Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sweet Cousin Pictures

This Christmas was the first time we had all 4 of the Smith cousins together. With Casey & Rebecca living in Minnesota and us living in Gainesville, we don’t all have the opportunity to get together as much as we’d like. So, the day before we left to come home, we decided we’d set up a mini photo shoot with the kids. Jamie has taken a liking to photography and does a really good job so she took the pictures! They turned out SO cute!!

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Cori Belle – age 2

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Taylor Ryan – age 1

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Jona Lily – age 6.5 months

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Finley Grace – age 6 months

Finley and Jona

sweet babies

Getting a picture of them all together was a difficult task to say the least! I mean, why wouldn’t 4 small children want to sit all morning to have their picture taken?! Sounds so simple, right?! :) HA! Since we had just taken Cori’s 2 year pictures earlier that morning, she had about had it! So, it may not be the best picture, but at least they are all looking and no one is crying!

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I LOVE this group shot with Yaya and Mt. Grandma. Yaya was tickling Cori and her smile is precious!

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For these children we prayed.

1 Samuel 1:27

All Things Christmas

What an exciting Christmas we’ve had. Like I blogged about earlier this month, Dave and I really wanted to start up some of our own Christmas traditions this year. Cori and I finished up our Truth in the Tinsel Advent Calendar. She truly enjoyed reading her bible verses and making an ornament each day. I think she will like it even more next year!

We began our Christmas Eve morning making Gingerbread houses. It was a blast! My mom, sister, brother, Dave, and Cori & I together as a team, each made a house. Check out our supplies…

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and a very excited little girl…

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Here is the finished product.

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Cori and I made the second one on the left. Most original in my opinion! :)

Cori's Gingerbread House


Then we moved right into baking a birthday cake for Jesus. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to bake a cake for Jesus on Christmas Eve. It’s something that I’ve talked about with Dave ever since we were dating. I always thought it would be so special to bake that cake with my kids each year and celebrate the real meaning of Christmas. It was just as special as I’d hoped!

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We spent Christmas in Tampa this year as we have every year since I can remember. It’s been tradition that we do Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas Day with Dave’s family. It works out nicely that way. The girls got to wear some very special smocked dresses on Christmas Eve this year. A friend of mine had her mom make them for the girls and they are TOO cute! I loved seeing them in those dresses!

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Cori wasn’t being super cooperative during family pictures so Dave started trying to make her laugh. She thoroughly enjoyed it! HA!

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Then we moved on to opening up presents. In my family we always opened all our gifts on Christmas Eve and then the only presents we got on Christmas Day were Santa gifts. Dave’s family does ALL their presents on Christmas Day. It’s so funny to me how different every family does their Christmas. I guess it’s what makes it special to that particular family. So, to keep tradition alive, the girls opened their gifts on Christmas Eve with my family.

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After a full day with my family, we packed up and headed over to Dave’s parents house to sleep so the girls could wake up to Christmas morning over there. It’s funny how I never seem to snap many pictures of Christmas morning at the Smith House. I think it’s because there are so many people and it’s just hard to get everyone in the same place at the same time. We literally opened presents up in sections. A few minutes here and a few minutes there. The best Christmas present of all was the surprise visit from Casey and Rebecca. Everyone knew they were coming except for Dave’s dad. He had tears in his eyes when he opened the front door and saw them standing there! It was so nice having everyone together on Christmas!


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Finley and Jona opening up their matching soccer balls!


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Cori running through the house delivering presents to people! She gave most of them to me even though they weren’t all actually for me! Ha! I LOVE my girl!


We had a great Christmas, but I’m glad to be home! We spent a full week in Tampa visiting with family. I know my girls enjoyed their time with their grandparents and sweet cousins. We took some precious pictures of the cousins together and I’ll post those soon. I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Cori Belle!

December 28, 2009 was a big day for me. It was the day I became a momma. Just writing those words makes me tear up a bit. I can’t believe two years has already passed. I remember holding that precious baby in my arms and just couldn’t believe she was mine - - ours. What a miracle a baby is. Truly a gift from God. God’s perfect way to show us just how much he loves us – in the form of a baby. And what a beautiful baby she was.

Our first picture together

… to TWO years later



My dearest Cori Belle,

I can’t believe you are TWO! You are the most amazing two year-old I have ever met. You amaze your daddy and I more and more each day. Words can’t even express just how much we love you. We know God has big plans for you. Our prayer is that you will use that vibrant personality of yours to lead others to know the Lord and be an example to the world. We have a special verse that we pray over you and it’s Proverbs 3:5-6, which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”

Here are some things you are doing at TWO…

  • Your favorite thing to say right now is “okay". It’s pretty much the response to any statement I say to you. And you say it with such enthusiasm!
  • You are talking in full on sentences and it makes your daddy and I stand in awe.
  • You sometimes answer your own questions and it’s so funny! In the car today you said, “Mommy, I can’t find my nook. Oh, here it is. Under the blanket.” Then you laughed at yourself! Daddy and I laughed too!
  • You are a GREAT runner. And you thoroughly enjoy running around in circles when you reach the point of past bed-time deliriousness.
  • You love to play duck-duck-goose!
  • You have no fear of meeting new friends. We were leaving church the other day and you saw 3 kids sitting in the grass together playing duck-duck-goose. You ran as fast as you could to join in on the fun!
  • You say “hi” to anyone and everyone passing by. I love how friendly you are.
  • You have started signing songs. It’s really funny when you sing “Happy Birthday” to yourself. :)
  • You LOVE saying your own name. Cori Belle.
  • You have the most precious unconditional love for your little sister. I hope it’s always that way. You say her name so sweetly and I always find you kissing her and holding her hand. Talk about melting a momma’s heart.
  • You can count to 10.
  • You thoroughly enjoy bouncing! Jumping on the bed is one of your most favorite things to do right now!
  • When you give someone kisses, you kiss them right on the lips.
  • You have a heart that loves to pray. Each night when you go to bed you say, “I pray mommy, I pray daddy, I pray baby, I pray Mimi, I pray Yaya, I pray Poppop, I pray Granddad, Amen.”
  • You LOVE to pretend play! You have tea parties, picnics, set your babies up to eat together at the table, nurse your baby, rock your baby, talk on your cell phone (and have LONG conversations with lots of your family members – mostly Mimi, Yaya, and Aunt Nen)

We celebrated your birthday with a play date at the park with a few friends, homemade blueberry pancakes for breakfast, yummy spaghetti for dinner, cookie cake for desert, and time with all your family members in between! We are planning a trip to Disney for your birthday in a few weeks! Oh, how I can’t wait!

And no birthday is complete with out pictures!! Here are some BEAUTIFUL two-year old pictures taken by your Aunt Jamie!



















Happy Birthday Sweet one! We love you more than life!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Card

Well, it’s Christmas again. 2011 is coming to a close. Here we come 2012! Absolute craziness! It’s been a great year. We celebrated 5 years of marriage, welcomed another sweet baby girl into our family in July, and will celebrate TWO years of life with our dear oldest daughter in just a few days. God has been good to us in SO many ways!! Let me count the blessings!!

As every year, Dave made our Christmas Card and it does not disappoint! I showed him one that I liked on Shutterfly, and he re-created it with his own artistic twist and I LOVE it!! I do love that I have a talented husband. He is talented in SO many ways and just amazes me with his artistic abilities! Not to mention his handy-man abilities too!! :)

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Cards went out in the mail yesterday along with a note from my hubby. That’s another one of his talents – writing our Christmas card letter. I have attempted it before, but it never turns out as wonderfully written as his. Since we can’t send cards to EVERYONE, I thought I’d include Dave’s 2011 Christmas Letter here. That way, when we are 80 years old, we can read about life in 2011 via our blog book. :)

A note from Dave…


Dear Family and Friends,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Smiths. Another year has flown by and we find ourselves asking where the time went. In the past year, there have been countless events that have kept life interesting, the most exciting of those being the birth of our second little girl, Finley Grace. She was born on July 1st and is truly a blessing to us. She added a now third component of estrogen to our house, and we are beginning to feel like God’s plan is for me to spend the next 20 years cultivating my feminine side. Finley joined our family and instantly fit in with her older sister. Cori Belle is now 2 years old and going on 18. She took over her role of care-giver for the new baby instantly. We have had no jealousy issues and Cori truly loves her little sister. It is amazing how quickly they are growing up and even though you hate for them to get bigger, it is incredible to watch their development. Cori is speaking in sentences, cleaning up after herself, and trying to use the potty. Before we know it there will be licenses and weddings; let’s enjoy the lack of drama and innocence while we can.

As for Danielle and I, we are still deeply in love after a long 5 ½ years of marriage and feel blessed to have the opportunity to raise a family of our own. Danielle is balancing her thriving jewelry business, Premier Designs, with raising up our daughters. I am finishing up my third and final year of pediatric residency. It was a long road, and right when the light at the end of the tunnel could be seen, I decided to enter into 3 more years of indentured servitude by going to fellowship. Fellowship is extra training in a specialty of pediatrics, and I have chosen to pursue Pediatric Emergency Medicine. I underwent a long interview process that encompassed visiting 11 programs, but in the end, I matched at my number 1 choice of University of Alabama, Birmingham. This means that after 11 years living in heart of the Gator Nation, Danielle and I will be moving our family to start over in a new town. We are excited for the plans that God has for us as we embark on this new adventure.

As I close, I hope this letter finds you well and that during this season full of blessings you find yourselves around family and the ones you hold dear. I hope that during a time of vacation, Black Friday’s, indulgence and food, we all take some time to recognize that Christmas represents the greatest present that we could ever receive, in the form of God’s one and only son. In our culture, it is very easy to get caught up with the hustle and bustle, and never really spend time to reflect on the real reason for the season. So as we drink egg-nog, sing Christmas Carols, and spend time with our loved-ones, let’s take a minute to recognize the blessings that God has placed in our lives and thank Him for giving us the present of eternity with Him.


Dave, Danielle, Cori Belle & Finley Grace

Friday, December 9, 2011

True Love

Those are the only words I have for my two precious girls. I am truly in love with them!!

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Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Traditions

Before I get started on Christmas Traditions, I want to make note that today I stayed home ALL DAY! Well, it’s only 3 pm, but I don’t intend to go anywhere for the rest of the day. (That is until I have to leave for a jewelry show tonight.) .. I am taking the time to write this down because I’m always on the go. Lately I’ve been feeling a bit stressed and I attribute it to the fact that I’m NEVER home. A day at home it just what the kids and I needed. It’s been fabulous! Not to mention, Willie and his mommy (and his THREE little brothers) came over to play. I think I need to make a point to stay home a bit more often. I know Finley would sure appreciate a regular nap in the morning! :)

Now, onto the title of my post – Christmas Traditions. I’ve been racking my brain over the last few months about what kind of Christmas Traditions I want to start for my family. The only tradition I remember growing up is having our whole family get together on Christmas Eve at our house to eat and open presents. And then, of course, Santa.

I really wanted to start something with my girls leading up to Christmas. Like an Advent Calendar, but I didn’t want it to be a traditional Advent Calendar where they get a piece of candy everyday. Now, if that’s what you do with your family, that’s great! I just wanted to do something a little different. I want our girls to really know what Christmas is about – the REAL reason we even celebrate in the first place. And, I wanted to incorporate that into our Advent Calendar. So, I was on the hunt! About a week ago, just as December was beginning, I stumbled across this. It’s called Truth in the Tinsel and it’s a meaningful way to celebrate the days leading up to Christmas. It’s an e-book and downloads onto your computer in minutes for only $4.99. Each day, you read part of the Christmas story out of the bible, and then make an ornament that represents what you read. Cori is LOVING it!! We do it every morning after breakfast and she really looks forward to it. Her face lights up as I pull out my bible and craft supplies. She claps and smiles as she chants, “bible story, bible story!”

Here is our craft from Day 6. We colored Mary and Elizabeth and talked about the babies that were in their bellies – Jesus and John. Everyday we hang her hand-made ornaments on the mini tree in her room.

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I’m so excited about this Christmas Tradition. Next year we will get Finley her very own mini tree and they can both make ornaments to decorate their tree leading up to Christmas! LOVE it!

Some other Christmas Traditions David and I have talked about are…

  • Making Gingerbread Houses every Christmas Eve morning followed by…
  • Birthday Cake baking! That’s right, a birthday cake for Jesus!
  • Church every Christmas Eve.
  • Opening one present from Mom and Dad every Christmas Eve – I’m thinking Christmas Pajamas that they wear to bed that night!
  • Santa and a BIG Christmas morning breakfast!
  • Volunteering in some way to show the love of Jesus.

What kind of Christmas Traditions do you do with your family?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Training Schedule

2 weeks down and 12 weeks to go until my very first half marathon!! Yep, that’s right, come February 28th, I will be sporting a tutu and running the Disney Princess half marathon with my 2 SIL’s and a few friends from church. Check out my awesome training schedule created by my hubby! … That’s right, Katie. YOU are part of my training!! :)

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This may sound crazy to some of you reading this, but my 4 mile run yesterday was AMAZING!! I actually ran 4.2 (yeah, I’m counting those extra .2 miles!!) and I felt great the entire time. It was perfect running weather yesterday!

I may be feeling great because of my new nifty shoes I got to train and race in. Check them out!

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Dave wanted me to move to more of a minimal shoe. The guy at the running store said that this was more minimal than my previous shoe, but not such a huge drop that it would injure me. I’m not really a “runner” so I don’t really know much about all that mumbo jumbo, but what I do know is, they feel great! My knees don’t hurt and that’s all that matters!!

I’ve only missed one day of training so far and that was Katie’s class on Friday. Dave went so maybe that makes up for it?! HA! I was working the JBF consignment sale. I’m sure I will end up missing a few days here and there, but I’m posting it up here on my blog for a few reasons… (1) so you all can hold me accountable to my training schedule, and (2) incase any of you readers out there want to join in on the running fun, you’ve got a pretty good schedule to use if you’d like! (**You just have to make up your own “Katie’s Class” if you don’t live here in Gainesville. It’s basically an hour of intense boot camp and it’s awesome!!**)

I will say that my calves are pretty sore after my run yesterday. I haven’t had to run with the kids in the double BOB yet. I know that’s what we got it for, but I’m really enjoying these runs by myself! Pray for me as my mileage increases. I don’t think I’ve ever run more than 5 miles in my entire life! There is a first for everything!!

Until next time! …

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

I can’t believe that Thanksgiving has come and gone and we are well into the Christmas season already! Wow!

Dave had to work again this Thanksgiving. Tis the life of a resident. So, the girls and I drove down to Tampa last Thursday morning to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. We always have Thanksgiving at my aunt and uncles house. It really is the one time of year that my mom’s entire side of the family gets together. It’s truly a wonderful time.

I got to spend some quality time with my grandparents this year and it was SO nice. My grandpa is 89 and having a much more difficult time getting around these days. It was really nice to set next to him during Thanksgiving dinner. My grandma on the other hand is 88 and acts (and looks) like she’s 68!! I do love them so much!!

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My grandma had the BEST time playing with Finley Grace. It was so sweet to see them together!!

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Look at all those generations!! It really isn’t the best picture, but it’s the only one we had together!

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My grandma, my mom, me, and my two girls. LOVE!

Last year I remember Cori pushing this same stroller around. She was just learning to walk then. Now, she is all over the place! Crazy how fast those kiddos grow!

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Finley thought she would give it a try too..

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We also snagged a sibling picture. It’s rare to have all of us together these days! My brother has decided to grow out his beard! Such the grizzly man! :) HA!

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Speaking of my siblings and I … we decided that we’d do the whole Black Friday shopping thing this year. We normally never do. Since Kohls is just down the street from my parents house, we decided to head over there when it opened at midnight. The line to get into the store was literally a quarter of a mile long! It only took us 15 minutes to get into the store. It was a MAD HOUSE while we were there though!! And to top it off, we waited in line for an HOUR AND A HALF just to check out!! They even had signs posted while you waited in line that said, “15 minutes to check out from this point.” HA! I felt like I was at Disney! We didn’t get home until 3 am!! … The real kicker was when I went back to Kohls on Saturday, all the sales were completely the SAME and all the shelves were re-stocked! Go figure!!



Dave drove down with his grandparents on Friday morning so we could celebrate Thanksgiving with his side of the family. We always get dressed up and take our Christmas card photo the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year was no different and we had one extra special person added into our family picture this year! I LOVE my little family!!

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Ryan and Missy took some cute ones too..

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And a few more favorites of mine… Wish Casey, Rebecca, and Taylor were there with us!

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We ended the weekend with some girls in Christmas dresses! All three of these dresses were David’s little sisters when she was 4 months, 16 months, and 28 months. We put one on each of the girls. They looked ADORABLE!!! Too bad I didn’t get any good pictures of them. This was the best one out of 30 attempts! Hopefully Mama Smith got some good ones on her camera!

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I do love this sweet one of my hubby and our girls together!!

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Hope your Thanksgiving was marvelous!! :) Until next time…