Love, Life, & Marriage: Our Christmas Traditions

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Christmas 2013

Christmas is BOTH of our favorite time of the year. But guess what? 5 months married, 4 total years together. And nope, we have never spent a Christmas together. Not until this one.

We did the Christmas tree, the decorations, and cards every single year. Each year the Christmas tree looks different– and gets better in my opinion LOL.

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Christmas 2014

It’s not like we were okay with it either. Face Time isn’t the same, phone calls, etc. When you love someone, the last thing you want to do is be apart on the holidays. So while we went our separate ways over the past couple of years come Christmas- we made a promise to each other that once we were married, we wouldn’t do it anymore.

So hence. In just a couple of days, we will begin a crazy couple days of travel. We will be driving up to Pittsburgh on the 21st- to get on a plane to go to Kansas on the 22nd- to come back to Pittsburgh on the 25th- to go back to Charlotte on the 27th. WOWZA. But hey, family is important. (Already dreaming of the day we pop out a kid and everyone has to come to us HAHA!)

But no, I do have to take a second and be extremely grateful for the fact that these people are willing to sacrifice times with their families to get us to where we need to be.

I was in their shoes a year ago. Sitting back and wondering if I would be able to go home and see my family- or if I would be forced to work. And so many of these people are in that same position. Already dreading Sunday because they don’t get to be with their families. Remember to give them a little extra love that day if you’re traveling like we are.

Regardless of our crazy travels, we have made the mutual decision to do OUR Christmas as we usually do. On the 27th. It’s a personal thing and we like it to be the two of us. Honestly, it makes the holidays last a little bit longer. Traditions are traditions! =)

I think it’s extremely important to take a second away from this message, however, and briefly touch on the entire reason Christmas is a thing. Jesus Christ our savior. The baby boy who was born on December 25 and saved our lives. Without HIM, none of these traditions, gifts, time with family– would even be a thing. It starts there for sure. And while we have never done a Christmas Eve service together, I am looking forward to it for the first time. The presence of God is incredible, but feeling it with your significant other is an entirely different feeling.

So while we have a lot of traditions we already do- we are really looking forward to starting some new ones this year. Some already on deck are:

  • Christmas Eve service
  • Waking up together on Christmas morning
  • Family gift exchange
  • A bottle of champagne to pop on Christmas Day– and our second Christmas in Charlotte. Saving the corks for every Christmas married. ❤

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And there are others we already have that we are looking forward to continuing.

  • Spending the day with family
  • Being Santa Paws for our pups.
  • Our own gift exchange two days after Christmas.
  • Playing Christmas tunes while we open gifts
  • Taking turns and really soaking in with gratitude what the other person got them.
  • Creating our yearly memory ornament. It’s a clear ornament and we write down our FAVORITE memories from the year, cut them into small strips, twirl them around our finger and place in inside the ornament. We started these in 2012. So this will be our fifth one. This was an INCREDIBLE year– not sure how we are going to beat it.

It’s so easy to get caught up in everything going on this week. But take a deep breath and remember to soak up what is really important. It may sound cliche, but honestly, the best gifts aren’t what is under the tree. It’s the time you spend with the one’s you love. The laughter around the table, the food you get to eat, the people that are forced to work in order to get you to where YOU need to be that day. Life is so short and these holidays remind us of that. Soak in every second and every moment.

We wish you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Love, the Smiths.

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Love, Life, & Marriage: My fifth stadium & Date #2

We pulled this date out of the jar right on time. Because guess who was in town this week? My boys in black and gold. SO- I got to go to my FIFTH stadium and spend time with my man all at once. So lets talk about Date #2. A sporting event and getting hotdogs, beer, and fullsizerender-8popcorn. I mean… HECK YES.

Now this IS something we would typically do. We love sports. And as many of you know, I LOVE the Steelers. This just put the fire under our butt to leave the apartment and enjoy the night.

So remember how Date #1 started with a torrential downpour? Well, this one was WORSE haha. THANK YOU HURRICANEEEEEEE. You could barely see out the windows! Zach was like, “Maybe we should just stay in.” Those words are like curse words when you talk to a Steelers fan. Miss the game? I don’t care if it’s preseason or not, I’ll sit in a hurricane for a chance to see the boys play. SO- off we went LOL.

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Rain jackets and all, we trekked through the city streets to Bank of America Stadium. The cool thing about it is that its located right in the middle of the city. So for us, we literally can walk to and from. Obviously I didn’t get the entire vibe of what the fans would be like since it was preseason, but I could definitely tell that they were coming off a Super Bowl high. They have really high expectations for their team this year. You could tell by the way they were literally screaming at the third string team that “was ruining their lives”. HAHA. Loved it.

All of the seats were blue, there was a view of the skyline, and Cam Newton’s face was EVERYWHERE. Talk about being the face of a brand. You see that tall building right behind the stadium? It lit up every time the Panthers scored. So that was also pretty rad. Overall, I’ll give this stadium an A-. Fans were friendly, field was nice, good views, I just would have liked a better view of the skyline.

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img_4381BUT- I still got my Terrible Towel picture that I get at EVERY stadium. I got to spend time with my man, and yes– we also did what the date card said. Got our hotdogs, popcorn, and beers.

My favorite part? The walk home. Surrounded by tons of Steelers fans– it made me feel right at home. Plus, the in depth conversation we had, the people watching, holding hands, and almost slipping and falling underneath the bridge. 😉

If you want to give us a date idea, go ahead and fill out this form. Once we get through our date jar, we will be making our way to this list!

 

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Date Idea: Lisa Chauvet

Date: September 1, 2016

Where: Steelers/Panthers Pre-Season Game

How many days married: 1 month, 16 days.

My Story: The icky 7 letter word

Do you guys have a part of your story that makes you EXTREMELY uncomfortable to talk about? Stupid question, I’m sure every single one of us do.
 
Well, this is mine.
 
It’s taken me 28 months to feel comfortable sharing this chapter in my life. Heck, I don’t even think “comfortable” is the right word here. Because I am STILL not comfortable talking about this. But I know there are so many of you out there that need to hear this message, so many of you that can relate. So. Here goes nothing.
 
Divorce.
 
A seven letter word that can change the lives of a family forever.
 
SIDE NOTE: Don’t jump down my throat and tell me I don’t understand. Believe me, this is a VERY sensitive subject for me. And I 110% understand EVERYONE’s divorces are for different reasons. I get that. Some reasons for divorce are inexcusable. I am not ignorant to the fact that God puts two people together for a short period of time– and decides when it is time to move on. I never question God’s choices.
 
I am solely sharing on behalf of my experience. To share my learning lessons and to show how I got through this & how my relationship with both parents continued to grow stronger despite the changes.
 
This is to show you how to move forward in your life. How to LEARN from these experiences instead of using them as your crutch in life. How you can understand that love STILL exists for everyone out there– even those this effected personally.
 
So if you’re okay with that– please continue reading.

I wanted to get this topic in this series done right off the bat because in order to understand my stance on marriage– you need to hear this first. It’s something that makes me uncomfortable. It’s something that probably makes a lot of you uncomfortable too. But it’s something that is part of my story, that makes me who I am today, and something I have yet to share publicly.

Divorce.

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A seven letter word that can change the lives of a family forever. It can scar a child, damages trust, and lessens the power of the word love.

Weirdly enough, this post I am making right now has been sitting in the Notes section of my phone since July 13, 2016. Yep. Three days before I walked down the aisle and started a marriage of my own. A lot of you may be thinking: “Why would she even be thinking about this subject before she got married?” Honestly, it was all I thought about. But today is finally the day I feel comfortable enough talking about it for the first time.

June 2006. I moved back to Pennsylvania after spending the last nine years in Florida. I had a group of friends, I had a life. Nominated for homecoming princess, participating in pageants at school, cheerleader, volleyball player. Getting ready to start my junior year of high school. It was all interrupted at the moment my parents realized they didn’t love each other anymore.

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It was a moment that impacted my sisters and I’s lives forever. Uprooted from the Sunshine State, heading back up north in the middle of high school. That’s not easy. Luckily I met an incredible group of friends to help me through the transition, but that’s an entirely different story. Going back and forth on holidays, sharing time, and all three of us having really rocky relationships with guys. Having trouble understanding it all, not even knowing if love truly existed. When you see it die before your very eyes, it takes a lot to believe it actually exists out there.

Downloads-0004.jpgWhat made it really tough for me was dealing with it alone and trying to comfort my youngest sister who didn’t want to be comforted. She and I barely speaking for years because she didn’t want to share the pain she was feeling. She dealt with it by pushing me away. Those are years I missed with one of my best friends and it was because of a reason out of my control.

I’m not going to get into the details of my parents divorce because that is not either mine or your business, but what I will say is the older you get, you look back and remember things you didn’t realize back then. This whole thing got me thinking. Why do some marriages last and others don’t? What separates those who make it from those that fail?

SIDE NOTE: Don’t jump down my throat and tell me I don’t understand. Believe me, this is a sensitive subject for me too. And EVERYONE’s divorces are for different reasons. I get that. Some reasons for divorce are inexcusable. I am not ignorant to the fact that God puts two people together for a short period of time– and decides when it is time to move on. I never question God’s choices. 

Divorce is an icky word– but it happens. It happens every single day. Just like so many other things, when things get hard people throw in the towel. They give up, they say it’s a lost cause. I just never understood how a love so strong can be forgotten so fast, even if it is part of God’s plan.

Downloads-0040.jpgI’m only 26 years old. I’ve only been married for a little over a month. But it didn’t take long for me to realize a big part of the whole thing. People stop trying. They walk away because they are filled with so much anger, grief, sadness that the other person endures on them.

This post isn’t for me to speculate on why marriages end or even give you the low down on how to fix your marriage. It’s solely based on what I LEARNED.

NO ONE wants to change. No one wants to admit they are wrong. No one wants to take responsibility and in turn, the marriage ends. But I’ve always wondered, what if we tried to understand? What if we sat down without yelling? What if we tried to see where the other person was coming from?

Did you know that every single one of us speaks a different love language? Some people need attention, others need time together, some need gifts, others need words of affirmation or physical touch. The problem is (according to the book the 5 Love Languages), is that we are taught to think the love language we speak is the ONLY ONE out there. Where in fact, our spouse could and probably does speak a different one than us. That’s why communication is so important.

Zach’s love language is personal time where mine is physical touch. I had to LEARN how to speak his love language. Give him uninterrupted time with me, put my phone away, log off the computer. He does the same. Holding my hand in public, kissing my forehead, placing his hand on my leg and smiling. But I NEVER would have known that if I wasn’t always trying to become the best wife I could possibly be.

Coming from divorced families, we made a decision prior to our engagement we would never get married if we weren’t 120% sure this was a forever type of love.  Needless to say, I am now Kelsey Smith. I will fight to the death for him and our relationship. I vowed to do whatever I could to make my future children realize what they deserved in a relationship. That people would look at us in envy. That people would see us growing together and in God, and that no matter what- I would love him until the end.

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You guys know me by now. I am a fighter. I fight for what I believe in and I fight for who I love. I’ve seen families broken, I’ve seen people stop believing in love, I’ve seen people walk away. But that won’t happen to us. I won’t allow it.

We don’t gossip to our friends and family about each other, we don’t tell the social media world when we are having issues, and we DEFINITELY don’t slam doors and ignore each other for days. No sleeping in different beds, no embarrassing each other in public. We wait until the other person has calmed down, talk through things, trust that God has a learning lesson through it all, and we move forward TOGETHER. I love him and I know he loves me.

As I mentioned, I am not ignorant to the fact that some couples just aren’t meant to be together. God has his reasons for bringing two people together and he also has his reasons for separating them, even though half of the time it doesn’t make sense. I am confident that one day we will realize why. Each marriage comes with some sort of blessing. A child, learning lessons, figuring out what we do and do NOT deserve in another relationship, who knows. It’s never easy, especially as the child in the relationship, to deal with– but I believe I learned a lot from this experience in my life.

I still love my mom. I still love my dad. SO unbelievably much. That never changed, never will. My sisters and I have a beautiful relationship with both parents.

In my personal life, I learned a lot from this experience. And yes, a lot of it defines who I am as a person today and the kind of wife I am striving to be. As long as I can sit back and truly understand marriage is a journey and with that journey comes a lot of obstacles– mine will be okay. We will never be perfect, but I will never give up on the one that God gave exclusively to me. 

Love, Life, & Marriage: Date #1

As I mentioned when I kicked off the Love, Life, and Marriage segment on the blog– the entire thing was based off these little popsicle sticks. My maids of honor came together at my bridal shower and had all of my guests write date ideas down on one, which we would marriedbegin to open once we were married. I figured it would be a cool idea to document how we keep our marriage FUN– SO, when we pulled out date number one this week, we figured why not take you along?

My sister Logan’s was the first one we pulled out of the jar. And as you can see from the picture on the left, it was to go and see an improv show.

See this one was a goodie because honestly– I don’t think Zach and I would have EVER picked this one out on our own. Not that we don’t like comedy 😉 But more for the reason that we are SO stuck in our routine. Pick a restaurant, have a few drinks, come home and binge watch a show on Hulu or Netflix. At the current moment, that show is Nashville ;). So picking this one out required us sitting down at the computer and finding a show that we would enjoy.

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So lets tell you about date #1! We decided to go to a show at the Comedy Zone right downtown Charlotte- actually only 5 minutes from our apartment. It was Theo Von who currently has his own Netflix series, “No Offense”. He has been seen on shows with Amy Schumer, etc. So we thought we would give it a shot.

After spending the day at the pool, we came home and got ready. I picked the red dress- Zach stuck to his normal attire (Kansas City Sports) and we headed out to get a quick bite to eat before the show started at 7. It was amazing how the moment right before we headed out the door, the skies opened up and God sent a torrential downpour our way HAHA. So my red dress needed to be blocked by a bright pink rain jacket and my curls– well, they didn’t last very long. IMG_4208

We went to a small restaurant and bar close to the venue, had a drink and a quick meal and headed over to the venue. It was in the basement of a Mexican restaurant which was already hilarious in itself. Plus. we were kind of mad at ourselves for not eating there instead LOL. But we had the mindset that we were going to take it all in and enjoy every second. So, we did.

We got sat at our seats, which was actually right next to the stage. We ordered a couple of drinks and waited for the show to begin. Quick side note- I have never been interested in comedy shows and for one reason only. I like when people are authentically funny. It takes a lot to get me to laugh– and when people force it on me, it typically doesn’t work.

That wasn’t the case here. The comedian that opened for Theo Von was HILARIOUS. My cheek bones were hurting the entire time because I laughed at basically every single thing he said. Which again– is weird because normally I don’t IMG_4212find forced humor that entertaining. I naturally needed to take a picture with him afterward because he was hilarious and made my day.

Theo Von was pretty hilarious too. I won’t lie– a lot of his jokes were a little too much for me LOL,  but he did still have some good stuff in there. As I mentioned before, there was VERY little time in our hour and a half there that Zach and I weren’t laughing. It felt incredible to laugh together. Especially that hard.

Once the show was over, we were able to meet the comedians and we also made the decision that we would DEFINITELY be doing that again. So Logan, thank you. Your date stick was amazing and a fantastic idea.

Our night finished back at home with a glass of wine, no social media, no phones, and no TV. We sat down together and just talked. For more than an hour. Asking each other questions, learning more about each others pasts and what makes us– well, us. You think you know everything and then there is always something new that you learn not just about your spouse, but yourself too.

Date #1 goes down as one of my FAVORITES that we ever had. Hanging out– just the two of us OUTSIDE of the apartment was beyond necessary and I loved every second of it.

If you want to give us a date idea, go ahead and fill out this form. Once we get through our date jar, we will be making our way to this list!

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Date Idea: Logan Pape 

Date: August 27, 2016 

Where: Comedy Zone, Charlotte NC 

How many days married: 1 month, 11 days.

Love, Life, & Marriage: The New Segment

Love Life & Marriage

Welcome to the newest segment on the blog: “Love, Life, & Marriage”!

Our wedding day, July 16, 2016, was single handedly the BEST day of my life. As I sit back and try to put all of my emotions together from that day, tears still come to my eyes. Perfect is the best way to describe it– and I promise there is a later blog post coming that will recap the day from our side of things.

BUT to told you over until then, here is a sneak peek from our videographer:

But I already noticed that the fun doesn’t stop after the wedding day guys. That’s just the beginning. You’ve followed our love story since the day we met in Panama City, to the I Do’s at the alter, and now– we are transitioning into married life. So why not allow you to follow us there too? 😉

So where did the idea of this segment for the blog come from? Well- so often we are so blinded by the idea of getting married, the flashy ring, the dress, the sparkly lights, and invitations that we forget about what happens next. MARRIAGE.

View More: http://photos.pass.us/smith-downloadsThe divorce rate is so high in this country and while reading the 5 Love Languages, I truly came to realize why. First, we forget to TRY. We forget that marriage requires compromise, listening, doing things you don’t necessarily want to do, and speaking/understanding your spouse’s love language. Zach and I both come from divorced parents and we promised each other we would never get married if we weren’t 120% sure this was a forever type of love.

And, needless to say– I am now Kelsey Smith. Our love is something people would DIE for and honestly, I get so overwhelmed when I get messages or comments about people ooing and awwing over our relationship.  So I need to make this clear: it’s not something you and your spouse can’t have too. There is NOTHING different about us than you. What we do every single day— is WE TRY. You see our highlight reel on the internet, but you don’t see what goes on behind closed doors. We are NORMAL. We argue, we complain, and we fight about different and ridiculous things. But we get through them every single time.

We are ADULTS that love each other. We don’t gossip to our friends and family about each other, we don’t tell the social media world when we are having issues, and we DEFINITELY don’t slam doors and ignore each other for days. We talk through things, trust that God has a learning lesson through it all, and we move forward TOGETHER. I love him and I know he loves me.

We exchanged vows on July 16, 2016 promising a load of things to each other that we intend to fulfill and every single day I will make sure that happens.  Guys, TIME is the most valuable thing in this entire world. We need to spend it to the fullest– and with the ones we love.

So– I got some inspiration to kick this whole thing  off. All of the guests at my bridal shower gave us date ideas, which my maids of honor sealed in a jar for us to open once we were married. We officially opened the jar last night to pick date number one for this weekend. We pulled out this baby!

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Thanks for the idea little sis 😘 This weekend, Zach and I will be going to see Theo Von at the Comedy Zone. ❤️ Honestly, something that I wouldn’t have chosen on my own.

So here is what we are going to do. I will be blogging all of our dates from the jar ++ a heap load of other things. We are going to take you along for the ride, our vacations, and trips– and give you dating ideas and tips to keep your marriage EXCITING. Heck, I’ll even be sharing some wedding planning tips and ideas I received along the way. It’s time to give ya a sneak peek into our world not as Kelsey and Zach– but as the Smith’s.

We hope that you enjoy this, can take some ideas and tips away from it, and realize that regardless of where you are in your life and marriage– its never too late to start TRYING. It’s never too late to fall deeper and deeper in love and most importantly, its NEVER too late to relight a flame.

Nothing happens by coincidence. God put you two together for a reason.

 

XOXO- KSS