The Friday Update

Well it’s Friday, and you know what that means!  Time to catch you up on all that has happened with the house during the past week.  And it’s a lot!  However I do want to take a moment to recognize this very special moment. That’s right, our first repeat post. This makes it a tradition! *sniff, I am so happy.

Moving on.

Last time on The Friday Update we left you with a partially completed first story.  Not even a whole story.  Then Monday rolled a long and this happened.

“But Tannie, it looks the same.”  Fear not faithful reader.  If you look closely you will notice that there is a floor on top. Fantastic!  And that floor came with this marvelous staircase to nowhere.

staircaseHere is Dan proudly demonstrating our stairs that go to nothing.

So that was really exciting.  Stairs mean that Something Else is about to happen.  And it did!  They poured the cement for our awesome driveway (which I failed to photograph) and added the entire rest of the house!

Well, not the ENTIRE rest of the house.  But MOST of it. There is a small section of the roof still missing.  If you wanted to visit, you can see that we provide a lovely guest bathroom right in front. It smells amazing.

So that is where we stand as of this morning.  I am hoping to see a complete roof today.  There was also a special delivery that gave me a clue to what the next step is. Lets see if you can guess too.

windowsLe Windows. I am so happy.

Well peeps, have a great weekend and stay tuned for the answer to this weeks DIY sneak peek.

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Free Agency and the Power of Choice

Good Wednesday to you all.  Most of my blogs will be pretty random, but there are three things I want to do consistently.

  1. Some sort of DIY project, hopefully once a week.
  2. The Friday Update – keeping you updated on the progress of the house.
  3. A spiritual boost, or something to discuss and think about.

Today I will be doing the third.  Usually I will be all about fun and humor. But I also want to be serious every now and then. I have been thinking, (for those of us who attend church) each Sunday we are able to get some sort of spiritual thought or some inspiration that is supposed to carry us through the rest of the week.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need a little more to help me get through the rest of the week.

Mid week seems to be when I start dragging a little, so I decided that each Wednesday I will try to have something inspirational on here.  It won’t always be a religious thing, (but sometimes it will be) and I will try to make it universal for everyone.  But I am who I am, so I am sure my personal views will slip in there anyway.  But the goal is to help me expand my understanding on certain things and propel me through the rest of the week.  Hopefully by including it on the blog it can help someone else out there as well.  So here we go!

I want to start this weeks topic with a quote by a great man named Boyd K. Packer

“The choices we make will affect the scope of our agency in the future.  As of now, we have the right of decision.  What we will have tomorrow will depend on how we decide today.”

One of the things I am most grateful for in this life is our power to choose.  Our Free Agency.  I think we forget sometimes how much choice we do have in the direction our life takes.  In the Book of Mormon there is a scripture in 1 Nephi 3:7 it says,

“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”

For those who are familiar with that scripture, you may be wondering what that has to do with our choices and free agency.  This scripture is more traditionally used to illustrate obedience, courage, faith, and being prepared.  Nephi truly had those things.  He had faith to follow the Lord, he was obedient to His will, he was courageous in the face of adversity and was prepared to do the things required of him.

When reading that verse, I have often wondered what gave Nephi such conviction to say such a powerful thing.  The words “I will go, I will do.”  At some point he had made a choice.  He actively chose to be those things.  He chose to be obedient and faithful.  When you have not previously made a decision it is very difficult to back it up with conviction.

I have noticed this in my own life.  If I am suddenly confronted with a choice I was not prepared to make, I become wishy washy and seek the advice of others, I vacillate and my actions become likewise.  On the other hand, if there are things I am confronted with that I have already thought about and prepared for, it is easy for me to go forward in my own decision with confidence.  For example I remember when Officer Friendly visited my elementary school while I was in second grade.  He challenged each of us to make the decision That Day to “say no to drugs.”  I followed his advice, and I made the choice that day.  Later in high school when I was confronted with drugs, it was very easy for me to say no. I had already chosen to do so.

I love the quote in Harry Potter where Professor Dumbledore tells Harry  that “It is not our abilities that show what we truly are, it is our choices.”

Another great movie quote is when The Green Goblin confronts Spiderman and tells him that “we are who we chose to be.”  Hoping to convince him to chose the wrong side. For better or for worse, the reality is that our character is made from the choices we have made and will make.

The youth in our church are given a pamphlet called For the Strength of Youth.  It gives a lot of wonderful advice on how to get through this life successfully. One piece of advice it gives is the following.

“You are responsible for the choices you make. You should not blame your circumstances, your family, or your friends if you choose to disobey God’s commandments.  You are a child of God with great strength. You have the ability to choose righteousness and happiness, no matter what your circumstances.”

Sometimes we struggle to be positive and become overwhelmed and overburdened.  Such was my case at a time in my life.  I sought for guidance through prayer.  The answer I received was “Choose happiness, only you can control if you are happy or not.”  I was shocked to have that be my answer.  I had to CHOOSE to be happy!  It wasn’t going to be handed to me.  It was then that I realized how much freedom our free agency actually gives us.  We must choose in all walks of life.  Consciously choose.  It is what makes us who we are.

President Spencer W. Kimball said,

“Life gives to all a choice. You can satisfy yourself with mediocrity if you wish. You can be common, ordinary, dull, colorless, or you can channel your life so that it will be clean, vibrant, progressive, useful, rich. You can soil your record, defile your soul, trample underfoot virtue, honor, and goodness, and thus forfeit an exaltation in the kingdon of God. Or you can be righteous, commanding the respect and admiration of your associates in all walks of life, and enjoying the love of the Lord. Your destiny is in your hands and your all important decisions are your own to make.”

I challenge you to decide who you are today.  If your not sure, then Pray and find out who you are. Decide to be happy, decide to love your family. Get out and make a difference, no matter how small.  Be like Nephi, “I will go, I will do…” and then fill in the rest.  What will you go and do?

I am Tannie Smith, I choose to be happy, I choose to be a good mother, I choose to follow the Lord, I choose to be a friend, I choose to love my family and I choose to make a difference.

What choices will you make today that define who you are tomorrow?

DIY 101

The avid reader may have noticed I promised some DIY projects and it is about time to come through on that promise.  “But Tannie,” you may ask, “how can you possibly do a DIY project when you are so obviously without a home?”  Well good reader, that is an excellent question.  Which is why this post does not actually have a DIY project in it.

See I tricked you, but only a little bit.  Let me explain.

When we finally move in I have all types of wonderful projects planned. And I fully intend on sharing those projects.  Some of those projects will include, but are not limited to; tiling, building furniture, landscaping, painting, wall art, etc.  All types of fabulous things to get your hands dirty with.  However I cannot do those things now.  Well I could, but I think my mom would object to me experimenting on her house.  So the plan is to do some smaller more craft like projects. Just to get the ball rolling.  Now those who know me best, know that I do not exactly, how do you say…ahem, LOVE crafting. However I do appreciate a good project here and there.  So just in this weird time of my life I will do some craft style DIY projects.  Then, once we are in the house we will bring out the big guns.  I feel there are enough “craft” blogs out there, that I really don’t need to try to fit that niche.

So what could I possibly have planned for our first project?  Well I will tell you…

…next week.  ;-)

But here is a clue.  Lets play “What Is It,” shall we?

scrap woodAbove are some scrap pieces of wood I picked up from our house.

What could I possibly have seen in these sad little discards?

Comment and share your theories with me and next week, on the same Bat Channel, same Bat Time, I will reveal the final outcome.  Hoping of course it ends up looking like what is in my head!

I look forward to hearing your speculation!

P.S.  Are you terrified of missing anything Smithocratic?  Is something happening and you don’t know about it?  Never fear, the solution is clear!  Just click like on the right and you can be notified in facebook everytime something new happens with The Smithocracy. “Not good enough” you say? Well then, take a look at the bottom of the page and click “follow.” You will soon be notified via email of each new adventure.  Take comfort in the knowledge that another post will never pass you by!

Aiming to please

Good Monday everyone.  Hope it was as an enjoyable weekend for you as it was for us.  The Smithocracy voted and we checked out “Day Out With Thomas” for Logan and a good time was had by all. I also got to enjoy “Saints Unified Voices” with Gladys Knight. Which was absolutely incredible!  So a success all around.

Anyway we have received a few requests to see some floor plans of our house.  And since we aim to please, here you go!  I tried to edit and make the plans look as close as possible to the final outcome.  However there will still be some major differences.  For example, the front elevation…

We will be doing an all brick exterior, not a brick and stone mix.  Also everything you will view here is flipped.  So the garage is being built on the left, rather then on the right, etc.

Here is the first floor.

If you see it on here, we are putting it in.  I removed the upgrades (or Available Features, as the sales person says) that we chose not to use.  I LOVE this house because my laundry will have a window!  I have wanted natural light in that room ever since I realized how hateful laundry is.  So there is no reason to do it in the pit of despair.

Moving on to the second floor.

As you can see Dan has chosen to give himself an entire room dedicated to manliness.  I have never seen the point of having a room that is dedicated completely to one person and one person alone, that is not a bedroom.  I don’t kick everyone out of the living room or randomly declare the stairs as my place, therefore no one else may enter.  However society has dictated that men need “alone time” and a man cave.  Therefore we have one.  Although in a moment of complete transparency I will let you know that this was not reached through Smithocracy.  Dan temporarily led a coup and created a Smith-tatorship.  We have since seized back power for the people, but we are still seeing the effects.

So there is our future home!  We are very excited and can’t wait to see it in Real Life, rather then on a screen.

p.s. Don’t forget to Like us on facebook!  Or Follow us here, to stay up to date on all thing Smithocratic.

Friday Update

Well it’s Friday and that means the end of another week.  It also means time for The Friday Update.  “What is The Friday Update Tannie and why do you capitalize things that don’t always need capitalizing?”  Well the Friday update is where I will post all the recent happenings on the building of the house.  It changes so much each day, that I am just going to do a weekly update rather then pester you each day with house photos.  Also if something is Very Important I will take a page from A. A. Milne’s writing style and capitalize it. It always makes me smile when he does that. And we are all about smiling here folks.

See. :-)

Anyway seeing as this is The First Friday Update.  I am going to have to actually summarize about three months of progress in one post.  Then we will do weekly updates.  Don’t worry the lot did nothing for two of those months.  It looked like this.

LotFor a looooooooooooooooooooong time. It was very boring.  Then one day this happened.

terracingThey terraced into the back hill.  I guess I should explain, the back of the lot has two hills or berms as we will call them from here on out.  So I try to take most the photos in the same spot, facing the front of the lot.  But if you notice some from above or a different angle, then I am standing on the berms.  Anywho, this was a surprise because we had gotten use to our lot just sitting there doing nothing.  Being a completely unproductive member of society.  Then it up and changed itself.  So that was fun, but after sitting there another 3 weeks we started getting bored again.  That’s when this happened.

That’s right, for those astute and quick of eye readers, you will notice that the trees are missing.  Which was sad, but we plan to plant plenty of replacements, so don’t worry about the lack of air cleaning trees.  So that was an exciting day because that meant Something was going to happen.  And it did!  In about the span of two weeks, all this happened.

it was all very exciting.  But the most exciting was when we showed up and found them pouring the cement.  While we were there 6 cement trucks were used.  We left before they were done, so I am not sure if that is the Official Count.  Then by the end of the day it was dry and ready to go.  We were so excited we did this.

The brick will cover it up, but we will know it is there.

So that brings us up to this week where we learned the answer to the following question.

Q: How much wood does a wood house need, if a wood house could have wood?

A: This much.

Those are two different piles and I don’t think the picture really captures the amount of wood there really is.  There is a third pile that I did not photograph. Every morning they keep bringing more.  So as of this morning this is where we are at.

There you go.  Our first Friday Update.  The crew this morning said they will be done with framing in two weeks.  Then we will have our pre-drywall meeting.  At that point I will give you guys the first video tour.  Your welcome.

So the Smiths are EXCITED.  Do you have any fun projects you want to share.  Go and discuss on The Smithocracy Facebook page.

p.s. Do you want to be notified of the latest happenings on The Smithocracy?  Just hit follow on this blog and you will be notified by email whenever there is a new post.  Or click like on the facebook page and you can be notified through facebook.  Pretty nifty huh?

In The Buns food review

So Dan and I RARELY eat out.  So when we do we want to make sure our money is well spent on something delicious and unique.  No McDonald’s here peeps.  However we do love ourselves a good burger every now and then.  We are all for healthful eating, but sometimes you just need some grease.

So Dan’s fellow employees have been raving about a new hamburger joint called In The Buns.  I could not find a webpage for them but they are on facebook here.  So since Dan’s co-workers have given it a 100% approval rating, we thought we would check it out. Seeing as this is our first food review I will explain how it works in The Smithocracy.  We work on the 4 star rating system.  Since there is 4 of us, one star per person.  So if only 1 Smith likes it, it gets 1 star, 2 Smith’s, 2 stars, and so on and so forth.  So lets dive in shall we.

In the bunsIn the Buns is located here and has been open for about two months. Now the Graphic Designer in me likes the logo going on in here and the execution, very fun. But the mother and wife of all males began to grow tired of the name and all the boy jokes that went with it.  But I digress.  The place is obviously set up on a shoe string budget.  Having a brother in the restaurant business, I know how expensive it is to get a place up and running.  So I had to admire the creative ways they took shortcuts to get the look they needed.  The spray painted logo, the cool chain fence kitchen and hand drawn restroom signs were great touches.  The staff was friendly and all said “hi” when we walked in.

On the menu is hamburgers of course, there were other items, but Dan made me go hamburger or go home.  So here were our choices.

  • Classic Cheese
  • Mushroom Swiss
  • Bacon Cheese
  • Fajita Burger
  • Frito Pie
  • Blue Cheese Bacon

Last but not least was The Fire Burger.  This one is NOT for the faint of heart or tongue.  It contains The Trifecta of peppers.  Ghost, habanero, and serrano peppers.  So this gringo steared clear.

Dan and I both ordered the Fajita Burger, Onion Rings and Sweet Potato Fries.  Yes we really wanted to clog our arteries in a major way.  Austin got the Kids Burger and Logan, the kidsToasted Cheese.  We went to the soda fountain and found this.

Soda FountainIf you are a soda connoisseur as Dan is.  Then you will be just as happy as Dan and my kids were to find such a delicious selection of soda.  I, for one, am a water drinker.  But I do admire a fine rootbeer, and that was a fine rootbeer.

While we waited for the food we noticed that In The Buns supports local artists and has little bios of each contributing artist.  As an artist I give them a thumbs up for that.  (The thumbs up system is different than the star system.) :-)

Then our food arrived.

HamburgersHoly guacamole Batman.  That is a lot of food.  I put my burger together and took my first bite.  Very good and there is a surprise inside.  The cheese is in the patty, which was cool.  The kids got a kick out of that.  Now let me explain a little about my hamburger tastes.  The best burger in the world to me is P. Terry’s and right behind is Phil’s Icehouse. I will review those in the future, but here is a hint.  Best burgers ever.  Anyway the burger I had was huge, greasy and messy, just as a good burger should be.  And it was good, but not P. Terry’s good.  I place it below Phil’s and above 5 guys. So still a VERY good burger.  So I give it 1/2 a star.

Here is Dan’s take as quoted from his facebook post.

“In The Buns Burger Joint is my favorite burger place now. Not just because of the name, but also because of the Fajita Burger. Tastes good. Makes a mess. Only has soda made from real cane sugar and playing Nirvana in the background. I could die happy here.”

That’s right Dan, get that burger in your face.  So a star from Dan.

Austin gives his approval and a whole star.

Logan also gave it a star, but his picture didn’t turn out.  :-(  I will tell you that as a parent, Austin did not finish his burger, but did finish Logan’s toasted cheese.  I took a bite of his burger and they definitely do not specialize in kids burgers.  But both kids agree that the toasted cheese was delicious.  So if you go, I say get the kids either a grown up burger and make them share, or go with something other than the kids burger on the kids menu.

Here is the damage done.

Did I mention that the burgers are HUGE!  That is the only reason why mine is not finished.  My stomach can only hold so much.  Also I can’t forget to mention how yummy the onion rings were.  Those were amazing!

To sum it up, In The Buns is a great little hamburger joint and your taste buds will not be disapointed.  Although your arteries will hate you for a week after.  So check it out and bring some wipes.  The Smithocracy voted and it is 3 1/2 stars.

Do you have any food recommendations for us to check out?  Let us know on our facebook page or here in the comments and we will review it for you.  Happy eating!

Oh where oh where have the Smith’s gone?

Some of you may have noticed that you don’t see us so much anymore. You wonder “what happened? What could we have done to make them go away?” Well wonder no more! All will be explained today.

Actually I am very disappointed in the rumor mill. It has failed me miserably. Something that is usually so reliable. We thought we had told enough key people, but alas apparently we have some very good secret keepers in our friendship circle. Which is usually a good thing!

Just not this time.  ;-)

So lets break it down, shall we?

At the end of the school year we saw this.

LotWe thought, “this is pretty, we should put a house on it.”  So we did this

SoldBut first we had to sell our old house.  So we called our handy dandy realtor, Doug Runyan (who is awesome by the way) and two months later we sold our house, which you can view here.  The only hitch is our new house will not be ready till December 15th.

What to do?

Well first we tried to find a place to rent, we were hoping to stay close to the kids school.  However when we saw how much rent prices had jumped recently we needed a new plan.  That is where my parents came to the rescue.  They (my mom in particular) offered to let us stay at their house, free of charge, as long as we kept clean and paid for our own food.  DEAL!  What does this have to do with our mysterious disappearance?  Well my parents happen to live an hour away from where we are building and where the kids go to school.  After thinking about the pros and cons, we decided to go for it.  So we moved in with my parents and commute the hour back and forth each day in one Mini car.  But don’t feel too sad for me because this is where we get to live

Texas livingtexas backyardWe will give a full tour of the Okey Doke Ranch in a future post.  So now that we are living rather far, we are just pretty much driving during the week and staying at the Okey Doke on the weekend.

So lets break down the numbers shall we.

Time we wake up for school and taking Dan to work – 5:00am

Miles driven each day – 100+ depending on extra errands that may be run

Money spend on gas each month – $600

People that can fit in a mini cooper – 4 and no more

Morning drive – easy breezy 45 minutes.

Evening drive – grueling 1 hour and 20 minutes

Hours to kill between picking up kids from school and getting Dan at work – 2 hours

Time kids go to bed – 7:00 and yes they fall asleep instantly.

Anyway hopefully that clears things up for those that were confused.  It will all be worth it when we get to move into our new house.  Right now we are just enjoying some extra time with Grandma.

What about you?  Have you ever done any strange arrangements to achieve a goal?

Small and Happy Things

I love when you run across little things that just make you feel good. People that just add a small bit of happiness and help lift the gloom from a mood. For example a couple days ago I was at the bank. The teller was extremely chipper which was nice. But that wasn’t the Happy Thing. The Happy Thing was she sent me this on the envelope.

Happy drive through envelope

That was a fun surprise.  But the next day (you really need to bank at my bank) I found this at the bottom of the tube.

Happy Face in a tube

Seriously these are some happy people.  Which made me decide I should be happy too.  A sort of pay it forward mood thing happened.  But the best Small and Happy thing that ever happened to me was finding these on my windows one morning.

I love you


If you can’t read it the top one says “I love you,” written by Austin and the bottom one says “Logan,” written by Logan.  Logan can only write his name so it is the same as saying I love you. That kept me in a good mood for at least a week.

What about you?  What are some Small and Happy things that you have seen lately?