13 August 2015

This & That

Oh those curls!! 
My hair doesn't hold a curl at all, so I am still amazed at my Georgie girls hair. 
It just dries like that, I am in awe, ha ha :)
But, of course life isn't all cute curls and silly faces. 
Here's little Levi trying to convince me that, "I'm not sick mom! I'm not!"
"When are my Keiton, Carter and Macy coming over?"
He wasn't too happy that his play date was cancelled, but I just didn't think having cousins over to play while he was battling the stomach flu was such a good idea. I tend to follow the guidelines from Georgiana's school, which are not going to school within 24hours of having a fever or throwing up. So, yesterday morning when Levi started his rounds of bodily fluid, I knew we were basically housebound for two days. Not fun, at all...

 Thankfully, he felt great today, and by this afternoon I decided to get us out of the house! It's amazing how quickly cabin fever sets in when you feel like you can't leave. Lord willing, we will be closing on our next house the end of this month, we sold our last swing set before we moved, so we decided to get a Sam's Club membership to buy our next swing set. The swing set is like the kids' reward for enduring what has turned into a Spring & Summer of moves. They are calling the next house our "Forever House." It really is the first house that we are moving into, that we do not have a time frame in mind, and that is a wonderful wonderful feeling. Of course, we found our "Forever House," 10 days after moving into a rental with a one year lease. Yep. So... If you know of anyone looking for a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath rental house, walking distance to parks and restaurants/shops/etc, PLEASE send them our way!
Anyway, back to Sam's Club. I had never been in one, but I was pretty excited about the deal we scored!

 (Doesn't Levi look WAY too grown up!)
I found two vertical gardens for $18.81 each, I am not sure if I am going to use them for flowers or herbs or strawberries or...
 But, I am excited nonetheless.


It's a strange feeling to not feel rushed with decorating our home. In the past, I have graphed out the rooms and started extreme day dreaming about the spaces. This move feels like I have time to figure things out. We shall see how lackadaisical I am once we are in our home, but for now I will embrace the feeling and the sleep.
Goodnight blog world. 

11 August 2015

Third Times a Charm

Well hello again blog, believe it or not, I really have missed you! I still (almost daily) have posts going through my head, mostly because I want to journal and savor memories. I love looking back and reading about my tiny ones, our adventures, things I would have otherwise forgot. Over the course of yet another LONG blog break I've been told a variety of things. When I mentioned to some friends that I felt like I couldn't blog because I was SOOOO behind, what kind of blogger goes on vacations, moves, has recitals and graduations, holidays you name it and doesn't blog about them!?! It was at that moment that I was reminded by a friend that, "no one is waiting on your posts..." She meant it kind and a matter of fact. And, that is so true, and yet not at all what I meant about feeling behind. Selfishly, the reason the blog world is still my most favorite type of social media (recently I discovered my second fav, Instagram, if you are wondering where the bloggers are hiding, I found most of them, just check Instagram, I am @anothernicolesmith), is simply that it is not about what other people say, it's simply my scrapbook. I feel bad that little Levi's life isn't as documented as Georgiana's, I am extremely behind on baby books, but with Georgiana I know I can find all I need on this here blog.
Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the social aspect of it, if you find yourself wandering here on the world wide web, please do leave me a comment. It's fun and interactive and not to overuse the word, simple.
Sometimes I think I would have thrived in an earlier time, not too early I am quite a fan of my dishwasher, but maybe just a time when to see pictures of a friend's vacation you got to go to her house and look through her photo album hear her narration, when friend's moved out of state you wrote a letter, when a baby was born you received an announcement, or got a sneak peek from a proud Grandma carrying her envelope of freshly developed pictures around in her purse. But yet, here I am, a stay at home mama in 2015. A day in which I am often so distracted by trying to "capture the memory" on my phone that sometimes I miss making the memory.
So, I'm not sure what the theme of this post is, but that's the beauty of the blog, it's not so much about the likes and flash, sure for some it could be, but for me it's about the journey, about being able to look back on my own little pioneered spot of the web and preserve a memory, a feeling, a thought and of course a picture.
So I leave you with this, my view as I blogged tonight.
Kelly and the kiddos hunting for zebra, obviously :)

25 February 2015

Breaking the Ice

Well, I'm back from my longest (and very unintentional) blog break. No giant excuses, just life keeping me busy and feeling SO incredibly behind on my blog, that I didn't know where to start!?! As silly as it may sound, I really feel like I could benefit from a solo blog retreat. An uninterrupted time to just catch up on pictures and posts, I remember years ago hearing about scrapbooking weekends, so I don't think it's too cooky :) 
I have read on a few mass read blogs, that the blogging world has changed. It's obvious that people favor other methods of social media, but I miss the days of clicking on my blog and seeing 10 updated posts from my friends on the sidebar. But enough nostalgia I suppose…
So, what has the Smith family been up to?
We have simply been enjoying our suburban life. 
Kelly and I were recently talking about where we live and we both kind of laughed that it feels so much like home to us. Growing up, I don't remember ever thinking, I hope I live in the suburbs! But, somehow our little neck of the woods has really grown on us, and it is such a peaceful feeling to feel at home. Well, maybe not our house forever, but at least the area for the foreseeable future. I've come to really appreciate our proximity to our church, dance lessons, the library and of course Target. But, I also like listening to the narration of my kiddos while they look for cows and chickens on the way to Georgiana's school, maybe spotting a duck or flock of geese on the lake. 
So, those simple words broke the ice and Lord willing I will be back with more posts more often. 
One can hope :)

14 December 2014

Georgiana's Ballet Recital

Georgiana danced in two ballet recitals this weekend, a lot of handwork goes into a minute and a half of pure cuteness!
And, speaking of cuteness. 
Here is the definition of cuteness overload!!!
My niece Hana and Georgiana :)

 And, the two cutie patooties above, walking hand in hand with my/our Grandma.
Lots of smiles these last two days. 
Even Levi was back to smiling this evening, Praise the Lord his fever was gone by 11am today, so he and Kelly got to go to this evening's show!

I helped backstage for her show, and it was chaotic and overwhelming. Honestly, I've been backstage on my share of shows, but the dance scene is a bit new to me. A lot of hairspray, false eyelashes and energy. Georgiana is soaking up every moment, and we are already looking forward to Hana's recital in the Spring. My heart bursts when I see these two hand in hand. Love them.


13 December 2014

Reflexion

I took this picture because I wanted to freeze this view in my brain. I am so thankful for a counter I can look out from while I am doing the dishes and watch these cuties play. I love being with them. I do, they are a joy. I feel like I am enjoying them more and more, I am not living in la la land, my days are long and tiring and my little ones throw fits and most of the time I am second guessing my parenting tactics, but in the midst of those things, I get to look up and see two healthy beautiful babies playing princess castle hospital, and if listening in on their conversations and make believe doesn't put a smile on my face, well I don't know what would! I am just savoring watching them play together.
 We took the tiny ones bumper bowling. We all 4 had a blast! Kelly and I were just kind of in disbelief that we have arrived at the stage where we can do activities like this. It seems like we have been in the baby stage for so long, it excited us to have a glimpse of what our Sunday afternoons (post Levi's nap of course), are turning into. Lots of family adventures ahead!
 I included the first picture in this post because I feel like SO much of 2014 was spent under stress, that I honestly didn't take time to enjoy my tiny ones as much as I should have. The year was under a cloud of what felt like chaos at times and this bowling day really tipped the scale in the other direction. Praise the Lord oh my soul! The very end of January our kitchen leak happened. Turning our kitchen into a nail exposed, loud fan covered, sub-floor construction zone. Early February was a mix of contracting bids, flakey flakey flakey insurance people and Levi's incredibly scary allergic reaction. It was also the news of Kelly's brother having kidney cancer. 
Throughout February our little guy continued to be ill and make his mommy and daddy very nervous. By March, nothing much had happened with the insurance company, and Kelly was in a little tussle at work resulting in a major shoulder injury. (Good thing he transitioned to a more mild police position, ha ha, if only.) Thus began what would turn into a very long road to recovery. The initial doctor told him to put his arm in a sling and he would be better in 10 days or so. Well, that was a recipe for frozen shoulder to begin setting in. A couple of weeks past with no improvement at all and another doctor consult, and we found out he most likely had muscle tears. Buy April his MRI was finally approved (oh L&I never in a rush), and we learned he wasn't feeling so well because he had at least 3 tears in his shoulder. By that time, our home owner's insurance rep was "no longer with the company," and our file was lost in the abyss. But, April did bring jumps of joy when my cousin Ashley came home from teaching in Thailand and shouts of joy when Kelly's brother had surgery and as far as cancer goes, it could not have gone better! The best news ever… Cory was cancer free!
Two weeks later and Kelly was at the hospital for his shoulder surgery. Although we had hustled through all of the home insurance hoops (again!), and as much as we longed for countertops and floors, we didn't think having a construction crew in our home during Kelly's recovery would be the best idea. So, we postponed any remodel movement. Not so shockingly, Kelly's surgery turned out to be more extensive than originally thought. He came out of the surgery only being allowed to lift 1 lb (so basically nothing), and we spent the next 6 weeks navigating how to go about life with daddy only using 3 limbs. Cory came over to recoup with Kelly on the couch and I made them both promise me that would never ever happen again! If only they had control over that :)
We were blessed like crazy with meals and encouragement from friends and family. It is not easy to learn how to say yes to help, but it sure does help carry the burden when we let others in to help with yard work and life. I am forever thankful for those who came by our side. Shoulder surgery recovery makes me want to cry. My biggest advice is to get a recliner. My aunt and uncle brought theirs to us, and Kelly lived in it for a good week or so. Shoulder surgery is awful. Kelly is not a complainer, but it is pretty horrible to watch someone be in so much pain. It's different than the knee surgeries he has had in the past. Post knee surgery, he has been quickly released to full activity, to work through pain but had the confidence that he wouldn't re-injure himself by doing regular things. Shoulder surgery recovery is a constant juggling act. Don't lift over 1 lb or you could undo everything that the surgery did, but be sure to be using your shoulder otherwise you will get frozen shoulder.
So, frozen shoulder started creeping in. The end of June he was told he had about a week to get scar tissue breaking up in his shoulder, otherwise he would be headed back in the operating room.
The timing for him needing to move around fell right about the same time that I was scheduled to head down to Los Angeles for a few days for filming. I realize this sounds dramatic, but the Lord really blessed me with that three day break. Kelly insisted that I go, and it ended up being such an amazing trip. My childhood best friend, Allie, came with me and although I was nervous to leave my one armed husband with the two little ones, the trip recharged my batteries. We preplanned meals and family playdates and it went better than expected. Being a one armed Mr. Mom helped the scar tissue start to break up! Now that Kelly's arm was doing better and almost out of the woods with the frozen shoulder, it was time to start addressing our house. Due to a LOT of postponements, we could no longer get on the schedule of our contractor. So… we decided why not attempt to be DIYers. Oh, to be so ambitious and naive. We had NO idea how big of a job we were going to take on. But, even though a downstairs remodel turned out to be a never ending headache, the Lord used all the movement to get Kelly's shoulder healed. After being cleared to lift normal weight, Kelly (along with his dad and brother) dove on into the hardwood flooring. After the first solid week of doing the floors, Kelly's doctor was blown away by the amount of mobility and strength he had regained. Up to this point, Kelly had been told that he would never heal 100%. And, up to this point, we weren't sure he would be able to return to full duty at work. According to Kelly's guild contract, he had six months to get back to full duty and his doctor was not confident he would meet the September goal. But, the Lord used hardwood flooring, counter top demo, and even our HOA breathing down our neck about staining our fence, to get Kelly's shoulder back in order. It was definitely not what the physical therapist recommended, but it worked. By August, Kelly returned to work full duty! He still has some mobility and strength to gain back, but he is already at 90% or better. He stepped down from his SWAT position, because it will be quite sometime until his shoulder will allow him to comfortably and safely complete the physical test. That being said, even the freedom of not having SWAT training and call outs has been a blessing to our family.
So, August brought on Kelly returning to work, the ever growing to do list of DIY home construction, and yet another reprieve for myself. I have never been a mom who says "I need a break!" But, I think God heard the quiet cries of my heart, because I got to go on a  trip to Alaska with my aunt and Grandma. I got to visit the village where my Grandma lived as a little girl and learn about my roots. The timing seemed challenging with Kelly's shoulder, our house and life, but I am so thankful it worked out. That being said, I am pretty sure my little ones will never sleep through the night in their own beds again! Kelly let them sleep with him while I was gone, and that is a hard habit to break!! But, I sort of love that Kelly's the type of dad that cuddled the cuties to make sure they weren't sad when I was gone.
I can't even think of all the delays and what felt like daily if not twice or thrice daily trips to Home Depot, but the home improvements just took forever. It's hard to juggle it all. Our goal was to have the house completed by our big family vacation to Disneyland the end of August. Well, that didn't happen, but we still had an amazing time! Going to California does stress me out a little, we have a lot of friends in CA and I always feel terrible if I don't get to visit them, like I am sneaking around. But, we opted not to rent a car and just enjoy some very much needed family time. We were able to meet Kelly's cousins absolutely adorable little baby girl, but otherwise we flew under the radar and soaked up the sun and loads of smiles from the kiddos. Mommy and Daddy were not distracted by doctor's appointments and projects and that made for a very happy little family.
Next goal was to have the house completed by Levi's birthday, that too didn't happen. September was busy with the start of school and a couple added police lawsuits. Lovely and stressful. Oh, and a new reporter who thought it was her mission to paint Kelly in poor light as a police officer. Really!?! It was ridiculous and Kelly's chief very boldly and clearly gave his opinion on the matter. I am so thankful for the chief! So, we survived that lovely entry to Fall an even met our absolute latest timeline of home project completion… My sister's October baby shower! Praise the Lord!
This photo was taken the Sunday after her shower. Honestly, the first time since January that we weren't feeling guilty for not being home to finish such and such project. I looked at Kelly and I said with pure joy and almost disbelief "I am happy. I am so happy!"
That being said, we still have drywall repairs, a leaky new faucet, paint to complete and a list I don't even want to write for the backyard. But, we are putting them ALL on hold until the New Year.
We are trying to pay more attention to the little ones, making sure Levi doesn't eat any more whole apples.
Yep, where's the core?
Go on some much needed playdates.
Could Tatum be any cuter!?!
Get distracted by toys being thrown in our water, rather than knobs and cutting tile.
Let Georgiana FINALLY giver her doll a haircut.
She's been begging me for months. 
And, applaud Levi's car creations.
Earlier this year in the midst of the craziness, a friend told me that that is just how life goes. Which I agree, to an extent. There are daily things, like our furnace going out after we just got it cleaned, interesting timing. Our car not starting repeatedly, thankfully it was just the key battery. Holding Levi for two days because he has a fever and terrible cough. Laughing at myself because of how stressed out I felt backstage of Georgiana's dance recital. Life.
But, there are also seasons of life that are extra extra difficult. I can think back to times in my life that were just plain hard. The valleys. Spring of 2012. Winter of 2009/2010. And, to be honest I feel like the majority of 2014 was a valley. Yes, I am spoiled to consider a valley as a time with filming a movie, celebrating two healthy kids' birthdays, even coming out of the valley with a remodeled house (poor me, I know). But, it was trying. I remember in July, when Kelly received news that he wouldn't have to have a second surgery, I remember feeling like we were coming out of the fog. It felt like we took a while to come out, and boy is it nice to breathe in the fresh air. Gray Washington days and all. 
I realize my valley had many "first world" problems, and even Kelly's shoulder, at the end of the day if he only had one arm we are still more blessed than most. But, that's my story. I know the Lord only gives us what we can handle, and with His help, that's what I could handle this year. 
I hope 2015 is a continuous climb without deep valleys, but if 31 years has taught me anything, it's that the Lord directs our paths, valley's and all.

Proverbs 19:21
"Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails."

09 December 2014

Beginning Picture Catchup!

I have an album on my computer titled "blog pics" and sometimes it just makes me feel better to move a few 30 or so pictures in that direction, with the hope that someday I will get to them! I feel so behind on the blog that I kind of stumble when I try to compose a post. I told Kelly that I need a 24 hour blog retreat. I know that sounds a bit silly, but I just love looking back on the blog, seeing the kiddos and what we were up to. The clich├ęs are true, life is zooming past and I long for my little online scrapbook to be kept up. But, enough whining for now. How about some of those pictures!
I'll start with Halloween.
My little Doc Mcstuffins and a future Seahawk!
He was so grumpy about getting his picture taken, we will just say he had his game face on, ha!
 But, sister can pretty much always make him smile...
 And, ta da! There's our happy little guy and our oh so excited little Doc.
 I had to include this blurry picture because I have a very similar one of Georgiana when she was his size. My little independent babies.
 And, then all sugared up!
We always let the kids go a little crazy with the candy on Halloween and then we sensor it for the next few days and then it goes "moldy." So far they go with it. A friend of mine was telling me that she and her daughters take their candy to a dentist who buys the candy from them. They have it all figured out, what candy weighs the most and what ones to keep. Strategic and beneficial!
Yes, Levi still has his pacifier. No, I don't battle it. Yes, he will eventually get rid of it. No, I'm not worried about his teeth, the dentist said it was okay :)
He tries to talk with it in his mouth, when I tell him that I can't understand him with his paci in, he just holds it while he says what he wants to say and then pops that bad boy back in. So yes, I am working on that. Transitioning to just for sleeping and car trips, but he is cutting his 2 year old molars and well, you gotta do what you gotta do!

26 November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

My friend Jen was SO sweet and took some family pictures for us today and I am pretty excited about having an updated picture or two for this year's Christmas card! So, I thought I would share a few sneak peeks with the blogworld!

 Look at our two little turkeys in the background, ha ha!
"Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever."
Psalm 107:1
Happy Thanksgiving!