Monday, October 18, 2010

Ballroom Dance Camp

Brigham Young University (my husband's alma mater) for all that I mock it, does provide an excellent education at a very affordable price.  One of their particular areas of expertise is dance.  Benjamin went to dinosaur camp last summer in Wyoming, so when he realized that we were going to be out west again in the summer, he asked if he could attend again.  Unfortunately, they'd changed the camp to day trips that didn't really work out with our schedule anyway, so we started looking down in Utah for camps.  The only one that fit his age and interests happened to be the Youth Ballroom Dance Camp at BYU.  

Benjamin has been in dance classes since he was 5 years old, so he's no stranger to the world of dance, but for some reason I was totally surprised by how excited he got when I mentioned Ballroom Dance Camp.  He's never done anything like this before, but he was really excited to try.  So, we signed him up.

He had a wonderful time and at the end of camp was begging to be able to go every year until he turns 18, at which point, he informed us, he'll just be able to take college classes like that and won't need camp.

I was really proud of him for walking into a brand new place with hundreds of other kids he didn't know.  (Although, at the end of camp showcase we realized there were no fewer than 5 kids from our old stake in NJ, and one of them was a former piano student of mine.)  He was also in charge of himself all day and hung out with extended relatives at night, but he loved it and did a really good job with both of those things.

(We will not mention how often his mother had to call to talk to him because her BABY was in an entirely different state without her!!!)  
Lilyanna enjoying the end of camp showcase from underneath a chair.

This is a clip of them doing their New York Swing at the final Showcase.  Benjamin is as per usual the tall skinny one, he's in a white shirt and dancing with the cute blond wearing all black.  There were actually too many boys in their age group, so they did it twice so all the boys could have a turn.  Benjamin is in the back corner of the ballroom the second time through with a couple other boys.  You can tell which one is him by the one man dance solo he is putting on for himself and 500 other people in the ballroom.

This kid makes me smile.

A lot.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Corbin's Baby Blessing Day!

One of the things we were able to do while out west was attend our nephew's blessing and subsequent feast!  We are all about the feasting.  This took place two days after Warren's sealing and follow up feast, so we were still in the celebratory mood.  Also, both Warren and Benjamin were off at camps at BYU, so we were feeling fairly foot loose and fancy free.  It's amazing how 3 kids can feel like such a breeze when you are used to 5.  
 Here is Miss Lilyanna enjoying some homemade plum baby food.  Mmmm.  We had to bring the Bumbo cross country with us to use as a high chair because she was too skinny for regular restaurant high chairs.  She's also too skinny for the Bumbo and would do a backflip out of it any old time she was bored with it.
 These are another niece and nephew of ours.  I don't think Charlie and Emma know who I am, but Charlie does know and loves Benjamin and Todd.  I'm glad they can know a few of us since we are so far away.

 Nathaniel was a little lost without Benjamin, but he seemed to figure it out after a few hours.  Here he is holding down the table cloth to SAVE THE DESSERTS!!!  Nathaniel takes dessert very seriously.
And here is the little man of honor.  All sorts of cute and cuddly!

A Quick Tour of Salt Lake City

This is the fountain on the roof of the conference center, it continues on all the way down the building.  Salt Lake Temple in the background.
Last year, Caleb insisted that he wanted to go on vacation to Salt Lake City.  Todd and I kept saying things like, "Are you sure??"  and "Why?"   We did not ever say, "But, Caleb, there are too many damn Mormons in Utah!"  Because we try to be decent parents.  And besides, Salt Lake isn't so bad. ( Provo is a different story entirely...)

When we were out west visiting family and dropping off kids at various camps at BYU, we took a day to go visit SLC and see some of the sights.
This is also found on the roof of the conference center.  What look like photographs are actually images sand blasted into marble.  It was amazing to see and touch.

Caleb appreciating Temple Square.

I think I take this same picture every time I go to Salt Lake.

Benjamin before he and Todd almost passed out/threw up from heat exhaustion.  We Smiths know how to have a GOOD TIME!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Blinded by the Light!

We live in central Ohio.  Central Ohio is not known for it's sunshine.  NJ isn't known for it's sunshine, either, but Columbus has more in common with Seattle as far as sunshine is concerned.  After a year of living here, I noticed I needed sunglasses for even the dingiest of sunny days.  I'm turning in to one of those blind cave fish.  Apparently, so is the rest of my family, because we could not handle the bright, blinding, Utah sunshine.  See for yourself:

These were all taken outside the Mt. Timpanogoes Temple following Warren getting sealed to our family.  Both Todd and I had been able to go through the sealing ceremony with our adopted siblings when we were children, so it was nice to be able to share that with our children as well.
 It was so great to see so many family members and friends come to this momentous event for our family.  Todd's Grandpa was our sealer, also!
 My Aunt and Uncle even hosted a soiree at there house immediately following.  Did I mention that they had been up THE ENTIRE NIGHT BEFORE dealing with their brand new finished basement getting completely flooded thanks to a broken city pipe???   They are amazing and generous people.
We really wanted to get a cake that said, "Haha!  Now you're stuck with us forever!" But Todd's parents did the food shopping, so we didn't want to complicate it for them.  

Ahoy!  That's better!

And.....we're all done here!  Poor Caleb.

Fun Times at Grandma's House!

So, no visit to my parent's house is complete without an awesome bubble bath in the whirlpool.  It is because my parent's installed a huge whirlpool in the bathroom in their NJ house when I was 9 that has made it so I haven't taken a bath in a regular sized bathtub ever since.  You can't grow up with that and then downsize.  
Nothing says FUN like a bath full of bubbles!!

I promise that somewhere in there, there is a tub.

 Meanwhile, Lilyanna discovered the joys of crawling all over the place and cleaning up after everyone who dropped food.  To be fair, in this picture she's just cleaning up the tortilla that she dropped, but she was just as happy to help the morning that somebody spilled the cocoa krispies on the floor.  It's amazing what the last child gets to eat that the first child would never even have been able to touch.

 Happily, my Mom still had a walker up in the storage room from when my nephew was a baby.  The boys had a great time tying a piece of string on the front of it and pulling her all over the house.  Later in the week, the string even got attached to a bike so they could pull her even faster.  Again with the youngest kid, thing...
We all had a great time in Wyoming this visit.  It was really relaxing to hang out at my parent's house and enjoy spending time with them as they enjoyed spending time with their grandkids.