Friday, January 2, 2015

2015 update


34.6 lbs
shoe size 9

Gained 3.5lbs
grew 2.5"
went up 1 shoe size

Favorites: Frozen, Annie, Elsa doll, color pink, berries, monkeys, Zingo, reading, drawing, writing, making cards/books.

Do this year: cook in the oven, read better, ride my bike without training wheels

When I grow up I want to be a veterinary


59.6 lbs
shoe size 3

Gained 6 lbs
grew 2"
went up 1 shoe size

Favorites: video games, reading, riding ripstick, military, Lego's, Minecraft, Clash of Clans, color-orange, sports-baseball & football.

Do this year: Earn my black belt, get my Bear,

When I grow up I want to be in the military


shoe size womens 8

gained 22lbs
grew 3.5"
went up 2 shoe sizes

Favorites: color-lime green, pancakes, horses, basketball, softball, movie-Newsies, book-Genius Files.

Do this year: Play on the Junior high basketball team, babysit,

When I grow up I want to do something with sports or be a doctor.


shoe size mens 8.5

gained 8 lbs
grew 3.5"
went up 1 shoe size

Favorites: Minecraft, running, Clash of Clans, stuffed shells, books-Legacy & The battle of the five Armies, movie-Hobbit, color blue

Do this year: Earn my Life Scout and be close to earning my Eagle Scout, be in the top 10 freshmen in cross country

When I grow up I want to be soldier or scientist

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Goals & 2013 Year review

It's that time again. Time to review the past year and time to set some new goals for 2014. This year the 4 kids in total grew 10", gained 34 lbs and only went up 4 shoe sizes.


Favorites: Preschool, baby dolls, Doc McStuffin, writing & drawing.

Stats: 3'3", 31 lbs
Shoe size 8

Learn how to cook (in the oven)
Improving my reading
Start Kindergarten

This past year Rebecca grew 3", gained 3 lbs and went up 2 shoe sizes. She reached all of her goals this past year! She knows many new Spanish words and loves to talk to us in Spanish during the day. She learned how to swing in September and it was awesome for all of us. She can write all of her letters, numbers and lots of shapes. She can write names and some words on her own. She can read a few easy books and feels so proud of her reading skills.

 Favorites: Legos, reading, football, baseball, soccer, basketball, staying up late and sleeping in, science.                                                 4'4.5"
53.4 lbs
Shoe size 2

Learn to ride my ripstick
Earn my Black Belt
Earn my Wolf rank in Boy Scouts
Learning to better control my anger

Favorites: Minecraft on the tablet, reading, Patriotic songs (singing & playing on the piano), science & P.E..

In 2013 Ammon grew 2" and put on 7.5 lbs. and went up 1 shoe size. Ammon read 2 1/2 Harry Potter Books. Then he moved onto R.A. Salvatore books like Simeon. Because we skipped a promotion in 2013 he ended the year with his 2nd black tip. He learned to do the media group of kicks. He gives the  best huge jumping hugs to dad and cuddles with mom.            

Favorites: Running, writing, swimming, neon green, Cosmo & horses.

82.8 lbs
Shoe size 6

Read the entire Book of Mormom (with Mom)
Strength my foot, so I can start running again
Journal every Sunday
Be kinder to my brothers

In 2013 Corrine grew 3", gained 12 lbs and her feet stayed the same size. She became a rock star swimmer, passing 2 swim lesson levels on the 1st try. She improved her reading, but it's still a struggle and she continues to work on it. She's still trying to find her favorite type of books to read. She worked hard on keeping her bed cleaner. It was cleaner then the year before, but wasn't consistently clean. Many times this year she would do a major bed clean up making it look so nice.

Favorites: Science, Sports (football, baseball) & video games (Skyrim & Minecraft)

82 lbs
Shoe size 7



In 2013 Simeon grew 2", gained 11.4 lbs and went up 1 shoe size. Simeon didn't reach his goal of becoming a Life Scout, but did end the year as a Star Scout. He's working on getting his Life Scout rank in 2014. Due to his hip problems he wasn't able to accomplish either of his baseball goals. Because Simeon read alot on his NOOK, it's hard to really know how many pages he read this year. He was always reading a different book, so he probably did meet his page count goal.


Be more patient
Connect-with family better through cards & learning about them. Get Christmas & school albums up to date.
Simplify-less stuff, more organized house, less activities, more relaxation
Appreciate-take care of what we have, learn to live with what we have, or live without!
Strengthen my stomach muscles (and lose a few pounds there) so I can help my back be stronger and feel better.

2013 wasn't my best year. I did exceed one of my goals and that was in regards to photography. I had almost 10 photography jobs and actually got paid to do them. I loved it! I got our 2012 Project Life album pictures in the album, but I still need to do some journaling. I didn't even begin to get the kids school albums or Christmas albums updated. That's a goal I'll have again this year. Staying on budget is a very hard thing for me, and in 2014 that is a major goal of mine. Exercising came in spurts for me this year. I had no injuries this year which was a big improvement from the previous year. Laundry is a never ending project that I really need to figure a better system for. Like maybe the kids doing their own laundry! I felt like this year I had alot more individual time with each of the kids. Ammon and I get time twice a week going to Taekwondo alone to talk and I look forward to that time so much. I've been able to take kids out on one on one activities and spend time really talking with them and getting to know each other better.

Exercise more

Family Goals
Connect, Simplify, & Appreciate.
More regular Family Home Evenings
Smiles, laughter, fun, memories

This summer we spent an entire week in Northern Minnesota camping as a family and it was awesome!! We had more Family Home Evenings in 2013 then in years past. It still wasn't weekly, but it was at least 2 times a month. I felt like we got good schedules in place that would last a few months, then activities would change and we'd have to find a new schedule. I feel like we were better able to say no to more things then in years past and that we had more unscheduled time then in years past.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Smith Family Update

2013 Family Update

This year I decided to not add the stress of getting Christmas cards out and I'm not allowing myself to feel guilty about it. I still wanted to do an update so I could have it for us to look back over the year and for our Christmas album.

2013 was a year of challenges and opportunities for growth for our family. 
Simeon continues to be cancer free. January 10th he’ll be 4 years off chemo. In May right after his 12th birthday he woke up with significant pain in his right hip. We visited the doctor and right away he was getting blood work and x-rays done. Fortunately his blood work came back great and his x-rays showed no damage from the steroids. An MRI, CT Scan, more blood work, an ER visit, a false emergency appendicitis scare and more than half a dozen doctor appointments later, a pediatric orthopedic doctor put a cortisone shot into his hip and the pain instantly went away. While being pain free for the 1st time in months was awesome, it finally gave us a diagnosis that wasn’t what we hoped for. He has ASIS, which is like tendonitis in his right hip. It’s something he’ll have to live with until he reaches bone maturity, but he will outgrow it eventually. He’s learned to live with the limitations of not being able to lift his right leg very high. Stairs seem to be the biggest obstacle for him. He had to stop playing baseball halfway through the season because of the pain. He was a great team mate still attending all the games, cheering on his team and helping out with keeping the play book for the games. Because of his hip pain and not playing much during the season he didn’t make the 2014 team. He’ll play Iowa City boys baseball with Ammon this spring. He played football this fall, and was able to play about half the games before his hip pain got too intense. After resting for a few months, he’s taken up Polar Bear running club and is thankfully having no pain running. He started Junior high this year and loves it. He has been doing so great in school that he was able to switch from an IEP to a 504 plan, which meant that he could get into Spanish 2nd trimester. He continues to play the baritone in the 7th grade band and has improved so much in just a few months. He’s also playing in the Junior High Jazz Band. He started passing the Sacrament in June and takes it so seriously. He’s enjoying being in Young Men’s and Scouts and all the campouts they go on. He still loves to be outside on his ripstick, bike or shooting his hand made bow and real arrows.

Corrine-started 4th grade with some struggles, but by the end of the year had grown so much. She started 5th grade this fall with a huge smile on her face! Last spring Corrine played her 2nd season of softball. Weeks into the season after weeks of a sore right foot we went to the doctor. X-rays showed no broken bones, but instead a mysterious mass the size of a BB near the growth plate on the top of her big toe. She had an MRI done, which showed multiple stress fractures and gave no clues about the spot. She was placed in a walking boot for 6 weeks, and worked her way out of it so she could go to a week-long horse camp through Girl Scouts which she absolutely loved. She also was an awesome team mate, going to all the games, warming the other girls up and cheering them on. She has a class rabbit at school that she quickly became very knowledgeable about. Her calm nature made the bunny warm right up to her. She spends many recesses playing and caring for the bunnies. In October just days before her practice 5K for Girls on the Run she had a repeat MRI which showed she still had a few stress fractures and the spot was still there. She was put back into the walking boot. Because she wasn’t healing they wanted to do some more tests. A bone density scan showed she has normal healthy bones, and her blood work only showed a Vitamin D deficiency like Simeon. In December after 2 months in the boot, she was placed in a walking shoe for a month to transition her back into a regular shoe. We joke that her right shoe is going to have an inch more tread on it then the left since she hasn’t been able to wearing it for so long!  She has showed so much bravery this year getting 2 IV’s placed for the MRI’s and blood work done. She wanted to take swim lessons in January. She amazed all of us overcoming her fear of the water and passing every level on the 1st try! It was so awesome to see her confidence growing so much this year in many different areas. She was in the schools Lego Robotics Club where she helped make an App about emergency preparedness and presented it to a panel of judges with her group. She was a robot operator and on her run she earned her team 128 points. Corrine is quite a creative girl. She loves to write stories, sew, make rubber band bracelets, draw pictures and write cards to others. She is so incredibly sweet and loving with Rebecca.  Those 2 are the best of friends. She plays the viola in the advanced orchestra and the clarinet in the beginner band. She recently told us that when she grows up she wants to be a writer and an Olympic runner.

Ammon started 3rd grade this fall and is doing so incredibly good in school. He soaks up information so quickly. He tells us all sorts of interesting facts he learns from books and school. He is an amazing reader and loves to read anything Simeon has read. He loves to learn about everything military. We took a trip to the Rock Island Arsenal and he loved every minute of it. He got into Harry Potter this year and can talk about any character or book. In June he was baptized and started Cub Scouts. He loves going to den meetings and working on the requirements to advance in rank. He is very athletic playing baseball, soccer, riding his bike, playing basketball and shooting his home made bow and arrows. He loves to be in the action on the soccer field running all over the field. He’s an aggressive goalie diving on the ball to stop the other team from scoring. He continues to increase in belt ranking in Taekwondo. He earned his 2nd black tip in December. It’s awesome watching him do his form and braking boards. He loves to climb the hallway walls like Spiderman. He is a very loving kiddo especially with mom and Rebecca. He gives dad a running, jumping huge hug every day.  He enjoys serving our neighbors raking their leaves and shoveling their snow. He still thinks going to bed in not for him and loves to stay up late and sleep in just like his mom. He has been learning to play the piano this year and is getting better each month. He was very excited to get the Star Spangled Banner music from Corrine for Christmas.

Rebecca is the sweetest, loving little girl. She gives the best hugs and kisses dozens of times a day to everyone in the family. She has to give a hug and kiss before anyone leaves the house. Her hair continues to grow, but it’s getting straighter as it gets longer.  She’s decided that even getting her hair brushed is a horrible daily ordeal that she would rather not deal with, but she doesn’t want it cut. She wants to grow it long like Corrine. She started Pre-K this fall and loves every second of it. She gives her friends and teachers hugs every day when school is over. She’s learning so much so quickly. She knows and can write all her letters and numbers. She can write all our names and some other words without any help. She loves to learn to write new words and shapes. She can read a few easy books, and loves to find words she knows all around her. She plays with her babies and takes care of her toys just like Doc McStuffin.  She learned to swing this summer which has been so nice for all of us. When it’s warm she’ll swing for an hour straight. This August we discovered that she had a mouthful of cavities. We went to a new dentist that would fix them under general anesthesia in the hospital. Rebecca was so brave going into the operating room all by herself after we learned minutes earlier that mom couldn’t go in with her. The procedure lasted 2 hours and she came out with her baby dressed up for surgery. She ended up having 10 cavities and got a shiny silver tooth on a molar. She thinks it was so much fun that she wants to do it again. Mom and Dad feel differently.

Johann became the 2nd counselor in the Bishopric this summer after 8 or so years in the Young Men’s program. He’s enjoying the change in service in the ward and getting to know more people through his calling. He works so hard for our family and is a great husband and dad to the kids. Rebecca and him have a special book they read together before bed. He made Ammon a loft bed this year which turned out so nice. He helped coach Simeon’s baseball team again this year.  He enjoys the rare chance he gets to sleep in. He doesn’t seem to mind the never ending to-do list of projects around the house.

Kari- I’ve learned a lot this year about patience, bravery, asking for help and excepting help. It was a tough year for me with my depression getting worse throughout the year. This fall I finally went to the doctor and started medicine and therapy. It’s been helping not only me but everyone in the family. I’m learning to be calmer, more patient and to know what’s really important and what we can do without. It’s a work in progress, but most days I feel better able to handle life’s challenges. I spent 10 weeks this winter/spring reading and rocking our sweet nephew Levi in the NICU while he recovered from having his intestines outside of his stomach at birth.  I loved being with him and am very excited for when I have time to be a volunteer at the University Hospital. This summer I started a small photography business. It’s been such a good thing for me to use my skills and to make some money doing it. This school year is my 2nd year teaching the beginners Spanish class. It’s been so fun brushing up on my Spanish and feeling accomplished getting lessons made for the kids. It was a hard transition for me this fall having all the kids in school every morning, but it has been a wonderful chance for me to work on improving myself.

Cosmo/Bun buns-In November we adopted the sweetest mostly black bunny. He was found wandering by a police officer and taken to the shelter. The kids had been asking for a dog for years, but we knew that a dog was more then we could handle. A sweet little rabbit was a better fit for us. They think he was about 12 months old when we adopted him. He has one ear that lacks some muscle tone so it doesn’t stick up as much and he gets called helicopter ears because of it. He doesn’t like the hardwood floors, so he stays in the front room and hallway, except when he gets daring and explores the boy’s bedroom. His favorite treats are purple lettuce, parsley, cilantro, radishes, bananas, apples and carrots. We found out quickly that he loves to chew electric cords like Simeon’s ear buds and cell phone charger! He has been such a blessing for our family in so many ways. He is very loving, grooming us and running around showing us his happiness. If he didn’t enjoy digging up our carpet he would be the perfect pet!

We are grateful for all of the chances we’ve had to learn and grow this year. The kids keep getting taller by the day and will soon pass mom up in height. We’ve had lots of smiles and laugher and wonderful family time together. Even with all the challenges 2013 brought to our family, we also had so many amazing blessings and happy times. We spent a week tent camping in Northern Minnesota exploring the head waters of the Mississippi River, fishing, swimming, cooking over the fire and hiking. It was a wonderful week of fun.
We are looking forward to more chances to learn, grow, laugh, smile and play in 2014.

The Smiths,

Johann, Kari, Simeon, Corrine, Ammon & Rebecca

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Zoo day

Today my sweet little Rebecca and I decided it was a zoo day. A zoo day was just what we needed. Preschool could wait, Mom & Rebecca needed to play!

I tried getting there a new way for me, and I missed the turn. I missed a MAJOR turn! So we ended up going into Illinois on the 80. We ended up taking old Highway 6 to get to Coal Valley. It was beautiful on the drive. The trees were so colorful, but Rebecca just wanted to get there!

We rode the train with a field trip of noisy kindergartners.

The snow leopard was very active walking around. Rebecca got an eye to eye encounter with it.

We walked by the lions right as the male lion started roaring. He walked right up to the glass by us. He fogged the glass up with his breath. Rebecca said she wasn't scared by the lion.

We made a quick stop to feed the goats before heading to the pond. The fish were cold so they weren't eating the food wildly like they usually do. Instead the swans and ducks were eating all the food. One swam walked up to us on the deck and started eating the food on the ground. Rebecca started dropping food for it to eat. She started feeding it from her hands after watching a boy do it. The swan really liked all the food Rebecca gave it.

I've been trying to play with manual settings on my camera. Rebecca was more then happy to jump on the rocks while I took pictures of her playing.

I'm not sure why she's got such a potty lip in this picture. Must have been because I said it was time to go home. The Zoo's an hour away and Simeon had a doctors appointment, so we had to get home.

These days of field trips are numbered and I want to take advantage of these days with Rebecca before their gone. I love spending  time with this sweet little girl of outs.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fear for a stranger

Today I watched a man fall.
I wasn't sure he was going to be alright.
I keep seeing his body, chainsaw, ladder and branch all crashing to the ground together.
I ran.
I didn't feel any pain in my leg.
I was so scared.
His face was so pale.
He didn't want me to call an ambulance.
He wasn't getting up.
I still think I should have.
Seriously what was he thinking?
A flimsy ladder on the branch he was cutting.
He got up.
He looked bad.
I gave him some ice.
I wanted to do more.
They wouldn't let me.
The fence was dented.
I saw him again tonight.
I saw his cut leg.
It was deep.
It looked bad.
I was relieved to see him walking.
He was pretty banged up.
He was sore.
Very sore.
I wanted to yell at him.
I wanted to hug him.
I don't even know him.
I had so much fear for him.
Seriously what was he thinking?
Next time I hope he thinks twice.
He has to come back.
Maybe I'll hug him, then yell at him.
Put on my "mommy shoes."
Tell him a thing or two.
Then hug him again.
Nightmares for me tonight.
Fear for a stranger.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Today came

I've been looking forward to today for 6 weeks.
Yet I've also been dreading today for 6 weeks.
I wanted today to come fast.
And slow.
I wanted today to start.
And to end.
Today I had an appointment.
I was excited for it.
And scared.
I giggle when I'm nervous.
I giggled alot this morning.
I also cried.
Silent scared tears.
It was strange to hear.
Yet not feel.
I lost a part of me.
And I gained freedom.

It looked alienish.
That was in me.
So thankful to have it gone.

1 week later I got the results it was a benign cyst. Now I have a 2" scar on my left thigh as a reminder of what I went through.

Monday, September 23, 2013


I love writing on our blog.
But I stopped.
I wasn't planning on sharing Simeon's leukemia journey on Facebook everyday in September.
But I am.
It's almost the end of September.
Fall is here.
Fall seemed so far away.
Now it's here.
I'll get back to it.
I need to.
I miss reading other blogs.
I'll get back to that.
I'm not sure if I'll add the leukemia posts here.
Maybe not.
Someone not on Facebook may benefit from them.
Maybe I will.
I'm finally not so lonely when the kids all leave for school.
It took a few weeks.
But it happened.
I was told it would.
They were right.
Maybe this will help prepare me for next year when the kids are all gone all day.
I haven't been on my own in over 12 years.
It's been an adjustment.
It's getting easier.
This morning I feel sluggish.
I feel down.
More then I have in a while.
I love fall.
It's winter that's hard for me.
I didn't sleep good last night.
Husband snored.
Too many thoughts.
Thinking about friendships.
Thinking about the past.
Trying to get past hurt feelings.
Trying to understand where I fit.
If I fit.
Sometimes I'm not sure.
I'm sure I do.
Maybe we all don't fit some.
So we push others.
It hurts to get pushed.
I'm tired of getting pushed.
It'd be nice if we all fit together better.
That's all this is.
Ramblings on a quiet, feeling kind of down morning.