Hi Y'all! Today is the anniversary of the Jeff n' Steph union! Six years ago today, we entered into a wonderful life together. For those of you that were in attendance, you'll be glad to know we just re-lived the whole day (in highlight form) by watching our wedding video. All of your dance moves make our anniversary special every year! You dancin' fools have some serious skills!

Since we have zero babysitters in our new state, we decided to go on a day trip as a family to celebrate. We drove through the mountains on Trail Ridge Road which is the highest road in the U.S. It tops out somewhere in the 12,000 feet range and you spend a good amount of time above the tree line! It was really pretty and great to experience the mountains of our new home- even if much of it was from the car! We were able to see Winter Park, take a "hike" (it was a whopping mile long and changed elevation by 10 feet!!- Avery's first hike, we thought we should take it slow... we were right, we carried her most of the time) in Rocky Mountain National Park, and have lunch in Estes Park. It was a nice day- Avery loved the mountains and Jeff and I made each other laugh a lot and we got to see some elk!

So here's some shots of the fam on our 'hike'. Jeff and Avery are standing on a bridge over the Colorado River! Isn't it crazy how small it is?? Apparently, by the time it gets to the Grand Canyon (what I'm used to), it gains quite a bit of momentum.

Avery testing the waters of the Colorado! Very brave of her!

Avery full of optimism at the beginning of her hike. She didn't know that it means you just walk a lot!
And this is taken at the top of Trail Ridge Road. Pretty amazing! We passed a bunch of snow and the lack of trees was so cool!

So this should entice all of you to start saving your pennies and come visit us!!! Well, talk to you soon!

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Hi Everyone! For some reason that is out there in the computer world, I'm having much trouble with this post. So, I'm going to keep the words to a minimum.

We recently returned from our trip to Arizona! It was an awesome time with family and a few friends. Here is a pictures that sums up how Avery feels about the heat in AZ....
She hates it! Apparently the sun makes it impossible for her to walk... every time we went outside, she would ask, "hold you"... which for those of you who know her, you know that means that she wants to be picked up! Her new thing now is that she mixes up can't and don't... so phrases like, "Can't like the sun" were common throughout our week long trip.

But the main purpose for the trip was to get to meet and get to know this smiley little bundle, Karsen. She is so happy go-lucky and content! She was born at the end of February and is our first niece! It was so fun to see my bro as a dad and to see how much Karsen loves her mama and daddy!We spent much of our time in the pool! There isn't much to do with kids in AZ in the summertime, so the family got together and had great meals and went swimming! Avery had a great time with Uncle Todd while Karsen hung out in her floaty.

Karsen is ready to take on the world, so she's not a fan of laying around on her back anymore. So she got one of these bumbo (is that the right name?) seats and was semi-entertained. Really, I just thought this was a funny picture of her.

Avery did a great job helping with Karsen! She gave her toys and her pacifier and didn't get too crazed when I was holding Karsen (progress, huh Beth??). Karsen thought Avery was pretty funny- maybe not when she held her... but in general she was a fan of her big cousin!

I'll wrap up with a picture of Avery spinning. She likes when she wears dresses that they flutter out when she spins... so she was demonstrating the flutter here. Arizona was perfect for pigtails!!!
Hope everyone is doing great! Until next time....
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Hello everyone! Sorry it's been so long since we last posted- it took us a while to get internet, then it took us a while to get our computer hooked up with all of the pictures, and then we've been a bit distracted with all of the unpacking! So, to all of you who've been waiting to hear from the Smith fam, I'm really sorry. This post should be nice and long since so much has gone on!

So let's start back in good ole' Muncie! We had a ton of awesome help getting the truck packed (thanks soo much to all of the men, and Sarah, who contributed). FYI, everything got here in one piece- some scratched and dirty, but all in one piece- so you did a great job packing!!! Then we were able to go to a farewell BBQ at Stacey's where we said some goodbye's- but mainly enjoyed our Muncie family for one more evening! We had to get Avery to bed, so a bunch of friends came over to our house where we were able to spend some more quality time with people and where the tears really flowed! It is really good to feel loved, but really sad to say goodbye. We took off the next morning with our co-pilots, James and Kelly. I can't imagine taking this road trip without their help! It was great! Kelly and I got a bit of a late start because after we locked up the Kring's house, I realized we left all of Avery's sippy cups in the fridge. Dave had a key, so he got a 7:30 am phone call to come and let us back in the house- thanks, Dave! Overall, the trip went really smoothly! Once Jeff and James figured out how to get gas in the big rental truck, they had a pretty easy time. Apparently the first stop involved 3 laps around the tanks while some old guy watched! They had to keep the speed pretty slow, so Kelly and I caught up to and passed them in no time! Our trip with Avery was fantastic! Knowing my daughter and how it could have gone, it was a huge blessing that she was relatively content much of the time. In the entire 18 hour trip we only stopped 4 times!!! She played with toys and books (that I had strategically placed within her reach), watched movies, and slept! It really was quite easy! I think Jeff and James' trip was closer to 22 hours!!

We arrived at our apartment earlier than expected, so we had plenty of time to unload the truck on Saturday. Kelly's a bit of a task-master and she kept us motivated by setting her watch for 'snack-breaks' that we never actually took, but made us feel better that maybe we'd get to rest when her watch went off. That's some strategery on her part! It could have been accidental, but I prefer to give her the benefit of the doubt! I was really surprised we got it all into our apartment on Saturday. It wasn't super organized, but it was in! Over the next few days, we tried to create order and succeeded about as much as we wanted to! It was an overwhelming task (that is still going on...) but bit by bit, we found a place for everything.

So let's discuss the apartment... there's a lot of things about it that we like and a few things that we don't like as much. It's a good size! Most of the rooms are a bit bigger than what our Rambler house was, there are just less rooms. Good closet space and a good layout! It just feels nice and roomy! So that's great- I don't think Jeff and I expected to feel like we'd be living in a 'roomy' place for the next year. It's really close to everything (if any softball girls are reading this, there's a Chic-fil-a right next door!!!). Jeff and I have joked that the shopping center next to us could sustain us for the entire year we're living here- there's a grocery store, gas station, restaurants, salons, car wash, dentist, radio shack, bank, everything! It's really quite inclusive... With all of that commerce comes traffic. And that's the only negative that we've found so far. Our particular unit is in the very back corner of the complex- so no foot traffic of other residents, we barely hear our neighbors... but it puts us right on the corner of two very, very busy roads! So, the traffic noise is really quite unbelievable! Bonus...there's also a fire station right down the road, so that just adds to the noise... is that insensitive when those men are saving people's lives? yikes. The weather here is awesome, so we can open our windows most days... but I can only take the noise for so long... I have to close them sometimes just to get some peace and quiet!!! The upside is that there are lots of trees surrounding us, so we don't really see the traffic that much, we just hear it. There are lots of bunnies and birds that live around us too- lots of entertainment for Avery! We've got two nice sized (for an apartment) outdoor areas for her to play in too!

Otherwise, Jeff and I have been setting up our home. We've found the local Target and Home Depot... I think we've found good spots for most of our favorite things and it feels quite homey now! Avery loves her room- lots of toys and a BIG GIRL BED!! We made the switch the first night and she's loved it ever since! It's really quite cute to see our girl tucked into her bed! She's only fallen out a couple of times and didn't seem too bothered by it.

We both did a drive-by of Jeff's school when we first got here and it looks a bit different that we expected. I think we expected a school with such high academic standards would look a bit newer. Jeff went today and met with the head of the science department. He said everyone seems really nice and friendly and is really excited about his work environment. We're having dinner with the head of the department tomorrow night- they have a 2 year old girl too, so Jeff's looking forward to getting to know them a bit better!

We went to our first new church over the weekend. It was hard to get a feel for it as they had a guest worship leader and guest speaker.... but it was a friendly community and Avery loved her classroom. It was potentially a bit more charasmatic than what we're looking for, but we're keeping an open mind. We know its going to be a looonnnngg process before we find the best church family to be involved with. We both got really sad during worship. The did a song that we do at the Revo- and they did it differently (and of course not nearly as cool) and it just made us both sad. I had to fight back tears a few times during the whole worship set, but the one song got Jeff.

I think we're both doing pretty well emotionally. We definitely miss friends and family! We're enjoying our daughter and getting to go swimming and to the plethera of parks they have around here! But it would be awesome to have some friends stop by, ya know??

Now that we're all up and running, we'll post more often. Hopefully not as long as this one either! I included a few pictures for your viewing enjoyment... the first one is Jeff and Avery in our new kitchen!

And then there is this gem of Avery's get up today! She really wanted to wear her bathing suit over her clothes (and did for the entire day up until her nap)! Then she found some stickers and went crazy! As you can tell, she's very proud! At one point today, she was also walking around with one purple shoe on... classic look!

Hope you're all doing great! Be sure to leave me a comment if you're reading this- that will motivate me to post more often!! :) Until next time... love you guys!

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What a great weekend! Our final weekend as Hoosiers was spent with great friends and family enjoying Indiana! We got to have a nice double-date with the Rohlfings on Friday night and reminisce on the ride home about all of our favorite memories together! Saturday was spent at Conner Prairie learning about Indiana history! It made me want to watch Little House on the Prairie again- but we got to milk a cow, help bring in the hay, pump water from a well, play games from 1836, and throw a tomahawk! Great fun watching "Uncle Edward" (who is actually Uncle Adam, for those of you who don't know our connection to the 1800's) work the farm in Liberty Corner...

Then, I was able to stay in Indy and meet a friend for a movie, dinner, dessert, and some shopping! Leah and I had a great time finding bargains, thoroughly discussing all of our favorite parts of the movie, and enjoying good food together.

More get-togethers on Sunday as we celebrated a friend's 1st Birthday! Here is a picture of Avery and her buddies at the party! These two little guys are two of Avery's favorite playmates and she lights up whenever she gets the chance to spend time with them!

We really have felt so treasured this weekend with all of the dinners and memories shared this weekend! We have always known that leaving our community here will be the hardest part of our move. As we begin our last week in Muncie, we are beginning to feel an extreme sadness that the intimacy of our friends and memories is nearing an end. The richness that comes from knowing people for years will soon be a feeling we will be longing for.

To all of you who share that richness with us, we hope you know that leaving you is very, very difficult. We probably won't miss the potholes, the plethora of fast food restaurants, or even our home on Rambler Rd. But we will greatly miss the fun, the support, the community, the book studies, the music, the movies, the play dates, the neighbors, the serving together, the comfort, the healing, the hugs, the dinners, the Sunday lunches, the sports, and the love we've experienced from and with all of you for the past 13 years.

And now on to the busyness that this week will bring... Jeff wrapping up school, Steph wrapping up at Taylor, packing a truck, and the heart-wrenching final goodbye's...
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