2016 Beat the Life out of Me


Aerial photo of a beautiful white kitchen, with several children sitting around a table.Twist Me Pretty's Abby's gorgeous children - the end of 2016The last couple months have been… well.  I’m not really sure what to say.  For the most part, I’m a glass-half-full type of person – we leave the negative nancy-ing to Brian haha! Every relationship needs one, right?!  But lately, I’ve just been so overwhelmed.  A lot of it I’m sure has to do with selling our home, moving across the country, living in a new space with none of our things, and running my business as if nothing were going on in the background.  All during Christmas.  GAHHH, I literally have anxiety just thinking about the last few weeks!  But mostly, I’m overwhelmed with our kids.  The babies are now 18-months old… it’s the age I’ve been dreading.  I’ve already had two 18-month-olds, I know the drill.  It’s survival mode. Lock all the cupboards, expect drawers to be re-organized by little hands, forget about healthy eating.  Or eating in general, because let’s be honest, it just all ends up on the floor.  I’ve been gearing up for this age since they were born, and I thought I was ready.  I thought I was mentally prepared for what two 18-month-olds had in store.  Bring it on, I said…

Chaos with two 18-month-olds in the house! Twist Me Pretty Having two 18-year-olds in one house is hectic, as Twist Me Pretty's Abby explains.

I had no idea.  They’re just at the age where you can’t really discipline them because they’re too little but they are opinionated and passionate about EVERYTHING.  The tantrums.  They scream and yell and fight with each other.  They are like little Tasmanian devils and they destroy everything in their path.  Back in Ohio, it wasn’t an issue because if I wanted to leave the mess out, I could leave the mess out.  Ya know?  Honestly, no event is worth leaving the house for because it’s just too exhausting and, half the time, impossible to take care of them all with only one adult.  And now we’re in a new time zone with new people and they’re just always on edge.  Any time someone puts on their shoes, or reaches for a coat, they freak out because they don’t want to be left behind.  Poor babies, they’ve really been through so much over the last few weeks.

I’ve taken some time off, just so I could breathe and try to be here with my family.  But my fingers have missed the feel of the keyboard.  I feel like I can control what happens here. Like what I do here means something to people.  And I know mothering is the most important role, but lately I feel like it’s just insanity!  And it ebbs and flows.  Right now it’s just harder than it’s ever been.  And I’ve wanted to post about how much I loved 2016.  How much I’m grateful for our growth as a family, how strong we became and how lucky we were to sell our house and move home.  And I’ve wanted to remember all the sweet moments with my babies who learned to crawl and walk and play and they’ve truly become little people that we couldn’t image this life without!  

I’ve wanted to share how Boston learned to read, how brave he is for finding new friends and leaving old ones behind.  How impressed I’ve been with Brian, his ability to manage literally everything is unreal to me.  He works harder than anyone I’ve ever met.  And Savy.  She has become so helpful!  Her imagination, her story telling, her ability to bring a smile continues to surprise me.  All I can think right now though, is how hard it’s been and how much I want to say good riddance to 2016.  And that’s I think the real reason why I’ve been silent.  Because if I can’t come here and offer you something good, then I need to just pause until I can.


I’ve been thinking a lot about this and have realized that displaying only the happy parts of life — that’s the problem with blogging!  With those perfect instagram feeds that make you feel like you have the worst life in the history of lives and you just want to crawl under your bed and cry.  “Man, they’ve sure got their crap together.  I seriously SUCK at life.” “Wow, does her family really eat that?” “Does she really wear that out with her kids?  I’m such a slob!” “Didn’t she just have a baby?  HOW!”  If you’ve ever thought any of those things about me and my family, this post is for you.  Life isn’t the perfectly-curated instagram feed.  It’s not singing through wild flowers with the perfect outfit and most beautiful lighting.  Life is messy.  And it’s a shame that we don’t share the struggles more often.  I think it’s because it makes you extremely vulnerable.  Will people be annoyed I’m complaining?  Will they think I’m ungrateful? 

Making time for special family moments, even amidst the chaos. Twist Me Pretty.
Playtime with 18-month-olds is anything but predictable. Twist Me Pretty's Abby shows her vulnerable side. Laughing with her 18-month-old son, Abby sits at a table. Mother-son kisses. Twist Me Pretty

Life isn’t always perfect, or pretty, or organized, and the hairstyles aren’t always Pinterest-worthy.  In fact, they’re usually not.  And the kids are usually fighting, the house is always a mess, we usually eat junk food, and the ingredients for those homemade quinoa muffins I found while searching kid food on Pinterest go unused.  Again.  Don’t compare your life to the fake feeds you see on instagram.  And also, don’t judge someone who you think has their shiz together, because I can guarantee you they don’t.  Be kind.  To yourself and to others.

2016 beat the life out of us.  It stretched us, pulled us, it forced us to serve others, to exercise faith in the Lord.  It gave us more joy than a person deserves, more belly laughs and sweet moments that will be etched into my memory forever.  And I don’t expect 2017 to take it easy on us either. I honestly think it’s just been preparing us for what’s to come.  And saying that out loud terrifies me a little bit.  But one thing is for sure — I’m happy and incredibly grateful we get to do it all together.

Bring it on 2017.

Abby Smith

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23 thoughts on “2016 Beat the Life out of Me

  1. I’ve been a follower for awhile but never commented. Your post is super real for me too with 3 small littles. Your post made me think of another post from a veteran mom with 5 children, one on a mission, one at college. She had a perfect post the other day basically of coming from the other side now that she’s past all the crazy, tired toddler days. I loved it because it helped me see that even on those crazy days where we don’t feel like the best mom because we’re tired and rushing around and stretched thin; our love for our children still shines through. Others around us can still feel it even though we may feel like a hot mess. 🙂 Anyway it lifted me and maybe it’ll lift you too. It’s on a blog called 71 toes and the post is titled a little dab of hair gel. https://www.71toes.com/2017/01/thoughts-about-little-dab-of-hair-gel.html?m=1

  2. As everyone has shared, thank you for being so real about life. It’s fun and exciting but also tiring and scary. I so enjoy when you share stories about the twins because my son is only one month younger so I get it. I also have an almost 3 year old so at times it feels a little twinish. There are so many sweet moments when the boys come up and want a hug or say/do something so sweet but then there are the other moments. Keeping it all real, I found my son on the kitchen table surrounded by salt this week. As I vacuumed the salt he went for my computer which then had wet salt ALL in the keys. Needless to say the computer got vacuumed as well. We all have our moments but it’s how we face those moments and move on that matters. You handle life with grace and we all thank you for that. Praying for a better 2017!

  3. You tell it Sister. Everyone I know, personally, has said Good Ridance to 2016. I don’t really know about others, but I love it when you come from a “REAL” place. 2016 started out to be a really great year and I also, try to remember the good…but the last 5 months of this past year just about brought me too my knees. I have a story, just like everyone else…so when you feel reluctant to be real with the people that look to see you and your beautiful family for a moment of peace, a smile or a feeling of joy…It doesn’t matter what you share with us because you are a REAL person. That is a quality… not a fault. We are all going to be ok. We will all figure life out…But never forget what you do by bringing your family…Good, Bad or Ugly…to social media to share a REAL life with us is so greatly appreciated. You Do You!!! We will keep supporting you from afar sending positive vibes and receiving the blessings that you share with the world. HE has a plan for all of us. I am grateful that HE chose you to be REAL with us!!!!BigHugs. BigBlessings. And as you said “Bring it on 2017”. We all can get through it together. Thank you again for sharing your life and family with us and PAUSE as needed. You are only human! Peace Sister!!!?

  4. Thank you for your post! I have a 16 month old girl (just one so far!) and while I love her so much sometimes she is such a challenge that I don’t even know where to go next. Posts like this are reassuring and restorative for you and your readers, thank you!

  5. Great way to start the new year. Life is hard! But I love following you because you’re so upbeat and positive (so unlike me!) This post brought a little tear to me eye as it’s bittersweet. It shows the human, normal family side- I really don’t know how you’ve packed everything up, moved and are still going. I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings. Keep being the wonderful you you are!

  6. I love your writing Abby! This post was a great way to start off 2017 and realize everything can’t and won’t be perfect. Doesn’t mean you can’t find the positive in things! Also, sometimes you just need a break, I get that. It’s something I’m focusing on this year, when to take a moment and regroup. Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family 🙂
    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams

  7. Beautiful post! I am 18 years old, so I am quite younger than your audience, but I can’t help see myself in your shoes in a few years! You really inspire me as both a blogger and a mom. Thank your for sharing your sweet family and life with us–including your struggles. I started following you for your hairstyles, but I fell in love with your lovely family and your down-to-earth personality. Thank you for sharing this with us. You got this, and you inspire me:)

  8. Man is this so true! Thanks for being open. I read Present over Perfect by Shauna Neiquist this year and it’s a life changer. Might help you during this time. Here for you!

  9. I love your honesty here and don’t hate me but I had to chuckle a bit at the 18 month old twin thing. I have 4 year old twins and that period of time when they were walking, climbing on things, and were pretty much into everything was one of the hardest phases with them. Having to be on constant alert is exhausting and I had so many moments where it was like do I grab the one standing on the couch first or the one trying to scale the baby gate. And, I swear they work together! I can’t even imagine moving in the midst of that. Hang in there. It will get so much easier soon. I promise.

  10. Can I just say how much I just love you! I love reading all your posts but this post is just everything!!! I agree bring it on 2017! At least I’ll take you on with a cute braid (okay, some days I will. Some days it will look like a hot mess!)

  11. This is probably my absolute favorite post of yours. I always appreciate how bubbly and upbeat you are. It’s a breath of fresh air. But, this post is also!! It is so comforting to know that we are all in this messy and difficult motherhood/life together.

  12. Aww when my son was 18 months I was 9 months pregnant living with my parents as my husband worked and then came home to work on renovating our new house. Was in process of moving into that house before baby 2 arrived and my mother was diagnosed with cancer. It’s not complaining it’s life and I’m so glad you wrote it out! Because it happens! But you just make it seem more elegant? I love hearing your beautiful words about your family along with the real struggles of being a mom. To me you are most relatable and my imaginary friend when my day of crazy mom of 2 under 2 hit I go and watch your snaps! So yes sometimes a goal for the day is to put on a bra and brush your teeth before your husband gets home from work and in my book that’s ok!! Love you girl ?

  13. Thank you for posting! I love to see people being normal along with the pretty. I think it brings us all back to reality. I just saw an article posted about how lifestyle accounts can be like porn in that it makes us keep coming back for more, makes us want something unrealistic and potentially harms our lives if we let it. I think that’s a bit extreme, but I do see the correlation and it opened my eyes a little bit to how much time I spend looking at other people’s “perfect” lives and how I can try to make mine look the same.
    On another note- I’m so happy you get to move back home! The moving process stinks, but yay for being closer to family!!!

  14. Oh man, this post is me to a T! I too am having the hardest time remembering all of the happy moment this year brought, when it ended so miserably. It honestly is nice to know that I am not alone in it. I love you/your blog/videos/ & instagram. Thanks for sharing!

  15. I so needed to hear this. Thanks for your honesty Abby! With the rise of social media, I’ve found myself feeling less and less content with my life, constantly comparing it to perfect pictures.

  16. Honesty – there should be more of it. It helps others when you share your struggles. Thank you❤

  17. Thanks for this post. It reminds us that no matter the situation, we have our family there to help us along. Love seeing what you’re doing and seeing the kids grow.

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