A Day of Thanks

No matter your thoughts on Thanksgiving, it’s still a day where most people are off work and can relax with family and friends. For me, I am simply happy eating yummy food, spending time with my husband, and possibly get a head start on my online Black Friday shopping 🙂 This year, I’m extremely thankful my dog, Leia, is going to be okay. She ate half the handle off an umbrella (note to pet parents: don’t let an umbrella fall next to the toy bin) and got plastic in her abdomen and intestines. She’s been at the vet for the past 36 hours severely dehydrated and monitored closely. If she didn’t end up passing the plastic pieces, she would surgery first thing in the morning. Well, the vet called earlier today and said she had started eating and drinking, along with taking medication. If she is like this tomorrow, chances are she’ll be home by lunchtime. I’m so grateful we know our dog enough that if she’s acting out of character, we can pick up on it. We know her daily patterns and when that changed, our pet parent cues kicked in and got in touch with the vet. If we hadn’t caught it in time, she could have faced an entire bowel obstruction or bowel perforation, neither of which are good. I had a wonderful day with my other fur babies and Matt, but I am especially thankful Leia can come home and will be herself again.

For those at the medical school who aren’t able to be with friends and/or family on Thanksgiving, the President and his wife host Thanksgiving meal in the new student center. Matt and I took advantage of this free meal and shared some time with friends we don’t see too often. Overall, it was a wonderful meal, and I’m especially thankful for the WVSOM community that surrounds us.

No matter how you celebrated Thanksgiving, I hope it was a day of rest and relaxation. Happy Thanksgiving from The Smiths!!



A Weekend In

If you would have told me six years ago in college that I would have enjoyed 48 hours to myself while my husband visits his family in North Carolina, I would have thought you were nuts. I am pretty social by nature and have always spent time with friends or family when I had  the chance. However, that has all changed since college ended. I now spend 40+ hours a week working with people and actually treasure a few minutes by myself. This weekend was just what the doctor ordered.

Matt left Friday night to visit his family in North Carolina, so I had the whole weekend to myself. At first, I really did think I would be bored and do nothing but household chores all weekend to stay busy. Boy, was I wrong. I went grocery shopping and cleaned (#adultlife), but also took that time to focus on myself. As a social worker, self care is top priority and it’s so easy to lose focus of that when you’re constantly looking after other people. I found the time to meal plan for this upcoming week (blog post coming later on my method and why it works), managed to hardcore coupon for the first time in weeks (see entry here on some of my tips and tricks to save your hard-earned cash), work out, and take time for some fun activities.

These lovely faces are what I woke up to this morning:


I’m pretty sure she’s glad to have the pillow all to herself 😉


Never alone

Our dogs sleep with us every night, and I know that is debatable on whether it’s good or bad, but we don’t care. It works for us, and we love it. They are our protectors, and I can definitely say I feel safer with them in the house. Occasionally the cats will join us, but that’s usually not until we need to get up in the morning and then are torn between actually getting up and moving them or staying in bed just a little bit longer. Thankfully I had nowhere to be this morning, so I laid in bed until 11:00 with them 🙂

As the day went on, I saw animals everywhere I went. That’s usually how it goes in this house…five pets, small house! Yes, the throw pillow does say “I like big mutts and I cannot lie.” Thank you Zulily for your awesome deals and late night shopping sprees.


A few weeks ago, I decided to purchase a small pillow and some fabric at Walmart with the idea of making my first actual sewing project. Well, I had the time today and thought why not go for it. I inherited my YiaYia’s sewing machine when she passed away in May and believe me, I wish I had learned more from her. I haven’t even yet figured out how to put new thread or a new needle on, so I’m using black thread for everything right now. The pillow isn’t perfect, but I winged it and think it actually came out pretty good. Gotta start somewhere right?


Front side


Back side

All in all, this was a fantastic weekend. Would I want Matt gone more often? Heck no;he’s already gone enough, especially during the week. However, one weekend by myself was perfect, and I feel so much more rejuvenated for the hectic holiday season that is rapidly approaching. Now husband, COME HOME!!

DIY Snowman Wreath

Shortly after Matt and I moved to West Virginia, I was invited to a fall wreath making party. Needless to say, my first homemade wreath could have been better, but it was so much fun to make. I was hooked. Since that wreath, I have made some for Christmas presents, as well as one for every season to hang on our front door. There is a Sterilite tub in the basement just for my wreaths! It’s a therapeutic activity for me, which is good since I am horrible at relaxing. Being on the go ALL THE TIME gets to a person, you know?

Anyway, I was getting my car worked on a few days ago in the same area as Hobby Lobby and, well, I couldn’t NOT go in and browse. Their Christmas decor and holiday items were calling my name and before I knew it, I was in full swing of buying material for an idea running around in my head. Now, I am not artistic in any way, shape, or form. Want proof? Play Pictionary Down the Lane with me…it’s remarkable my stick figures pass as people. However, I enjoy hands-on projects and crafting is one of them. I took the idea in my head and started working as soon as I got home. I didn’t think to share this wreath here until it was halfway done, so I’ll do the best I can to describe what we did; Matt helped tremendously by creating the facial features and making the hat. He’s the artistic one for sure!

To start, I bought this wreath for $4.99. I’m sure there are other ones that would look cool too, but I loved the effect this one added to the overall project. I bought two pieces of felt, black and red, and white acrylic paint to cover the plywood discs as the body of the snowman. I bought the ribbon to wrap around it at Walmart since the idea to use it came from Matt later on. I already had a hot glue gun, so I was good to go there.



This is mine, but any hot glue gun will work.


I started by painting the discs and letting them dry. I only used a couple coats, but you can gauge it based on how white you want them to be. Once they were done, I glued the discs together and chose where I wanted to place the snowman; for me, that was the left. I cut out some buttons from the black felt and looped a strip of the red felt for his scarf. Matt drew the carrot on scrapbook paper and cut out the hat. He’s quite a dashing snowman!


I then wrapped the ribbon around the opposite side to give the winter effect. It’s not perfect, but I’m still overall satisfied with how it turned out. It may be my favorite wreath yet! The sticks are from the yard and glued on behind the middle disc for his arms. I put them on after I wrapped the ribbon because otherwise, they’d get in the way. The whole project took a little over an hour, not including the dry time for the paint. If you try this project or any other Christmas craft, I’d love to see it!!



A Bit of Photo Shoot Magic

I can’t resist sharing more pictures of our time on the Greenbrier River Trail. This time I brought my trusty Nikon 3100 and attempted to capture some fall beauty. Believe me, I am not a photographer, but there’s something about being behind the lens and seeing what I’ve captured that is incredible. Wish I would have went when all the leaves were still on the trees, but it’s nearly impossible to be on that trail and not see beauty somewhere. Plus, it’s always the best when I practice on my favorite subjects. Enjoy!


The Greenbrier River


The bond between these two is unbreakable.


This pup….<3


Look at this stunner.



Fall in the Greenbrier Valley…


PC: Matt Smith


I definitely should have worn makeup today. PC: Matt Smith


PC: Matt Smith


PC: Matt Smith


Country roads, take me home.


Trail Time

There is something about living near the Greenbrier River Trail that makes me feel so at peace with my life. If I’m having a good day, I take the pups to the trail and get in an even better mood. If I’m having a bad day, I still take the pups to the trail and instantly my mood gets better. With fall coming to an end here in WV (although much later than in previous years), I am bound and determined to soak up as much time on the trail as I can. It’s amazing how the fresh air opens your mind and instantly is a mood booster. I left work early today and spent some much needed outside time with my favorites. This spot is one of my favorites on the section of the trail near us, and it is honestly the perfect place to relax and meditate. I was lucky enough to have Matt home today and he came with us. Wouldn’t trade these moments for the world. What are some of your favorite moments, and if you live in WV, some of your outdoor recommendations to take the pups?


What a beautiful day.


My happy place.


So at peace with the world.


My pretty girl.


Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. -Anatole France


Fall is beautiful. Need I say more?