Tuesday, June 28, 2011


MaryAnn Emma Smith, the new star of the Smith Family Variety Show.

She made her debut appearance on Monday, June 27, 2011 at 1:53 p.m. weighing in at 7 lbs 12 oz and stretching 20 inches.


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Her name comes from the many strong, courageous, and faithful Mary’s and Marianne’s that we know…like my nearly 90-year-old grandmother who still lives alone, takes care of herself, makes the best strawberry freezer jam, and only stopped mowing her lawn about a year ago-ish. Also, Brent’s cousin Marianne who is currently fighting breast cancer while raising her five young children. And our friend, Marianne, who shared with us how rewarding, fun, and successful homeschooling can be.  The Bible is also full of amazing Mary’s. And we can’t forget our lovely sister-in-law, Ashley ANN.

And finally, MaryAnn will always remind us of two very strong, courageous, and faithful women from history…Mary Fielding Smith and Emma Hale Smith because she was born on the same day they lost their husbands to martyrdom 167 years ago.

MaryAnn Emma is already an incredible addition to our family and we know that her  strength, courage, and faith will leave another lasting legacy in this big world.

As for me…I’m just happy to be back home tonight. It’s always nice to be on the home stretch of enduring the challenges and pains of pregnancy, labor and delivery…and get on with the loveliness of cuddling and nurturing a little one. And watching my kids cook dinner, sweep floors, change a poopy diaper, nurse their dolls (just the girls), and gawk at their new baby sister from my cushy rocking chair is WAAAYYY more entertaining than daytime television on a stiff bed.

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

A New Addition We Have

No…Baby #6 is not here yet…still another 4 weeks-ish.

But before her big arrival, we have to make room for her. So, we are saying “Good-bye” to our loyal, low-cost, and trusty 7-passenger mini-van (which though out-dated and very worn, has served us well and provided many treasured memories for 8 years in nearly half of the 50 States)… and “Hello” to something a bit bigger.

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Exactly what to buy next for our growing family’s transportation needs has been one of the more challenging and comical decisions of our married life.

Throughout this pregnancy, Brent and I (sometimes separately, but often together as part of our date-night) browsed through various 8+ passenger options via the Internet…keeping an open mind of course…and then with sarcasm and melancholy, closed windows, went to bed, and simply put the matter back on the shelf for another month or so.

But we couldn’t do that again this time…the last month is here. 

So:day care bus

We thought about this nice vehicle because it certainly would handle our numbers + car-pooling capacity, and I’m already used to answering questions about running a day care whenever I go grocery shopping or take everyone to the park,  AND it might even get priority drop-off privileges at various events and places. BUT would probably count as a bus and therefore cost more to park, or go through tolls, etc. Not worth it.

We also considered this:

limo 1

or this:

limo hummer

Because it would definitely receive high marks for the “Coolness Factor” long into the upcoming teenage years AND could earn its keep on the weekends (Brent’s idea). We think the interior would be a HUGE hit…

limo 2

BUT I couldn’t quite picture myself in my usual jeans and t-shirt dragging an infant seat in and out of the side door…let alone squeezing into the last parking spot at a band concert.

And the electrical costs look a bit high (but I can’t confirm that because we didn’t get that far in our research…maybe we should have at least gone for a test drive.)

Instead, we test drove this: 

15 van

Which was a good thing…because Brent and I have a reputation for placing practicality over style, and all along, we (mostly I…Brent has never been very attracted to a huge van) have been assuming something like this would be our inevitable Point A to Point B vehicle whenever Baby #6 made an appearance. AND the serious investigation of a 12- or 15-passenger van (as opposed to the more common look-alike cargo van) has created lasting laughs and memories.

EVERY car-salesperson gave a blank/confused stare when we walked through the door and asked about these vans. When Brent experienced this alone, he was asked what business he needed it for…his response of course: “Family Business.” He couldn’t wait for me to witness this phenomenon, too…he wasn’t exaggerating (except they didn’t question WHY we needed a big van when we were all present). Even at Ford and GMC (where these vans are manufactured), many of the sales people questioned the van’s existence and then had to look up on computers to confirm that they indeed sell a vehicle that fits more than 8 people. Only one dealer had one on hand to test drive. And when all the kids piled out of the our green mini-van (through the front door because the sliding door broke about 2 months ago), one salesman couldn’t stop staring…like he was at the circus watching a bunch of clowns climb out of a tiny car…I laughed. :)

BUT after test driving, calculating gas mileage, and realizing that I would need a walkie-talkie or get better at texting to communicate with my kids in the back seat, we (mostly I) decided I would still want a mini-van to taxi the kids around during the week. So, even if we owned a 12 or 15-passenger, I think we would try at all costs to avoid driving it. Therefore, it’s not quite the right choice for us.

That brings us back to SUV vs. mini-van. And because SUVs don’t come as 9-passenger anymore, we finally decided on a more practical 8-passenger: 

  A Toyota Sienna. (Used.)

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It will save us on gas for the next several years (in comparison to the other options). It will fit in most parking spots. It has a DVD player (which makes it about as cool as the limo option). It was relatively low in cost (except when compared to our old van). AND, most importantly, it fits ALL of us…for now (and even if we expand a bit in years to come, it will still meet most of the weekly taxi needs, thus enabling us to put off the BIGGER options for awhile).

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Yes, this new addition we all like…Cienna is especially thrilled.