Mother’s Day 2017 Thoughts

Mother’s Day. It’s a special day honoring the women whose love and influence has shaped us into who we are today. This is my mother, the strongest woman I know. She is a business owner (shameless plug here), lover of the outdoors, and has taught me the importance of loving animals. She has always been the perfect balance of friend and mother, and if I can someday be half the mother she is, I’ll consider myself a good parent. I’m so grateful to have had her support over the years, including my MSW graduation THREE years ago today.


Bottom line: Treasure the time you have with your mother, because only when you move away will you realize how much having her close by was so wonderful.

Mother’s Day can also be a very rough time for those who have either lost their mothers or desire to be one and it hasn’t happened yet. It is easy to feel alone when you’re scrolling Facebook and see everyone’s Mother’s Day posts. You know what?

You’re not alone.

There is someone else out struggling just like you are.

More often than not, someone has endured a hardship and kept silent about it.

Lastly, stop scrolling.

On this particular Mother’s Day, I was fortunate to be surrounded by my husband; my church family; lunch with neighbors who took us under their wing and act as surrogate parents; and my fur babies, all five of them.


This dog has the good life.


So content in her special spot.


So many personalities in these felines.


Until the time comes for me to be a mother, I will savor every moment of my fur baby motherhood and always cherish those who have made a difference in my life: My own mother, my grandmothers I lost too soon, and my mother-in-law. Thank you for all that you are to me. I love you.


Rest, Oh Sweet Rest.

What. A. Week. It was one of those weeks where Friday night couldn’t come soon enough. I bet my husband wishes he would have stayed at his rotation dorm all week instead of coming home!

To begin, we were hit with a massive windstorm that took down 1/4 of the humongus pine tree in our front yard. All the limbs are now out of our driveway, but one section of our yard needs a ton of work to clean up the mess. Thankfully, it fell sideways and not backwards…we wouldn’t have a place to live if it had. I went home to PA over the weekend, and although it certainly wasn’t a wasted trip, I was upset I took a day and a half off of work for something that didn’t even happen. Driving is exhausting. Then Monday night around 8pm, our dogs start going nuts, growling, hair on end, etc. A car broke down in front of our house and two young guys’ Subaru let them sit. Matt will back me up that these guys were not with it AT ALL. Can’t say what drug(s) they were on, but it was obvious it was something. They were covered in mud, as was the car. Turns out they were at the river and the car was stuck in a mud hole. I’m shocked they even got the car out of a mud hole as big  as they one they were in! We gave them until the morning to get their vehicle towed out of our yard. Sure enough: We were woken up the next morning at 5am to the sound of a car trying to start and the dogs barking like crazy. They left by 6:00 and we haven’t seen them since. We got the car towed the next day after much arguing with the Sheriff department and towing company about why they should receive a bill and not us. Do they know their car is in the impound lot? Have no clue, but am thankful it’s out of our yard. Now I just hope they don’t come back….. There was usual chaos at work too, but that’s bound to happen when you are working with people.

Having tonight to myself gave me some time to reflect on this past week and how I get so caught up in the business and stress of life that I don’t take time to do nothing and enjoy it. According to John Lennon, time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted. I better start taking his advice. My self-care is terrible, and as a Social Worker, that’s one thing that’s so important to teach our clients. I work out and eat healthy, but when it comes to actually relaxing, I need to follow the examples below:


Ahh, the life of a hound dog. Check out Meadow Mutts and Mew Mews blog for more laughter on this rescued pup!



Why use a dog bed when the pillows are available?

I have coloring books, board games, cards, my computer, and lots of bath bombs to help me relax, but what are some other ways you turn off your brain?

A Real Life Venting Session

Has there ever been a week that just 100% kicked your butt and you thought, “This is just a really bad nightmare and I’ll wake up, right?” This week was that nightmare, and I am so thankful it’s over. Don’t get me wrong; there are some weeks that are difficult, but this took the cake. Let me start off with what happened nine days ago to give you the full effect.

As stated in my Thanksgiving post, Leia got ahold of an umbrella and chewed off half the plastic handle. She spent 48 hours at the vet (including Thanksgiving Day) and we weren’t sure if surgery would be necessary or not. Thankfully, she was able to pass the plastic pieces and had to be on a specific gastrointestinal diet for three days before allowing her to eat her regular food again. That Royal Canin food is not only expensive, but stinks too. So glad we don’t need to another can of that anytime soon… My husband and I have been watching her closely over the past week and are fairly certain the worst is over. I’m glad to have my precious pittie back to normal.


My brother and his wife, along with their dog, Gavin, came to visit Friday into Saturday, and we had a wonderful time. They have been to West Virginia to visit three times since we moved here and it has been cold and gloomy every single time. We are clearly terrible at planning trips to see each other. We took a trip to Beartown State Park for a hike, saw Dr. Strange in theaters (Benedict Cumberbatch is equally as hot as Dr. Strange as he is Sherlock, fyi), spent some time enjoying Small Business Saturday, and basically just caught up after not seeing each other for five months. Even though PA really isn’t that far away, it’s just enough time and distance that it’s too much for a day trip and not quite enough for a short plane ride. My brother has always been one of my best friends, and thankfully for me, his wife is the sister I never had.


Beartown State Park



A man and his faithful companion.


Family is everything.

When Monday hit, I was already exhausted from the busy weekend and dealing with a sick pup. I should have known the week would hit me like a ton of bricks! For starters, Matt began his month long pediatrics rotation. Although he’s having a good experience, the hours are long and like the beginning of every rotation, it’s a new place to get used to. My car had to have the torque converter replaced in my engine, and thank heavens for extended warranties. Shout out to my dad for making sure I had one because I got my car checked out at 97,656 miles and my warranty ended at 100,000. Talk about luck! The dealership is an hour away, so I missed work and spent four hours alone driving taking care of the vehicle. Now Matt’s car is acting up and has to go to the garage on Monday. Jerking him back and forth with loss of power is not something I want to mess with when he drives an hour to and from rotations every day. Ever heard of being car poor? Well, over the past nine days, I’ve realized that it’s possible to be car poor, pet poor, AND medical school poor at the same time. I swear, if we didn’t have a savings account, we wouldn’t be eating for the next two weeks. Has it been a full moon?! It rained for two days straight, and that combined with the sudden change in temperature, caused me to experience a nasty sinus infection that resulted in an Urgent Care visit for treatment. For real, those infections are nothing to mess with either.

Despite all this, I’m trying to think positive because, at the end of the day, I live in a nice little house, have an amazing marriage, and a job I enjoy with the best coworkers. Oh, and I am a rescue mama to five incredible pets who allow me to live vicariously through them. Life is good, and it’s important to remember that always.

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” Psalm 94:19  



Yes, it is as cozy as it looks!



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!!

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?