I’ve missed you, my three faithfuls.   It’s time to make up.  Here’s what we’ve been up to since October.  You read that right: October.  (And you thought you were behind on your blog.)

I will now sub-head to maintain order.  It’s a complex document.


One night, just hangin’ (okay, living) at my mom’s, the kids decided to whip up their own version of  Jeopardy!  Still my family’s favorite gameshow, and ever-present at Grandpa’s house.  You really had to see them put it on live to appreciate its nuances.  I was so impressed that I decided to stick photos of it in the holiday post.

Who else but Rachael would be Trebek?

Bailie just realized she bet too high on the Daily Double, while Megan looks away in shame.


We made our annual trek to the coast to spend Turkey Day with the Smith clan. Uncle Jeff, little Kaylee, Bronner, Jesse, and Blake joined us.  The food was fabulous and the company even better.  We had all kinds of fun.

Ethan was caught red-handed brushing his cousin Kaylee’s hair in Grandma Smith’s bathroom.  He was mortified, so naturally I grabbed the camera.  What would his recess posse say now?

With his second cousin Blake, the sweetest football player/oboe player/accomplished actor from the great state of California.


We moved.  Two weeks before Christmas.  Another one of our brilliant ideas. I took exactly one photo, and that’s of the perfectly timed December snow outside our new back window.

I am in love with our new backyard.  I am in love with our new house.  I feel extremely lucky.  But that’s another post.


Christmas this year dovetailed perfectly with our third move in six months.  In all the craziness, I forgot to recharge my camera’s battery and the pictures are blurry and awful.  I hope you’ll forgive me.  (please see post title)

Despite all indications to the contrary, we had one of our best Christmases ever.  (Is “Christmases” a word?) Derrick’s family came and stayed with us in our messy, un-decorated  home and it was fabulous.  We pushed the boxes aside and ate, drank and made merry for three days.  Our company was helpful and gracious, and I learned that simplifying my expectations for Christmas makes everyone happier–especially me.  I must be cautious, however, lest I get too used to a messy house, limited tableware, and a tired, greasy face for the holidays.  And I’m sorry, my three faithfuls, that I failed to send you a Christmas card this year.  (please see post title.)  It actually really bothered me that I didn’t do it.  Next year, my friends, next year!

Below is the best nativity play ever.  And by that, I mean it was sloppy, irreverent, and Uncle Jeff was cast perfectly as the you-know-what.  He ate it up, as did his darling daughter.  Kaylee just loved ordering her Poppa around like a donkey. It was hilarious.

And to clarify:  Rachael is supposed to be a sheep, not Jacob Marley’s ghost.  Our bad.

The gorgeous nightgowns handmade by Grandma Laura.  The girls adored them, as did I.  She is really talented, not to mention generous and thoughtful.

Megan asked me to put curlers in her hair on Christmas Eve.  I think she rightly determined that the new nightgown called for it.

The closest we got to pictures with Santa.

Pimp my sleigh, baby.

(An aside:  Is it wrong that I have never been a big fan of pictures with Santa?  I think I had my girls do them once when they were little.  Is anyone out there with me?)

#1 Gift:  Band Hero.  We are all addicted, including moi.  My kids are thrilled that they finally found a way to get Mom on the Wii, and I’ll confess:  Pat Benetar never sounded so tough.


The day our company left, my sister came with her family from Utah for a belated Christmas.  We ate, opened more gifts together, played games, and ate some more.  (Did I mention that we ate?)  It was perfect.

Below we have the kids’ version of The Night Before Christmas, performed five nights after Christmas.  No matter.  This bad boy was in the works for months, and it did not disappoint.  Rachael even called her cousins in Utah last fall to review their parts with them and ensure adequate preparation for opening night.  And notice the singular adult on stage who seems to be the common denominator in every one of the grandkids’ theatrical productions. These heinously blurry photos do not do our young thespians justice.

And yes, Virginia, that sign reads, “The stockings were hung on the chimney by Claire.”  Such was the theme of the entire show:  a spoof on the traditional Christmas tale, filled with clever wordplay and puns galore.  It was scary smart, and so funny.

New Year’s Eve

I threw in this crappy shot  because I’ve decided, at our age, that blurry is good.  The poor woman’s version of airbrushed.

Derrick fussing over his tamales.  He’s worse than a woman when he cooks, which is roughly every-other year.  We had a fabulous fiesta on New Years Eve, for which Derrick made these famed, from-scratch tamales (to die for) and Uncle Larry grilled up the best carne asada I’ve ever had.  And I’ve had plenty, believe me.  (Did I mention that we ate?)

Really, the best food I ate in 2010.  Thank you, gentlemen.

Post New Year’s Eve

Ethan roller skating.  It’s the last photo I have.  I know.  Finishing up with a bang.

He went from a non-skater to a skater in one mere session. Can you sense his confidence?  He was so proud of himself, and I was proud of him.

We went skating a second time before his cousins went home. While getting him dressed, he asked me if he could don this shirt and pants again, because, “that’s gonna be my roller skating outfit from now on, okay?”

Should I be worried?

Post Post New Year’s Eve

Reconnecting with friends.  Getting the house organized.  Getting back into a routine.  Celebrating Derrick’s birthday.  Celebrating the survival of 2010, which was as crazy and wonderful a year as any our family has had.  I hope yours was too.  If not wonderful, at least crazy.

9 thoughts on “Let’s kiss and make up

  1. Lora, I miss you, too! How can we live in the same small town and still miss each other? (I blame everything on my husband.) We need to remedy that quick. You’re the only person who truly appreciates the nuances of Ethan’s personality.

    Jaim, what rear-end? I didn’t even notice because I was in shock at how plump my own face looked. But I will say, if the camera adds ten pounds, then the blurry-camera surely adds twenty. Right, everyone? Right??

  2. I’m totally with you on skipping the Santa pictures. My kids are true believers in the big guy, but they know the guy at the mall is not the actual Santa, so what’s the point? I can’t even convince them to get near the fake Santas.

    Thanks for the blurry shot, but is my rear-end really that big or is that just the camera playing tricks on me? Please don’t answer that.

    And I don’t know why, but that picture of Rachael as Jacob Marley’s ghost made me burst out laughing. It totally looks like him!

    And yes, that was the best and largest amount of Mexican food I have ever eaten. So, so fun.

    I love your blog. Please don’t ever leave me again.

  3. I love me a good Santa photo. The bigger the wail, the more I adore it. Christmas isn’t Christmas without a little Santa pic. You are a party pooper!

    Ethan is awesome. Going from being the local hairstylist to the jammin’ skater that every girl wants a piece of and every man wishes he could be.

    Loved the post. It was funny, witty, cute with lots of photos and made me miss you dearly. Very Jen!

  4. Oh, I loved this post. Tons of photos and glimpses at your new home. It’s beautiful and I can tell your back yard is awesome. Can we come over and swim and hang out under what looks like your perfect gazebo?

    I am anti-pictures-with-Santa. Even when Santa comes to our ward party, and the photo op is free, I avoid it. My kids don’t seem to care.

    Good to have you back.

  5. Five. Five faithfuls, thankyouverymuch. I’m here but am the world’s worst commenter. Also, I’m lazy, and clicking over from reader is sometimes too complicated for me. But I’m here. And you’re a tease abt your new house. Let’s see more pictures! Looks beautiful thus far.

  6. Looks like you have 4 faithfuls. 🙂 Actually I’m sure you have much more, but really Oct!? I will forgive you, but seriously don’t leave us hanging that long next time, I love me a great dose of the Smith family! 😉

  7. I think I’m about as far behind as you were! So glad you had a great holiday! As for Santa pictures, I think we got one taken when Sarah was small, and another one after Spencer came along. But I’m not a fan of the mall ever let alone at Christmas, so I guess I’m a horrible mom. Oh well.

  8. What a great post, Jen! I love that you are in your new gorgeous house and having so much fun with your family (and visiting family!) We are just so lucky to have you as neighbors now! 😉

  9. that was a looooong post, but yes, it was about time. as for pictures with santa–britton and i were at the mall with jake and decided to check out the line, which is when we saw it was $18.95 for one picture and decided we could live without a picture of jake screaming with a stranger in a red suit.
    we miss being in your ward! i miss talking with you and seeing your cute kids every sunday.

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