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!

2017 Goals

So it’s already February (that first month of the year went FAST) but I still thought it was important to take a moment to jot down some of my goals for the new year for our family and myself.

Here’s my new mantra for the year…

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Sounds hippie dippie, but it really covers all the bases. Whether it’s taking care of your physical health, finding ways to give back to the world, or creating time to improve your spiritual and emotional self, “finding what feels good” encompasses it all.

With every good goal, you have to have specific ways to achieve it. There is no way I could possibly brainstorm every way to “feel good” but here are a few that I’m focusing on.

*Yoga- Recently I’ve become a little addicted to doing yoga. I’ve always tolerated working out, usually sticking to walking or running on my treadmill, but I’ve never felt super awesome afterwards like I do when I do yoga. Whether it’s the reminders to BREATHE or the fact that I’m made aware of muscles I forgot I had, yoga has been my jam lately. I’m hoping I keep it up, because it feels dang good.

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I need this shirt in my life.

*Balance- We all feel messed up when life is out of balance. If you’re all work and no play or all health food and no treats, life just doesn’t feel right. This year I’m focusing on balancing productivity/responsibility with laid back/carefree. If I am working all day at a school, you better believe I’m going to spend my kid-free time later in the day drinking a glass of wine and reading chic lit. If I’ve eaten salads all week for lunch, there is no way I’m turning down tacos and donuts on the weekends. If I’ve done the dishes and folded laundry, the dirty toilets and floors can wait. Ain’t nobody got time for spending their life stressing about every little detail and chore.

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Taco Bell for lunch after a bike ride at the park. Balance people!

*Find your happy place- This one is so important for me! Not only should you find your happy place, you should go there! For me it’s the beach. Every time I am at the beach with my family, I can literally feel myself breathing deeper and my mind clearing. It’s next to impossible to be stressed on the beach. It’s where I feel God’s presence and where I cherish hearing my boys laughter the most. So, this year you will be seeing just as many, if not more, beach pics from the Smiths.

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Don’t let them fool you, that water is FREEZING in January. #parentoftheyear

*Do good stuff- Seriously. There’s a lot of terrible, ugly stuff going on this year. (If you haven’t noticed.) A lot of people are just plain mean if you don’t think like them, vote like them, or believe like them. I can’t change people’s mind (try as I might) or force people to have compassion (try as I might) but I can show them what it looks like to be a decent person. I can donate my clothes to a charity. I can give spare change to a homeless person. I can pick up someone’s trash. I can make small talk with a stranger. I can bring up my neighbors trashcan. It’s not hard to do good. And, it really feels good.

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*Notice and Give Thanks- Finding small reasons to be happy is the key to my joy. I hope 2017 is my year to notice the little moments and cherish them. Whether it’s Brady asking me to help him with his Lego creation (huge honor!) or Nolan holding my hand walking into class (see, he’s still my baby!) I hope I notice it. I hope I notice when Chris refills my wine glass without me asking. I hope I notice when my favorite song comes on the radio 3 times in one day. I hope I still get excited when I see a rainbow, sunset, or dolphin. Being present feels good.

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Even little dudes need yoga!

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Muah!

 

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That rainbow! That cute kid!

 

Here’s to a year that’s full of stuff that feels good. I hope this is the year I think back on as the one I traveled someplace new, ate the best pasta ever, became stronger, got thousands of hugs from my kids, read tons of books, grew in my faith, laughed til I snorted with my husband, and made someone else’s life a little sweeter. Namaste y’all!

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!

 

 

First Day of School- Kinder & PK3

This summer has been full of excitement and change for our little family. All in all our boys have been such troopers. Their whole lives have changed and they’ve really done great adjusting to all the newness (they are practically pros at it at this point.)

One of the biggest changes for any kid that moves is starting a new school. Brady was going to be starting a new school regardless with entering Kindergarten, but Nolan was quite happy at his old pre-school and not at all wanting to change what took months for him to become comfortable with. We were not sure how the first day of school would go for either kiddo, but they both did super well.

Brady has been excited about Kindergarten for months. He was all smiles and energy until the moment he walked into the classroom. He quickly turned around, ran back out and had tears in his eyes. He told me he “was a little bit worried.” A few hugs, kisses, and reassurances later, he walked back in and never looked back. He came home from school on the bus and reported that he had a great first day. He is loving it!

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Patiently waiting for brother’s bus that was SUPER late!

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Big boy getting off the bus for the first time (bus driver carrying his lunchbox that he has forgotten every single day.)

 

Nolan’s first day was so much more nerve racking for me. He is so social and outgoing in some ways, and so painfully shy in others. Historically he does NOT like being away from me and took his sweet time getting used to preschool drop off last year. I was anticipating the worst. Thankfully, he was quite brave on his first day. There were a couple whiny moments of not wanting me to go, but ultimately after about 10 or 12 hug/kiss/fist bump/high five routines, he said good-bye to me and let me walk away (with no tears.) We survived! Now, I’m not getting cocky just yet. I know 2nd and 3rd days can often be way tougher, but we at least had a great start.

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He was a hot, sweaty mess when I picked him up!

Overall, we are super proud of how these boys have handled so much change in their lives recently. We’re so excited to see how much they grow and learn this year!