Valentine’s Day!

Valentines Day is a made up Hallmark holiday, sooo cheesy, way overrated, and I lurve it. Why the heck would anyone be against a holiday that promotes telling people how much you love them, surrounding yourself with flowers, and eating chocolate/champagne?!

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If you have people in your life that love you, take the opportunity to show them you love them right back. Even if it’s as simple as a heart shaped grilled cheese! You could also take the time to slice strawberries into little hearts…just to have your kids tell you they taste funny. Ah, love!

My favorite Valentine tradition is indulging in complete gluttony with Chris. Nothing says romance like over-stuffing yourself with super rich pasta. This year we indulged the day before Valentine’s since Chris is traveling for work the rest of the week.

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Sundried tomato, baby portabella, garlic, shallot, Alfredo with filet mignon. We like to show our love for each other with a side of borderline diabetes.

Valentine’s Day is also a great excuse to pretend you’re a skilled “Pinterest Mom.” This year we went with a Lego themed card for obvious reasons. I found the easiest free printable card, had Brady cut them out, and ordered a 2lb. bag of Lego candy from Amazon for the win!

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I also love Valentine’s Day because it’s an excuse to drink champagne! I’m not sure if it’s our proudest parenting achievement, but our kids love when we pop bubbly!

Of course the best part of this oh-so-corny holiday, is lovin’ on your favorite people. In our family we use this day to not only tell each other “I love you” but we make a point to tell why we love each other. Chris and I have a scrapbook that we pass back and forth each year on Valentine’s Day with a list of the top reasons we love each other that year. This year it’s my turn to make the list for him. I used the fact that he’s out of town this week to postpone doing it until this weekend when we are doing a night away in St. Simons Island. We also made cards for each of the kids telling them why we love them. Love, love, love, love, LOVE! Super sweet, over the top, in your face, love! #NoShame #AllYouNeedIsLove #AndPasta

Happy Valentine’s Day Y’all! Find someone you love, and show ’em!

2016 ChristSMITH

This holiday season came and went so super fast! (That seems to happen every year.) While there was lots of hustle and bustle of travel, gift buying, parties, and baking, we were able to find time for lots of simple moments with the boys. They really enjoyed listening to Christmas music (and haven’t stopped singing holidays songs yet), finding our Elf “Pixie” every day, and seeing what Advent Calendar activity we would do each day. We try to fill our calendar with a mix of fun moments for the boys and activities that will help them learn to enjoy the spirit of giving. Here are some of the highlights and special moments from this past month…

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Delivering presents to our trash collectors!

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Mommy/Brady day date

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Gato doesn’t understand the Elf on the Shelf craze either.

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#NotAmused

 

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We said goodbye to our sweet boy Albert on December 1. Christmas just wasn’t the same without him this year.

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Thank you to my sweet friend Lindsay for sending us this adorable ornament to help us honor our fur-baby.

 

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Shopping day to buy gifts for our teachers

 

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Decorating Christmas cookies at Aunt Claudia’s house

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Nolan’s Christmas program at school. He was a big ol’ bundle of nerves but he conquered his stage fright and gave the cutest performance!

 

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One of our boys’ favorite things to do during the holidays is put money in the Salvation Army bucket.

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We always take turns taking each kiddo to buy presents for their brother and mommy and daddy. On this occasion Brady insisted on buying me this fancy red polish.

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Christmas movies! Our favorites this year were Elf on the Shelf and Rudolph.

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Chris surprised us by buying an inflatable hot tub for our patio. We have all enjoyed it this month!

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North Florida has perfect fire pit weather in December! Lots of S’Mores were eaten.

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Our Gator tree which Nolan claimed as his own.

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I got to volunteer in Brady’s class a lot recently and Chris even got to spend the afternoon doing Winter Crafts with his class one day.

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Date night checking out the Nights of Lights in St. Augustine. I am a SUCKER for Palm Trees with Christmas lights!

Christmas Eve…

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Sweet boys before the Christmas tree pose turned into a wrestling match

Christmas Day…

 

 

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Christmas day selfie with my big boy!

 

 

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Poor kiddo passed out before Christmas dinner and missed the whole thing.

 

 

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Intense Lego building with Grandpa on Christmas night.

Christmas vacation trip to LEGOLAND…

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Our boys surprise Christmas present- LEGOLAND Passes!

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Brady loved the Lego city- especially the space shuttle.

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With Brady on the Sky High ride.

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Nolan loved the Duplo train ride!

New Years Eve…

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Fishing in our neighbor’s backyard

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In awe of sparklers!

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Making homemade pasta with daddy!

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Saying goodbye to 2016 the right way!

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Toasting to the Netflix ball drop countdown.

 

I can’t imagine anything better than experiencing the holidays with a 3 and 5 year old. Seeing Christmas through their eyes was so special and nothing short of magical. We are certainly blessed in many ways and look forward to what adventures 2017 will bring our family. Happy New Year!

Thanksgiving!

For our first Thanksgiving back in Florida, we decided to host dinner at our new home. We had my Aunt, cousin, his girlfriend, my mom, and Chris’s brother and his family join us. It was a very relaxing day full of food, football (Thank you Jesus for letting the Cowboys win for Chris) and fun. The kids played outside in the bounce house while we got to have adult beverages and play corn hole and enjoy the perfect weather.

Here are some pictures from not only Thanksgiving day, but also a few from the Thanksgiving celebrations at the kids’ schools.

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Please note the little turkey in orange and blue who is blowing kisses to his mommy and daddy before his performance!

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Look at that little Indian! Side note: Nolan put down an embarrassing amount of chicken nuggets at his school feast.

 

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Thank God he used the non-Fitbit arm. Ain’t nobody got time for a fitness tracker in their turkey.

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It just doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving without Grandma Dot’s pumpkin bread.

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Me, Aunt Claudia and mom

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Brady all tuckered out after a day of food and fun. (Again, obsessed with sleeping pictures!)

The day after Thanksgiving we went to Savannah to spend time with my dad and Pat. We got to hang out downtown, see Santa, go to our annual Christmas light event at the Botanical Gardens, and watch the Gators get destroyed by FSU (boo.)

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The only Santa lap Nolan will be sitting on this year!

 

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So much to be thankful for, today and always!

 

 

 

 

Halloween!

This Halloween was one of my favorite with the boys. They got SO into it! Trick or treating was super enjoyable because the boys are finally at an age where they can walk on their own and go up to houses without our help. (We stood on the sidewalk sipping our adult beverages reminding them to say thank you.) We also got the benefit of having my mom nearby so she was able to participate in Nolan’s Trunk or Treat event at his school and hang out on Halloween night.

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Our not-so-elaborately decorated trunk. We’ll step it up next year! (Maybe.)

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We loved spending the morning at Nolan’s school on Halloween. Little stinker.

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Spoiler alert: the boys have already been talking about their costumes for next year. Nolan wants to be a, wait for it, mosquito.

Hurricane Matthew

Our first few months back in Florida have been quite adventurous. Between the chaos of all that goes along with a move, starting new jobs, beginning new schools, throwing in a couple hurricanes really spiced things up! Thankfully our new home did not sustain damage during either of the hurricanes, but we did have lots of time together (without power!) and made some fun memories in spite of what was a scary situation.

 

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Look at all that fun Chris was having!

 

We spent a big chunk of our time off of school celebrating “Dinosaur Day!” All things dinosaurs took place on this day. From Dinosaur Cookies to seeing how far we could throw toy dinosaurs, we did it.

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Dinosaur day was quite exhausting. (I’m obsessed with sleeping pics of my kids.)

 

Once the roads were good enough to drive on, we got out of the house as much as we could (We were running low on food and were without power a few days.)

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God bless restaurant employees who fed us poor, stir-crazy, hungry people.

A few days after the storm the boys and I headed to the beach to check out the damage… Nothing like a hurricane to make you realize how small you are in the world and how powerful Mother Nature can be.

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The ocean was ANGRY that day. So much foam!

 

 

Back in Florida!

Remember when us Smiths moved to Raleigh, built our dream home, and decided we would stay forever? Yeaaaa, about that. We freakin’ loved North Carolina. In fact we were 99.9% sure we would never leave. We made great friends, loved the city and proximity to mountains and beaches, and really felt at home there. The only thing missing was family. And, that’s a big one. Chris and I always said we knew we would stay put in Raleigh unless something huge came along that could potentially bring us closer to family.

We always sort of half joked that it would take the perfect job in the perfect location to make us move again. We didn’t want to just move anywhere, we wanted to have family super close to make it worth our while. We said the perfect job would have to be in North Florida or South Georgia for it to make sense for Chris to leave his position at a company he’d been with for 11 years. So, when a company that Chris has admired for a long time came to him to let him know they had an opening in their North Florida/South Georgia territory, it completely caught us off guard. We didn’t think that kind of opportunity existed. We felt like he had to at least apply. We said if it was meant to be, it would happen.

As Chris got further and further into the interview process it began to sink in that this might actually be happening. Chris began to fall in love with the company and realized how much he really wanted the job. However, the idea of moving again seemed daunting and the reality that we may be leaving the life we had created in North Carolina was super bittersweet. By the time Chris found out he got the job, it was a surreal feeling of “YAY!” and “what did we just do?!” All along we just kept reminding ourselves that this was God’s plan. This job presented itself for a reason. Not only was Chris about to embark on an exciting new career opportunity that was such a perfect fit for him, the job was located right smack in the middle of my mom and dad. We are closer to Chris’s aunt and brother, my extended family, our old friends, and of course, Gator games!

Our journey back to Florida has been a whirlwind of selling our house, quickly buying a new one, saying good-bye to friends, packing, cleaning, staying in a hotel for a week (with the kids and pets), paperwork, phone calls, more cleaning, unpacking, starting a new job, and getting settled into our new life. In the short term, it’s hectic and crazy. In the long term, Chris is beyond happy with his new position, our kids get to spend time with family whenever we want, and our decision to move back to Florida is turning out to be so great.

I’m slowly starting to make my mark on our new house and it’s beginning to feel like home. We’re loving that we are super close to the beach and there is GATOR stuff everywhere!! The kids are enrolled in their new schools and I’m working on applying to be a substitute teacher for our county (side note: miraculously I still have 2 years left on my Florida teaching certificate so I can go back to teaching full time sometime soon!) I’m sure I’ll be posting more once we get the house finished, but in the meantime, here’s some pictures of the last month of moving fun.

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Nolan on the morning that the movers came to pack up our Raleigh house. He was all, “nope.”

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Thankfully Chris was able to perk him up with a quick apple bite.

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I snapped this pic from our neighbor’s house. I was in full panic mode looking over like, “what have we gotten ourselves into again?”

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Kissing NC goodbye!

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The definition of a bittersweet photo for me. The last picture of the boys on our front steps. So sad to leave, but ready for our next adventure.

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Our last night in Raleigh was in a hotel. Brady spent the evening writing “notes” to all his friends he was leaving behind. (Tear!!!)

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Rise and shine! Who’s ready to hit the road for Florida?!!! Guys?

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Our first night in Florida- had to get a flip flop cookie to commemorate it!

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Once we got to Florida we had a week in a hotel before we closed on our new house. We did a bunch of stalker drive by’s of the new house before we could get in.

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This is what a week of living in a hotel with 2 boys, a dog, and a cat, does to you.

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The boys went to stay with Grandma and Aunt Claudia for a couple days while Chris and I closed on the house and started the cleaning and unpacking process. Such a lifesaver! (and perk to being close to family again!!)

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Our final walk thru of our Florida home

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We were those people who brought their dog to closing. He sat like a statue in the corner for an hour and a half.

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We are moving pros by now. We know to have solo cups and screw top wine on hand for when you can’t find your wine opener. Now, where’s that coffee maker….

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A 3 and 5 year old boy are excellent unpacking helpers.

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Brady is officially going to start Kindergarten (again)!

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Coffee maker is found! Enjoying the new backyard view 🙂

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Oh hey, Florida. How I missed you!

We don’t quite feel like we are done with North Carolina. We are sure we will be vacationing there as much as possible and hopefully one day have a second home or retire there. That time in our life will always have such a special place in our hearts, but this new chapter in Florida is looking pretty good so far! Stay tuned…

 

 

 

 

Nolan’s Birthday Celebrations

I realize I’ve been slacking on my blog posts lately…life, has been busy! I did not want to miss the opportunity to document all of the awesome celebrations we had for Nolan turning 3. So, better late than never!

Our sweet Nolie is ridiculously obsessed with trains these days. His favorite place on Earth is Tweetsie Railroad. He spends countless hours watching YouTube videos of steam engines. And, his wooden track and trains that my Grandma Dot bought the boys are his most prized possessions. So, it made perfect sense to have an all out train themed birthday. Instead of one big party, Nolan got to have 2 different train rides with friends and family, as well as a little party with his school friends (complete with Thomas the Train cupcakes and engineer hats of course.)

We started celebrating with a trip to the railway museum in Savannah. We got to ride a diesel engine and look at all the cool trains. Grandma drove up for the celebration and we had lunch at the Pirate House restaurant with her and Grandpa and Nana.

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On the day of Nolan’s actual birthday we surprised him with a new Mickey train and donuts for breakfast. The simplest things make him so happy! He then celebrated at school with his favorite Miss Beverley and all his little friends.

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For Nolan’s last celebration, we got together with some of our friends from our neighborhood and went on another train ride. It was an open air steam engine (and it was COLD outside!) The things you do for the ones you love! Then, we celebrated at our house with pizza, cookie cake, and playtime with his buddies.

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All in all, this little boy is very loved (and just a little bit spoiled!)