Ch-ch-changes (The Smiths in 2017)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


We love exploring the city and food at places like YJ’s.

We hope you’ve had a good year. Our 2017 has been full of changes (we’ll now get David Bowie stuck in your head), and while that’s made for a crazy feeling much of the year, the changes have been good overall. We’ve been getting settled in our house, meeting new neighbors and learning new patterns and schedules in our new location. We love where we live and that it offers more chances to host friends and family, be involved in our church and explore the city.

The biggest changes are with Ian. He stopped going to daycare in June and stayed home with Jon for the summer before starting school. We are so thankful for Christina and her family opening their home to Ian the past few years. He loved being there and we are grateful for the safe, caring, educational space he enjoyed being a part of.

Ian started school in August. It’s been an adjustment (he falls asleep on the way home most days), but so far he seems to like school and going downtown with mom every day. His favorite classes right now are art and science. He’s very proud of making a comic book and other art projects and enjoys talking about what scientists can do. He also played soccer for the first time this fall. It’s a bit like controlled chaos at the kindergarten level, but we’ll probably try to do it a bit longer and see how much he wants to pursue it.

2017_8Another big change this fall was the loss of Grandma B. She was the only one of Kate’s grandparents that Ian’s been able to know, and the past several years we’ve stayed at her house when visiting Ohio. Our time with her has been sweet and she and Ian had a special bond. We’re glad we had time with her in July and got to make a few last memories. It was difficult to go back for her funeral over Labor Day weekend, but the time with family was important. We’re now seeing her home for the last time this holiday and are seeing a lot of changes to how we celebrate Christmas going forward as we plan on starting our own traditions in KC next year.

Jon went back to being a special ed co-teacher this fall after a year teaching math. He’s also in his second year leading a team of teachers. The adjustment has been fairly smooth and he’s been able to manage time paperwork a bit better this year. Kate got moved into a slightly different job within her office over the summer and is doing more with social media right now. The organization she went back to in 2015 continues to restructure, change and grow. We’re not sure where that will lead in the coming year, but are going with the flow and trying to adapt to each new development.


We’ve loved finding cool places to explore along the banks the of Mississippi River on trips to Ohio.

Jon has been playing in a few bands with friends this year, more than the past couple of years, and he’s still playing with the music team at our church. Kate has spent some time volunteering at Ian’s school, mostly through a reading buddy program, which has been fun. It’s also been a big music year in Kansas City. Time together has involved seeing Robert Glasper, Radiohead, Herbie Hancock, U2 and Slowdive. Jon even got to see Echo and the Bunnymen this summer.

We know 2018 will bring more changes, adjustments and new opportunities. It will also bring a chance to open up our home more as we immerse our family in our community in new ways. As so much in the world seems to be falling apart, we hope we can be a light and we look forward to having you in our lives over the next year.

Much love from the Smiths!




I had to take our dog to the vet and have him put to sleep last night. We’ve known for months that his health was failing and this day would come, but that didn’t make it any easier once the time arrived. Last night was rough.¬†Today, it’s a little easier to think about. There’s a mix of sadness and relief in the strange reality that Einstein isn’t here. It was hard to see him struggle to live, and even harder to decide to end his life, but at the same time we know it’s good that he’s no long suffering with so much pain and a body that couldn’t really function anymore.

Jon and Ian got to say goodbye to Einstein. I don't know if Ian really understood the idea that Ein wasn't going to come home, but he was very sweet with the dog in seeing him for the last time.

Jon and Ian got to say goodbye to Einstein. I don’t know if Ian really understood the idea that Ein wasn’t going to come home, but he was very sweet with the dog in seeing him for the last time.

Jon stayed home with Ian and my brother, Richard, went with me, which I really appreciated. When Rich lived with us he was Einstein’s roommate in our extra bedroom and took the dog for long runs that Jon and I couldn’t do. He took care of the dog after Ian was born and we were consumed with a child and jobs, and continued to help this past year as Einstein’s health got worse. Einstein was as much his dog as ours of late, and he felt the events of last night just as much as I did.

I have to say, our vet is a wonderful man. Thank you to Dr. Maxwell and Union Hill Animal Hospital for making something awful and difficult as relatively easy as possible. Einstein was always comfortable with going to the vet. The staff was always very caring, and last night they were so reassuring and sympathetic. They enabled us to grieve, but to know that we were doing the right thing at the right time, and they let Einstein’s life end very peacefully.

Many people are very attached to pets, so I know lots of others have dealt with this situation. In thinking about Einstein, I think one reason our dog had a special place in my heart was due to the fact that he must have had some terrible moments early in life and was glad to be in a decent home. We knew that when he was adopted from a shelter he had signs of an animal who’d been abused or suffered trauma (like fear of certain noises and types of people for awhile). This past fall we found out what part of that was. An xray showed his body was being taken over by cancerous growths and that he was full of BBs. This dog, who was so sweet and smart and easy going, had once been the target of someone’s gun. It’s sickening and upsetting. So, to get on a soapbox for a brief moment, care for animals. If you want a pet, adopt from shelters and rescues and provide a home (and maybe some healing) to an animal who needs it. And if you can’t care for an animal, then don’t get one. Animals aren’t people, but they do have feelings and want to be loved and cared for. If you can do that, then do something wonderful for the pet that enters your life.