Kensie Kate

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Smith Family Update (It's About Time!)

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It's time for a Smith family update! I'm 99% sure the last time I did one was 4 years ago. So yeah, it's time ;)

Look at that cute family of mine!

It seems like so much has been happening the last few months. I started an internship that has now turned into a full-time job doing Content Marketing for LDS Living at Deseret Book. I'll be honest. I didn't even know what "content marketing" was when I applied or even when I started the job, but I have since learned that it is the perfect mix of creative and business/marketing for me. I genuinely love working for a company whose mission is to share uplifting content. I'm also a really big fan of working in downtown Salt Lake City. 

We had these family pictures right before Sam (the one in the navy hoodie) left on his mission. He is serving in the Saltillo Mexico mission and has been gone for 3 months now. He loves Mexico‚ÄĒespecially the food. He's getting used to drinking Coke instead of water and he's definitely enjoying the warmer winter weather. He's such a humble missionary and is really trying to learn Spanish. 

Drew (in the red jacket) is a senior in high school. His time is pretty much taken up by work, dance, and dating. He's been on a ballroom dance team for over a year and really enjoys it. He's got a bad case of senioritis and is just trying to make it through the rest of the school year. 

Ainsley (in the gray sweater) spends a lot of time dancing and talking Finley into making brownies. She loves learning new makeup techniques and avoiding getting her driver's license ;) She was excited for Sam to leave, only because of his nut allergy, which means we can have Nutella in our house for the first time ever.

Finley (in the white dress) is ready to be done with elementary school. She's essentially already a teenager in a lot of ways. She loves dance and learning to play the piano. 

Owen (in the denim shirt) is obsessed with anything Pokemon related. He really likes when I teach him how to play songs on the piano and then he plays them about 20 times a day ūüôĄ.

Also, we had professional family pictures taken for the first time ever (Not that the last family picture we snapped 3 years ago in front of the wall at IKEA wasn't great and all...) Wendy of Blue Lily Photography did such a good job of making us look good. She made the whole process as quick and painless as possible. And the light was so amazing that night. Definitely a better success than this attempt...

Maybe the next family update will take place less than 4 years from now ;)

when dad leaves...

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Every time my dad goes out of town, someone gets sick or Owen does something dumb. When he went to Atlanta, my mom got pancreatitis. When we went to Australia, we pretty much all fell apart. (Strep, ear infection, broken arm) About 2 hours after my dad left for Japan, Owen invented a new magic trick. He's really into magic lately. The trick involved putting the back of Finley's earring in one ear and pulling it out the other. Too bad his brain got in the way. A pair of tweezers and my mom's steady hand narrowly prevented a visit to the emergency room. My dad left for scout camp today and this time Owen did something dumb and someone got hurt. Owen was watching a movie on the computer and raised the chair up as high as it would go. He scooted the chair back and then leaned forward. The chair slid out from underneath him and he hit the desk hard. I was sitting on the floor 4 feet away and thought he crunched his nose. Really he got the strangest x-shaped cut near his mouth. At first we thought he would need some stitches, but thankfully it isn't that deep. Dad, you're never allowed to leave again, for our sake. Also whenever my dad leaves, my mom tries to complete a project around the house. While he was in Japan a couple of weeks ago, the project was this wall. We don't have a fireplace so we don't have a mantle and we really don't have any shelves. That means we don't have anywhere that is easy to decorate. This wall has a little shelf on top that will hold pictures, decorations, and stockings.

It is actually painted and decorated now, but I haven't taken a picture yet.

it's great to be 8

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Miss Fin turned 8 the end of June. 8 is a big deal in our church. 8 is when you are eligible to be baptized. We had kind of a crazy day, but it was pretty awesome. We all got ready and drove 45 minutes to a cousin's baptism. Afterwards, we went to their clubhouse to snack and chat with my dad's side of the family. We dropped some kiddos off at home and then went to find some white shoes for Finley to wear with her dress. We were unsuccessful. She wore the Tangled shoes she got for her birthday. She was more than pleased. Everyone got dressed up again and we went over to our church. Their were 5 other kiddos that got baptized with Finley. After she was baptized by my dad, we headed into another room where she was confirmed and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. Everyone is capable of being prompted by the Holy Ghost at times in their lives, but being confirmed gives you the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, as long as you are making the right choices. When a confirmation takes place, worthy priesthood holders are invited to participate. The circle of righteous priesthood holders that placed their hands on Finley's head was quite large. It was really special 1) because those men work hard to be worthy to carry out priesthood duties and 2) because so many family members and friends gave up so much of their time this week to support my family. We bought Finley's dress last year because my mom knew it was the perfect one for her. She looked so pretty in her dress with her hair braided.

After the baptism, we all went to a pizza buffet for dinner. I had visions of a dreamy backyard party filled with decorations, but we chose a simpler route because 1) we were afraid it would be too hot (actually it ended up pouring rain right after we started eating) and 2) we knew had a lot on our plate this weekend. We brought over a bunch of balloons (including a number 8 that was 3 feet tall) and it was great. We weren't stressed out and we had plenty of time to talk to everyone. We had the whole upstairs section to ourselves and everyone had a great time. Since we have another family event in the morning (a baby blessing), 2 of my cousins that are close to Ainsley and Finley's ages are sleeping over. They are spread all over the family room in sleeping bags. I was worried about them keeping my grandparents awake (they are staying at our house since they live 5 hours away) but my grandma said "they are so giggly you just want to giggle with them." I have spent more time with my extended family this week than I have all year and it has been so fun. Everyone has really sacrificed in order to be there and support each other.

finley foo

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This is Finley. She's almost 8. That's a pretty big year for us. 8 is when you are eligible to be baptized as a member of our church. My dad was grilling up some dinner and the lighting was dreamy so I took the chance to snap some pictures of this girlie. She has always been pretty willing to pose for me.

My mom and dad have tried incredibly hard to ingrain the 80s in me. Especially the music. Well, here's an 80s reference for you: She has "the most unbelievable blue eyes I've ever seen."

Finley loves people and has since she was tiny. She loves to serve and entertain. She loves talking to new people and makes it very hard for them to leave.

I was a little surprised she let me take these pictures without brushing her hair first. Ainsley doesn't seem that much older than her and since Ainsley gets to wear make up, Finley thinks she ought to act grown up too. I caught her wearing mascara and told her 7 was too young for that kind of thing. She looked at me incredulously and said in her best sassy tone, "I had a meeting!"

Finley has been able to do the splits since she was 2. It's her favorite party trick. Up until she was 6, she would introduce herself saying, "I'm Finley and I can do the splits!" And down she would go, into perfect little splits. She has recently started taking gymnastics classes. In fact, I think the reason she was outside in the first place was to practice.

This girl is mighty persuasive. Once she knows what she wants, she is unrelenting. She has the art of begging with puppy dog eyes mastered.

For example: See those little stars in her ears? Ainsley and I had to wait until we were 11 to get our ears pierced.

Our neighbors are letting us borrow their keyboard until they get moved into their new house (which happens to be right through our backyard). Finley plays that thing at least 3 times a day. I don't know what she'll do when we have to give it back. Finley has herself convinced that I know how to play the piano. I may be able to read music, but I certainly don't know how to play the piano. I had to mark middle C with a piece of washi tape. I'm not even a little bit kidding. I can figure out the right hand of most of her favorite songs. She can't read music, but she memorizes songs from watching me stumble through them.

My mom and dad have always said that she is a miniature version of me. She is definitely as klutzy as I am. Quite often we will hear a bump, smack, or crash, and before she even has time to process the situation, she yells, "I'm okay!"

You never have to wonder how Finley is feeling. She wears every emotion plainly. She is extremely excitable and just as easily heartbroken.

She is also a goofball. Which makes for entertaining pictures.

Given the choice, Finley would wear leggings every day of the week.

Yup. Goofball. And she loves to put together outfits like this.

She held this pose for a solid minute until she was sure I had taken a picture.

This is about as gangster as she gets.

Finley is extremely tender. If she gets into trouble or thinks she's hurt someone, she's in hysterics.

Here's a better view of that outfit she picked out.

sweet summertime

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We had a BBQ at my grandma and grandpa's house tonight. After dinner, my grandpa called into the house, "Kensie! Grab a bowl and come outside!" That's code for "things in the garden need to be picked, but I can't see everything hiding in the garden!" I knew it was too early for cucumbers to be ripe so I thought maybe some tomatoes were nice and red. I ended up finding a whole bowl of juicy strawberries. What a nice surprise. I love summer.

our last day in california

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We had one last day in Disney and we decided to spend it in California Adventure. It was definitely busier today, but not as hot. We split up a little, but spent most of the day together. Finley is at that transition stage where she wants to go on all the big rides and enjoy them, even though they scare her pants off. She has to convince herself it was fun and then she becomes ecstatic about going again.

Owen loved watching the Pixar parade.

Let it be known that I am the Midway Mania champion in this family.

If you happen to find yourself in California Adventure, make sure to stop in the Ghirardelli shop. Order the drinking chocolate. Ask for a for a chocolate covered waffle cone instead of biscotti. Then die and go to heaven. (One cup was plenty for our whole family of 8, though we did get an extra to put in the fridge. By morning it was much thicker.)

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The next day, we took our time getting ready, stopped for lunch (we found a fabulous Mexican restaurant right by our hotel), and then headed for St. George. We got there in time for a late dinner. We took my grandparents to Sakura. It is a Japanese sushi and steak house. It is seriously entertaining. Since it is only a few days away, we celebrated Owen's birthday. They brought out this ice cream covered brownie inside of this flower that opened up and had candles and a firework. Seriously the greatest birthday treat ever.