Family is everything and the humans that fill my home are my world. ❤️
It’s been years since we’ve done a Christmas card and I’ve accepted that right now in this season of our life – it’s just not important and quite honestly, more stress than I want to incorporate into my holiday.
But here’s an update on our kiddos and this crazy, chaotic, and beautiful life we get to live.
At 14, Miriam has straight A’s and is going into her last semester of middle school. She wrapped up dancing in her 5th Nutcracker show recently but is starting to shift her focus to her vocal abilities. Obsessed with Criminal Minds – more so Dr. Spencer Reid (@gublergram) – she’s still not over the fact that her Dad graduated HS with him and they share the exact same birthday. 🤯 She’s still acting, singing, and dancing and is leading her Thespians Large Group to state in January. She still has her sights set on NYU for college while we’re just trying to prepare her for high school.
Luke the Duke turned 12 this year, started middle school and earned Student of the Month in October. A gamer at heart, he will start taking voice lessons in January. He’s embracing his love of theatre by performing in the state Thespian competition, which his sister is leading him in their large group. ☺️ He is still so witty and funny, making us laugh at some of the most perfect moments and his smile makes everyone who knows him, light up. Luke is the happiest, most kind kid, and we are blessed to be his parents.
Our garbage and recycle loving 5 year old, Jude the Dude, accumulated even more of a truck collection this past year. He played soccer this fall and spent more time getting unstuck from the goal net than he did playing but he managed to get the medal in Week 4! He’s trying his hand at baseball in January so wish us luck! In his last year of Pre-K, he loves learning and has truly enjoyed everything about Christmas. He sings at the top of his lungs the words to Jingle Bell Rock and Wham’s Last Christmas. 😂
Dan continues to excel in his role, leading the team in Florida for Constellation Brands. His hard work and leadership led to big success during the pandemic resulting in an incredibly memorable trip to Hawaii that we extended. We spent the first leg of the trip in Kauai celebrating 16 years of marriage before island hopping to Maui, where we honeymooned, and joining the rest of Team Constellation. As the leader of our Smith crew, he is our resident chef, bartender, and barista. A man of few words, he gives the best advice and is a profoundly deep thinker. He keeps it real, keeps us in check, and still makes me laugh the hardest of all people in this world. He is an amazing father and husband, and adores our family.
In June I left the corporate environment I’d enjoyed for 16+ years and leaned into what had been placed on my heart the past 3 years; starting my own consulting business with a focus on empowering women. My website will launch on my 40th Birthday, two weeks from today 🤩 and I’ve already begun working with clients in the pageant, collegiate, and corporate spaces.
I’ve also taken my love of Vision Board Building to the next level by incorporating it into my company and challenging over 50 women to dream big and envisioning the life they desire while creating a community to keep them focused and accountable. I’m excited to be taking my process and message to middle and high school students in FL and KY while continuing to build out this portion of my business.
As a family, we finally got to go on our 2020 vacation to Maine and we had an absolute blast. The boys loved lobster fishing and riding the ferry while Miriam enjoyed time on Peaks Island enjoying the sights and popping into the cute boutiques with me. We rounded out the trip in Boston where we caught a Sox game, lost Jude at said game – then found him, 😅 and watched the Sox lead a nine run victory over the Yankees. All in all, a memorable and fantastically fun trip with the family that was so needed after the year we all had prior.
Dan and I got to do some additional traveling this year and made the most of every moment together. We took a week-long ski trip to Dan’s favorite spot, Deer Valley in Utah, with some dear friends and learned the term “tourons” (a mix of morons and tourists) that has now become a part of our vocabulary.
My 39th birthday – and last year in my thirties – was spent in Miami at The Fontainebleau with my best friend – a complete and perfect surprise, courtesy of Dan. I got to see a friend get married in Nashville in May and then went right back with Luke after he graduated 5th grade for his present so he could hang with his best friends Noah and Declan. He also got to stay at the “coolest house ever” with our sweet friends Jordan and Chad, and see one of his most favorite people (ours too!) his piano teacher, James Matthews. I got back to My Old KY Home a couple times and realized it’s never enough time to see everyone I love.
We rounded out this year of travel with a trip to Atlanta to meet our precious niece, Amelia, Kentucky for some Keeneland fun and a big group dinner with my closest childhood friends and their husbands, getting home just in time to grab Miriam and jet off to NYC for her birthday. Dan started December by squeezing in some guy time with his brother, Dad and friend in Vegas.
We also hosted family a lot more this year and enjoyed having my Mom down a few times to enjoy the South Florida sun. Thanksgiving was a blast with 13 of us gathering to celebrate family and to be grateful for what we have. Our second daughter and Miriam’s best friend Sofia, spent the holiday with us and we always enjoy having her.
All in all…we did the best we could to make up for the travel bomb that 2020 dealt us and feel we did 2021 proud. We are excited to get the travels for 2022 started with a trip to Aspen for my 40th Birthday next month! And we continue to pray that Omicron goes away quickly so that none of our other travel plans are impeded next year. Fingers crossed!
It’s wild to think we’ve lived here in Parkland for 2.5 years already. South Florida living suits us well. As a family, we made beach days together a focus of 2021 and spent a lot more time there – enjoying the beauty of God’s creation.
We also suffered a loss that hit Dan harder than he ever imagined. Our Evie girl who we rescued when we lived in Atlanta, crossed over the Rainbow Bridge and joined her sister Midge. That led to the big decision – to dog again or not. Well, one Australian Shepherd scam & $750 later we all ended up at the Boca Rescue Shelter one Saturday afternoon in late August where we met and adopted the newest and sweetest member of our family, our pup, Nessie.
Named after our love of the Scottish Highlands, Inverness, and our dear sweet friend Lauren, Nessie is an American Village Dog that is literally the OG of street dogs that date back to the very beginning of dog existence. She’s sixth months old now, as wild as Jude and only has eyes for Dan. She’s already chewed her fair share of items in the house and loves walks, meeting other dogs and hiding her bones.
Well folks, that’s it for the Smiths. We might not have gotten a Christmas card sent out the past five years but I promise you were living life between the lenses and loving each other the best way we can. The pandemic taught us all how precious life truly is and so we’re doing the best we can to not take any moment for granted – and embrace all that life throws our way.
Until next year!
Maria, Dan, Miriam, Luke, Jude, and Nessie Smith