Saturday, December 15, 2012

Answered prayer

With all the hustle and bustle I've neglected to share some of our greatest news (besides the little one growing bigger by the day), my exceptional hubby has finally escaped the perils of tax season! Matthew is now a part of the Finance team at NAMB (North American Mission Board). This has been a prayer for many years, but he patiently waited and tried to figure out where he best belonged at this stage in life. Not only is his commute better and he has opportunities to grow within the entire Finance sector on a specific leadership path, but he will be using his talent and skill to help missionaries, disaster relief, and church plantation. We are thrilled and thanking God for all of our blessings. We praise Him in the storm, and we praise Him in our peaceful sunshine!

The Maupins took us to a great steak house- Little Alley's- in Roswell Square to celebrate the new job!
 ~Proud Buster

Monday, December 10, 2012

Joy to the World....

My favorite part of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation occurs when "Sparky" asks everyone for a "drum roll"  (and some of the grandparents can't roll their tongues the right way to make a proper drum sound) and then Clark himself sings: 'Joy to the World' loudly and rolls his own drum before the major let down. I think we should all be so extravagant when preparing for Christmas. :)

In Griswold fashion, Matthew and I opt to cut down our tree every year. This year we seemed to have missed the rush. It was slim pickens!
They also offer already cut and spruced trees for the lazy folk.
A little fuel and concentration for the upcoming task at hand.
Real men carry their trees home 20 miles in the rain, on their backs, wearing nice jeans and a polo sweater.
Real women cut down trees while they are birthing children.
Or we simply pretend we are strong by holding the tree upright.
Matthew did great! We had to get the 10 footer sized down a bit for our small apartment roof.
Kinsey Family Farm looked great at night. Just don't be sawing out there in the dark!
We had a fun start to the Christmas festivities at a church Christmas party. I love competition, so the gingerbread house theme competition was right up my alley. Can you guess what's coming out of Duchess Katherine's mouth... yep it's silly putty.
Out team didn't win, but we should have... I mean we had James Bond flying into the hospital with the Queen of England on his back. How did we lose?!!?
My favorite part of Saturday mornings... Matthew's famous French Toast!
Since I can't sew nor embroider, I came up with a great way to designate stockings! Next year it will probably say Mom instead!
There's something special about the first lighting of our family Christmas tree!
And of course in Griswold fashion (or Elf as it were) our tree barely fits with the star on top. I love its imperfections!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Food for thought

As I sit home battling with my sinuses and giving thanks each moment I can switch open air pockets from one nostril to the next, I am struck with that deep thinking that often accompanies silent night sick days. Instead of rushing to the DVD player or continuing to try and sleep through the pounding headache, I contemplate...
Have you ever wondered about "those people" that say they realized "what sinners they were" when they came to know God personally? I'm not talking about the prison patrons or once-homeless drug dealers. What about the average sweet Jane or Joe, who just seems to love the Lord? There's no way that they could have ever really been that bad. Are their words merely signs for show, wanting to seem worse than they are? No. Here's how I know. I am one of them...
I have never murdered or stolen anything. I have not been able to lie very well since I got caught in the act at age 5. I've never committed adultery, and I do not intentionally hurt others. Sure I've engaged in the usual and accepted aspects of imperfection: I covet others, I judge, and I am certainly selfish from time to time, but those "7 deadly sins" are far from existing in my personal world. Why, then, do Christians say that they are such "sinners"?
I have come to realize that when you, when I, really want to know truth, when I am open to see my true colors and heart, apart from Christ, is as black as tar. Truly, it is not a matter of being a martyr. It is a recognition of the ugliness that exists inside of me when compared to the glorious purity of God. I should be one (without all those societal "deadly sins") who knows better. Yet, I do not.... It's saddening and maddening all at once.
Then, the truth actually carries wight and meaning: despite this nature, God still chose to send His son and His spirit to dwell among us, and in us if we so desire, because of true love. It is a love story like no other, and it begins to change those colors of our hearts from within. He loves us in spite of ourselves. This fact brings me to my knees in pure gratitude that spills out in tears of humility. It is then that I begin to understand the line: amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.
Unless you want to experience this heartache turned to joy, do not ask to see yourself for who you are. Initially, it is not a pretty picture. Yet, it can be a profound encounter that will never stop changing you if you let it. Others may not understand the word "sin" that you believe exists, but you will certainly agree with the connotations when compared to the Love of your Savior.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dallas Thanksgiving

Another whirlwind start to the holiday season! Thanksgiving was filled with busy moving and lots o' eatin. I'm so thankful Matthew and I could make the 12 hour drive to Dallas (and thankful we made it back home safely) to meet my new nephew and chill with my old nephew, well he's not quite two yet...Oh and see some other family members that are barely pictured here because these boys were the focus of everyone's attention. 

Big brother Easton was adorable with little Tanner. He kept giving him kisses and whenever he'd cry, Easton would say... "uh oh, baby".  He's working on sentence completion  right now.
Tanner looks just like Easton did- sweet, cute, and edible.
I got a little practice of my own while I was there. Man am I glad we are just starting with one child at a time!
I couldn't love him more. I wish we lived closer!
We all took Easton to the Gaylord Hotel for the "Ice" exhibit. The theme this year was Madagascar. It really is amazing what they can do with large colored blocks of ice. I didn't take any pics of the theme-ice sculptures because I wanted to watch Easton's face the whole time. :)
They keep the exhibit tent at 9 degrees, so parkas had to be part of the deal! 
This was the only part of the show that wasn't colored- A scene of baby Jesus in the manger. I  loved explaining the scene to Easton.
This is my favorite pic- Mommy and Easton thankful for each other.
Easton looked a bit confused, but I think he enjoyed the slide. Is it weird that I liked the slide too?

I had been to the Gaylord in Nashville, but the one in Dallas was pretty incredible!
I love this pic of uncle Matthew and Easton. He was fascinated with Matthew's whiskers and also enjoy putting his finger in his nose right before putting it in Matthew's ear.... I waited to tell Matthew about the nose picking until Easton came down.

Uncle Matt was rocking the No shave-Movember. If Easton didn't look so happy, Matt might look like a sketchy man named Juan stealing a child. Love you uncle Matt! 

Tanner displayed how we all felt by the end of the weekend. ... Pooped. I don't think the Coors Lite had anything to do with his facial expression though. Let's hope not. 
It was finally time on the way home.... Christmas music with a gingerbread latte!!! Matthew and I know how to make a long car ride go by fast. I am so ready to decorate and get in the Christmas spirit now!!! 30 days and counting!

How could you not be thankful for laughter?  So much to give thanks for in this world. We don't even have to look hard.   Happy Thanksgiving!

~Thankful AuntBuster

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Better late than never

It's been a busy couple of weeks, hence the delay in this post. But Matthew and I couldn't let our annual pumpkin carving pass by, so we decided to have Halloween in November. After his birthday we made an excellent Jack and Jill. Our neighbors probably thought we were weird--- just blame it on the baby. I already do that for everything else- poor kid doesn't have a chance. We loved coming home the first week of November to the lit up gords and a slice of my famous Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream cake (Matthew's annual birthday request).

Can you guess which one Matthew carved?

I'm so excited for a week off of work as we prepare to give thanks after our 12 hour car ride to Dallas. I will be giving thanks for car games and Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving!!! Oh and maybe a few other significant and less trivial blessings.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Halloween and Heaven

Our last slice of fall heaven was found in Helen, GA. We met some friends of ours up there to savor the end of the season.
Bad quality pic, but the Clausens are true campers! Daniel slept in a hammock the whole night!
My little nephew Easton is growing up too fast. Not sure how he got the boo boo, but I'm sure he got to say boo last Wednesday and received some candy to wipe away his tears.

How precious is my new nephew. Not even two months old yet. I can't wait to meet him at Thanksgiving!

Almost 18 weeks! We are almost half way there. I feel huge sometimes, but then I do all my dancer stretches, so I make myself feel better that way. :) It's all about perspective.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Thinking of Thanksgiving

I'm thankful that even if I haven't run as much as
much as I used to, I'm able to walk and run
a little more now and enjoy the best season.
This cool fall weather makes me think about how thankful I am and with all of life's changes and trees changing recently, changing my gratitude to encompass so many more little luxuries of life is critical.

I'm so thankful for how the colors have popped lately, and I'm thankful for large plates of pasta and rice. Baby Smith loves those carbs.

Matthew and I took our annual pumpkin-patch-pick trip, and I'm so thankful God makes funny looking things called "gords" 
I'm thankful for those random outcasts that make our lives interesting.

I'm thankful baby Smith is growing strong and no longer looks like this in the ultrasound photos!

Um... I just had to ask about the pumpkin that is known as... the "Pink Banana". I hope to carve one of these next year!
I'm thankful it smells like fall.... oh you can't describe it if you've never smelled it. 
I'm thankful for old friends! We had a busy weekend last weekend, and got to see a lot of great friends at an engagement shower!
I'm thankful for these girls for sure!
And these girls!... and maxi skirts that help me hold my lump easier.  (Not  necessarily in that order.)
I'm thankful for love and for these two kids finally getting ready to share the same last name after 10 years! Congrats Laur and Clay!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Camping time

It's that time again- Smiths get on the trails of North Georgia and sleep outside! 
This time was a bit different, a nicely prepared (developed as they like to call it) campsite with  a kitchen table and stove. 
One of our friends went camping with their kids for the first time and told us about this site- the land wasn't free, but they already booked it for two nights and only used one. So we were lakeside! Carters Lake in Chatsworth, GA. Living large folks.
The previous tenants (our friends) left us a  lovely moss garden village.
Matthew and I figured out that we've probably gone camping 20-25 times over the course of our relationship, and we never thought to invest in this bad boy. Now that sleeping is essential with a little one, I don't know if I can ever go back. Welcome to the family Bernie. 
Look at that fresh nature glow! Matthew said it best: all couples should camp. It gets you back to the basics- build shelter, find a way to get warm with fire, make food, eat food, enjoy quiet quality time. Very cave-couple of us. We love it!
This is one of my favorite parts of camping- SMORES. Yes please.
Had our own sweetly colorful outdoor church!
As gross as this looks, I had to share because it was tasty. If you are trying to get some good veggies, but really want that comfort of pasta try this recipe. I just changed the pasta because it was all I had at the time.

Spinach-Ricotta Pesto Pasta with Crisp Prosciutto and Asparagus