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

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!