ChriSMITH 2017

The holidays with a 4 and 6 year old boy have got to be just about the sweetest thing ever. Yes, life is busy and chaotic, but there’s something about a child fully believing in the magic of Christmas that makes you want to slow down and enjoy every little moment. I love all the traditions that we’ve created with the boys that they now have begun to remember and look forward to. I love that we are now closer to extended family so we can share these moments with them. I even have started to love that freakin’ Elf on the Shelf. (Well, I love how much my kids love it!) Here are some pictures from the last month of all our festivities and adventures.

Decorating- this took forever this year…especially with the kids “helping.”

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Chris’s handiwork on the fireplace looked so pretty with Christmas decorations.

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My aunt gave me this hutch this year and it was my favorite spot during the holidays because of how pretty the Nativity looked on it!

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Under the Christmas tree- any cat’s favorite spot.

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Watching Rudolph, decorating the tree, reading Christmas books- all the holiday magic at once.

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Putting up our Gator ornaments in the dining room. Look how nicely I ironed our table cloth. Ha!

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That’s it. Stare at the T.V. while putting on ornaments. No big deal…I’m going to re-arrange them all when you go to bed anyways!

The Elf…man, did my kids love looking for her every morning.

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Fun traditions…

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Picking out our Christmas tree at our church tree lot.

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Nolan’s first time on a horse at our neighborhood’s annual Winter Fest.

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Neighborhood’s Winter Fest…Brady’s face! lol

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Our family’s Christmas party at my Aunt Claudia’s beach condo.

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Brady hard at work helping to build a sandman.

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Nolan focusing so hard to paint our thank you cards for our annual St. Jude fundraiser.

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Making Christmas cards for classmates. This was the first year Nolan could write his name on all the cards!

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Decorating Gingerbread houses. AKA icing/candy eating game.

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“Baking” Christmas cookies. Thank you Pillsbury! (When you’re busy, some things have to go. Homemade cookies weren’t happening this year.)

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One cookie for Santa, four for me.

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Nolan’s Pre-School Christmas pageant. Look at his little nervous face! But, he rocked it!

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I could EAT him up!

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Using up our Sea World passes before they expired. The boys love it there.

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Nolan’s class party. I am going to miss these sweet parties with crafts and cookie decorating SO much! Sidenote: Why is his stuffed dolphin at the party? Who knows!

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Celebrating Brady’s half birthday. 6 and a half!

Christmas week events…

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My dad and Pat came to town before Christmas and we enjoyed some really warm Florida temps!

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On our way to Christmas Eve service. 

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My boys walking into church.

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That time Nolan “accidentally” took the whole box of candy canes when the pastor was handing them out. 

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Turns out I bought ALL of the cheese at Publix for the holidays. Oops.

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Keeping our pizza on Christmas Eve tradition alive!

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We made Ina Garten’s “Easy Sticky Buns” for Christmas morning. How easy is that?

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Brady’s Christmas theme- weaponry and adventure. Sigh. 

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You’ll shoot your eye out, kid. 

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Chris being every dad on Christmas, assembling toys.

After Christmas moments…

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Just being goofy

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Two of my college besties came to visit us!

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Gator girl kiddos are the cutest!

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Cute couple alert! Brady was in love with my friend, Lucila.

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Ikea during the holidays….whoa.

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A few lazy moments here and there. (She’s not allowed on the furniture. Oops.)

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Chris loves making pasta with the boys when he has time off!

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Chris loves eating pasta all the time. 

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New year’s eve dinner. Who’s ready for 2018 and carbs?!

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Daily chaos and weird stuff going on. 

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A little NYE apple juice toast/chug.

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It got COLD in Florida!

The holidays did not disappoint this year- I only wish they could have lasted a little longer. Now onto those New Year’s resolutions- just as soon as we finish all the pasta leftovers.

Halloween 2017

It’s almost the end of November. What a perfect time to blog about Halloween. Oops, better late than never.

This year was an extra fun time for celebrating Halloween. The kids really get it, they enjoy dressing up, and they have no fear of going up to strangers and begging for candy. I am enjoying these last few years of the cutesy, crafty, sweet moments of pre-school and early Elementary school. Nolan had a Trunk or Treat event at his school and Brady’s grade did fun “Fall Crafts” that I got to help out with. Both kids had opportunities to wear costumes several times- at school, our neighborhood Fall Fest, and trick or treating. We went to a Pumpkin Patch/crop maze, painted pumpkins, and had friends over on Halloween night for a little party. Here’s some pictures from our favorite moments this October…

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At our neighborhood costume contest.

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Our trunk for Nolan’s Trunk or Treat event at pre-school.

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We had SO many fake mustaches!

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Our annual Jack-O-Lantern bean dip!

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First Day of 1st Grade & VPK

Another school year has begun! I’m so thrilled with how the boys have adjusted to their new teachers and classes. It helps that they are both returning to a familiar school. For Brady, his first grade classroom is just down the hall from his Kindergarten room. For Nolan, he is the big man on campus as a big VPK-er in his final year at Promisetown Preschool. Here are some pictures from their first days of school…


It’s oh so hard getting used to early wake ups again. We are not morning people!








Brady is thoroughly enjoying 1st grade. He is such a “school kid” and thrives in that structured environment. I can’t believe that he’s in the grade that I was teaching when I was pregnant with him!

Nolan only goes to school on M,W,F so we still have Tues/Thurs for “Mommy Nolie days”. When Brady was at school I took Nolan to his favorite place- Taco Bell! 🙂


Nolan’s first day of school went better than I expected. Historically he does not do well with separation from us. He was surprisingly brave heading into school this year. While he did have a meltdown when we left the classroom on the first day, we’ve been tear free and happy ever since. Whew!






End of school day exhaustion!


VPK is just too much!


Here’s hoping for a great school year where the boys will continue to grow and learn!

 Summatime 2017

Seeing as how both boys have started school, I guess summer break is officially over. Not gonna lie, I’m going to miss our lazy days of sleeping in and doing whatever we feel like doing. We packed so much adventure and fun into summer this year. Here’s a recap of some of the highlights.

We have plans. We have lists. They are their mother’s sons after all.

This was the summer of American Ninja Warrior for us. We watched it all the time and we made SO many obstacle courses throughout the house.

Our summers are always full of birthdays and celebrations (3 out of the 4 of us were born in June or July.) This summer Brady turned 6 and Chris and I celebrated 11 years of marriage. 

Brady’s birthday gift…a Beta named Shiny. He and his 2 follow up fish did NOT have long life spans, but they sure were fun while it lasted.

11 years, 3 states, 2 kids, lots of wine and dancing!

Boat time sans kids- an extra special anniversary present!

Lots of kiddie pool and popsicle time!

A few beach days here and there…

Fun at the library…

An attempt to do some school work…

A trip to Seaworld- the kids and teachers get in free. Hello cheap theme park day!

A visit with Aunt Claudia- always a fun time!

Swim lessons- so much progress made!

Celebrating my birthday with my favorites. 

Celebrating Father’s Day

Visiting all the splash pads… if you build it, we will come!

Our big vacation was to Key Largo. It was the best trip ever! We had so much fun swimming, eating, boating, paddle boarding, fishing, and lounging.

A visit from the Hootens. Taylor and Nolan are 2 peas in a pod with their mad dancing skills.

A visit from Chris and Auntie Jill… who brought the boys bathtub slime.

A visit to a lake house in South Carolina with our friends the Easters. This was our Griswold portion of the summer. So many travel issues!!

We put our zoo passes to good use. Animals and another splash pad, you can’t go wrong. 

The boys had their first lemonade stand. 

We adopted our sweet girl, Sailor. She’s been such a fun addition to our family!

The Alligator Farm blew the boys minds. They were seriously excited!

Food trucks and bounce houses in the neighborhood.

Backyard laziness…

I’m already missing all my time with my boys. They drove me nuts, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Now back to packing lunch boxes and setting alarms. Until next year, Summer!

Brady-boo turns 6!

It’s been 6 years since we first met our precious B-Man.

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We had lots of thoughts about what our little guy would be like, but I could have never imagined he’d be so tender hearted, crazy smart, and happy-go-lucky. Every day he is questioning, learning, and building. You can see his wheels turning all the time. His cheerful heart always sees the bright side in life. He loves to encourage his friends and brother. He’s funny without even trying to be. I could literally eat.him.up.

DSC_0190 Brady’s favorite things to do almost always include a building project or science related activity. He loves to learn about dinosaurs and animals. He thinks it’s fun to “investigate” and “discover.” He asked for a fish for his birthday and checked out a book about Pet Fish from the library just in case he got one. So stinkin’ cute!!!DSC_0192 Brady is a stickler for rules. He insists on things being fair. If you are doing something wrong, you better believe he will call you out on it. Do not even think about speeding near one of those speed limit radar signs. He will not let 37 MPH fly in a 35 zone.DSC_0195 Brady is the friendliest little guy. He will talk to anyone and is quite chatty. Whenever we pick him up at the car line at school he’s always deep in conversation with anyone around him (if he’s not twirling or dancing.)DSC_0208 We always tell B that he has an engineer mind. He has been analyzing people and situations since birth. He prefers order and structure and will even call his teacher out if she is off schedule. His happy place is a new box of Legos and a lengthy instruction booklet.DSC_0209DSC_0218 Brady has the most innocent heart. He still loves sweet shows like Mickey Mouse and Curious George. He has dance parties with his little brother to Disney music. He backs out of the room if there is any kind of a villain in a cartoon. I wish I could keep him in his precious bubble forever. DSC_0223DSC_0226

We love this sweet boy so much! The world is such a better place with him in it!

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Here’s Brady’s Exit Interview this year…

One more thing…Brady is the best big brother ever. We couldn’t have picked a better role model for Nolan. (Who by the way did not want to miss out on B’s birthday photo shoot.)

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Nolan is 4!

Our sweet Bubba is 4. As always, this doesn’t seem possible. I loved 3 year old Nolie!! How did that go by so fast??

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Over the last year, Nolan has grown so much- physically (he’s still our big boy!), emotionally (he still experiences all emotions at about a 10 every day) and academically (little man now knows his whole alphabet and is rocking pre-school!)

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It’s no secret that Nolan gives us a run for our money. If he can find an opportunity to challenge us or argue with us about something, he will take it. He’s mischievous and gets a certain joy out of driving us a little bonkers.

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Nolan has the most extreme range of emotions I’ve ever seen. He is either over the top excited and crazy, or dramatically sad and devastated. The in between times are rare, but at least he’s living life with full gusto.

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Nolan is obsessed with trains, music, food, his blankie, and anything with sprinkles. He dictates what songs we listen to on the radio and insists on being “the singer” of the car. He loves to break it down and is always up for a dance party…especially when it comes to anything by Jack Johnson or Jimmy Buffett. (Cheeseburger in Paradise is his current jam.)

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Despite all his energy and enthusiasm, he is surprisingly shy and full of anxiety in new situations. He relies heavily on the his big brother for courage and pep talks.

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Nolie is one of the funniest kids I’ve ever met. His one liners and ability to make you laugh (especially when you are mad at him or scolding him) is so impressive. His charm will take him far in life.

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We can’t wait to see what kind of big kid Nolan will be. He constantly amazes us with how smart and thoughtful he can be. His memory and attention to details surprises us all the time.

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Happy birthday sweet boy. You are so loved and a blessing to us all!

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Nolan’s Exit Interview…

 

Our Journey…

Today Timehop reminded me that exactly 5 years ago we announced that we were leaving our Florida life behind and heading to Pennsylvania to start a new adventure. I remember writing that post with such a mix of excitement and anxiousness. We were about to leave behind friends and family that we loved and jobs and a home that were familiar and comfortable. You couldn’t make a bigger transition than Clearwater, Florida to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. But, we had no idea how much life would change!wp-1490660191843.jpgwp-1490660191832.jpg

Two weeks after arriving in our new town of Lititz that summer, we found out we were pregnant with Baby #2. Surprise! It was terribly inconvenient timing. We were learning our new surroundings, trying to adjust to a life where we knew NO ONE, and Chris had just started a new job where he traveled. Often. wp-1490660191846.jpg

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Our time in PA was a bit of a blur when I think about it. I remember being pregnant, having a newborn, going to playdates with my awesome mommy group I found (by the grace of God), snow, and Amish buggies. Looking back, we actually fit quite a bit into that not quite 2 years we were there. We took lots of trips and made the most of our crazy situation. (And loved the heck out of that surprise Pennsylvania souvenir baby!)25wp-1490660191788.jpgDSC_0419

Then Chris got wind of a position in what he described as his “dream territory” in North Carolina. We had had many talks in our marriage where Chris told me he pictured himself living in North Carolina. It seemed ridiculous to up and move again with a 2 year old and not quite 1 year old, but I guess I figured, what the heck?!  I made him promise, that was it. No more moving after that! (HA.)wpid-storageemulated0DCIMCamera2014-03-11-14.45.39.png.png

So, we fell in love with our new town of Raleigh. We knew for sure that’s where we pictured our family staying. We had the food of the South, proximity to mountains and beaches, and were slightly closer to family. It totally made sense to build our “forever home” and put down some roots. wp-1490660191820.jpgwp-1490660191712.jpg

Again, we made the most of those 2 and a half years.  We took road trips, visited the mountains, loved the change of seasons, and dreamed of buying a summer home in the Outer Banks one day.

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THEN, Chris heard of a position at a company that he described as his “dream company to work for.” This particular job was located in North Florida (2 hours from my dad & stepmom and an hour and a half from the rest of my family). It just so happened that we had had little talks where we mentioned that we could never see ourselves leaving Raleigh unless it was for a company like that in an area that would bring us close to family. Sooo…

And now, here we are. I never dreamed our journey would circle us back to Florida. Dude, life is full of surprises. Just when I think I have a grasp on what to expect or how to plan, God’s like, “You’re cute. I got this.”20161010_16012520161016_153554(0)

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So in case anyone is counting, our kids have visited at least 10 states and have lived in 3. We’ve created countless memories and never have to look back and wonder “what if” when it comes to new opportunities. I’m sure ours is a journey that many people might find overwhelming or possibly crazy, but it’s ours. Can’t wait to see where we’ll be in another 5 years! #OurBlessedAdventures