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Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 Year In Review

I'm not sure about you, but 2012 flew by.  It seems like yesterday that I was writing my 2011 year in review post.  2012 was by far, my best year yet.  

This year, Fred and I celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary
I started running and completed...
five 5K races
two 10Ks
three 4-milers
 
one 5-miler
 and two half marathons
I became a mom.
And we started our lives together with our first Christmas as a family of four.
I don't know how 2013 can top this year, but I am excited to see what the future holds.

Happy New Year!  Wishing you the absolute best in 2013!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Eli's 1st Christmas

I hope your Christmas was as great as ours. This Christmas was the happiest Christmas I can remember.  We had so many things to be thankful for this year, but the best part of this Christmas was Eli.  At just 19 days old, Eli celebrated Baby's 1st Christmas!

Since the weather was bad, the flu is going around, and Eli is still so young, we did not travel to our families homes for Christmas.  Instead, we stayed at home and had family come to us.  Thankfully our families understood our reasoning for not wanting to get our baby out. 

Our family spoiled Eli this year.  He definitely had more presents than anyone else under the tree and I wouldn't want it any other way.

We kicked off Christmas Eve with lunch and presents with my family

We had to put him in his stocking.
Christmas Eve 2012
getting some love from his brother
Fred's parents stopped by later that night for presents and fellowship.  We were all so tired that we forgot to take pictures.  

And Santa even came to visit Eli for his first Christmas..
He wasn't so sure about his new play mat.
 One thing I can't wait to see him wear are these tiny Vans.
 And he doesn't quite fit into his first chair, but I know he'll be outgrowing it soon enough.
Some of our family came over on Christmas Day to meet our precious son.  All of the excitement of Christmas was exhausting for Eli.
Christmas Day 2012
We ended Christmas will snuggles and naps on the couch. 
The day after Christmas we had snow, so we decided to stay in our pajamas and pack up all of our decorations and let Christmas 2012 come to an end.  It was bittersweet packing up all of Eli's "Baby's 1st Christmas" things. 

So, how was your Christmas holiday?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Eli's Birth Story

Thank you so much for the kind words, thoughts and prayers about our newest addition to our family.   I was in tears reading most of them.  We're just so overjoyed and overwhelmed by all of your love and support for our family.  If you've ever cared for a newborn, you know how busy we've been and how you'd rather spend your time staring at them or holding them than doing anything else. 

But I had a moment and wanted to share with you, the whirlwind we've experienced in the past couple of weeks...

On Tuesday, December 4, we received the phone call that would changed our lives forever.  Our agency told us that we had been matched with a birth mother who was due with a little boy on December 25.  We knew this would be our Christmas miracle.  We only told our close family and a few friends and swore them to secrecy.  We also decided to go ahead and cancel our Costa Rica trip on the off chance he came a little early. 

We knew that Eli's birth mother had a doctor's appointment that afternoon, but we knew we wouldn't hear the results until Wednesday.  On Wednesday, we heard from our agency that his birth mother was already 3cm dilated and would be induced no later than December 17, but the doctor really thought he'd arrive sooner. 

That Wednesday night, my mom told me that I needed to start packing right away.  I laughed it off because I thought we had time, but little did I know, at 4:15am on Thursday, December 6, 2012, we would get the call that Eli was on his way.  Our birth mother was 7cm dilated and at the hospital in labor. 

We packed our bags and were out the door in no time.  The whole way to the hospital we were just on pins and needles.  It was about 4 hours into the drive before we learned that Eli was delivered via c-section at 6:21am because he was breached.  We didn't get to the hospital until 10:30am, but once we got there, we met and fell in love with Eli, our son.
The hospital couldn't have been more accommodating to us. We had our very own room and we were able to have Eli from the minute we got there until the moment we left.  Eli spent his very first night with us in our hospital room.  Both of our nurses had family members who had adopted so they knew the anxiousness and excitement we were feeling. They answered any questions we had and made us feel like home.
After Eli was released from the hospital, we took him to a local hotel where we spent the next few days awaiting our court date and clearance to take him home.  Both sets of our parents came to visit and were a huge help to us. 

On December 12, 2012, my 30th birthday,  we finalized Eli's adoption and were able to finally bring our son home. 
We really never had time to stop and think or sometimes even breathe.  It all happened so fast, but it was perfect. 

Our family and friends have helped us out more than we could've ever imagined.  I don't know how we would have made it without them. Not only were we blessed with a beautiful baby boy, but we were blessed with the best friends and family around. 
We still can't believe that we're now parents to the most remarkable baby boy.  We're so in love and we feel so blessed to be Eli's mom and dad.  Please bear with us as we spend the next few weeks/months getting used to being a family of four (yes, I'm counting Knox). 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Introducing Eli James Smithwick

This past week has been filled with so much love and excitement.  Fred and I are so happy to introduce to you, our son, Eli James Smithwick.
Born December 6, 2012 at 6:21am.  He weighed 6 lbs 14 oz. and was 19 1/2 inches long. 

He has stolen our hearts and we are just so in love. We are so thankful for all of the prayers and support throughout this entire journey.  We feel so blessed and we are excited to spend some time together as a new family.  God is so good.

Friday, December 7, 2012

30 Things I've Learned in My 30 Years

Next Wednesday, I will celebrate my 30th birthday, so I thought it would be fun to share 30 things I’ve learned over the last 30 years. Thirty is a foreign number to me and such a strange age. I don’t feel old, but I’m certainly not all that young anymore. I feel like I've learned a lot but I know there’s still so much to learn. But for now, here's my 30 year old wisdom...
1.  Things get better with age.  I wouldn't trade my life now for how things were when I was 16, 18, 21, etc.
2.  I'm not lucky, I'm fortunate.
3.  Patience is a virtue, but it's my weakest trait.
4.  Change is the only thing that's constant.
5.  Love you're family.  They're the best thing you've got.
6.  Never stop learning.
7.  Your opinion is your own.
8.  There's a fine line between confident and cocky.
9.  Think before you act.
10.  Be kind.  You never know what the person next to you is dealing with.
11.  Write your own love story.
12.  Never take life for granted.
13.  Thank God for what you have today and pray for the things you desire.
14.  Believe.
15.  Friendships are a two-way street.
16.  Live for today.  You might never see tomorrow.
17.  It's ok to still act like a kid from time to time, but you must also know when to grow up.
18.  Thirty is far from OLD.
19.  Finding focus is hard, but it's critical for success.
20.  You are beautiful, but the majority of your beauty comes from the inside.
21.  Do what makes YOU happy.
22.  4am is only a time on the clock you should see when you get up in the middle of the night to pee, let your dog out or to feed a baby.
23.  Nothing good happens after midnight.
24.  Wine can solve problems.  Sometimes.
25.  Make your dreams worth fighting for.
26.  Clear bra straps and clear shoes are never a good fashion choice.
27.  Marry your best friend.
28.  Sweat at least once a day.
29.  A smile is the best makeup you can wear.
30.  The future is going to happen.  Stop worrying about it.

Can you relate to any of these?  

I'm actually very excited to see what my thirties hold. The twenties were good, but I plan on making my thirties even better! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Life After the Halves

My journey to 13.1 is now over so, what happens next?

Tomorrow (today is my rest day) I will reach my goal of 600 miles for the year today.  It seemed like a stretch in the beginning, but running the long distances really helped my mileage.

Will I run a full marathon?  Honestly, I'd like to.  Now, it may not happen next year, but I'd like to complete one before I turn 35. 

Will I continue with half marathons?  Yes, I've always wanted to do the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  Call me crazy, but doesn't it sound like a blast?!  It's on my bucket list.

My running plan for now is to start trying to increase my speed.  I read that if you want to run faster, you have to train faster. 

I even bought a running book to read on vacation...
I'd also like to try to do more toning through Pure Barre and lifting light weights.  
I recently tried a runner's recovery yoga class and it was wonderful.  I am not into the meditation, but I really enjoyed all of the deep stretching.
Right now, the future is open. 

I'll be taking a much deserved and much needed break next week while I'm in Costa Rica, but then it's back to the grind. This isn't just a way to stay in shape, it's a lifestyle.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My Christmas Playlist

One of my favorite things about Christmas is the music.  I get all giddy when the Holly channel starts on XM or when local radio stations start playing Christmas music, but I refuse to listen to it until after Thanksgiving.  Then it becomes a special treat!

Did you know they even make Christmas cardio playlists?  I'm going to have to check this one out one soon!  I just can't get enough!

Here are the songs I chose for my 2012 Christmas Playlist:

NSYNC: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays
Jessica Simpson & Nick Lachey: Baby, It's Cold Outside
Mariah Carey: All I Want for Christmas
Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters: Mele Kalikimaka
Jessica Simpson: Mary Did You Know
Britney Spears: My Only Wish (This Year)
Nat "King" Cole: The Christmas Song
Lena Horne: Let It Snow!  Let It Snow!  Let It Snow!
Bing Crosby: White Christmas
Ella Fitzgerald: Sleigh Ride
Andy Williams: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Judy Garland: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Colbie Callait: Mistletoe
Paul McCartney: Wonderful Christmastime
98 Degrees: This Gift
Elmo & Patsy:  Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
Michael Buble: Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Madonna: Santa Baby
John Lennon & Yoko Ono: Happy X-Mas (War Is Over)
She + Him: The Christmas Waltz
Josh Groban:  Thankful
Elvis Presley:  Blue Christmas
Carrie Underwood: Hark!  The Herald Angels Sing 
Christina Aguilera:  Christmas Time

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My Christmas Wish List

With the 70 degree temps, it's hard to think that it's actually December.  I found it quite hard to think about the things I wanted Santa to bring me this year because all I could think about were shorts and short-sleeves.  Too bad those aren't in season right now. 
So I racked my brain and I found some pretty cute and useful things that I'm wishing for this year...

Nike 'Epic' Crewneck Top in Monsoon Blue
I think I plan on being super comfy, cozy and sporty this winter! 

What are you hoping to see under your tree this year??

Monday, December 3, 2012

Do Two Halves Make a Full?

The St. Jude Memphis Marathon weekend was held this past weekend.  As you know, I ran the half marathon.  It was one of the most exciting and emotional experiences of my life.  
There were 18,500 participated in this year's St. Jude Marathon Weekend.  Needless to say, the race was packed!  This was my first really "BIG" race so I got there early to get a spot in the corral that suited my run times the best.  
This race was not my personal best, but I am so proud to been a part of it.  

The streets were filled with family and friends cheering everyone on!  I knew people would be out there, but I never expected this many.  I even had a few people rooting for me along the way:
As we ran through the streets near St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, tears started pouring down my face.  It was such an emotional place filled will kids and their families who had been affected by cancer.  The sign that moved me the most read, "Thank you for my family."  I can't even think about it without having tears well up in my eyes.  I had been warned that this was an emotional spot, but I never knew how much it would touch me.  

During the race, I had some hip pain that was bothering me in both hips.  I took a few more water breaks and tried to stretch at the water stations.  And honestly, I just wasn't feeling the race.  I don't know if it's because I was distracted by the number of runners or the cheerleaders, but I never really found my focus.  In my last half, it was just me and the road (and only about a hundred other people).

I crossed the finish line at 2:02:46.  This was 5 minutes over my previous run, but I will take it.  As soon as I saw Fred and my mom and dad, I cried.  

It really wasn't until yesterday morning when the Memphis Runners Track Club posted this on Facebook that I realized how big of an accomplishment this was:

HEY RUNNERS! Did your race suck yesterday? Did you miss your goals, do you feel like a truck hit you? Consider this: All those who wish they could run and can't. Maybe it wasn't so bad, after all?

I did my best for that day and I am pretty darn proud of myself for finishing 2 half marathons days before my 30th birthday and within 2 weeks of one another.

Here I am receiving my finishing medal:  
I was still suffering from hip pain after the race so I was stretching every which way possible.
Since I got a medal, I had to act like an Olympian (don't mind the chiseled man behind me).
My mom wanted me to stand by this mile marker sign because I've been there and done that! 
Here's a pic of my medal:
And my official stats (I did not sign up for the race in time and ended up buying Kristie's spot from her.  I can never thank her enough for this opportunity):


For once, this race wasn't entirely about me or for me.  It was for these kids who are dealing with cancer and their families who care for them.  I am so glad I could be a part of something to help them.  I look forward to doing this race in the year's to come.  

When I started this journey in January, I never thought I'd finish the year with two half marathons under my belt.  I can't wait to see where this journey takes me.