Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thankful doesn't cut it

You know those moments when thank you or gratitude does not seem to capture the essence of your heart. The words seem trite compared to the indescribable fullness that your cup of life contains. You are overflowing with true appreciation, but there aren't any words besides thank you, thankful, or thanksgiving readily available. Well, I feel as though I have more to be thankful for this year than most. We've had our share of familial setbacks and uncertainties lately, but to have all three of our children home, free of a hospital setting, and continuing to grow is a gift beyond words. Not to mention we maintain blessings others never enjoy, such as shelter, warmth, full bellies, and all our daily needs met. It gives me a saddened heart for those sitting in hospital beds this year, or those lost in the cold, those bitter with rage or disillusioned with society, or those simply apathetic and alone. May we reach out in love to everyone we encounter this season. Instead of our shortcomings, our judgements, our comparisons, or our self-righteous advice, may we see the goodness that abounds with plenty wherever we look.

My three turkeys (along with my main man) made my thanksgiving what it was- beautiful.

Love that this boy loves to bake with his mama! (I'm sure the chocolate helps!)

He may not be able to swallow all the components, but liquid chocolate goes down easy! Praying you can eat it all next year bubba!

This boy is proving to be an easy Smith baby! What a gift!

I think they are learning a good habit from mommy and daddy: it's always coffee time.

The Smith family new baby tradition- cardboard rocketship!

Both big boys have been so sweet to new baby Ro Bo.

A solo park trip with three little boys empowered me to take on the world!

Roman's first Thanksgiving was a success!

He wasn't phased by the loud balloon-popping tradition.

Who can find their thankful notes inside!?

Such a reason to give thanks!

Thank you Lord for a sweet Thanksgiving!

~Thankful Buster

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Rome's Home!!!

Silas was in the NICU for 4 days; Levi was in the NICU for 135 days; Roman came in second place with just over a week at 8 days. After some prayer and pleading, we were able to bring our sweet baby Roman home last Saturday night. I don't think we could be more thankful this Thanksgiving! The boys are all sweet together, and it's a miracle to have a healthy baby in our midst. As I approach Kyra's birthday this weekend, I am reminded at how precious our time is on Earth, and I am grateful little Roman, Rome, Roe, Ro bro, (whatever we call him) can bear a name of a place that meant so much to my best friend. Love and miss you Ky! I know you'd be anxious to get your hands on little Rome as soon as you could!

Thank you for all who prayed for our littlest one!  We love you, and we are so very grateful for you!

~Roman Buster

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Vetern on Veterans Day

While I would never put myself on the level of those fighting on the front lines, or having served our country nationally and abroad, I do think Matthew and I have become veterans of the Northside Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. After a mandatory (due to Levi's birth) scheduled c-section, the newest addition to our family, Roman Samuel Smith, came into the world on 11/11/16, Veteran's Day. He bears the strong name of the Italian city that my sweet friend Kyra was called to serve, love, and spread the good news of the gospel. While we both did well during surgery, Roman took on some fluid and was quickly taken to the transition NICU in hopes of recovering easier before I could hold him. Needless to say, he had to be fully admitted to the intensive car unit about six hours after "working too hard" to breathe.

When I heard that he wasn't as "strong" as his name would lead you to believe, I was devastated. Having all three of our children consecutively taken straight to the NICU felt like a hard blow, and when I found out just 48 hours after surgery that he wouldn't be coming home with us, the discouragement and disappointment was palatable. Just 16 months ago we had finally left the NICU world with little Levi, so I was not extremely eager to return so quickly.

Thankfully God began a quick change in my heart. Many people suffer consecutive blows much harder than this. Multiple bouts of cancer, multiple lost babies, multiple family deaths. Plus, we were more than prepared for this type of experience. Roman may have arrived shortly after Levi came home, but he was and is not Levi.

When soldiers enlist, they do not always get to choose where they are deployed. When I signed up to be a parent, I decided to serve and go wherever God called me. Sometimes soldiers are deployed to the same awful location whether they like it or not, but they carry a badge of honor for their calling. While I may not have wanted a third deployment to the NICU, this is currently my calling, and it actually feels like an honor. We already have the supplies, training, and tactics in place from our last stint, so really it's a rather easy transition when compared to our last stay.
I am so thankful for those veterans who have fought or are still fighting for our freedom. Currently, here on the home-front, we are fighting to get our little Rome home, and it's a great cause worth fighting for!

After 5 days in the world he's getting stronger, and hopefully we will have him under our roof ASAP!

~Veteran Buster

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Final Four

Question: What do you do when your semi-brand new coffee maker randomly stops working, everyone is coughing up crud, it feels like your favorite fall day, and it's your final days a a family of four?
Answer: Grab a box of tissues, antibiotics, your Moka espresso pot, some mini marshmallows, and pretend your the last people on earth as you set up a tent in your back yard (and stop by a local driving range).

Love knowing my boys will be hanging out as I am away from them soon!

Levi was awesome as a first time ranger- he worked on "teeing up the ball"

So proud of himself!

Even though we may all be coughing still, we are feeling pretty good and ready to meet our new littlest brother the day after tomorrow! Thank you Lord for sweet memories and strength!

~Coughing CubBuster

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Refuse to remain

As a young girl, I remember desperately wanting to cling to traditions, even if it meant forcing an experience that wasn't necessarily purposeful. Traditions hold beauty in one context and forced stagnation in another. I see my eldest son repeating my innocence to the point of absurdity. If we've had a particularly great experience, or an unexpected bout of laughter, Silas will try to re-live, recapture, and reminisce that moment until it no longer holds any true authenticity. His motives are sweet and innocent, but I've come to see the peril in my passing of this tradition trait.
When I was young, I loathed change. I wanted to remain in the good moments for fear that I wouldn't retain them otherwise. All I could imagine was what was right before me, and if that focal point was pleasant, or better yet, wonderful, then I must try to remain in it as long as possible. I dare say this wasn't just a part of my childhood. I've maintained this desire into adulthood.
However, as I've been forced into life's many changes, and released my clinging grip to the unexpected, I've come to see that life's best, most memorable moments, are the ones we've yet to experience. Those "favorite" memories are made through serendipitous spontaneity. There's an organic trait to each one that cannot be contrived. When you know "the best is yet to come" as you make your way closer and closer to the perfection of Heaven, you neither force past glories, nor plan future greatness. You live in the present with comfort in changing and shedding your "old" self. Only then can you see the necessity we all have in growing. When you begin to settle for complacency, or the common lie that change becomes harder with age, you have entered a sad existence.
May I never stop changing because I am here for that very purpose- to become more and more like Christ until I meet Him face to face.

We have had a tougher week at the Smith house, but it's all part of the refining. As I've reached 37 weeks and get to meet the newest little Smith in 5 days, I've also been battling strep throat, Levi with a cold, which promotes his usual throw up, and a runny nose Silas. Yet, I have been strangely at peace with it all. This is our current state, and it isn't a terrible one. We've seen worse, and we may see worse still, but right now, we are able to hopefully get this out of our systems so that we can really appreciate our youngest son in a matter of days. A lack of sleep will hopefully seem simple after the exhaustion of the past few days. Thankfully though, we were all feeling well on Matthew's 33rd birthday, and leading up to it!

Getting ready for littlest bro means Levi gets a big boy carseat!

Can't believe I get to be the lucky lady among all these precious boys! Thank you Lord!

~Remaining Buster