Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Let's Get Caught Up

I have been working on this blog post for about 2 weeks and for some reason Blogger has been taking for-e-ver to upload my pictures. I finally got it to work and I have lots to catch up on! So here we gooooo.....

Here are the fun sprinkler pictures I promised. Chloe LOVES all things water this summer! We went to the pool yesterday and she went under water several times. It's so cute to watch her take a big breath and hold it while she goes under. What a big girl!! Last summer she hated any water in her face. This summer, not so much, as you can see from the following picture.

Here are Chloe and Ally just being silly. They love each other so much. It's such a joy to watch Chloe with her best friend. There is just something about little girls being best friends that is so special. Ally won't be coming to our house every day starting in the fall and both Chloe and I are really sad.
Ha! This picture makes me laugh every time I see it. She was mad that I had turned off the water and refused to come in. I guess she thought if she stared at it long enough it might magically come back on.
In June, Justin and I were invited by one of his co-workers to the Royal's game. Of course we said yes! Her husband works for Budweiser, so we got to hang out on the "Party Deck" to watch the game. It was free beer and hotdogs all night.

Royals playing the Cards + free beer/food = A Happy Couple

Surprisingly, we've only had one wedding this summer. Our past several summers have been packed with weddings, but not so this year. We went to the wedding of one of Justin's friends from high school. It was a pretty wedding and we had fun.

It's always cool when you get married and find friends that both the husbands and wives get along and really like each other. Such is the case with our friends Andrew and Molly. Andrew and Justin were good friends in high school. Andrew married a sweet, fun girl named Molly. Although we don't get to hang out with them as much as we would like, it's always fun when we do get together. Andrew and Molly were at the wedding we attended. Andrew was the DJ, so Justin hung out with him - turning out the beats (lol!), while Molly and I chatted at the table. We sat and talked birth for quite a while. Yes, she's a girl after my own heart! :) It's always fun to find another birth junkie!! :) Here's a picture of us that I promised Molly to "blog about" - hehe ;)

Chloe of course loved the bubbles at the wedding.

My very favorite thing that has happened this summer is baby Emerson being born. My best friend, Andrea, had little Emerson on June 25th. He is the sweetest, squishiest little thing. I am so in love. Chloe hasn't quite figured out what she thinks of him yet, but each time we visit she gets a little more comfortable with him.

Is he not the most precious thing in the world??

Here's a picture of Emerson and me the day after he was born. Justin's still figuring out how to use this new lens on my camera, so sorry that Emerson is not in focus - haha!

Chloe's other best friend, Loreli, lives in Columbia but she came to visit so we all decided to take another trip to DeAnna Rose. I really love this place. I think it's even better than the zoo for littler ones - way less walking and more things to do!

Here's a picture of the whole crew:

Chloe loves the goats and this was her favorite this time. He was standing on a tree stump and would not come down. Chloe thought he was so cute and took some time to have a little conversation with him.

Our little family :) Something else we're working on this summer is getting our landscape looking better. Our friends, Jenna and James came up for the day to help us out. James and Justin worked on the landscape while Jenna and I watched. haha. It was SO hot and the boys worked really hard and did a great job! We have more work (more mulch to lay down, flowers and trees to plant, etc), but here's a before and after of the work so far:

Lastly, I've got my doula blog up and running. You can find it here. It's a work in progress, but if you've been wondering what the heck a doula is, then head on over and find out ;) I have more posts in my head that I hope to get up soon (why I decided to become a doula, the story of the first birth I attended, etc) so keep checking back. I have a doula client being induced tomorrow and I'm so super excited!! This is the coolest "job" in the whole world!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

In a bubble....

Sorry I have been so lazy about posting lately. I feel like I've been in a bubble for about a week and have so much I want to write, but haven't taken the time to sit down and do it.

Some super exciting things going on:
1. I attended my first birth as a doula last Saturday. It was the most incredible experience and I can't wait to tell you guys about it! I am working on making a separate blog for my doula stuff so I can keep this one about our family and my personal stuff, but I promise it will be up soon!

2. My best friend is in labor RIGHT NOW!!! Im so excited I can barely contain myself!

3. We have been enjoying this gorgeous summer weather and I have some really fun sprinkler pictures to show you!

4. This weekend we are busy with lots of fun. Tomorrow Justin and I are headed to the Royals game to watch them take on the Cardinals! We LOVE to go to baseball games together and we're super excited to see them play St. Louis. GO ROYALS! Then tomorrow we have a wedding of one of Justin's high school friends. I won't really know anyone there, but that's okay - it should be fun anyway... I hear there's going to be a great DJ (*wink*, Molly).

I hope everyone has a super fantastic weekend and I will try to get some posts rolling on here!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


See this sweet face??

It's not so sweet after 3 hours of trying to get her to stay in her bed. Bedtime has become a complete NIGHTMARE! I put her to bed last night at 8:00 and she finally stayed in her room and went to sleep at 11. I don't know what to do.

Our days are a tad chaotic with up to 5 children here at a time and the evenings are my down time. I don't deal well with Chloe when she gets up out of her bed no less than 20 times. I feel like a horrible mom because while I try to be patient, it's REALLY hard and sometimes I fail miserably. I yell, I scream, I grab her arm too tightly. It's just a bad situation. So, I'm calling out to the troops.

Here are the things we've tried:
  • Being really nice and putting her back to bed quickly and without talking (think Nanny 911)
  • Yelling REALLY loudly
  • Bribery (oh no, I'm not beyond bribing this child!) -- candy for breakfast, a trip to the pool, WHATEVER you want!!!
  • Telling her to just stay in her room. She can leave the light on, play, do whatever into the wee hours of the morning if she likes, but she can not come out of her room.
I do realize that this phase will pass, and that I'm going to miss this later. I get that, really I do. But seriously, for everyone's safety and sanity - this HAS to get better!!

If you have other suggestions or some encouragement, send it my way!!

Please -- somebody, anybody, help a mommy out!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Warning: Long, vulnerable, scary (for me) post ahead!

Justin and I are coming up on our 5 year anniversary. For some reason, as we come up on 5 years of marriage, I have been thinking a lot lately about our journey together so far - the ups, the downs, and how incredible our God is. This post is going to be super honest and vulnerable, but I feel like it's something I need to write.

Justin and I dated in high school (I was a junior, he was a senior). We didn't go to the same high school, but we did go to the same church. We weren't really "friends", but we were in the same small group at youth and flirted quite a bit -- kicked each other under the table, made googly eyes, you know ;) The summer before my junior year we went on a mission trip with our youth group to Montana. I honestly can still remember the day we were signing up and he asked me if I was going. I told him yes and he said he was going also. I remember my heart going all aflutter and thinking this was going to be the best mission trip ever. My priorities were obviously in line!

We went on the mission trip and had so much fun together! I will admit that he had a girlfriend back home, but neither of us really seemed to care (bad, I know). We spent tons of time together: talking, playing games, working, laughing. Everyone on the trip knew we liked each other - it was obvious. When we got back he broke up with his girlfriend and we were "together" the next day.
Since we lived in separate towns we mainly only saw each other on the weekends. We talked online into the wee hours of the night and sometimes talked on the phone.

Our relationship hit a roadblock when he kissed another girl at his school. I was devastated and he, in true high school boy fashion, could have really cared less that he hurt me so badly. About 3 months later, in true high school relationship fashion, we were back together.

Here's where my reflection has become one of thanking God for his amazing Grace, Mercy, and Love. Our relationship after we got back together was incredibly unhealthy. We fought a lot. I was super insecure because he "cheated" on me, he was into drinking and just being a typical high school boy.

We became sexually active that summer.

The implications of that choice still affect me occasionally today. Oh, how I wish I had listened to the adults that loved me and really understood (or cared about) what they were trying to tell me.

After that summer Justin went away to college. We continued to fight all the time. I was so mad at us for not living how we were suppose to, bitter at him for "talking me into it", upset that he was away at college and I only saw him occasionally, I constantly thought he was cheating on me. I was so painfully insecure and unsure of who I really was. We most often fought because I felt like he wasn't the Christian he was suppose to be. Honestly, at that time, I don't think he was ready or even cared and I wish now that I would have known it was never my place to try to make him into something he wasn't or that I was strong enough, secure enough in myself to break it off with him.

When I went off to college (a different college than Justin about 3 hours away), the vicious cycle continued. More arguing, more guilt, more name slinging.

I would go to church every week and "talk the talk", but in the back of my mind I always had the guilt and pain of knowing I was totally not "walking the walk". All my friends were super-Christians and I had no one to talk to (or that's how I felt). It was a really really hard time in my life. I would go back and forth about breaking up with him or staying together. Again, I was just too insecure, too emotionally (and physically) invested and I couldn't walk away.

Please know that Justin was never this "evil" being that it may sound like. In fact, he was much more patient, loving and kind to me than I ever was to him. I would scream and yell and he would take all of it and still love me (or what we thought was love) and still want to date me.

Finally I just decided that maybe if we got married things would get better. We could have sex without the guilt, I would be with him all the time rather than having to commute every other weekend, and we would *really* love each other. We talked about marriage a lot and decided we were ready.

Justin proposed to me on Christmas Eve 2004. It was the sweetest, cutest thing in the world. All our family was there. It was perfect. I was so excited to be married, so ready to finally be in the same town, and ready to spend my life with him as his wife. Wedding planning was so fun for me.

I will be honest though, in the back of my mind I continued to wonder if getting married to Justin was right. Even walking down the aisle I had doubts in my mind. I was super excited to be married, but I was also scared we may be making a big mistake.

Our first 2 years of marriage were *really* hard. Things happened that put us into counseling and almost caused me to walk away. We were so distant and bitter with each other. I would be mad because he wasn't the super-Christian-husband he was suppose to be and he would be mad because all I did was scream and yell and put him down all the time. It was just a continuation of our dating life except now we lived in the same house. When I finally hit a breaking point and wanted out, I was pregnant with Chloe. Had I not been pregnant, I'm not sure we would still be married. Chloe saved me from walking out the door, counseling saved our marriage.

(side note: this picture totally makes me laugh because it was right after Chloe was born. I was at my fattest and Justin was at his skinniest. lol!)

When we were able to sit in the counseling office and spill it all is when we finally had a breakthrough and could start truly loving each other. I was able to realize that Justin's relationship with God was between Justin and God. I could nag and whine and yell all I wanted, but that wasn't going to change Justin's heart. All I could do as a wife was to love and support him. As a Christian I could continue to try and live the way God wanted and let that be what reflected Christ to Justin (rather than my hateful words).

The interesting thing is that through all of this, I think Justin has truly been a better Christian than I ever have. He is so patient and loving. He doesn't yell or put me down. He really, truly loves me and shows me that constantly. He speaks encouragement into me and supports anything I ever want to do. Although he didn't read his bible as much I thought he should (this was a MAJOR fight), I think he really grasped what Jesus is all about far before I really did.

A little over a year ago we began going to Desperation Church. Through the sermons there, the people, the authenticity, the worship music, the love, Justin and I have grown leaps and bounds in our walk with the Lord and our walk together.

Justin's heart astounds me more and more every day. He is so loving and kind. His whole outlook on life has completely changed in the past couple of years. He's accepting of others where in the past he wouldn't have been. He's open to allowing God to make decisions in our life that might be painful or weird. He loves and wants to serve others. God has worked amazing things in his heart and in his life.

After 5 years, I can honestly, 100% say that I am so honored to be Justin's wife. I don't know if we were "suppose" to get married or not, but God has worked an incredible miracle in our lives and in our marriage. I love Justin more now than I ever thought possible. I adore being his wife and sharing this life with him. I often like him a lot more than I even like myself. It's funny, at the beginning of our marriage I was so bitter and angry that he wasn't the spiritual leader in our house and now I can't imagine wanting to "follow" anyone else. Tears are streaming down my face as I write this because God has been so good to us. His grace, mercy, and love are so evident in my marriage.

I can't even explain how thankful I am to our Lord and how much I truly believe that He is working in our lives if we will just let Him. My marriage is a true testament to God's good purposes for our lives.

Friday, June 4, 2010

My girl knows how to guzzle!

Chloe drinks like a sailor. Okay, I know the phrase is "curses like a sailor", but I would assume that if sailors curse they must drink too, right? :) Anyway...since Chloe was born she has always guzzled her drinks at the speed of light. In fact, people often comment on how quickly she finishes her drinks.
Should I be concerned for the teenage years?? ;)

Blog Revamp

I have been doing some housekeeping around here. Well, on my blog that is...not so much in my real house! I decided this little blog needed a new look. I wanted it to look a little more "professional", I guess. I actually did a few things to the HTML, which I totally have no idea what that even means - lol, but it changed some things that I wasn't wild about that blogger kind of "makes" you have (such as the nav bar at the top). I also made a signature, which I'm loving. I have kind of changed the feeling of my blog several times since I've started, but I like where it's going now. I really just want to write about whatever I want and not be tied down by a certain "theme". I enjoy doing posts about our adventures as a family, but I also like doing some more serious topics as well. I'm really wanting to be more diligent about writing here and I felt a new "look and feel" were in order for me to feel comfy writing here. I think I might be weird.

Anyhow...I'm liking how it's coming along. I have a few more changes to make, but overall it's feeling more along the lines of what I want.

What do you guys think about the new look? Also, is it slow to load or too overwhelming?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Let's go on a Field Trip

I have this really awesome friend, Amanda, who organizes a playgroup every summer. Last summer I had good intentions of us being involved with it, but it just didn't work out. Anyway, this summer I'm really excited that we're going to be joining in on all the fun. Every Thursday Chloe, Ally (the little girl I babysit and Chloe's BFF), and I will be joining the playgroup on their many adventures.

Today we visited Deanna Rose Farmstead in Overland Park. It was quite a drive, but totally worth it. The girls had a blast. I was a little worried because Chloe started begging to be held right when we got there, but was quickly distracted by all the cute little animals and did really great the rest of the day.

Deanna Rose is a cute little "farm" with lots of animals, a bank, schoolhouse, Indian reservation, and playgrounds. The best's FREE!

We started out looking at the chickens. Chloe loves chickens and thinks they are just the cutest little things. I kinda agree!

The girls found a bench that was just their size and took a best friend picture. Every time I take a picture of the two of them they always put their arms around the others neck. It's so cute!

Chloe, surprisingly, was a little timid around the goats today. I'm not really sure why, but she did finally warm up to this sweet little white goat and gave it a few pets.

They had a really big tepee with all the Indian things in it: skins, what they cooked with, blankets, etc. The girls thought it was really neat to grind the corn.

A little later in the day we came to more goats. They were behind a fence and you could feed them. Chloe decided she wasn't scared anymore and wanted to give them some food. The goats of course all came scrambling when they saw a little one with goat food in their hands. It was kind of funny to see them all fighting to get that little nugget of food. Chloe would try to find the goats that were by themselves and feed them instead of the ones who were crowding each other. I don't know if it was because she was scared of the bombardment or because she felt sorry for the little ones off by themselves. Probably a combination of both!

The girls held hands most of the day, which was good for safety and for my heart.

When we got to the bank you could fill out these little pieces of paper to get a scavenger hunt map. Ally turned our paper in and got 2 little maps. We didn't actually do the scavenger hunt, but they thought it was really cool for the banker to give them something.

All around the farmstead there were cute little things for the kids to do. Here Chloe is pumping some drinking water:

Chloe loooves horses and was so excited to see this horse drawn hay-ride. We didn't take a ride, but we gave the horses some love. Chloe kissed their noses and thought it was funny that they were sniffing her.

There was a cute little garden with lots of veggies and flowers. These were my two favorite flowers in the whole garden.

Overall it was a fantastic day! The girls behaved so well and had so much fun together. Can't wait for next week!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer, Summer, Summertime...

Summer has always been and probably always will be my absolute favorite season. Here is a list of 15 things I LOVE about summer:

  1. SUN! WARMTH! (This is absolutely #1! I can't stand winter and all it's frigidness.)
  2. Hanging out at the lake with best friends
  3. Summer Beer (3 coronas, frozen lemonade, and a bit of vodka)
  4. The smell of Chloe lathered in sunscreen and sweat
  5. Riding with the windows down
  6. Wearing flip-flops
  7. Wearing tank tops
  8. Royals games
  9. Grilling out (another post on this coming soon!)
  10. Fresh cut grass
  11. Beautiful landscapes (something we really need to work on at our house!)
  12. Outdoor concerts
  13. Watching Chloe play in the pool/sprinkler
  14. Lots of time with friends
  15. Late nights outside
**What's your favorite season and why??

Monday, May 24, 2010

Life in the Smith House!

It's been a while! Time for an update in the form of a list because lists make me happy. :)

1. We recently got a new member in our family and she is the sweetest little thing in the world. Her name is Nala and she's a yellow lab. She is much bigger than this picture. I need to get some new ones!
I have wanted a lab since I was small and I finally talked Justin into getting one. I'm not even sure he ever really said yes, but it was one of those things where I knew he wasn't thrilled, but he would let me do it anyway. She's definitely *all* puppy right now and loves to jump, chew, and act a fool. Aside from the normal puppy behavior, she is really very sweet and incredibly smart. We start puppy classes with her tomorrow. It should be interesting! I took her to the vet on Saturday and she was a nutcase. SO excited to see all the people and just couldn't settle down. Typically at home she's hyper, but not *that* bad. It was a little embarrassing actually. My hope is that as she's around more people and more dogs at puppy class she will begin to not get quite so out of control in new surroundings.

2. Chloe is growing so fast and is so much fun! Her favorite things to do right now are swinging, dancing to "Crasting Crowns" (yes, that's how she pronounces it), and going to gymnastics. She looks forward to gymnastics every week and is actually somewhat decent at it! I love that it's helping with her balance and coordination. She is now quite the daredevil when it comes to jumping off things!

3. At the end of April I went to doula training and it was so amazing. It was definitely a confirmation that I was born to be a doula! :) I love everything about childbirth and the idea of helping women have the births they want is something that makes my heart go wild. I had a young mom who was due to deliver on May 21st and went about a week early. I missed her birth because I was so sick I could not get out of bed. My heart was broken that I couldn't be there for her. Luckily I have an amazing back-up doula and she went to be with the mommy, but it still crushed me. I have a few more births lined up in the coming future that I'm super excited about :) I'm thinking about starting a doula blog. We'll see.

4. Justin and I have been working with the youth at church now for a few months and it's going pretty well. I feel like he's much better at all this than me, but we're learning together. It's definitely evident that the kids need a constant support system in their lives. It's really mind boggling some of the things these kids are going through and most people would never know. While we never thought we would work with youth, it has been a huge blessing and we're excited for what the future holds.

5. We're still waiting on a baby. I have kind of just quit worrying about it, but each month is still hard. I'm not sure what God has in store for our family, but I know it's all in His timing and I keep leaning on that!

That's about all I can think of for now. I'm going to try to be better about posting more often!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Your Questions Answered....FINALLY!

Catharine asked: What's something you and your husband do to spend time together?
Our very favorite thing to do together is to try new recipes. We both love to cook, well, and love to eat ;) We are kind of home-bodies (him more than me), but when we do go out we like to go shopping, out to eat, go to baseball games. We don't make date night a real priority, but I think we probably should start doing that. I would love to hear some of the things you other couples out there do together!

Breck asked: What's the one thing you enjoy most about yourself?

This is a hard question to answer. I could easily list the things I don't like about myself. Ha! Something I do like though is that I think I am a compassionate person and care deeply for others.

Alisa asked: If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Hmmm...gosh! There are *so* many places I would love to visit. I think I would pick Africa. The first part of the trip would be a really awesome vacation with safaris and amazing food and learning about the culture. The second part of the trip would be visiting a refugee camp, helping out and learning about the people there, adopting 6 or 8 of the kids and then probably ending up staying there because I am too in love with the people to leave. LOL. Yeah, that's why I don't visit Africa...because I truly am scared that we would end up never coming back.

Matt asked: What do you pray God accomplishes through you by working with the DC Youth AND why are you in the lead?

As for the first question: I am praying that God uses me to really show the high school girls that living passionately for Christ is what is going to help them have a full, happy, healthy life. I think sometimes in high school it is so hard to see outside of yourself and what you want and the activities you're in and the boys/girls that you like and the popularity contests in order to see that walking with the Lord truly will bring you the most joy (at least I know it was for me). I'm praying that I can make some real relationships with the girls and help them grow in their walk.

I have no doubt that they are going to teach/help me way more than I ever will them!

As for the second question: I think this is referring to the little contest of who would have the most questions from blog readers . I won. By a long shot. Guess I won *that* popularity contest. hehe... ;)

Melissa asked: What are some of the biggest challenges and biggest blessings of being a mommy?

Oh, I could write a whole blog post on each of these separately! I will give you my top 3 of each.

1. Discipline. Justin and I think it's *so* important for both of us to be on the same page, so we are constantly changing our "strategies" and re-evaluating how things are working with her. Love and Logic is our main foundation and it has worked well so far!
2. Not feeling like a failure. I often feel like I'm not being the best mom I could be.
3. Chloe's picky eating. The child has about 10 things she will eat and it drives me NUTS! I think we are quickly approaching the time where I tell her she eats what we eat or she doesn't eat. That should be fun! *rolls eyes*

1. Pure love. The moment I saw Chloe I never imagined I could love someone like that. In return, she loves us without reservation.
2. Joy and Happiness. I guess that's two, but they kind of go hand in hand. Being a mom brings me so much joy and happiness. I just don't really see the need in staying angry anymore when there is so much awesome life to live.
3. Getting to be silly. Chloe and I have dance parties just about every day. It's fun to just be silly and act like a kid and having a child gives you a perfect excuse to do that!! :)

Jennifer asked: What is something you want to do before you die, your bucket list?

Oh, I have lots of things. Here are a couple silly ones: Get a tattoo, skydive, and be on The Amazing Race :)

Thank you guys for participating! This was fun :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Q & A

I feel like I haven't had much to write about lately (or things just aren't coming out the way I would like), so I thought this would be fun!

Ask me anything you want and I will answer the questions in the next few days.

Fire away!!