Pieces from The Mighty

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Our Year In Review

It is hard to believe that yet another year has passed us by. I remember when I was little it seemed as if a year lasted forever, but as I get older the time just seems to fly by, especially now that I have Ellie.

The year 2014 has brought some good times, but it has also brought our family some very sad times as well. On Facebook, each time I log in it tries to get me to publish my “year in review.” Although it is a cute idea, I just could not get my year in review to truly portray how our year went, so I decided to blog our “year in review” instead.


The year 2014 started out very quiet, which to us is a very nice way to start out the year! The big news of this month was that Ellie finally had enough hair for her first hair bow! Ellie was doing a lot of walking and exploring. Looking back at these pictures she looks so very tiny compared to what she is now.

February- March

I finally made the appointment with the fertility clinic to move forward with plans for a gestational carrier. The appointment ended up going a completely different way than expected, and the doctor suggested a surgery that could help me to carry a baby closer to term. Tanner and I decided to think about it, pray about it, and get opinions from some of my other doctors to see if they would all be on board with this surgery and plan for me to carry a baby.

February also brought Robby’s second birthday/angelversary. This year since the weather was nice we were able to take Ellie out for a trip to the cemetery. She absolutely loved being there, and as we were getting ready to leave, our little girl who at the time was not talking much waved and said “bye” to Robby as we left.

This month was also Ellie’s first zoo visit. It is safe to say that Ellie is very much like her Mama and MiMi in the sense that she does not care too much for the zoo! We ended up going only a handful of times!


On April 15, we celebrated “Ellie Day!” Ellie day is her half birthday, and therefore we celebrate her that day! She turned 18 months old and my goodness she certainly loved (and still does love) to be outside!

Ellie enjoyed Easter very much! Ellie loves candy, so she was very happy to know that the Easter Bunny left her some sugary treats! She also enjoyed looking for her sparkly eggs that the Easter Bunny left in her yard!


May was a busy month in our household! Ellie had her first fever since she was in the hospital after she was born. Luckily, her fever was only due to teething, but it certainly was sad to watch her not feel well!

This is the month that my precious little girl discovered her love for Hello Kitty. Yes, this was quite the proud mama moment for me! She still loves Hello Kitty!

After a lot of thought, prayer, and input from different doctors, Tanner and I made the decision for me to have the surgery in order to carry another child. It was an intense decision for me and Tanner to make, but at the end of May I had the surgery done to have a transabdominal cerclage placed. You can read more about the appointment with the fertility doctor here


This was an extremely hard month in our household because we lost someone who was very special to us.My grandfather, Pop Pop, passed away on June 3. It was very sudden and unexpected because he had been doing so well. Pop-Pop is the person who Robby (Robert) was named after. Pop Pop was such a special person to my mom, dad, brother, Tanner, Ellie, and me. It has been really hard not having Pop Pop here with us. His birthday, Thanksgiving, Father’s Day, Grandparents Day, Christmas, and every other day in between brings heartache for us as we miss him  so very much. When Robby died it was as if I felt empty, and when Pop Pop died, I felt the same way, empty and lost. I am so sad that Ellie will not have any memories with Pop Pop, but I know that Pop Pop and Robby are together watching over us and sending us their love. Because of this unexpected event, the month of June was spent making arrangements for Pop Pop’s funeral as well as going through his personal items and getting his affairs in order. It was a very emotional time for us, especially my mom.

The glimmer of happiness in the month of June was that we had a very special visit from some very special people. Pat, her husband Jim, Barbie, and her husband Sam came over for a visit! Pat is Ellie’s “blankie maker,” and as I have mentioned before, Ellie is quite the blankie girl! It was so exciting for me and Ellie to meet Pat, Jim, Barbie, and Sam not only because Ellie loves blankie so much,  but because they have been huge supporters of Ellie from day one!

This year Tanner and I made a very big, and a very personal decision to legally change our last name. We went through the court to legally change his, mine, and Ellie’s last names to my maiden name after a lot of thought and consideration. We did not want Robby to be left out of our new family name, so we changed his headstone to reflect our new name. I was not happy with Robby’s original stone when it was placed back in 2012 because it was not right and not what we had ordered. When we changed our name we also changed his headstone and  we were also able to make his stone a little bit larger and add a vase! We learned this year that Ellie loves to be at the cemetery, but I will have a blog that is devoted to that topic later this year.


In July we started the month off by celebrating the 4th of July. Ellie did not care for the fireworks, but she did enjoy the “poppers” that you can throw on the ground! She had so much fun with those!

Since June had been such a heart wrenching month, my mom and I decided we just needed to get away for awhile, so we made a short trip to Branson, Missouri! It was a fun trip for  us, and it was nice to get away! While we were on this trip Ellie had two big milestones!

First, she was able to swim in her first "big" pool and she loved it!
The second “milestone” is that Ellie got her ears pierced! She did great!

July was also the month that we had our very first (of many to come) playdate with my dear friend Ariel, and her daughter Briar. Ariel and I met when we were on swim team together, and we were best friends in high school. Ariel is the person who introduced me and Tanner. After high school we drifted apart, but we still remained part of each others lives. Ellie and Briar were actually born only four days apart from each other. I think that it was fate that our girls were born literally days apart. Briar and Ellie have become best friends, and Ariel and I have been able to reconnect, which makes my heart so very happy. The past three years I have lost most of my friends. From my health issues, to Robby’s death, to being a homebody during my pregnancy with Ellie, to having Ellie in the NICU for so long, to being in isolation during the long months of flu and RSV season, not many friends have stuck around- and I can’t blame them! I am so thankful for the ones that have hung in there with me and I am so thankful for Ariel’s friendship because I know that I am not an easy person to be friends with a lot of the time because of things that I have not yet discussed here on this blog. However, I am now ready and I do plan to expand upon this in the coming year!


In August we decided to take another quick trip out of town to visit my Aunt Kimme and Uncle Warren in Texas! We had so much fun while we were there! We shopped, swam, and Ellie was able to meet her cousin, Micah! It was a wonderful trip!

In last years blog I mentioned that in the year 2014 Tanner and I wanted to do something to honor Robby. We decided after a lot of thought that we wanted to collect tiny hats and tiny blankets to donate to the hospital where Robby was born in his honor. To read more about this project Click Here. Project Robby has produced more hats and blankets than we ever imagined. We have not posted our final count or made our donation yet,  but plan to do so by the end of January or early February 2015!


Ellie  not only discovered My Little Pony, but she fell in love with My Little Pony! I had been planning a Winnie the Pooh themed second birthday party for her, but when we went to the party store, she insisted on My Little Pony!

Ellie got her very first haircut in September from one of our very good friends, Megan. Ellie wasn’t too sure about it, but she did very well while Megan cut her hair! We are so very thankful for such a good friend who will make house visits to do our hair!


This year, Ellie turned two. I just can not even believe how quickly she is growing up! She amazes us every single day, and I just love her so very much. Ellie wakes up running and does not slow down until she crashes into bed at the end of the day. She is developmentally right on track, and although she is still on the small side, her size is just fine.
It was very difficult to get Ellie’s 2 year pictures because she is very stubborn and moving all of the time! She had a great second birthday party with close friends and family, and of course, the theme was My Little Pony!

This year although we continue to be extremely careful, we are not in isolation like previous years! This is very difficult for us because using extreme caution has just become our “normal.” This year we got out in the stores, but if we heard too much coughing or sniffing, we would leave the store we were in.

Ellie loved Halloween, because she absolutely loves candy! This year, Ellie dressed up as Pebbles Flintstone! Tanner and I thought it would be fun to make it a family costume event and dress up as well, so we dressed up as Fred and Wilma!

During October Ellie got sick for the first time since she has been home. Ellie ran a fever and had a runny nose, but the good news is that it was very short and she was fine. It was a hard couple of days, but Ellie did great. Thank goodness!

My mom and I stumbled across someone selling puppies one day shortly after Ellie's birthday, and I ended up going home with one as my graduation present from my mom! It had been almost a year since Barbie died, and I was really feeling the urge to have a new puppy. Latte is a toy poodle, and has quickly become part of our family. At the same time that we brought Latte home, my dad brought home some kitties! Their mother died when they were only a couple of weeks old, and he rescued them! One of the kitties now lives with my aunt in Texas, and the other two live with us! It is like a circus here in the Smith house! My mom likes to say: “4 adults, 3 dogs, 2 kittens, 1 energetic toddler, and a partridge in a pear tree!”

In November we moved my grandmother (Nanny) from one retirement home to another! The one that she lives at now is much closer to us, and we have really enjoyed being able to see her more often!

We  celebrated Ellie’s “Coming Home Day.” I think that this will always be an important day to us because it is the day our dream came true.

Christmas was so much fun this year! Ellie loved opening presents and playing with all of the new, fun toys that she received! She had a personal visit from Santa, and after we bribed her with M&M’s she finally sat in his lap and smiled for some pictures! Christmas day truly was wonderful!

I graduated from Fort Hays State University with a bachelor of science in Psychology. Due to many life altering obstacles, finishing college was a rough road  but I did it, and I am glad that I pushed through. I plan to write a blog in the coming months about my college experience and what I learned during my time in college. However, I want to take this opportunity to thank my family for supporting me during my years in college. It was not easy, and I certainly could not have done it without their love and support.

At the end of each Facebook “year in review” it says “It’s been a great year!” Well, I would be lying if I said that it has been a great year. This year has had some great, wonderful, joyful moments, but along with those happy times, our family went through some very trying, sad, and tragic times as well. I have learned that most years are not going to be completely great, because sad and tragic things happen in life. A new year is coming quickly, and with this new year, Tanner and I have some hopes, dreams, and goals for 2015.

First, in last years end of the year blog I mentioned scripture memory. Well, to be completely honest, I managed to do well for the first couple of months, but then I stopped. Between school, a toddler, a husband, and life events it just got pushed to the side. So, this year I am going to try again! I am going to pick out my two verses each month and try again to commit myself to memorizing scripture. I also hope to spend more time this year in prayer and do a lot more Bible reading. Click here to read more!

Second, Tanner and I hope that at some point this year I will get pregnant. As exciting as it is to think about the possibility of being able to carry another baby (hopefully much closer to term), it is also so very frightening. This is where the scripture memorization and prayer will especially help me. Pregnancy is wonderful, but for me, it is also very scary. Although we hope that my TAC will be successful, there is still a good chance that we will have another premature birth.

Third, we are going to continue with Project Robby this year. We have not made our donation to Via Christi St. Joseph Hospital yet, but we will be doing that soon! It has been really good for me to have Project Robby. I have enjoyed it so much that you can plan on hearing more about donations and projects to help out other grieving families through Project Robby! Click here to join the Project Robby Facebook page.

Fourth, I am planning to do more blogging this year! I have several different blogs planned out in my head, and I am excited to share more of my life with all of those who are reading!

This year has been a busy year full of excitement, changes, and sadness. Tanner and I are so lucky to have such an amazing family that loves and supports us! We had some big decisions to make this year, and we are so lucky to have family that will support us in whatever we decide to do!

With each new year comes excitement for a new start, as well as sadness for another year that has passed us by so quickly. Here is to a new year! I wish for you all a year of love, health and happiness!

Happy New Year, from our family to yours!