Happy Birthday! Now stop growing.

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Grandma Jack and Pop came to visit and so did Brian’s sister and brother-in-law and their kids.  We had SO much fun spending time with family.  I honestly forgot how much my kids adored their grandma and pop and having them and their cousins here was straight up good for the soul.  We played sardines for hours in our house and I couldn’t believe how good my kids were at hiding!  I didn’t take many pictures after they got here, I wanted to spend time with them and not behind a camera, but I did get a few shots I thought I’d share to commemorate their birthdays!

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The kids’ birthday weekend started off with the most amazing Christmas like Birthday morning ever.  I mean… how can a house not just oooze in happiness when there are two gorgeous, and lighted might I add, teepees full of birthday presents?  The answer is it can’t.  It was amazing.  And I’m pretty sure Brian and I now need a teepee for ourselves!  You can find the black and white teepee here and the natural arrow teepee here.  They are both from the Tnee’s Tpees and I ended up getting the six footers.  I spent hours and hours trying to decide what size I wanted and ultimately I felt like splurging on the bigger size was going to be worth it.  And it definitely was.  My kids are three and five and if the teepees had been any smaller, I’m not sure how much they would have ended up playing in them.  This way we can turn the teepees facing each other and they can go back and forth from Savy’s to Boston’s or they can both play in one with enough room to spare.  Plus they make me happy seeing them in our living room and they hide toys flawlessly.  Win win!

Decorations: Dream Catcher | Tassel Garland Tutorial | similar Sheepskin Rugs (I got mine at Home Goods for $50 each.  I debated on getting the cheaper fake ones but these are so soft and I know they’re going to last through massive amounts of abuse and photoshoots.  Plus they don’t shed.  If you can’t afford to splurge right now here are some cheaper ones I’d get!) | White Lights | Burlap Banner – just cut triangles out of burlap from target and hot glued twine to the backs.

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^^ almost a month later and she’s still entirely obsessed with this hello kitty airplane set.  Thanks gma Jack!

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^^ He CRACKS me up.  The passion in his tiny little body is out of this world.  I got him these Alphabet Transformer Letters that he plays with at the library and I knew he was going to freak out when he opened them.  He’ll sit for hours and just transform them in his tent.  Best present evvver!

IMG_2350-Edit^^ her birthday crown (still available from Wynne Marie Ink) she got when she was little.  Best tradition ever – she looks forward to wearing it all year!

Well, that’s all I’ve got for ya!  I’m sad our family has left but it’ll just make it that much more special when they come out again when the twins are born.  Plus hosting is a little bit stressful… cleaning, grocery store trips, meal prep, baking… speaking of baking.  I’m dishing this tomorrow:

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The half frozen half TMNT cake!  It only took me a thousand hours but it was totally worth it in the end!  Until tomorrow, happy Friday!

Twin Gender Reveal!

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It’s been almost two weeks since we shared the gender reveal video on YouTube.  Hopefully you’ve already watched it and these pictures don’t give away the surprise!  But if you haven’t… yes, we are having TWO BOYS!!!  When our ultrasound tech first told us that Baby A was a boy I turned to Brian almost in tears and said, “I can’t believe we’re having two boys!” he laughed and said, “you don’t know that yet”!  But I did.  I think I’ve known all along even though I desperately wanted to give Savy a baby sister.  I think two more boys is what our little family needs and we are incredibly grateful that they’re healthy and that we’ve been chosen as their family.

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I think the most rewarding thing about motherhood up until now has been to watch Boston and Savy become best friends.  From the very beginning Boston was smitten.  He’s always loved her unconditionally.  He never minded the attention we gave her and he always made sure she’d get a pack of fruit snacks too or that her coat was zipped up and she’d be warm enough.  As a mother I’ve watched this little relationship grow between them and honestly, there’s nothing like it in the world.  To know that these two little humans came to earth destined to be best friends and that you’re just helping foster it.  Their love isn’t just one sided.  Savy is crazy about her older brother.  If she wasn’t oozing so much girl, I might be a little worried!  She asked for a Ninja Turtle Backpack for her birthday and Boston’s taught her all the ninja moves and karate chops she needs to know to successfully fight the bad guys.  She cries for her “ba-ba” the entire way home from dropping him off from preschool.  They rarely fight and all day long I get to hear him teach her and I get to watch her hang on his every word.

Being a mother has truly changed me.  It’s everything I am and even more than I hoped it would be.  There are definitely bad days, hard days, exhausting days and everything in between.  I’m not trying to sugar coat motherhood, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  In my entire life.  But there are those moments where you see your life in a different perspective and all of a sudden everything that was stressful and hard just goes away and you’re left with two little people who love you unconditionally.  I can do no wrong in their eyes.  I image having two more little boys is going to change the dynamic of our family a bit.  But I also see Boston and Savy smitten with their two new baby brothers.  I see these two little boys growing up knowing more love than most and sharing a bond with each other that will be just as amazing to watch.

So.  Am I ready for two newborns at once with the closest family over 2,000 miles away?  Absolutely not.  I’m terrified!  But if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that I need to enjoy the journey and not wish it away because it’ll go by in the blink of an eye.

In case you missed the video, or want to watch it again (seriously, check out Savy’s ninja moves) here it is in all it’s glory!

Because two is better than one!

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It’s okay, I didn’t believe it either.  I’m not sure I believe it now!  We’ve been praying for a new little spirit to join our family for a long time now.  I had a heartbreaking miscarriage back in June and I think when we got pregnant again and that little baby realized what was happening, he/she with all the attitude a spirit could muster was like, “no way – I’m going too”!  At least that’s what I like to believe.  So not one, but two new Smith babies will join our family this Spring.

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The kids are so excited and they love telling people “My mom has TWO babies in her belly”!  They tell everyone from the cashier at Walmart to the lady who works the register at Wendy’s.  I’m so grateful they’re best friends.  Boston is the sweetest brother to his baby Sav.  He’s adored her from the moment she came home from the hospital and has never been jealous of the attention we give her.  They’re fiercely loyal to one another and I’m grateful that they’ll have each other when the twins (so weird to say that) are babies and I’m a walking zombie.

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This right here ^^ is what our love story looks like.  He’s the reason why I know everything will be okay.  He’s the reason why our family is put together and why we’re all so happy.  He sacrifices everyday to make us better, to give us more and I couldn’t live without him.  It’s been pretty much impossible to wrap my brain around having two babies at once.  I’m honestly not sure how people survive it.  I’m absolutely terrified of being out here in Ohio nearly 2,000 miles away from my family and almost 9,000 miles away from my mom.  I can’t even think about it.  But I do know that we’ll survive it.  Just like we survived being super poor college students, just like we survived two kids, grad school, a huge move and all the other little experiences and trials in between.  God is good.  It’s taken me some time to be more excited than scared about what’s about to happen to our family but man, are we excited!  Having two little babies to laugh with, to play with, to get up with and to love is going to be amazing.  There was an overwhelming response to the announcement on instagram this past weekend and I’m so grateful to have you guys in my life.  I hope you are just as excited as I am to start this crazy journey!

This Life

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Photography: Trina Harris Photography (LA to Utah — Lifestyle/Wedding Photographer)

Every now again and I need some perspective.  I get lost in errands that need to be run, dinners that need to be prepared or bathrooms that need cleaning.  Lately I’ve been lost in New York Fashion Week, in moving across the country and in Brian starting his new job.  In the middle of it all I got a beautifully wrapped disk full of photos that melted my heart and helped me remember why I chose this path and not another.  These three are my reasons for waking up in the morning.  These three give me hope, more joy than a person deserves and a legacy to look forward to.  During moments of chaos — it’s those two little faces that keep me moving and that insanely handsome man that keeps me grounded.  This is the life I chose.  This is the life I want and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Golfing with the Family

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Shirt: c/o Olive Lane Shop | Pants: ae | Shoes: Chucks

Three things.

1) My form is awesome… and by awesome… I mean I am TERRIBLE at golf.  I know I know, cock the wrist, straighten out the elbow, keep the foot down, bend in the hips… well guess what.  My outfit is pretty cute so… there’s that haha!

2) Boston’s little boy clubs are just about the cutest things I’ve ever seen.  And then when he straps the bag over his shoulders I just about die.  He is obsessed with golf lately, wanting to go hit balls with daddy every day.  Those two, I swear.

3) Savy is still very much a two year old and we use phones and treats and more specifically hello kitty sippies to entertain her.  She wouldn’t play with anything but a pink club so Brian had to spray paint and duck tape an old toddler club to satisfy her.  She’s a feisty little thing but happy to play along.

While golfing isn’t my sport, I love spending time with family.  We are definitely soaking up these last few weekends together because soon enough we’ll be over 1,800 miles apart.  I’m not quite sure I really understand what that means yet, but we’ll embrace the change and make the best of it!

Ohio… are you ready for us?

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I look back on our last two years as a family and I’m overwhelmed with gratitude.  If only I could have seen then what I know now.  Brian has worked incredibly hard and I’m beyond proud.  He’s pushed himself to be better not only as a student, but a leader and father.  He wasn’t only dealing with the pressure of school, which was daunting I’m sure, but he was consistently supportive of me and my goals.  That usually meant there wasn’t any dinner on the table, or that he needed to watch the kids right when he got home so I could work.  I can’t tell you how many times he went to the grocery store, folded all the laundry and put the kids to bed by himself.  He encouraged me when I was making my album, he spent his spring break taking pictures for my hair book and we spent our nights together dreaming of the future and how amazing it would be.  What I’ve now realized is that even though these past two years have been incredibly challenging for us, these have been the best moments of our lives.  These are the years we’ll look back on.  These are the years we will dream about.

This weekend we officially accepted an incredible job opportunity from Poly-One out of Avon, Ohio.  It’s definitely not where I saw us raising a family but I guess that’s where you trust that the Lord knows your path better than you do. We will be leaving our family here and moving nearly 2,000 miles from everything we know.  We’ll be leaving the safety of the beautiful mountains, the community that we rely on and love and also the sweet family above us who have treated us like their own.  To say I’m scared to leave Utah is the understatement of the year.  I’m terrified.

Through my anxiety though, I’m comforted knowing that the Lord has a plan for us.  He’s been guiding our lives and we can see His hand in all of this.  I’m holding onto hope that Ohio is going to be amazing.  Hope that there will be friends for my kids to play with.  Hope that there’s a family out there who will need us just as much as we need them.  I know that as long as I have Brian and my two mini-me’s I’m going to be just fine.  I’m so excited to finally have a plan.  We’ve been living in limbo for the last seven years — it’s been exhausting!  I’m excited to finally buy a home and to have a yard to take care of (never thought I’d say that did ya, mom?!).  I’m excited to be near a beach again!  I’m excited for the humidity, to be hours away from New York and Niagra Falls.  While I’m freaking out, I’m really excited to start the next chapter in our lives.  If it’s anything like the last, I have nothing to worry about.

EEEK! The Mom Conference starts tomorrow!

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PLEASE COME!

Don’t worry, it’s online so you can stay in your jammies

The Mom Conference starts TOMORROW the 7th and ends on the 14th.  I can’t tell you how excited I am about this little shin-dig we bloggers have helped put together.  Desi Ward, host of The Mom Conference and creator of The Unconventional Kitchen, created this educational and entertaining event because no mom is perfect. That’s why we MUST share our strengths! You know the whole idea “I’ll do your laundry if you do my dishes?” At The Mom Conference we’ll gather together to learn from each other because we’re our greatest resource!

You can register for FREE right here

WHY ATTEND?

Being a mom can be overwhelming at times, right?! The Mom Conference contains 30+ online classes to make motherhood more enjoyable. 30 rock star bloggers (mostly moms) will be teaching classes on topics incredibly important, like:

– Cooking a month’s worth of dinners in ONLY a couple hours!
– Getting kids to listen without yelling, nagging or reminding!
– Making sure there’s not just heat in the kitchen, but how to put the sparks in your marriage, too!

Sounds amazing, right?

I’ll be teaching 5 quick hairstyles that are perfect for being mom.  Cause I know what it’s like to have only two minutes in the mornings to get ready!

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And here’s a few more of the incredible presenters:

  • Get Kids to Cooperate Without Yelling or Nagging with AMY MCCREADY from Positive Parenting Solutions
  • Knock Out a Month’s Worth of Dinners in One Day with TRICIA CALLAHAN from Once a Meal Moms
  • Feel Connected in a Disconnected World with HANNAH BRENCHER from More Love Letters
  • I Lost 60 Pounds & Kept it Off: YOU Can Too! with JEN GROTHE from Jen-fit
  • Get & Stay Organized: A Fail-proof System with JENNY LAYTON from The Happy Gal

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Come listen ONLINE and be inspired from April 7 – April 14, 2014!  That’s tomorrow friends.

Register for FREE by clicking riiiight here.

See you at The Mom Conference tomorrow!

Lifestyle Videos with Krissi Cook + a giveaway

Smith Family – Lifestyle Video from Krissi Cook on Vimeo.

How many of you know what a lifestyle video is?  I didn’t either until I had the most amazing opportunity to shoot one with Krissi Cook from Krissi Cook Films.  Since getting the video back I feel like these lifestyle videos are just as important, if not more, than family photos.  The special moments you experience with your family need to be documented because let’s be honest, they don’t last forever.  Family dynamics are constantly evolving.  Your sweet baby that loved snuggling is now in school and constantly defying all the rules!  It’s such a rare and beautiful thing to have the entire family in a video.  And not just a video from your iPhone…  A gorgeous video that makes you feel and love and one that gives you hope on those not so awesome days.  A video that makes you laugh and smile and encourages you to keep on chugging.  Brian and I will absolutely cherish this lifestyle video Krissi took for us.  The kids play it over and over… and over!  “MOE” Savy screams when it turns off.  It’s the cutest thing.Krissi was fabulous and made this little night out terribly fun for our family.  Brian is sometimes the grinch when it comes to documenting anything in our lives.  Haha in his defense, we do take a lot of pictures and he’s always a good sport.  He wasn’t excited we were headed off to another “shoot”.  I told him he’d love it and that it wouldn’t be what he was expecting.  It wasn’t like family pictures, the stress just wasn’t there.  We were focused on being a family and making the kids happy and Krissi took care of the rest.  These lifestyle videos are a must for me now and I’m so excited I found out about them while my family is still young.

Because Krissi is AH-MAZING, she’s giving away one lifestyle video, valued at $250, to a fabulous reader.

 

| How to Enter |
1) Like Krissi Cook Films on Facebook
2) Watch one of her lifestyle videos >>> mine counts ;-)
3) Comment on her post on facebook- why would you want a lifestyle video?
| The Terms |
1) Must be filmed in Salt Lake, Davis, Utah, Summit, or Wasatch County.  She will also accept Iron or Washington County as long as you understand it must be when she’s visiting the area to film another shoot.
2) The session will be 1 hour or less and you will receive a digital copy of the final product
3) Offer expires Jan 1, 2014
4) Must be willing to let her share your video on her website and facebook page for marketing purposes.
5) This is transferrable.  You can win to giveaway as a gift.  All previous rules apply.  No cash value.
Good luck mommas!

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