and things to see in your lifetime. I was very impressed with the structure itself, let alone the grounds and even the history of the Vanderbilt family. Since we were there after the Thanksgiving holiday, the house is decorated in all of its Christmas charm. I love Christmas anyway and this home draped about with lavish Christmas trim only made it more spectacular.

Nola, Lettie, & Me at The Biltmore House

Just some of the amazing floral arrangements in the gardens

The architectural detail of the home is completely astounding

Lettie in front of The Biltmore House in the early morn

No - these are not dog turds - these are the amazing southern delicacy known as hush puppies. I get them every time I go to the south for a visit along with their barbecue.
This is Lettie demonstrating the best way to eat a hush puppie - with your mouth wide open

Monday, November 10, 2008

It was a toss up between staying home Friday night & watching 4 of my nieces & nephews, or accompanying my fun friend Julie and her two girls to the Carrie Underwood concert. Thanks to her brother-in-law that won the tickets through a local radio station but couldn't use them - he gave them to her. So, she called me up & wondered if I would like to go & I jumped at the chance. Didn't know exactly what to expect - not familiar with a ton of Carrie Underwood - but I give the concert a big thumbs up...Miss Underwood has an amazing voice & she's a good entertainer. Plus, it was free. Even if I didn't like it I wouldn't be losing out on was a win, win situation.

The famous Carrie Underwood

Fun Friend Julie w/ her daughters Hayden & Zoie

Me w/ the real cuties of the night

All the girls...
Thanks Julie, Hayde, & Zoie for such a fun time!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Happy Halloween!

So - I know it comes as a complete shock that I am actually updating my blog, but it's true. Hey - there's been way too much going on in my life the last few months to worry about keeping with blog-dom. But, I am rejuvinated and here's the latest...

I manage a really great dental office - but great I mean I work with doctors and staff that totally get in to Halloween. Thus, I did a "slave trade" with Annette (my mom) and she sewed me this fantastic costume while I took care of things around the house. I also need to throw a shout out to my Uncle Ken and Aunt Jayna who tracked down their famous "Cher" wig & then shipped it to totally made the costume.

Me as the Gypsey or as Dr Haak proclaimed "Madam Zora from the movie Big"

Dr. Haslam as the Chick Magnet & Dr Haak as Vanilla Ice???

The staff @ Gilbert Family & Cosmetic Dentistry that dressed up

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Cowboy Way

Meet Cade...2 yrs. old, exercising his individuality, and breaking all the fashion rules. However, I give him props for being such a trend setter & not caring about what others think of him. Really this is more of an act of independence and winning the show down I like to call "battle of the wills." I must tell you that his attire for the weekend was NOT a result of his mother dressing him, but rather his stubbornness to not be dressed. Finally the adults are exhausted from the fight to get him dressed and move on to other items that need attention.

This weekend I joined the Josh Smart family at their ranch. It was more of a "city slickers" experience for me, but I appreciate their patience and KNOW they must be desperate when they enlist my help.

I was assisting with the task of logging the cattle's ear tag number and vaccinating the new heifers born this summer. During a routine vaccination shot, a baby heifer got restless which in turn made me jerk my arm and the syringe I was using broke. So, I ran over to the tack barn to try and find new syringes. While in my haste, I was thinking out loud and talking to Cade (a.k.a. "Tud") and saying to him:

"Man Tuddy, I am so frustrated. I don't know if there are any syringes in here. Do you think I can find some?"

Tud's oh so honest reply was:

"Um, a cowboy could but you proly can't."

OK then - moving on. I ran back to my post as the "number logger" and reported to my brother and his wife that I was just schooled by their 2 yr old. Apparently you can only find what you need on the ranch if you're a cowboy. Duly noted by this "city slicker."

Can anyone out there top such a fashion offense???

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Jamaica Me Crazy!!!

Just for the record...I have been trying to post this blog for the past 4 days now. I realize this doesn't excuse that last 2 months that I haven't posted, but maybe will explain why I don't post more often. That being said...on with the blog material...

I am in a stage right now where I am looking for a new & improved life. Thus, while in contemplation of what my next move is; I figured - why not go to Jamaica w/ 2 of my girlfriends and ponder while basquing in the warm, blue Caribbean waters and where "everything going to be all right mon!" So, here's what I learned while in Jamaica:

#1: It is impossible to be bugged, depressed, or in any other foul mood when you arrive to your resort & the view from room is this:

#2: Who wouldn't be in even a finer mood when the ocean you will be immersing yourself in looks this blue and is actually warm?

#3: When going to Jamaica or any other Caribbean destination, go to Target, Walgreens, or any other drugstore of choice and stock up on those plastic inflatible rafts that are approximately $2.50 in the U.S. That way you don't have to pay $20 each for them at the resort.

#4: If you're really appalled at paying $20 for the above rafts, get yourself a lifeguard boyfriend who will sell you rafts off the black market for 50% of the original cost. Thanks to Dabrielle, we were able to score our rafts for $10 a piece.

#5: When you are fair skinned & blue eyed, be prepared to be acousted by the locals ALL THE TIME...with very genuine invitations to bring you back to their house so they can make you dinner. As pictured below, the guy who invited me to return to his humble abode for a "true" Jamaican meal...clearly the dude is a creep out because when asked to take a picture with me (my friend did the asking) he felt the need to pose w/ his hand on my stomach...WIERD!

#6: When staying at a resort, be prepared to meet many local men with rather interesting nicknames. For example, my friend Heather had a dude by the name of "Steam" who was rather taken with her charm. On the other hand, the local below went the name of "Slick." He asked that I please email him a copy of this picture, of which I will not abide. However, he apparently offers tours of various Jamaican points of interest. If any of you are interested, let me know. He gave me his business card "Slick Tours."

#7: Be prepared that no matter how much sunblock you apply, reapply, and then reapply again, you will come away with noticable sun scorch. Just go with it & save for laser skin treatment later.

#8: When choosing a carrier to jet you to the tropical region of the earth, choose one that partners with the Ritz Carlton just in case your return flight gets cancelled. After spending all day in a stuffy, humid airport with the other 140 displaced passengers, collecting our luggage, having to go through customs AGAIN - it makes you appreciate (as pictured below) room service meals, comfortable bed, and yet again ocean views that are all too surreal...

Is it too soon to go back??? I think I hear the warm waters calling my name...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Maybe it's the fact that over the past 8 weeks I have been inundated with making invitations, planning birthday parties, baby showers, and preparing Relief Society lessons, but it's been a bit overwhelming. During my self evaluation periods, I wonder if this feeling of being over loaded is more self induced than anything. You see...I have this condition...I have inherited it from my mother and it has not only been passed on to me, but to my sister Adrianne as well. We're not sure what happened to the other 'Smart' siblings that seem to have bypassed this contagious epidemic, but I applaud them for escaping the nemesis. It's a condition I like to call "Annette-itis."

You know you have this condition if you find yourself preparing a Primary lesson on families and you decide that to illustrate this concept to the children you are teaching you will make them each a homemade doll. But wait, not just a doll representing them, but dolls representing each of their siblings. ABSOLUTE CRAZINESS!!! Or, you are given the task of making bridal shower invitations for your sister and even though you know you have to make 50 invites, you still go the elaborate route of grommets, 3 different kinds of paper, and endless printing which results in a midnight melt down where in your sister and your brother-in-law to be have to intervene and take over the project sending you to bed rather than committing you to the insane asylum of which may have been more appropriate. may also look like this:

A counter full of homemade sugar cookies because heaven forbid you pass out store bought cookies to the sisters in Relief Society

And then of course you have to package them just right so you can make a good impression

A shopping bag full of plastic Easter eggs all filled w/ the good kind of candy (not the gross kind) because you want to continue to win the prize of funnest, single Aunt a niece or nephew could ever have

Another elaborate invitation - this time for your brother's 30th surprise birthday party

Does this behavior warrant an intervention?