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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Goodbye, 2011

2011 has been quite a year for us. This year I experienced one of the happiest days in my life quickly followed by one of the absolute worst.  But, I am so fortunate to have a wonderful husband who is with me through the good, bad and the ugly and a family who loves and supports us through it all.  We also have been blessed with so many wonderful friends.  This is a year I'm ready to let go and welcome in 2012 with open arms.  

But, here are some of my favorite moments of 2011:

We rang in 2011 with some of our closest friends.
My parents rented a house in Florida for the first three months of the year and Fred, Knox and I were able to visit them twice.
In visiting my parents, I was able to visit with some of my closest friends from college. 
In February, Fred and I attended Oscar Night America benefiting the Ronald McDonald House of Memphis.
In April, we celebrated our 3rd Anniversary in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
In June, I attended the 160th Alpha Delta Pi Grand Convention in Phoenix, Arizona.
 In August, our Memphis ADPi Alumnae Association hosted our 23rd Annual Ronald McDonald House Benefit Golf Tournament in which we raised $30,000 for the RMH of Memphis!
 In September, Fred and I took a long weekend trip to Chicago.  So much fun!
 And Knox got 3rd place in the Running of the Weenies
 In October, I helped set up the Junior League of Memphis' Merry Marketplace and Fred came to our gala.
 Fred turned 30 on November 5.
We celebrated my 29th birthday with a trip to Italy! 
We celebrated another wonderful Christmas with our dear friends and family.
Here's to a happy and blessed 2012.  So, what were some of your 2011 highlights?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Three Books, Two Movies and A Series

Since my surgery, I've become a temporary couch potato.  I've managed to read three books, watch a pretty decent movie and start a new television series. 

Before Christmas, I was watching Kathie Lee & Hoda and Kathie Lee read from her new children's book "The Three Gifts".  It's a great way to tell the story of the three kings and Baby Jesus.

I also managed to finish reading "The Help".  I really enjoyed this book.  I should have listened to everyone about a year ago when they were telling me to read it.  Now, I can't wait to see the movie.  I hope it's good.

And a dear friend sent me a copy of "Heaven is for Real".  I absolutely loved this book.  It's a great book for all ages.  I bawled my eyes out through part of the book, but it was so real and intriguing.  It's a MUST read! 
Fred and I also watched "The Tourist".  It wasn't the best movie I've ever seen, but we did enjoy seeing Italy.  If you're up for a little suspense, check out this movie. 

On one of my first outings, Fred was sweet enough to take me on a date to the movies.  And I got to choose the movie; so, I chose "New Year's Eve".  It's like "Valentine's Day" but on New Years Eve.  It's a great date movie.  Plus, I loved the cast of characters!  Check it out for the new year!

And since all of our shows are on hiatus, we started watching "Parenthood" on Netflix.  We LOVE it!  Why did we not watch this before? 
So, what else should I check out before I lose my "couch potato" status?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011

Hi, everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!  And that you got to spend it with your loved ones. 

The best present we received this year was a new floor installed in our bedroom courtesy of Santa (aka my parents) .  After two weeks of sleeping on planes, in hotel rooms, in other rooms in our house and on my parents couch, we are finally back to living in our new and improved bedroom. Do you like? 
And after our first two sleeps in our new and improved bedroom, we were ready for Christmas.

We kicked off Christmas Eve with pizza and presents at my parents house. 
After lunch, we went to Fred's parents house for presents and appetizers. 
{Knox made himself at home underneath the table waiting for someone to drop a little food}
After Fred's family's Christmas Eve, we headed to my aunt's house for my dad's side of the family Christmas.  It was a wonderful day spent with so many of our loved ones. 

On Christmas, we went to church and then stopped by Starbucks for a mid-morning treat.  We then went to Fred's aunt's house for his family's big Christmas.  After we stuffed ourselves, we headed to our last Christmas at my parents house.  It was another great day spent with those we love.

My favorite Christmas 2011 memory:  Since Christmas was my first "real" outing since my surgery, I was pooped each night.  I also had not worn "real" pants since the surgery since I was still swollen, Fred and I wanted to be funny so we wore our dachshund reindeer pajama pants to my parent's house.  Everyone laughed but completely understood wanting to be comfortable. 
So, how was your Christmas?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Smithwick's

Wishing you and your's a wonderful Christmas filled with lots of love and joy! 

{our Christmas card 2011}

P.S. I hope you all are on Santa's "Nice" list! :) 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Italian Travels Day 6

"Go BIG or go home" was our motto for our last day in Italy!  So, we decided to wake up early and catch a train to Pisa.  Yes, just to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa!  If you go there, let me warn you, the tower is about all there is.  Make it a quick stop on your journey not a full day.

the Duomo in Pisa
cathedral in Pisa
We arrived in Pisa around lunch so we dined on some pizza and Coca-Cola Light in Pisa!
The Leaning Tower of Pisa - yep, it leans
of course we had to do the touristy poses
I'm so strong
After our stop in Pisa, we caught another train to the city of Florence.  First stop on our tour, to see "The David".

David is housed in the Accademia.  He's MUCH larger than life.  But unfortunately, we could not take a picture.  But we took one outside.
We then headed to the famous Duomo.  The architecture was absolutely stunning.
Us at the Duomo
I fell in love with this nativity scene.  If you notice, Baby Jesus isn't there because he has not been born.  He will appear on Christmas.  Amazing!
Ceiling of Duomo
After the Duomo, we decided to walk around.  Let me say, before this trip, I was not a fan of Florence, but I quickly fell in love this time!
How cool is this map of Florence?  Easy way to find your way!
We spent the afternoon walking around Florence and enjoying all of the sights.  We're not much for the bargaining or leather shopping that goes on, but Florence is a great place for that.  After our great afternoon, we headed back for our last night in Rome.

After a wonderful farewell dinner, we headed back to the Vatican to see if they had lit the HUGE tree.  Unfortunately, they had not, but it was still a sight to see.
We also had to take a few last minute pics of one of our favorite places in the world! 

After dinner and roaming Rome one last time, we caught a train back to our hotel.  Ciao, Roma!
Little did we know a 26 hour trip home was ahead of us! But, we won't let that put a damper on our wonderful vacation!  

Our trip was absolutely amazing. We experienced great sights, people and food. December was a great time to visit because the lines were long and the weather wasn't so hot. If you ever get the chance, you should visit one of my favorite countries in the world!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Italian Travels Days 4 & 5

Our fourth day in Rome, we decided to take a little day trip down to Naples and then on to Pompeii. The train ride from Rome to Naples was about 4 hours and then a quick 30 minute ride to Pompeii.  We made it to Pompei at about noon and it was a great time to be there.  No line.  No wait. 

Pompei (or Pompeii in the English language) is one of the most incredible places I've ever visited.  It was destroyed and completely buried during a long catastrophic eruption of the volcano Mt. Vesuvius spanning two days in the year AD 79.  What is left is simply amazing...

small amphitheater ruins
Pompeii ruins
one of the bath houses - they even had running water
paintings still on the walls
main street of Pompeii
you could still see people who were immersed in lava and made to stone
and we also got a glimpse of the beautiful Italian countryside
Do you see a little something in this pic?  hehehe
After our 8 hour commute to Pompeii and back, we were exhausted.  So, we stopped at a little cafe for dinner and had two of the best pies ever!

After our trip to Pompeii, we figured out that we could make our way around the Italian railway system so we decided to make a trip to Perugia.  You may know the name Perugia from the Amanda Knox trail, but it's also were I did my study abroad. 

Our trip to Perugia also came on my birthday!  It was such a fun and great way to celebrate the big 2-9!

the top of Perugia
my favorite restaurant in the city - too bad it wasn't open for lunch
Fred and I looking down on the city
my former home - yes, this is where I lived while I studied abroad
I remember calling home from these exact pay phones.  Not much has changed.
Fred had to have his picture taken by the police station. 
Before we left, we grabbed some foccacia sandwiches from my favorite little bakery. 
I <3 Perugia!
After another long day of traveling, we headed to AutoGrill for a quick and yummy birthday dinner!  Birthday's don't get much better than those in Perugia and Rome!

Now, on to our last day spent in one of the most wonderful countries!