Our look at 2013

Greetings from the Smiths!

We hope those of you reading this are doing well and enjoying the holidays.

Ian's first hotel stay was in Ashland, KY for his great grandpa's funeral. It was a sad time, but he brought a lot of joy to the weekend.

Ian’s first hotel stay was in Ashland, KY for his great grandpa’s funeral. It was a sad time, but he brought a lot of joy to the weekend.

2013 has been a crazy year for us, but a fun one, too. It has mostly been filled with work and time with family. Here’s an overview of what we’ve been up to in 2013 …

Ian is really the highlight of our year. He’s moved fully into being a little boy and no longer seems babyish to us. He talks all the time and acquires new words every day. He identifies letters, numbers and sometimes colors. He’s obsessed with cars, trucks, trains, music, books and monkeys (especially his sock monkeys and Curious George). Ian began to thoroughly explore outdoors this year, and he notices everything. We love seeing him grow and do new things. He’s very energetic, playful and outgoing, and is usually a lot to keep up with, but we are having a blast as his parents. As you’ll read below, we’ve really focused on time with Ian and close family when not at work.

Kate’s Papaw Bob passed away at the beginning of the year. He was very special to us. He’d lived with Alzheimer’s for a few years, and it had been a couple of years since we’d been able to visit him (he was living in San Fransisco, CA), so his unexpected death was difficult to process. We made a quick trip to Ashland, KY, for the funeral. It was hectic, since we’d just been in Ohio for Christmas, but we had family time with some people we rarely see, many of whom got to meet Ian for the first time. Gathering for funerals is never ideal, but it was a wonderful to be with everyone. We enjoyed repeating Pop’s infamous stories and tales of his generosity and love of family. Kate hopes to someday get things about him in writing. In March, we had to put our dog, Einstein, to sleep, so the first part of the year was emotionally rough.

Jon and Ian checked out the cool games in the Sub Shop in Columbia, MO while on our way to see a cousin's baseball game.

Jon and Ian checked out the cool games in the Sub Shop in Columbia, MO while on our way to see a cousin’s baseball game.

We took Ian to his first baseball game in March. Kate’s cousin played for the University of San Fransisco and had a series of games at the University of Missouri. We drove a couple hours to see him play and meet up with lots of family for a day. It was really fun and meant a lot, since we’d all just been together a couple of months before for Papaw’s funeral. Kate’s parents then came back to Kansas City to visit for a week and we enjoyed some additional time with them.

Jon’s teaching job kept him quite busy through the winter and spring, and continues to do so now. We are very grateful he finally got back into teaching last year and that he is able to do well with students who have a variety of special needs. We don’t want to make it seem easy, because it’s not. He puts in long hours and deals with some very stressful and delicate situations. That said, he’s able to show care and respect to kids that most people don’t want to deal with, and his coworkers see his efforts and are very supportive. He works with some great people and they all try to keep each other from going too crazy or getting burnt out.

We spent a lot of time at KC parks this year. It's been awesome to explore them as a family.

We spent a lot of time at KC parks this year. It’s been awesome to explore them as a family.

Kate’s job at a professional membership association is going well and she had her five-year anniversary with them in June. Her responsibilities continue to grow and evolve. She enjoys the challenge, but it makes for some hectic days. She now handles the association’s social media and does more with the membership department communications and marketing items. She has started getting involved in a local society for association professionals and is excited about opportunities that may come there. One nice aspect of the job is that Kate gets a lot of time off, so we’ve been able to spend time with her family when we’ve wanted to and she’s had days home with Ian.

We made a trip to Ohio in July to see Kate’s family. We didn’t fill our time with too many things to do and people to see, keeping it pretty low key and relaxing, which was needed. We let Ian really explore outside and have a great time with grandparents. He even went to Young’s Dairy for the first time. We also took a short trip over Labor Day weekend to north central Arkansas. Some friends from KC have moved south, and we spent a couple of days wandering through small towns and enjoying the Ozark scenery while hanging out with them. Jon had two breaks around teaching summer school, so he spent a lot of time with Ian before school started (read about it here).

It's amazing to see Ian becoming a little boy. We love this new phase of parenthood where we help him explore the world.

It’s amazing to see Ian becoming a little boy. We love this new phase of parenthood where we help him explore the world.

In November, we had Ian’s second birthday and our 10th wedding anniversary. Jon’s dad and step-mom helped Ian celebrate by treating him to his first overnight stay with grandparents. We appreciated their gift of watching Ian for two days so that we could celebrate our anniversary for a weekend. Having two days to ourselves was a much needed chance to slow down for a minute and enjoy being a couple. We stayed at an awesome KC B&B, ate at great new restaurants, enjoyed the art museum and getting coffee without a toddler in tow, listened to live jazz and got reacquainted with what grown ups do in our city. It was wonderful.

The end of the year has been a blur. Jon’s had a huge amount of work on nights and weekends, Kate’s job has been on overdrive, we’ve been trying to do holidays and see family and it has been a bit insane. We both have quite a bit of time off for Christmas and New Year’s and are enjoying the break and time with family and friends. We’re hoping to figure out more time with people in 2014. Days are flying by and we feel like we’ve not grown friendships as we’d like. If you are like us and feel the pace of life taking over, we hope you’ll also take a moment to reflect on what is most important and adjust your time accordingly.

Ian loves music and playing the organ (and any other thing that makes noise).

Ian loves music and playing the organ (and any other thing that makes noise).

Much love to you from Jon, Kate and Ian!

P.S. – Jon’s music this year has been mostly at church, not with a rock band. If you’re interested, there are some recordings online of songs written this year by musicians at the church. This particular project was related to communion. Many of the songs use old texts set to new music and some are all original material . The recordings are from church services and are wonderful to listen to. Jon’s contribution is here.

And the time goes so quickly …

Ian in January 2012

Ian in January 2012

Yesterday was Christmas! We can’t believe the year is practically over. We’ve had a really good year, it has just gone by so quickly!

To state the obvious, we’ve been terrible at blogging. At one time, there were grand ideas of our blog getting regular updates about us, and especially about Ian, but time for that is elusive. Ian’s first year has been wonderful, but we tend to be short on free time. We’re doing good to post pictures on Facebook or somewhere from our phones. If you are reading this, then we hope you are in touch with us elsewhere to see the things we do manage to share.

Ian and guitar May 2012

Ian and guitar May 2012

Aside from the busyness of life not allowing for time to do everything we want to do (and sometimes need to do), we have much to be grateful for. As Jon posted several months ago, he finally got a long-awaited teaching job. While the income is much-needed, it has been a very demanding job with a steep learning curve. He’s encountered more than expected, with a pretty challenging group of students with some difficult things to overcome, but he’s been thankful for good coworkers and a lot of overall support from the Gillis organization for his work in the school, and that helps make things a little easier.

The Smiths at Truman Lake, August 2012

The Smiths at Truman Lake, August 2012

Ian is now over a year old! We enjoyed celebrating his first birthday and our ninth anniversary on November 1. Ian never ceases to amaze us and he’s a fun little guy to have around. He has a sweet, energetic personality and he keenly observes everything. He’s a quick learner, rarely sits still (though he loves books) and always wants to be in on whatever is going on. He’s now walking and trying to talk more and more. We are truly enjoying watching him grow and develop new skills. The kidney and bladder reflux issues that were a concern when he was born have been gradually clearing up on their own, so we hope that it eventually goes away completely without any surgery. The doctor didn’t think that would happen, so we are grateful for the progress! If you haven’t seen them, we’re occasionally posting videos on YouTube, so check out Jon’s channel to see clips of Ian doing all sorts of things.

Ian, dressed as Mickey Mouse for Halloween

Ian, dressed as Mickey Mouse for Halloween

Kate is still working full-time, and will be for awhile. We had originally hoped she could stay home whenever kids came along, but that wasn’t possible. Luckily, she enjoys her job and has some terrific coworkers. In a funny twist of events, she even got offered a bit of a promotion upon returning to work after Ian was born, which was nice and unexpected. She’s now more involved in various marketing and communications functions for the association and has been a big part of increasing their social media usage.

The Smiths 11/1/2012

The Smiths 11/1/2012

We’ve been very fortunate to have great childcare for Ian. Jon’s stepmom was wonderful with him through June, and after a summer home with Jon, he’s now at a great small, in-home daycare near our house. He’s with three other toddlers/preschoolers and doing really well there. Between job responsibilities and trying to keep up with Ian, we’ve not done much else. Kate didn’t do much with winterguard this past season, and she’s stopped volunteering at the art museum for now. Jon’s not done as much musically. He’s been taking a break from playing with a band and has just done a little recording and some playing with the worship team at church.

The Smiths December 2012 (our only non-blurry photo with Ian)

The Smiths December 2012 (our only non-blurry photo with Ian)

We’ve spent a good deal of time over the past year reflecting on how God has taken care of us and provided for us when we had no idea how things would come together. It’s been humbling and awe-inspiring to receive the support we did from family and friends around Ian’s arrival. We may never know why things happened the way they did over the past several years, but we know that God has guided us every step of the way.

We hope that this finds you doing well and enjoying the holidays.

Love from Jon, Kate and Ian (and Einstein)

Ian plays and talks.

It has worked out well that Katy puts Ian to bed (usually later than I can stay up) and I get him up early. Around 5:00, I prepare him to leave with Katy to spend the day at Grandma’s house. Occasionally he will immediately fall asleep after he eats, but most mornings, he stays awake and plays.

Because some of our family has yet to hear him try to talk, I took a video of him playing on his mat yesterday morning. He is such a fun guy.

And that’s Wire’s album, Pink Flag, playing in the background.



Introducing…Ian Parker Smith!

Ian, at birth

A week ago tonight, Kate gave birth to our first child, Ian Parker Smith.  He was born at 6:41 pm on November 1, 2011 (our eighth anniversary).  He measured 19.5 inches long and weighed six pounds and one ounce.

We made a couple videos for out-of-town friends and relatives.  The first showcases his long fingers and big feet.

Since newborns spend so little of their time awake, this second one catches him with his eyes open.

Jonathon’s sister and brother-in-law visited on Sunday and took a picture.  Kate was less than flattered by the family pictures in the hospital, in her glamour gown, so we figured we should get a few, nicer shots.  This is one of them.

-Jonathon and Kate


Yesterday I attended Katy’s appointment with the obstetrician. While it was just a routine weekly visit at the end of her pregnancy, it also served as a follow-up to last week’s visit to a specialist at the hospital. Doctors have been monitoring a blockage between Ian’s right kidney and the bladder for a while, and after reviewing everything from the ultrasound last week, they feel it has worsened. Since we’re at 38 weeks and Ian is doing well otherwise, they want to induce labor just before the due date. They want to make sure he is born and can get treated before the blockage potentially closes completely, which would cut off the kidney and cause issues with it functioning.

Right now, the plan is for us to go to the hospital the evening of October 31, and they will induce labor early the next morning. Ian will probably be born on November 1, our 8th wedding anniversary.


As the “dude date” approaches …

J and K being cute at the baby shower

It’s been awhile since we’ve updated things, and there’s news on the baby front to share as the due date draws very near.

Our good friends Jonathan and Lena Andrews hosted a co-ed open house shower for us on September 10, with Jon’s dad and step-mom supplying much of the amazing array of food, and my job hosted one for me on September 13. Both were fun and we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of those around us. Our son has been provided with most of his basic necessities, and we cannot begin to fully express our appreciation for all of the things we’ve received. We’ve been slow in getting all of the thank-you notes out for gifts, but they are coming, and there are people we simply can’t thank enough for prayers and encouragement through this crazy experience.

Kate's baby shower at work

At the baby shower, Jon announced that we’d picked out a name for the baby. For those who haven’t heard yet, his name is Ian Parker Smith. Ian is a name I’ve always liked, and it’s the Scottish form of John, so he’s somewhat named after his dad. The name means “God is gracious,” and we hope that’s reflected in Ian’s life. Contrary to popular opinion, Ian did not come from the host of 80’s British rock heroes Jon has, though he did pay tribute to some on a recent podcast. He did base the middle name on a musical icon, though, deciding to honor Charlie Parker, the great alto saxophonist from Kansas City. If he could have had his way, Jon probably would have given Ian about 10 names to cover his favorite musicians.

Jon and his dad finishing the crib assembly

My brother, Richard, moved out around the time of our baby showers. We’ve enjoyed having him around the past two and a half years, and he’s been a huge help when we’ve needed it. We’re glad he moved close by, so he’ll still be around a lot. Since his move, we’ve gradually been getting the extra bedroom ready for Ian. A couple of weeks ago, Jon and his dad put the crib together while his step-mom and I got everything else somewhat organized. As everything comes together, it is a strange, but wonderful experience to step in the room and think about a little boy living there soon.

We do have a couple of things to share and ask for prayers about. One is for Ian. I’ve been going in periodically for ultrasounds since July to monitor his kidneys. At my mid-pregnancy ultrasound, one looked bigger than the other. It’s not been a huge concern so far, and the doctors have downplayed it, so we’ve not talked about it much. This past week my doctor checked on things, and thought it looked worse, especially since now the bladder appeared to have issues. I had a more detailed sonogram at the hospital, and it confirmed a blockage between the right kidney and bladder, and the bladder now looks distended. Luckily, things are not quite as bad as my doctor feared, but they don’t know the cause of the problem, and Ian will need to see a specialist after being born. There’s also a possibility my doctor will want to induce labor a little early, something we’d prefer not to do for a number of reasons.

Jon's step-mom was very helpful with organizing baby stuff

With that, as we prepare for Ian’s birth, we’re still wrestling with Jon’s need of another job. We had been trying to wait to have kids until he could support a family, and so we’re now in a situation we’d hoped to avoid. I will be going back to work full-time within a few weeks of Ian’s arrival, and we’re starting to feel the financial impact of Jon’s long-term underemployment. We aren’t sure what life will be like, other than really crazy. We have no idea why Jon hasn’t been able to find a teaching job (or anything else for that matter), but we know life is going to be stressful with the baby, and it will be difficult to make things work.

To end on a positive note, other than the kidney issue, Ian seems to be fine. He’s almost six pounds, and everything else looks fairly normal. In spite of less than ideal circumstances, we are excited to welcome him into our lives. We know becoming parents will be an amazing experience, even though we’ll have a rough start. It’s incredible to watch Ian grow, and see and feel movements. I can’t imagine what it will be like to actually hold him. Thank you again to everyone who has shown us love and support. Please keep us in your prayers. Hopefully the next baby update will be about the arrival of a beautiful, healthy boy.


This is Ian's room. We're working on the finishing touches and getting a few more things put away.

Gift Registry Info for Baby Smith

Many people have recently inquired about where we are registered. If you would like to help us prepare for our first child, you can go through Babies R Us and/or Amazon.com. Both registries are under the names Jonathon and Katherine Smith, and links to each are below. We cannot thank everyone enough for their love and support as we get ready for the arrival of our son!

Babies R Us – Registry #46996466

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/registry/baby/SHJOT1GXS40B

Dude …

As summer gets into full swing, we’re now halfway (21 weeks or so) into the journey that is preparing for the arrival of our baby. Everything has gone well so far. I’ve been tired, but not had a lot of morning sickness. At each doctor visit, the baby has had a good heart beat and we both seem healthy. Jon and I have made a few purchases, and been given some amazing things, and can’t believe the wonderful deals and great gifts we’ve stumbled into recently. We are very, very thankful for all of this.

Jon can now officially use his "dude date" phrase

The reason we are posting this little update today is because we have some pretty exciting news. Today was an ultrasound day. So many people have asked if we would find out the gender, and we were able to do just that this afternoon. I won’t keep anyone in suspense, after all, the title of this post gives it away … we are having a boy! 🙂

Our little guy wasn’t too cooperative for pictures today, but he did let us see right away that we have a boy coming this fall. We’re putting two photos up for all to see. They are the best two we got. He was moving around a lot during the ultrasound, but stayed kind of curled up most of the time, and never gave the tech gave enough of every view she wanted. At least you get to see how we found out he’s a boy, and see his face, which he briefly turned right towards us.

a first look from our son

We’re pretty excited. We’ve tended to think more in terms of a boy than a girl, and so it was fun to find out that maybe we had some intuition about things that was right. But beyond learning that we will have a boy, it was amazing to see how he’s growing and that everything seems to be developing as it should be for the most part. Even with his body not usually being in the best position for the ultrasound, the tech was still able to point out everything she was looking for and tell us that he’s just over one pound in weight. It was an incredible afternoon.

So, now we’re looking forward to picking out a name and more fully planning for life with our son. We’ll keep you all posted once there’s more news. Have a wonderful July 4th holiday weekend!

~ K

April Showers Bring Overdue Updates & Big Announcements

J&K discovering Kaw Point Park recently (& realizing the sun & downtown KC were in the wrong spots)

As some of you may have noticed, we’ve been a little quiet on what we’ve been up to lately. We didn’t get out Christmas cards with our usual end of the year letter in December 2010, and we’ve also not said much on the blog about the details of our lives recently. We now have some big news to share, so here’s what’s going on with us and some highlights of the past year or so.

Kate finished her Master of Liberal Arts degree in December (which is largely why no Christmas cards got mailed out). She is very relieved to be completely done with school, and it’s nice that now neither of us have classes or homework worry about. Katy has continued to judge winterguard competitions around Missouri, and just finished her second season serving as the Secretary for the local judges association. She’s still working at IAAO helping with marketing/communications and general office needs, and occasionally volunteering at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Jon’s band, My Science Fiction Twin, has been re-energized after not doing much for a few years. They’ve played several shows around Kansas City and are hoping to do some recording soon. Jon also set up a web site with all of his solo material. This past fall he was asked to help organize and host a series of concerts at Bennetti’s Coffee Experience. Bands played in the parking lot every Saturday in October, and it seemed to be a good experience for all involved. Jon is still working as a paraprofessional at Raytown Middle School and has seen his student make great progress (Jon was even nominated for Support Staff of the Year). He continues to seek a teaching or administrative position, and got certified in math in hopes opening additional doors for job opportunities.

We’ve changed churches over the past year. After being in one place for our entire marriage, we realized it was time to find somewhere closer and with more of a focus on certain things we valued. We’re currently wrapping up the membership process at Redeemer Fellowship in mid-town Kansas City. We’ve appreciated the church’s commitment to great teaching and to community involvement. It’s also been wonderful to start connecting with people around where we live, work, and hang out.

Finally, the big news we promised at the beginning (don’t you love that we made you wait until the very end) …

Hey! Who turned out the lights in here?? - March 31, 2011

We’re going to have a baby! We found out in mid-March that Kate was pregnant, and she’s just reached the end of the first trimester. The due date is currently set at November 4, 2011. So far everything has gone really well, with good health reports and minimal sickness, so we pray it remains that way. Most people we’ve told have asked if we’ll find out the baby’s gender, and we think we will. It just seems easier for planning and gift registry purposes.

We’re obviously a bit nervous about Jon’s job situation and becoming parents for the first time, but we’re also very excited as we’ve wanted to start a family at some point, and we believe that God must have a better plan in mind than we do.

It looks like our eighth anniversary and Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays will be very busy and extra special this year!

We hope all is well with those of you reading.

Grace, Peace and Love,
Jon, Kate, and baby Smith
(and Einstein, who we hope likes babies in six months)