Friday, December 31, 2010

Sweet baby boy Smith!

Introducing Sweet Baby Boy Smith!! Most, if not all, of you know that we are pregnant with our first boy! I am now 21 weeks along and have been so bad in taking pictures of my weekly belly updates. However, there has not been much to update since it is taking forever to show! They said you would show quicker with your second one...well, not for me!

So far here are some of the remarks i've received:
"It looks like you have gas" - said by a friend at 19 weeks.

"Can I ask a weird question? Are you pregnant with a baby to be born in May or are you adopting?" -said last week at 20 weeks.

"You must have just found out you're pregnant" - said last week by a Lovington friend while I was telling her I was pregnant.

So, yes i'm pregnant.

No, it's not gas.

Yes, I'm ready to fit into maternity pants and get those "looks" from people at work or walmart or...

All kidding aside, we are thrilled to have a healthy baby boy and look forward to meeting him in May.

Bella calls him "Bro" and will wave to my stomach to say hi. However, she does that to other people's stomachs so we're still working on it.

Here are some of the belly shots...

10 weeks - Dancing at my sister's wedding.
16 weeks - Pictures with my mom.
20 weeks - And, this is where we are currently! The "non-gas" belly is coming...woohooo!!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas with the Smith's

As always, it's simply refreshing being with family during the holidays. And this trip to Amarillo did not dissapoint. Aunt Christie and Uncle Joey were great hosts to ALL of us.

As you can tell, Bella enjoyed dancing with her new toys and with the family.
Grammy and PawPaw bought her a jack in the box with a sock monkey. She'd get so excited every time it opened!
Well, we all would get excited!
Opening up LOTS of presents, including a microphone to sing in. I'm sure she'll put that to good use.
One night we went looking at Christmas lights. Bella was so sweet and held Grammy and PawPaw's hands...

She got really tired and decided to pull their hair. Bella's parents, located in the backseat, were trying to discipline her while the grandparents kept laughing. Oh well. I guess the grandparents really do let the grandkids do what they want...even when it hurts.
The grandparents came down for the Christmas service at our precious church, Liberty Community Church. Susy and I talked about having one of those moments where we were just overwhelmed with thankfulness. Mike was preaching, I was playing the piano, Bella was running all over the place, Mike and I had a son that was rolling in my belly, and loving extended families. Something about Christmas time slows down the "world" and makes you say "thank you".

And, thank you I do say for my precious family!
Get ready for pictures from the Hogue side Christmas!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dino concert and what Bella's been up to

Anyone out there in blog land heard of Dino? Anyone? Anyone? I grew up going to Dino concerts. Dino is a flamboyant piano player who makes you laugh, but he probably doesn't mean to. He likes to fling his hands around the piano and jerk his body while he's playing. He likes to look at the audience with a smile and funny faces (although I think he means for them to be serious) and you can't happen but laugh back. He is Greek so you always sing the "Opa" song with him. (Allison and I can still sing it.) We would come home from his concerts always smiling and pretend like we were Dino on the piano. And because my dad can play the piano better than anyone I know, we would call him "Rono". Allison and I heard that Dino was coming to our church in Belton and we knew we had to go see him! This was also the week my mom came down to help me study for the GRE so it was perfect timing. We definitely had so much fun reliving our childhood and exposing Bella to the greatness of Dino.

Nana, my mom, also brought Bella some alphabet magnets that she is loving playing with on the fridge! It also helps keep her occupied when i'm trying to cook supper. Mary Jane, do you notice her outfit? She LOVES wearing her cooking/painting/playing apron.
Be ready for some fun Christmas posts...complete with cooking.

And, i'll leave you a cute picture of Miss B.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Guest blog from the hubby!

This is a sermon/reflection my hubby wrote for Christmas. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did...

The scene is more lowly than idyllic. A child has been born and wrapped in cloth. He lies in a manger because no guest room can be found. We’ve heard the story so many times that we can miss the stark backwardness of it all. The Son of God should have come in trappings of greatness. He should have been born to privilege. Yet he spends the first night of his human life lying in a feeding trough.

There is a scandal of lowliness in the nativity.

But the scandal goes deeper than this. The child is born in low estate, but the true wonder of the nativity is found in the birth itself. The One through whom and for whom all things were made has become a part of his creation. The Infinite has taken on finite existence. The One who sustains all things by his powerful word has come completely dependent on the sustenance of another. God the Son has taken on human flesh and become the Son of man. And on this night and many to follow, he lies helpless and dependent in the frail existence of a newborn child.

There is also a scandal of humanness to be found.

This is the force of the incarnation. The great has become small. The infinite finite. The uncontainable contained. The Apostle Paul put it like this: For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. (2 Cor. 8:9, NIV)

Augustine waxed poetic on the same theme: He lies in a manger, but contains the world. He feeds at the breast, but also feeds the angels. He is wrapped in swaddling clothes, but vests us with immortality. He found no place in the inn, but makes for Himself a temple in the hearts of believers. In order that weakness might become strong, strength became weak. (Sermon 190 3, 4)

The rich has become poor. The strong has become weak. And all this that we might become rich and strong through him.

We are used to speaking of the love that led Jesus to the cross.

Perhaps we should also speak of the love that led him to his birth.

In the nativity, God the Son has poured himself out and taken human form, and in this we see the nature of God on display. Jesus, “Who being in very nature God, did not consider his equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Phil. 2:6-7, NIV) It is in the nature of God to pour himself on behalf of others, and though it is scandalous to us, it is natural to him. Such is the wonder of the God we serve. Such is the splendor of a newborn baby who bears the weight of the world. Such is the beauty of Christmas.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Labor of Love

Note: This is mainly for me to journal and write down my thoughts through this season in life. I have actually been doing pretty good these past few months. Christmas has been harder and another season/layer of healing. Just a disclaimer...

Two weeks ago was my due date for our sweet baby we lost in May. We should be sleep-deprived and wondering what the certain cries mean. We should be learning to swaddle again and tripping over the pack-n-play at nighttime. I should be recovering and having running-withdrawls. Mike should be taking his finals and writing his papers with only 3 hours of sleep to go on. But, this week we're living a "normal" life, whatever that is. Mike is finishing the semester and i'm busy at work. We're playing with our toddler, cooking suppers, spending time in front of the Christmas tree, and simply trying to find Sabbath among the hub-bub of Christmas busyness. But, we should be...

Sunday was a rough day for me. A beautiful song was sung at our church called the "Labor of Love". I nearly didn't make it through the whole thing and had to go to the bathroom afterwards to simply sob. I had mixed feelings hearing the words. I should have been the one in pain and in labor. It wasn't fair that Mary was able to give to her child and I wasn't able too. Yes, she birthed the Savior but I still had thoughts of anger and hurt and "why".

Then, gently I was reminded that her labor of pain, of love, came to world to be the physical Grace, Stability, Shoulder, Rock I needed. Her labor brought me the Love I needed. Her labor brought me the Strength I needed to get through my lack of laboring. Because of her labor, our sweet baby can be held in His arms. We can have hope that the true Hope will reunite us with that sweet baby one day. Her labor brought the All that I needed, the Grace to be held, and the Calm to my heart.

This Christmas season is difficult, mainly because it's all about a little baby being born. And we should have a baby that was born in December. But we don't. And because of that baby born 2,000 years ago, I am enveloped in grace and love and peace. It is still not ok. And I certainly do not think it is God's will. I simply think it happened. And in the midst of my brokenness, the baby born in Bethlehem meets me with nothing more than the shelter of his wings, the light of his presence, and the "enoughness" of His Love. He certainly understands and mourns with us.

Mike preached on Sunday that love lead Jesus to be crucified. Love also lead Jesus to be born.
Perhaps this is what Advent means. God with us. Truly with us. Thank you sweet Jesus and thank you Mary for your labor of Love.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Family pics 2010

My mom took some fantastic family pictures while she was here for a visit. She came down to help out while I studied and took my GRE. Thank you mom for the meals, watching Bella and giving support to your daughter as I took the dreaded GRE.

And, we're fussy! We tried to get her to hug us where we could see her face...we'll take what we can get!

I LOVE this one!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thanksgiving Part II

Mike and I joined the rest of the family in Houston on Wednesday and had a fabulous 4 days of rest, laughing, rest, love, and sabbath. Ahhhh, sweet family time! It was great to see Bella again too.

Our little active child!
This is how we roll when we want to watch "Melmo", as Bella calls Elmo and Sesame Street.
She's all ready for Christmas.
Isn't she so pretty in this picture? We are in trouble...
Grammy set up her tent in the living room. She could "hide" from the puppies but would usually jump out to see them and get them to lick her.
Playing with Aunt Christie.
Bella loves to do her hair, her Grammy's hair, and usually her PawPaw's hair too.

All of our children born in the 2000's will be tech-savvy.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Thanksgiving Part I

To say it's been busy lately would be an understatement! Between taking my GRE, getting all my PhD applications in, Mike finishing up a semester FULL of papers (and i'm talking 80+ pages of writing and umpteenth pages of reading), a busy work month and a cute toddler that wants to play...blogging has been lacking lately. So, i'll start at Thanksgiving and work my way up.

We took Bella to the Houston family during Thanksgiving week and dropped her off for a few days while Mike and I worked, wrote, applied to schools, etc. Of course, Bella had a wonderful time with her grandparents and Aunt Christie and Uncle Joey. Christie and Joey brought their "puppies", as Bella called them. It took her a while to not be scared of them but she warmed up quickly! She "pretended" to not like to be chased or licked but secretly you could tell she loved it by the squeals and running that coincided the chasing and licking.

Our little nurturer decided they needed some water.
The week was filled with playing, coloring, playing, coloring...
throwing the ball to Joey. She would clap when he would catch it, little cutie.
She got lots and lots of licks!

Look at who is brave!

Stay tuned for Part II...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

2 year giraffe pictures

These are a little late but I wanted to make sure and post them.

This month Bella has:

1. Loved hats!! She wants to wear her hats at all times. At all times, people.

2. Is still learning how to vocalize her thoughts-hence, her vocabulary is expanding daily.
3. Loves to color. And she is intense when she colors. She gets very focused on her masterpieces.

4. She loves to read EVERY book at night. She has a stack of about 30 she'll dump out of her box before bedtime and we have to read them all. She has to read them all with me. And then dump them on Mike to read them all with him.

5. She's trying to learn how to ride her tricycle. We have not mastered that yet but we're trying.
6. She is giving more and more hugs and kisses - yes, melts our hearts.
7. Tantrums? what? They are here!
8. Bella we love you!