Merry Christmas Eve’s Eve, y’all! I hope all of you have wonderful plans for Christmas the next few days!
As we wind down 2016, I decided that this week, I’d like to look back on the year, and talk about my five fave things that happened to us this year! 2016 was a big year for us, so it was hard to narrow it down. I feel like I’ve heard from a lot of people that 2016 was a little crummy on the whole, and that might be true for some, but I think it was pretty good 😉 This is kind of long, but bear with me! Like I said, we had a lot going on!!
1. Our Wedding
Steven and I met in our first semester of graduate/medical school (Fall 2012), and have dated ever since. We got engaged at the end of February 2015, and finally, on March 5, 2016, we were married!
We had our ceremony in the church I grew up in, which is an old military chapel that was moved to its current location later. It is the classic white clapboard church with wood paneling and steeple.
We wanted a ceremony that included family tradition and focus on the Lord as the center of our marriage. With that in mind, I was able to wear my mom’s dress from my parents’ wedding 30 years prior (with a little revamp- it originally had long sleeves and a turtleneck), and we had a moment in the ceremony when both our sets of parents were invited up to discuss the combined over 60 years they have been married and the example they have set for us. Between our parents and all our sets of grandparents, we are blessed to have many great examples of long-lasting marriage.
Our reception was at The Depot, which was the old train depot that has been renovated into an event space. It fit perfectly with our somewhat vintage/ antique theme!
These first ten months have been sweet, and we are looking forward to many, many more years! I feel compelled to throw out the cheesy standard line about how wonderful it is to be married to your best friend, and honestly, it’s pretty true. I have loved this man for the last five years, and my love for him continues to grow each day. I pray we always have a marriage that glorifies the Lord through all circumstances, and that it continues to strengthen as time passes.
All wedding photos courtesy of Olive Tree Photography/ Corie Williams
2. Hawaiian Honeymoon
Two months after our wedding, we were finally done with school/ internships and were able to take our honeymoon!
Our adventure began interestingly! We started out in Midland (where Steven’s parents live). Our flight path was starting with a 5 AM flight from Midland to Dallas, and then a mid-morning flight from Dallas directly to Honolulu, Hawaii, which was supposed to land about noon Hawaiian time. The night before, we were busy packing and getting ready, and resigning ourselves to the fact that we were basically going to get a few hours nap worth of sleep, as we were still up late packing, and had to be at the airport at 4 AM. At midnight, my mother-in-law’s cell phone rang- it was American Airlines. Our original flight from Midland was cancelled, and we were put on a flight an hour or two later (I don’t remember the exact times anymore!). We were still okay to catch our connection, so we decided this was just a blessing to get more sleep before we started on our journey.
The next morning, we got up and my mother-in-law dropped us off at the airport with plenty of time to spare. We boarded as normal, then had a bumpy take-off to Dallas. About half-way through the flight (which is a 45 minute flight, friends), the captain came on and said they were having difficulty equalizing the cabin pressure, so they were turning around to land and fix the problem. (And yes, you read that right– we were halfway to Dallas and turned around and went back to Midland. 😐 )
So, we de-planed and waited for answers. Our flight wasn’t leaving Dallas until around 11:30, so they told us to keep our original flights, but put us on standby for an alternate flight in case we missed it.
We missed it. They fixed everything on the plane, and we landed in Dallas about 10 minutes after our original flight was scheduled to leave. We got new tickets for our new flight, and enjoyed a great lunch at Pappadeaux’s (The DFW airport is basically it’s own city, with everything you could think of!). There were no more direct flights, so we ended up heading from Dallas to LA. We had one hour at LAX, where we enjoyed some delicious pizza, and scouted for celebrities around the terminal (I’m so out of touch on famous people these days, we joked we were probably looking straight at some celebrities and had no idea!). Then, we went from LA straight to Honolulu. It was about 9 or 10 PM Honolulu time when we got to our hotel and we were bushed- it was quite an adventure!
We had basically one day in Honolulu, so we did a trolley tour through the city, Pearl Harbor (amazing!!), and then dinner and a walk on Waikiki Beach.
The next day, we took an early flight from Honolulu to Kahului, Maui. We stayed at a nice condo resort in Kihei that was right on the beach and it was perfect- just a few people in the complex, so it was quiet. We were close to places to eat in Kihei, but most of the tourist crowd was about 20 minutes away in Lahaina. We went over to Lahaina for a few days (hello, Bubba Gump’s!! 🙂 ) for shopping and our luau, but it was nice to come back to quiet.
On one morning, we packed up in our rental car to set out on the Road to Hana. It was a little drizzly, and our rental car’s windshield wipers weren’t working amazingly, so we called the company to ask for new wipers. They said no, they’d have to give us a new car. 😐 So, we set out in our new car, and got just past the last town of any decent size when the tire pressure gauge light came on… We ended up turning in to this suuuuuper small town called Haiku where there was a True Value Hardware ran by two old white men (witness protection?? We have no idea how they ended up there!). Steven had to pay $10 for a tire pressure gauge that told us the tire was indeed low. We drove back to the last decent sized town, refilled the tire, and set back out. For those that aren’t familiar, the Road to Hana is only about 50 miles, but it has over 600 sharp curves, and over 50 one-way bridges (only one car can fit at a time), meaning it takes at least 2-4 hours to drive it, especially in the rain.
Friends, when I say I get carsick easily, I’m not joking. I was SO SICK by the end of this drive, and there were times I’m pretty sure the only reason I didn’t hurl was because there was no where to pull over to on the road. We stopped about 2/3 of the way through at an arboretum to get out, take pictures, and help settle my stomach. It had views of several waterfalls and the ocean. After that, we kept going and made it to the state park with the black sand beaches- gorgeous! It was only about fifteen more minutes into Hana from there. And y’all- there is nothing in Hana. I mean, not to be anti-climactic, but there was not much to see after that ridiculous drive. And we got to get back in the car and do it all over again! In the end, we’re glad we did it, but I don’t think we’re aiming to ever do it again!
We had so much fun in Hawaii! At the end, we bought a dozen pineapples (which American lets you check for free!) and flew home, leaving Maui around 5 in the afternoon and landing in Dallas around five the next morning. We got to Midland by mid morning and crashed! And two days later, we were in Lubbock for my graduation!
Speaking of graduation… As soon as we got back from Hawaii, we went to Lubbock for my graduation…
Bonus- in between our graduations, we left and went to Temple to close on our house… (that’s baby Ruger in the driveway!)
And then went back to Lubbock for Steven’s graduation!
We are so glad to be done with school! Eight years is a loooooong time to be in school after high school! I have to say, I was excited for my graduation (because four years of grad school was more than enough!), but I think I was more excited for Steven’s. My heart was just so full of pride for him, and all that he’s accomplished. Medical school is no joke. It is stressful for the person in school, and for those around them. Maybe one day, when this little blog is a little more off the ground, I’ll have more discussions about what it is like to date someone in med school, or be a residency wife. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, and I knew what I was getting into, but you’d be surprised how many people assume it’s all rainbows and sunshine. Ha! I love how much Steven has a heart for his patients and works to provide excellent care for them. He has big dreams and works really hard every day to get a little closer to them, which is one of the things I love most about him. I’m very proud to be the Dr. Mrs. Dr. Smith! 😉
4. Ruger and Gump
Y’all know how I feel about these munchkins! Adding these two to our family has been the biggest blessing!
They continue to get smarter and more disciplined and well-behaved every day. We are dedicated black lab lovers at this point, and our loyalty belongs to Crumpler Kennels for as long as they are breeding.
5. Learning to Drive the Boat
This one is a little off the path of me just recapping the year, but it was truly one of my favorite moments of 2016.
In late May/ early June, we went with Steven’s family on a 10 day fishing trip to Choke Canyon State Park.
Y’all. I am not really a camper or an outdoorsy kind of girl. I have learned to get better about that kind of thing since Steven and I have been together, but I’m still not all in. I’m not a huge fan of having to walk (especially at night, in the dark) to a separate building to use the bathroom. All that being said, this was really a very fun trip. Just a perfect example of how anything can be really fun if you are with the right people.
Now, when we were actually fishing, they do things a little differently than your average fisherman- no rods or reels. They set out lines. This is a long string with multiple sets of hooks that is either tied to trees on either end, or tied to an empty plastic jug and left to float in the water. So, multiple times a day, you drive out in the boat, pull up each line, hopefully pull fish off each hook on the line, rebait them all, and then come back later to do it all again.
We would typically go out early (7:30-ish), and check the lines, then we would have breakfast, and then the boys would go check them again around lunch time. While they were out one afternoon, I was discussing with Rae (my mother-in-law) how I felt pretty useless in the boat. Steven would have to drive us to where we were going, then stop the boat, then come to the front to check the line, then go back to drive us to the next stop. I mean, I could hand him bait and all that, but big whoop. That wasn’t helping a whole lot!
She said that if Steven would teach me to drive the boat, that would be something that would be helpful, but easy for me to do. And, it would also help me to not get quite as nauseous out on the water (I apparently get seasick as well as carsick 😐 ).
So, when the boys came in a little bit later, Steven walked into his parents’ cabin to get a snack and a drink, and walked out putting his life jacket back on, and telling me that we were headed to the boat. He was going to give me a driving lesson.
I was pretty overconfident that I would be awesome at this, and truth be told, I was not particularly great. It is different that regular driving because it is a tiller motor, so you turn the handle in different directions to give more or less gas, and then turn the motor to change direction, which is somewhat difficult if you aren’t accustomed to it. And, your success depends on more than just your level of expertise– the wind and waves were not always my friends.
But, that afternoon, I learned and reaffirmed some things about my husband. He is never too tired or not interested in helping me. He is patient and kind (even when I run us into trees). He doesn’t act like a know-it-all when teaching, and works to make sure you understand before moving on. He is precise and simple in instruction, only repetitive when you need it, and never raises his voice or lets a frustrated tone creep in (even at times when I knew he had to be frustrated!).
He is truly one of a kind. I knew I was (am) blessed to be married to him, but that was a special reaffirming moment for me. As we continue on in the years, I pray that he keeps these qualities, and that I keep whatever qualities he loves about me, with both of us growing in these qualities together.
2016 was a huge year for us!
Obviously, I can’t make this list five miles long, but I definitely want to throw out the honorable mention of moving to Temple and finding the amazing community we have at our new church. We love Western Hills Church of Christ, between the friends we have made in small group, and the amazing and deep sermons we get on Sunday mornings. This is a church with a huge heart for its people and the Lord, and we feel so blessed to be a part of it!
As we move into 2017, we are gearing up for another year of residency, and life here in Temple. I’ve got some goals I want to accomplish over the next year, which I believe we will discuss in next week’s #favefive 😉
Until then, I want to wish everyone a blessed Christmas!