2015 ~ A Look Back

What a crazy, exciting and emotional year it has been! As I was preparing to write this post I looked back at last year’s and realized that our little family has come so far in just a year’s time! Praise God for all he has done in this past year. A lot of healing and blessings in our little family in 2015!

Read 2014’s Look Back here

January 2015

* After a really hard holiday season dealing with the loss of our first baby at 9 weeks, both The Hubs and I were in a tough place. Going back to work was really therapeutic for me because I absolutely love my job! But sadly January began one of the hardest stretches of our journey yet. We began trying for a baby again and were really discouraged when it didn’t happen the first month like it had the first time. I was also dealing with some crazy physical stuff because of my surgery that was very discouraging.

* I locked myself out of the house and had to climb through a window to get back in! That was fun, read about it here!

* We celebrated 1 year of having Kira in our family! We love this crazy high-energy dog so much!

February 2015

* We bought a house and moved in on February 1st! It was such a healing thing for us and really helped us switch our focus to something exciting!

* We were sad to say goodbye to the townhouse we had lived in for 2 years, but that home held lots of sad memories so a new start felt needed.

* We love our little home but it is definitely a starter home! So many projects were on our never-ending to-do list! We got started right away by painting every room in the house! I really had so much fun making this house our home!

* At the end of the month we celebrated The Hub’s turning 25! So glad this amazing man is in my life!

March 2015

* Still no baby, and I was getting discouraged. My doctor said it was completely normal after the surgery and to just be patient. So I decided to shift my focus on teaching and I did a lot of fun, extra things in my classroom! Read about them here and here.

* We got lots more done in our new home and began to really settle in! The animals especially began to feel at home!

April 2015

* Still working on home improvement projects! We added some curb appeal to our house and Kira discovered the back yard was perfect for digging!

* Celebrated Easter just the 2 of us because we had commitments at our church. I held an Easter egg hunt for the kids and had a blast!

* We took an early 3-year anniversary trip to Kansas City to see the Tour De Compadres concert. Collin got to go to Ikea for the first time and it is our favorite concert we have ever been to! Turned out to be one of the best trips we have ever taken especially because my parents met us in KC and treated us to lunch!

* Another month of no baby, I started to do some research and found out that getting active could help. So our little family started going on hikes near our house and walking around our neighborhood.

May 2015

* This month was an emotional rollercoaster! I had reached the point where I was beginning to think we would never have a baby. I felt like every person in the world EXCEPT me was pregnant and I really had a rough month. We stayed active and I even started running (yuck) to hopefully help in this area. I also began eating super healthy to try and get my body to its best!

* School getting out for the summer was good. The kids can sense when it’s time and when they reach that point I am ready to get out of there! It was a great first year of teaching and my love of the career was only solidified.

* At the end of the month we welcomed sweet Rigby into our family! We had been wanting a second dog for a while and we went to just look and someone fell in love (okay, it was me)! He is seriously the best dog ever! He is the perfect companion for Kira, they are best friends!

* The 25th marked 3 years of wedded bliss! We went on a date to our favorite Thai restaurant! We had been and were going through some rough stuff but gosh do I love The Hubs and how strong and faithful to God he was through it all! I picked the perfect partner for this crazy life!

June 2015

* June brought absolutely beautiful weather! The Hubs and I spent lots of time outside in our back yard.

* I began teaching summer school which was a nice way to make some extra cash and stay busy!

* Rigby was settling in nicely and Kira was happily beginning to accept him as a new part of the family. I think she liked having a playmate!

* We undertook our next big house project… new carpet in both bedrooms! We felt so adult when making this purchase!

* We found out we were PREGNANT! After the loss of our first baby and 7 long months of trying we were so overjoyed to find out we had another miracle awaiting us!

July 2015

* This month we were basically just overjoyed that there was a sweet baby growing in my belly! It would be a lie if I said there wasn’t also a lot of fear and worry. The first month we both struggled with worry that we would lose this sweet babe too. But we got great news at our 10 week appointment which let us hear the heartbeat, a sound we never got to hear with our first baby.

* My two best friends from high school came to visit and it was so fun to share the news with them!

* My sister and I who are both teachers, spent a day together making 16 freezer meals to prepare for the beginning of school. I love that she lives only 45 minutes away!

* The first trimester exhaustion hit me hard this month and I spent most of my time snuggled on the couch with the pups and taking 2 naps a day!

* It finally got really hot this month and our times outside were much fewer. But Rigby loves being outside so we made sure he got to go out!

August 2015

* August means back to school for this teacher. Lots of classroom prep as I moved to a brand new addition of the school. I hate the first days of school when your kids know nothing and have to learn your expectations. Luckily I have an amazing class this school year and they actually caught on very quickly! Happy teacher, happy classroom ūüėČ

* School overtakes me in August and back to school meant back to grading papers. I was exhausted by the end of the day and always needed a snack to get me through grading!

* We announced our pregnancy to the world which felt so good and I began my bumpdates!

September 2015

* I celebrated my 25th birthday on the 1st of the month. The Hubs always buys the best gifts!

* I entered the second trimester and started to get my energy back! My bump really began to show at 17 weeks and at 18 weeks I felt baby’s first tiny kicks!

* In other big news, Kira and Rigby started cuddling! This is a big deal in The Smith household! We love cuddling!

October 2015

* October brought week 20 of pregnancy which meant we were half way! We had our big ultrasound and held strong on not finding out the gender! Bebe was perfectly healthy and is either a boy or a girl… we will just wait and see!

* We started slowly working on the baby’s room.

* We said goodbye to our beloved cat Melvin as he went to live with my parents in Kansas. We wanted to downsize our animal load and my mom has always loved Melvin so they jumped at the chance to take him! We miss him but know he is very happy there!

* We held a Halloween party at our house with some great friends! This is the first time we had entertained at our house and it was so much fun!

* I shared about our miscarriage, which had been a secret from everyone but closest friends and family. I got so much support and encouragement from everyone, it felt great to be able to share our first baby’s story. We will always love you Selah. Read the post here.

November 2015

* We finally got our crib painted and put together (thanks sister and hubs!). It was The Hub’s crib from when he was a baby so it’s really special!

* I started to really look unmistakably pregnant! Growing bigger each day!

* November was a very relaxed month with nothing too special. Ended with a great Thanksgiving with my in-laws. Eating for 2 on Thanksgiving is the best!

December 2015

* I entered the third and final trimester! I have had a very easy pregnancy but am very ready to meet this sweet babe and find out if we will have a son or daughter!

* We got our house all decorated for Christmas, my favorite time of year!

* Wrapped up a wonderful first semester with my fourth graders. I received so many sweet gifts from my students. As much as I was ready for break I will miss my kiddos over the 3 weeks!

* The Hubs and I went to a wedding of some friends. It was fun to get the bump all dressed up!

* I was bit by the blogging bug again and have blogged a lot in December. I love writing and having this space to look back on is great!  Check it out!

* December is not quite over yet so I still have plenty of Christmas Break left. I will spend it relaxing, snuggling with the animals and enjoying free time… and lots of delicious food!

Boy are these posts long, but they are one of my favorites to write! I love looking back on the year I have had and remembering the great times. Even seeing the tough times is good because it helps me to remember how faithful God is! I am so excited for 2016 because we will get to meet our sweet baby and begin the adventure of parenting!

Christmas Spirit

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE!

This holiday season really made The Hubs and I begin talking about what we want Christmas to look like in our home as we start our family. Christmas has been so commercialized in our world and the real meaning (Jesus!) has been forgotten.

We don’t want our kiddos growing up thinking that Christmas is all about gifts, Santa and earthly desires. So here are a few things we plan to do with our kids to help them keep the true meaning of Christmas in sight.

1. Read The Christmas Story

What better way to help our kiddos understand why we truly celebrate Christmas than to read them the story of Jesus’ birth? We may start out with a book like the one below and as they get older we will read from the Bible. We want this to be something we do every year as a family, snuggled together on the couch reading the story together and praying together to thank God for the greatest gift of all! ¬†

Buy

2. No Santa

Sorry, this might bother some people but we will probably not have Santa in our home. The Hubs struggled with this because he grew up with Santa and thought it was so fun. But after talking it over we decided we will tell the story of the real Saint Nicholas, because he was actually a pretty cool guy. Our kids just won’t think Santa flew around the world to deliver their presents. We will also make sure they are respectful of those kids who do believe in Santa.¬†
3. Minimal Gifts
Christmas in this world we live in seems to be so much about gifts and spending WAY too much money! When kids are little they will have trouble understanding the true meaning so if you are buying them tons of gifts that will naturally overshadow Jesus. It just will. So we are going to adopt the Want, Need, Wear, Read policy for gifts to our kids. We do not want to go overboard and spoil them or break the bank so we will use the following guidelines to get our kids just 4 simple gifts. 
Want
Our kids get one thing that they really want! That toy they have been begging for and we keep saying no. Whatever item they have been obsessing over (unless it is incredibly expensive) will be their fun gift!

Need
We will buy our kids something that they have really been needing. Maybe new shoes or a coat or backpack for school. Something we keep saying they need but haven’t gone out and gotten yet.¬†

Wear
Something for them to wear. A shirt, hat and gloves or something anything wearable. 

Read
A book! Something they will really love and be interested in and will also encourage them to read more! 

4. Family Time

While Jesus truly is the reason for the season, the holidays are also a great time to be with family and have special times together that you may not normally have time for. We want our Christmas mornings to be incredibly special for our kids and us. We talked about doing some kind of special breakfast that we only do on Christmas morning and then read the Christmas Story and open presents and spend our morning together, just our little family before we head off to big family events.

Whatever your family does this time of year I challenge you to keep God at the center of it no matter what! 

2014 ~ A Look Back

January 2014
After spending the New Years with my family in Texas (my brother’s family lives there) we made a pit-stop in Arkansas to pick up a new furry friend! Kira joined our family on January second and as cheesy as it is to say, she has added so much to our lives. She is such a great dog and incredibly loving!
Mr. Smith left his job at the newspaper and started at his old job again. Read more about it here. 

February 2014
February was pretty uneventful. Mr. Smith celebrated turning 24 and I wrote a post about a new season of life we entered. 
March 2014
Another month of laying low and working hard. Nothing too eventful or exciting, just ordinary life. But sometimes that is the best kind! 

April 2014
I didn’t post one single time in April so to be honest I don’t remember much of what happened. Except that I got my dream teaching job at my dream school (who could forget that?) That’s why I love blogging! If I hadn’t blogged all year I wouldn’t have remembered half of the things that happened. But there is also something sweet about thinking that the month of April is something just Mr. Smith and I can share!
May 2014
I wrapped up an 8 week maternity leave position and began regular subbing at the same school. I was so excited about my new position as a fourth grade teacher that I jumped right in to classroom projects! The weather was amazing and we spent lots of time outside! At the end of the month Mr. Smith and I celebrated out two-year anniversary with a weekend trip to St. Louis! I love that man so stinkin’ much. Seriously, he’s my favorite!

June 2014
Early in the month of June Mr. Smith and I headed to a small nearby town for a color run that my sister and her husband put on. My best friend and her man joined us and then straight after we headed to a wedding. Mid-June I worked two-weeks teaching Kindergarten at summer school. It was a crazy, busy month!

July 2014
July was a whirlwind! So much happened but it was so much fun. ¬†We joined Mr. Smith’s family on a weeklong beach vacation in South Carolina! I did some more classroom crafting and my friends and their pups visited for a BYOD (Bring Your Own Dog party!¬†

August 2014
August arriving meant that my first year of teaching was quickly approaching. I spent about two weeks getting my classroom all set-up for 20 precious fourth graders! And then by mid August we were off with a bang! I LOVE teaching fourth grade! 

September 2014
September 1st I turned 24 and celebrated quietly with Mr. Smith (that’s the best way in my opinion)! September also brought my first full month of teaching, things go by quickly when you are having fun and are constantly running around! I wrote about needing some “me-time”.¬†
October 2014
An exciting month and incredibly busy. No blogging happened so I head to instagram to show some snapshots from the month. 

November
November was really hard for multiple reasons. But is also brought some good, like Thanksgiving crafts, spending time with family and scoring some Black Friday deals without ever leaving the house! Our church opened a new campus in the town I work and we got knee-deep in the launch. Mr. Smith is program director and I am children’s coordinator. Lots of work, but all for God!

December 2014
A month of healing and happiness. We decorated for Christmas and then took it down two weeks later cause Theo kept climbing and ruining the tree. Celebrated Jesus’ birthday with both sides and I had a week off at home to relax and catch-up on things like laundry and cleaning (read: drinking coffee and netflix) Something else exciting happened too, that I will share later! Kansas Christmas photos here.¬†

To be honest we look back at this year as really hard, but as I write this I see that it also held so many good, sweet times in our little family. Even so, I welcome 2015 with open arms and I just have a feeling it is going to be the best year yet! 

Two.

May 25, 2012 was the day The Hubs and I said “I do” It has been the best 2 years of my life so far and that’s all thanks to the man I love more everyday!

We celebrated with a fun weekend in St. Louis, the zoo, botanical gardens, Drunken Fish, shopping, Cheesecake factory and more!

{Seeing X-Men Friday night}

{The Hub’s favorite animal}

{In the Botanical Gardens}

{All cleaned up for our night out}
{Fancy dinner at Drunken Fish}

{Starting our day of shopping}

So in love with this man and so incredibly excited for many more years together!

Why We Work

We work because he challenges my homebody ways and I challenge his need to always be out and about. We mix well. 

We work because he loves to put away all the silverware from the dishwasher and I hate it. 
 We work because we are both ridiculously goofy and love to make each other laugh!
We work because we both strive to make God number one in our lives. 
We work because we love being outdoors and going on walks!
We work because we both have the same love language. Quality Time. It makes things much easier ūüôā
We work because I love to cook and he loves to eat! 
We work because we both like to gripe and complain about how stupid young people are these days. 
We work because we both love our animals like crazy. Like weird-obsessed-crazy. 
We work because we always seem to want China-Wok take out on the same night! It’s our favorite place!¬†
We work because we never got into the party scene and still very rarely order a drink. It’s just not our thing! Our thing is Ginger Ale!¬†
We work because we have figured out how to fight right. He needs time to cool off and I want to talk it through until morning. 
We work because we never got to bed mad. 
We work because we both love music and share [some] similar tastes. 
We work because we both dread raising teenagers in this world and have had many lengthy conversations about it. 
We work because we are best friends. 
We work because we work on our marriage and vow to do so til death do us part. 

To My Valentine

Collin,
I love you.
I love everything about you.
I love the way you smell.
I love the sound of your laugh.
I love the way you put your arms around me.
I love the lines by your nose when you smile.
I love the shape of your eyes.
I love the jokes you make.
I love your hands.
I love the shape of your mouth.
I love that mole under your lip.
I love the silly way you dance.
I love the brown of your eyes.
I love your generous heart.
I love picturing you with our future children.
I love your passion for God.
I love that big grin you give me.
I love your intelligence. 
I love the birthmark on your left foot.
I love the way you make me laugh.
I love your compassionate heart.
I love your romantic personality.
I love your work ethic.
I love your hugs.
I love your protective nature.
I love your heart.
I love everything about you.
I love you Collin, you are my favorite human and always will be!

I GET MY HUSBAND BACK!!!

Today is a beautiful day! After over a year of working opposite schedules and literally not seeing each other four days in a row each week… I finally get The Hubs back!

The Hubs is changing jobs and will be working days now! In fact he and I will have the exact same schedule, which means at 5:00 we will get home and have all evening together and not to mention he will no longer have to work weekends!

I can’t tell you how happy I am about this! Over time I have gotten used to not seeing him much but that didn’t make it any easier and many nights I would ache for him. Finally, we get to be together like a “normal” couple!!!

Here are some things I am looking forward to!
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32 Goals for 2014

Instead of a New Years Resolution I am making goals for the things I would like to accomplish by the end of the year. I have chosen things that are actually attainable and things that are important to me. I will update these and post when they are accomplished! I also have them posted in the format below my house as a reminder! 

Start Date: January 1, 2014

End Date: January 1, 2015



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1.
Be a teacher in my dream school district. 
2.
Collect 50 books for my class library.
3.
Make lessons for Teachers Pay Teachers.
4.
Begin planning for getting my Masters.

2/4

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1.
Get more involved in our church. 
2.
Find a set time each day to read the Bible.
3.
Find another couples or women’s small group.¬†{Post}

1/3

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1. 
Get back to following my cleaning schedule.
2.
Finish 3 home craft projects.
3.
Display more photos in our house.
4.
Make a menu board. {Post}
5.
Buy all the kitchen gadgets I keep saying I need. [butter dish, bunt pan, servers]
6.
Begin look for a house to buy.
7. 
Host a game night in our home.
8.
Start a collection of Christmas house decorations.

1/8

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1.
Go on a vacation together.
2.
Go to First Friday downtown more often.
3.
Go on more breakfast dates.
4.
Set monthly goals as a couple.
5.
Serve together in our community.
6.
Stay at a Bed and Breakfast.
7.
Celebrate our anniversary in St. Louis.

1/7

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1.
Blog everyday for a month.
2.
Organize my blog folders. {Post}
4.
Start a blog linkup.
5.
Guest post for a blogger.

1/5

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1. 
Find a form of exercise I enjoy and can stick with.
2. 
Lead a highschool girls Bible study group.
3.
Have a social media free weekend.
4.
Read 10 new books for pleasure.
5.
Subscribe to a magazine I enjoy reading.
6.
Send out a family Christmas letter.

0/6

6/34

Looking Back: 2013

Today I review the year of 2013 and all the milestones and even mediocre events it held, month by month.

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I started my last semester of classes EVER and started a great morning routine of breakfast and the Bible!
Celebrated Christmas in January with my best girlfriends! 
Favorite January Posts:
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Celebrated The Hub’s 23rd birthday with a day date at his favorite mexican restaurant.¬†
The Hubs and I celebrated our first Valentines Day as a married couple! I sure do love this man!
Favorite February Posts
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Celebrated a friends upcoming wedding with a wonderful shower! Love you Ashley!
Enjoyed a quick spring break trip to St. Louis with my bestie CoCo! We stayed in a cheap hotel, ate tons of good food and did lots of shopping! Perfect getaway!
Favorite March Posts
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At the beginning of April we moved to a new house. Downsizing was great for our budget and we really love this house and our amazing landlords! But it was confirmed…I still HATE MOVING!
CoCo and I threw a bridal shower for our friend Christine (usually called Crusty). Such a fun afternoon with some really great friends. We also seriously considered starting an event planning business cause we kicked party throwing booty!
Favorite April Posts
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Finished school and started my summer job as a nanny for two precious kiddos. 
Bachelorette party in Memphis!!!
I was honored to get to stand up next to one of my best friends on her wedding day! She was absolutely gorgeous and her wedding was perfect!
On the 25th The Hubs and I celebrated our One Year Anniversary! What a great year we had, I love being married to my best friend!
Favorite May Posts:
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We headed home in June for a high school friends wedding and a get together with the whole family. It turned out to be the best trip home ever! Tarl, my oldest brother surprised us all, found out I would be getting a new nephew in December and we were all home to celebrate fathers day with the best daddy ever!

Favorite June Posts:
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Went to our Cardinals game for the summer. It was incredibly hot but we had a great time and enjoyed all that Busch Stadium has to offer!
We celebrated Melvin’s 5th birthday and his one year anniversary of being ours! We sure do love this big guy!
Favorite July Posts:
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A big transition month. Ended my nanny job and began student teaching. 
Favorite August Posts
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Celebrated my 23rd birthday on the first and my favorite present was our new puppy Maura!
Got knee-deep in teaching and all that it entails. Absolutely loving every, single minute of it!
Favorite September Posts
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Our church did a huge community serve day and The Hubs and I had the chance to help a local Elementary school with their outdoor classroom! 
I got to meet my #1 celebrity crush Ben Affleck! But don’t worry, The Hubs is still #1 in my heart!
Sadly, October also held one of the saddest moments of my life. We lost both of our dogs in a tragic event. Still missing them everyday but also have so many happy memories of them. Read about the event here.
Didn’t blog much in October… oops.
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Got ourselves a new little guy so Melvin would have a new friend! Theo is the sweetest and cuddliest little guy and has been such a great addition to our family! 
My new nephew was born a month early and had a few issues that landed him two weeks in Special Care. My sister and I made a short little trip to Texas to help the family out and celebrate Thanksgiving! Got to see the new little one, his big sister, their parents and my parents too!

Favorite November Posts:
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I finished up student teaching and I graduated!!!!!

Favorite December Posts:
10 Things I Wish I Were Better At
Christmas Family Photos 

I can’t wait to see what all 2014 holds for our little family. I have a feeling God has some big things in store!!!