Sunday, December 21, 2008

Smith Family- Colorado Style?!?

No. I dont think it works. I think I will stick with the Smith family- Puerto Rican style although we have indeed moved to Colorado. It happened incredibly fast and since moving we are still waiting for our computer so I have not had internet access at home for almost a month and it is killing me! So I do apologize for going a month without updating my blog. I hope to be up and ready blogging our new Colorado adventures soon.
Around Nov 15th my husbands business partner called and offered him a nice piece of pie at his Colorado office, running the internet business. Although it was the last thing Jake wanted to do to leave Puerto Rico, we both felt like it was the best thing for our family to do. The only thing is that Jake had to be there right away so we had 2 weeks from the time we found out until the day we caught the plane back to the states. I think I cried everyday during that 2 weeks. Although it was one of the hardest times of my life it was also one of the best times of my life. (Don't the two go hand and hand?) Puerto Rico was a wonderful adventure for our family, and a time that we were richly blessed. We learned so much and loved so many wonderful people that it will change who we are for the rest of our lives. I know that I am a better person for my time that I spent there both as a missionary and then 12 years later as a wife and mother. I FREAKING LOVE PUERTO RICO and it will always be a magical special place for me. Thus I chose to keep Puerto Rican style blogging because it is who I am forever now! And PS all you suckers who never came to visit missed out but I love you anyways!!! And for those of you who did come... thanks for coming and sharing such a wonderful place with me!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Elcetion day in Puerto Rico

Election days in Puerto Rico are the best! It is a giant party and the entire island shuts down. No school, all offices are closed, in fact illegal to make anyone work this day. Even the day before people start celebrating. Politics are huge here, 3 different political parties. One party is for Puerto Rico becoming a state (PNP),one party is for staying how it currently is as a US territory(PPD), and the other is a independent group that wants to be separated from the United States. Anyways Puerto Ricans are very passionate about politics. Since we could not vote we headed to the beach and had a wonderful time. All up and down the roads people were having ralleys and lined up and down the streets like a parade. Everyone hangs out their car windows and waves flags with their political parties colors and signs and honks their horns and makes lots of noise. It is a big festive day. We of course love that Puerto Ricans will celebrate anything. I think that when it comes to celebrations the United States could learn a few lessons from Puerto Ricans!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tailgate trick or treating

We have been here for 2 halloweens now. It is funny because the stores are stocked with costumes and decorations but not many places actually do trick or treating. Our neighborhood does however and it is a big party. Our gated subdivision is divided into 2 sections, one "richy" section as I like to say and the other part (where we live). Every year it seems like the whole town heads over to the richy section of our neighborhood. Those houses who want to give out candy sit out on their lawn chairs on their driveways. The trick or treaters then just go out to the people sitting in their chairs and get their candy. Here the children have to sing a little song to request the candy. It goes like this:

"Trick or treat, Trick or treat
Da me dulce and no mani"

Trick or treat, trick or treat
Give me candy and not peanuts!

Anyways the whole thing is like a giant parade going through the neighborhoods. Those who are handing out candy turn on their music and set up tables with beers, sodas, chips and snacks for whoever is hanging out with them. I even saw a few people with grills set up! Droves of people just move up and down the streets. I would say atleast 50% of the adults are dressed up to. There was one house who had set up a haunted house and were letting kids go through. One house had even hired a dj. It was all very fun to watch and be a part of. I bet that there were way over 500 people going through the streets! Easy costumes this year. Jett was a lifeguard (very smart since last year he got so hot going outside trick or treating the boys had to take off their costumes!)Then Luke was a sheriff and Tommy was "Woody" from Toy Story. Fun night. I would pretty much say it was a Halloween tailgating party!

Monday, October 27, 2008

"Los Americanos"

Another funny thing about living in Puerto Rico. Wherever we go I am used to hearing people saying something about "Americanos" as we walk by. I don't know if I have mentioned this before but on the whole Puerto Ricans love Americans and are quite fascinated by them. We are used to grown men reaching out and tousling our boys blonde hair in the grocery store. We are used to people excitingly pointing at our boys shouting "mira que tienen los ojos azules" (look they have blue eyes!) as if it was as exciting as someone having purple eyes and green hair or something. Like Jake says, taking our blonde- haired, blue- eyed little boys anywhere is liking walking around with minor celebrities. We are used to the attention and to be quite honest, we really get a kick out of it. In the states no one think twice about my kids unless Tommy was throwing one of his famous Wal-mart- floor, fist-pounding- fits.
Especially here in Ponce, where we live, they just are not used to seeing many Americans. Last christmas I took our neighbors some cookies. A week later she brought over a package of cookies with a card labled "los ninos Americanos" (to the American kids). Once Jake had his car at the mechanic, and he got the keys back to the car, the name tag on the keys said "Gringo". Well last Saturday we went to a birthday party for a little girl we did not know but the grandparents to the girl and the grandpa being the stake patriarch, was very insistent that we come. The boys had fun at the party and at the end they were handing out the party bags to all of the party guests. When Tommy brought us his little bag the tag on it said "Americano Pequeno." (Little American boy) Lukes said "Americano Mediano" (Medium American Boy) and Jetts said "Americano Grande" (Big American Boy).
I thought this was hilarious! I mean in the states you would never make a gift tag to "the little chinese boy" or the "big Mexican kid." Oh well- you gotta love it!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Jugo de Pais

This morning I had dropped the boys off at school and was heading to the the Holsum bread store. I was talking to Jake on the phone and this noxtious smell enters and stings my nostrils. I slam on my brakes to backed up traffic in both directions. There was a terrible smell, worse than any sulfur drive by you have ever smelled. I started gagging and throwing up in my mouth and all. I am not sure if Puerto Rico was being attacked and gassed or what the freak was happening. As I inch along in bumper to bumper traffic I see that the road is flooded up ahead. As I get closer I see that it was a broken sewer access hole in the middle of the road. Now we here in Puerto Rico are used to a little bubbling sewer in the middle of the road now and then. As missionaries we lovingly referred to it as "jugo de pais" or the " our land's native juice".
But this was above and beyond! This was brown freaking water gushing across the road and flooding it. I just held my breath as long as I could and drove through it all. I was never so happier than at that time to be sitting up way high in our Explorer as I watched the brown sewer "jugo" slosh up on the windows of the lower riding cars. From now on I think I will stick to milk...

Monday, October 6, 2008

The voyage of the blue Mimi

Today is my sister Renee's birthday. She is an incredible person that I dearly love and this post is dedicated to her.
Thanks to a Jr. High. Science video series and Shayne Hatch, I have lovingly referred to my little sister as "Mimi" for over 22 years. Renee and I fought like cats and dogs growing up, until college. Since going away to college in Utah we have grown to be best friends. We talk on the phone almost everyday. I don't know what I would do without her.

She is turning 32 today so here are 32 of my favorite things about Renee:

1. She is probably the most thoughtful person I know. Never forgetting a birthday or any special occasion.
2. She makes me laugh
3. She didn't blow the whistle on me when in high school mom and dad would leave town and put me in charge and I would let a college grunge band practice in our living room.
4. She makes the best pot roast I have ever eaten
5. She is beautiful both inside and out
6. She is fiercely loyal to her family
7. She was cool enough to receive a rose from the lead singer of Depeche Mode (my high school obsession)
8. She won't put up with any American cheese at resturaunts
9. One summer in college when all my roommates were gone for the summer she left her own friends to come live with me for the summer. (One of the best summers of my life!)
10. She is the reigning champion of "Settlers of Catan" in our family
11. Incredible mother and wife
12. Always up for something fun
13. Capable of driving herself to the emergency with a broken baby toe
14. When Jake and I were dating and she first met him she pulled me into the back room and said "you better not mess this one up- I like him!"
15. She has incredibly beautiful straight hair
16. She has courage and inspires me
17. You never leave her house with dirty ears!
18. She got me watching "L's" kitchen
19. She took me to get my very first pedicure
20. She agreed to go out with all of the dorks that we set her up with when she was single
21. When I was first married she would come up and spend weekends with us
22. She loves cats
23. She is extremely organized and tidy
24. She has a great decorators sense
25. My boys adore her!
26. She is my biggest supporter
27. She is very smart and always has good ideas
28. She married a guy we all love
29. She is an incredible hostess and makes you feel so welcome in her home
30. She is willing to do my dirty work if ever need her to
31. She bought brand new bikes for my boys just so they would have them to ride whenever they came to her house.
32. She is the best little sister in the world and I don't know what I would do without her!!!!


Thursday, October 2, 2008

My new skinny best friend

So I have a new skinny best friend. I don't hate her though because she is too darn helpful. She helps me with the impossible everyday task of keeping the standardized Puerto Rican white tile floors clean.
My wonderful mother in law actually introduced us when she was last visiting here and could see that I needed some help. For some unknown reason I ignored my friend for the first few months. But we have recently become reaquainted for which I will be forever grateful.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Still sneaking into pools

When I was in high school and college we used to sneak into hotels and use their pools. I guess I still am.
On Saturday we went to the east side of the island. Jake did a few things for the business and then we went to our favorite resort beach. We have stayed there a couple of times before and so we know our way around. Not wanting to spend the $300 a night cost, we helped ourselves to the facilities anyways. Sad to say but since we are gringos no one even thinks twice or questions us about being there.
It is a beautiful coastline with awesome sand perfect for sand castles and laying out on one of the many lounge chairs under an umbrella. After playing in some pretty fun waves we headed over to one of the many pools to the kids area. They even have a water slide. The kids had a blast and we did too! Come visit us and I promise to take you there!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ok....I'll do it!

I love reading other people's tags but for some reason I have never responded when people send it to me. Here goes:

1. What is your occupation? Short order cook to 4 hungry boys

2. What color are your socks right now? BAREFOOT (almost always!)

3. What are you listening to right now ? "Nasty Girl" the club version playing in my head from the most recent movie I saw (see upcoming answer)

4. What was the last thing that you ate? McDonalds snack wrap

5. Can you drive a stick shift? Yes (Thanks Eleanor!)

6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? green

7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? sister in law Valerie

8. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Yes!

9. How old are you today? 34 years

10. Favorite drink? Milk

11. What is your favorite sport to watch? Football and Basketball

12. Have you ever dyed your hair? Yes

13. Pets? Dog "Rico

14. Favorite food? Mexican

15. Last movie you watched? "Dan in Real Life" (LOVED IT!)

16. Favorite Day of the year? Thanksgiving

17. What do you do to vent anger? Hide my husbands remote control

18. What was your favorite toy as a child? Strawberry shortcake

19. What is your favorite season? Fall

20. Hugs or kisses? BOTH ( Everyone in Puerto Rico greets you with a kiss and hug!)

21. Cherry or Blueberry? cherry

22. Do you want your friends to email you back? Yes- I love learning new things about people!

23. Who is most likely to respond? Collette

24. Who is least likely to respond? any guy

25. When was the last time you cried? Yesterday at a fireside for the youth at our house

26. What is on the floor of your closet? Shoes and scrapbooking stuff

29. Favorite smells? rain in the mountains, Jake's deodorant

31. Who inspires you? New members of the church

32. What are you afraid of? tire falling off (Thanks Collette!) and snakes

33. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers? double double animal style

34. Favorite car? Any car that I can keep out of the mechanics

35. Favorite cat breeds? big fat orange and hairy

36. Number of keys on your key ring? 7

37. How many years at your current job? this profession? 8 yrs

38. Favorite day of the week? Sunday

39. How many states have you lived in? 7

40. Where's the most unique place you've traveled to? Agua Azul (Chiapas Mexico)

41. Favorite game? Settlers of Catan

42. Favorite TV shows? Lost, the Biggest Loser, The Amazing Race, HGTV

43. Are your fingernails fake or real? real

44. Favorite hobby? playing games, and girls night

45. Do you think you're funny? I think I used to be

Monday, September 8, 2008

Jett's baptism

Jett was baptized on August 3rd in Utah while we were on vacation. I (selfishly) wanted to wait and do it when we were on vacation so that we could share it with our family. Jett is the oldest grandchild on both sides so it was the first baptism in the family. It was pretty incredible because all of my family (minus little brother who was on honeymoon)and all of Jake's family traveled to share the day with us.

The baptism was great and one of the best parts was when Jake was baptizing Jett and Luke yelled out "Don't drown him Dad!"
Jake's aunt Kay was so great and was able to arrange us having the baptism at her church building and afterwards we went to a really nice pavillion- park area right behind the church. Everyone brought treats to share and we had a great time. All of Jett's cousins were there and it was fun to see them running around having such a good time. It was a really special day and everything went great! Despite the spirituality of it all I couldn't help but think Am I really old enough to have a child getting baptized?!?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Jurassic Park and Gilligan's Island

We kept pretty busy over the Labor Day weekend. On Saturday was the stake celebration of the birthday of the primary. It was hotter than freak but the surroundings were so beautiful that it was hard to complain!

To me it seemed right out of Jurassic park minus the dinosaurs. It was like a giant crater had crashed in the middle of the jungle and left a gigantic circle and they decided to build a park. The kids ate pizza and played games. Kudos to Jake for successfully completing an entire church activity (first time ever!)
Then on Monday we went to Gilligan's island with our friends the Rowletts from San Juan. (Yea- more friends!!!) It is about a 45 minute drive from our house and then you hop on a little ferry and it takes you over to the island.

Other than Ashley and I looking at least as good as Ginger and Marianne, Gilligan's island itself was a little disappointing. It was super crowed because of the holiday, but we managed to find our own little cove of the island, and it was very overcast. But it was very relaxing and we had a good time.
The coolest part is that when we were waiting on the dock for the ferry to take us back to the main land we saw dolphins!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Conversations with Luke

Jake and I have to take turns taking Luke (5 years old) to school because we love our morning conversations with him. We just never know what will come out of his mouth but apparently here is what has been on his mind lately:

*The eternal salvation of dinosaurs

*Why Jesus did not create a "Lagoon" here in Puerto Rico. (Lagoon is an amusement park in Utah).

*Old people watch old tv

*Who is the coolest person in the world and can dad please look it up on the internet?

*Concerns that dad has not bought the "ab coaster" for his big belly.

*If pirates came to our house could dad beat them up?

* After a visit with his great grandmother he says "She smells funny but I still like her."

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bishop Jake?!?

It's true! Jake was sustained the Bishop of the Ponce I ward yesterday. I am still trying to get used to it. Cycling through feelings of wanting to vomit, cry or just numb. He is handling it much better than me.
Of course my Jakey is special - but come on he's Jake, "crossing the line" Jake, moon my own mother Jake , "buy a new car without telling me" Jake, and and now Bishop Jake?!?
Truth is he is wonderful and he will do a wonderful job.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Another crazy thing about Puerto Rico

Have I ever told you that Puerto Ricans are afraid of the rain? I mean really afraid of the rain. They believe that if you even get sprinkled on that you will get sick. And they believe that if you are ever sick it is because you got sprinkled on within the last few days (or that there is too much dust in your house but that is another post for another day!)
I remember that once I was at a church primary activity it had been sprinkling a little before but when it let up I let the kids go outside. My friend told me that if any of the parents saw that I had let the kids out that they would be really mad at me. Another time I saw a friend who had a cold and when I asked her if she was sick she told me she was because she had to run outside to get her dog's food and in the process she got a little wet and of course was then sick. So rainy days are the absolute best days to go out because there are no long lines to wait in at the stores or banks, or anything else for that matter. Everyone is at home waiting out the rain.
And the really funny thing is that Puerto Rico is a tropical island in the Carribean. It is raining everyday on some part of the island. We have a tropical rainforest for crying out loud! You would think that they would be used to this by now!
But no. This morning I woke up and it was raining and I thought I bet they cancelled school so I am not even going to bother taking them. Sure enough my friend called and let me know that they were sending all of the kids home because it was raining. Glad I didn't go through the whole ordeal of getting them ready and taking them.
Of course rain means one thing for my kids- PLAY. I am sure the neighbors are ready to call me into to child protection services!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Home from vacation one day and on to the first day of school! Jett started the 3rd grade and Luke started kindergarden. We actually have them at 2 different schools, which is a headache, but a decision we feel good about. They are both all in spanish but their teachers each speak some English too. Jett's spanish is really good and his accent is far better than mine. We just kinda threw Luke into to all day kindergarden in Spanish but feel confident that he will pick it up fast. In Luke's class there are only 8 other kids, including his best friend Manuel so we feel like he will really get a lot of one on one attention from the teacher. They both reported that they had a fantastic first day and made lots of friends. I mean who doesn't love a little gringo in their class?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Luke turns 5!

July 16th was my Lukey's birthday. It is amazing how important birthdays are to a young kid (and I was no different!). They just wait all year in anticipation and then it is over. I hope that we made this one special enough so that he waits atleast a month until he starts asking "How many more day until my birthday?"
I made about 60 cupcakes and took them to primary camp for everyone to have and sing Happy Birthday to Luke. Last night we invited 2 of his best friends and their families and went to the bowling alley and had a great time!
Luke was such a fussy baby and toddler that it is hard to imagine that he has turned out to be such a easy going great kid! We often wonder what is going on in his little world when we get such killer one- liners from him. One of my favorites is the time he announced " Jesus loves everyone but Satan and Hyrum." (Hyrum is this little boy in Jett's class that was always causing trouble.)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Icecream = Romance

The other day I reminded Jake of those romantic days when we were first married and shared a car and he would get off from work before me and walk down to the store and have flowers waiting for me when I got home. I asked him whatever happened to those days.
Well last week he came home from San Juan and he walked in with something behind his back and told me had something romantic for me. It wasn't flowers but it was even better!
It was a tub of my most favorite ice cream in the world- Baskin Robbins Deep Chocolate Peanutbutter. (He drove to 3 different Baskin Robbins in San Juan to find it which I find very romantic!) I have been waiting for 2 years to eat some of this ice cream. Does my baby know me or what?!?

Monday, June 30, 2008


My parents are finally home, well not home, but back. They have been serving the last 3 years as mission presidents in the Mexico Tuxtla Guitierrez mission. They got the surprise call over 3 1/2 years ago when living in San Antonio Texas. My dad was a professor at the extension of Texas A&M and my mom was working in the school district's administrative offices. They left everything, sold their house, their cars and headed out to serve. I didn't think that I would ever survive them being gone for 3 years and now they are home. They had some incredible experiences and worked incredibly hard. They and their missionaries survived the 2 worst natural disasters to ever have hit the area. I know that we had an incredible time the 2 times that we went to visit them. They worked in a beautiful part of the world with beautiful people as well. I know my parents were well loved by all of their missionaries too. On their trip home they had a layover in Mexico City and had 15 of their returned missionaries come meet them at the airport. At the Salt Lake City airport yesterday they had 12 of the returned missionaries as well as all of my brothers and sisters waiting for them to greet them.
(I wanted to be there SO bad but I will see them at my brother's wedding next month!)
My parents have always set a wonderful example for me and I couldn't be prouder of them! Way to go Mom and Dad!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Crazy Puerto Rican Libraries!

I really miss the public libraries in the states so I was so excited when my friend Lucy said that a library had opened here in Ponce. By the way, Ponce is the 2nd largest city in all of Puerto Rico and they just got a library! Besides the fact that there was a security guard at the front door everything else seemed pretty normal. It was set up really cute and the librarian had story time with them and then had them color a picture about the story etc. The kids had a great time and they picked out their books to check out and we go to the counter and the lady looked at us like we were crazy. They don't let you check out books at the library! My boys were pretty disappointed (nothing a trip to McDonalds could not fix) but I left shocked. I guess I still have quite a lot to learn about living here! Which by the way I am going to start blogging about all the crazy stuff here. I think some things are really interesting, if not comical, so I thought you might be interested too!

Friday, June 20, 2008

So bad- but try it!

I have been feeling so guilty about this that I have to get this out in the open. Well I try not to have sweets and stuff in the house because I eat them, and eat them until they are gone. No self control. The result of this however is having to take drastic measures when I get a craving for sweets, especially chocolate. So it is late at night, watching So You Think You Can Dance, the boys are finally asleep, hubbie is out of town and the cravings start. (No- not pregnant just love sweets!)
So I rummage everywhere and curse myself for not having anything sweeter than peanut butter in the house. Finally I remember that my wonderful friend Collette had sent me a big box of chocolate chips (hard to come by in Puerto Rico) last Fall and that somewhere in the back of my freezer there was an almost empty bag of chocolate chips left. I found the bag and sure enough there were at least 30 chocolate chips left in that bag. Not enough to make a dessert or anything but I thought I surely could come up with something. So I whipped out the bread and peanut butter and sprinkled the chocolate chips on it and made myself a big old peanut butter and chocolate chip sandwich.
It is embarrassing to admit how much I enjoyed it. However I do believe that I am on to something. Try it and tell me if I am crazy!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

You got the wrong baby!

So Jake has been in San Juan (2 hours away) for most of the week and I am about to put my 3 boys up on EBay. Last night I had thought that my sweet but very naughty Tommy was being awfully quiet but I ignored the feeling that he was probably into mischief and went on enjoying the silence (kickback to my Depeche Mode days!)
Anyways, Luke, (my 4 yr old) comes running in and screams "Mom- you got the wrong baby! This one does horrible things!"
Tommy had gotten Luke's favorite Cars book and ripped out all the pages.
Somedays I have to agree with Luke- maybe I did get the wrong baby, but I love him anyways!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Promise not to skip over the woman speakers in conference ever again!

So I don't know about any of you but whenever it is general conference time and a sister speaker gets up, we always jump up and run to the bathroom, or put something in the oven or whatever, so that we can be back in time for the next talk. Well I vow to never skip a sister again! About 2 weeks ago we found out that the General Young Womens President, Sister Dalton was coming to Puerto Rico to talk to the young woman of our stake. Puerto Ricans love gringos almost as much as they love themselves. And if these gringos come from Utah- well all the more celebrated they are! So you can imagine everyone's excitement. Sister Dalton was at our stake center all day and did 3 different sessions. She first met with the class presidents. Then she had a training with the ward presidencies, and then later that night she had a fireside with all young women and their leaders.
Can I just say how impressed I was? This woman is an angel. She was the kind of person that you meet and instantly love. She radiated light and was so down to earth. She hugged everyone she saw and when I spoke with her she made me feel like she had been my beloved beehive advisor from a long time ago and wanted to catch up on my life and see what I had been up to. Of course she had a translator so that everyone else could understand what she was saying but I loved hearing her first hand. She is definitely an inspired leader and I can't wait to hear her again! Here are a couple of pictures of Sister Dalton with a few of our young women.