Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving has come and gone. All the build-up, all the prep-work, all the eating...and then it's over before you can blink twice. This year Thanksgiving was so different for us than last year, when we were in the throws of moving from Charlotte to Nashville. We celebrated one year in our house on November 19 and were thrilled to be hosting our first holiday in Nashvegas. And even better, we were actually in one city for longer than 10 days at a time during the month of November, which was even more amazing.

My brother was home from college for the day on Tuesday, and though he had to work on Thanksgiving and couldn't stay to eat with us, we still had such a great time with him. He was finally able to meet his little nephew and Aiden really enjoyed trying to figure out who this new person was. My mom was thrilled to have him home since he hadn't been home since last Christmas. It was a nice time...and I think he enjoyed the home time.

Mom and I prepared as much of the food we could in advance of Thursday's feast and had quite a spread by the time we got to the day. Had I not had her help we would have had a very dismal dinner! It's a challenge to care for a newborn, clean and decorate a house, and cook a huge meal...probably the most challenging thing I've done in a long time. Mostly because Aiden requires so much hands-on time right now. But oh so worth it. And oh so helpful to have many hands!

Thursday morning, Nate and I ran our annual Turkey Trot. And even though this year it was only a 5k (since Nashville doesn't do an 8k) it was well worth the effort. Nate ran his best time ever and placed in the top four of his age group. I matched my PR, finished in the top 10 women overall, and placed first in my age group! It was fun. I walked away with a lovely red level and a runner's high (the race was sponsored by Habitat for Humanity so all the awards were tools).

Back to the house for cinnamon rolls and recovery. Then to the rest of the cooking. Our biggest adventure in cooking this year was attempting to smoke our turkey instead of cooking it in the oven as we have eaten in the past. Since Mom and Dad always do the meal, it was fun to get to host and do something unique, like smoke a turkey. Nate did a phenomenal job with the turkey and it tasted absolutely scrumptious! We have instituted a new tradition for ourselves and will now be enjoying various renditions of smoked turkeys each holiday we host! I didn't get any pictures of him cooking it, so we'll have to do that at Christmas.

All in all we have so much to be thankful for and as we gathered around the table to eat, we took part in our tradition to share what we are most thankful for. I won't share them all, though they were quite good, but I will share mine, or at least those I shared with the fam:

MIRACLES - I am thankful for the miracles I have seen take place in our lives over the past year. Together, Nate and I have seen some amazing things take place in our lives, and am so grateful to have been a part of watching God work these little miracles in our lives. Being a part of our rapid and God-ordained move from Charlotte to Nashville. Having a baby, Aiden, after being told we would never bear our own. Selling our house in a declining market. Seeing God move my parents out of a situation that seemed hopeless into one filled with more hope than seemed possible. And that's just the begninning. It was an amazing year.

HEALTH - I am so thankful we are all healthy, alive, active, and young. My family all runs, or does somethig to keep them healthy and going and I am so grateful for our health when so many families are facing diseases and painful loss.

GROWTH - I am so thankful for the growth God has brought to our lives over the past year. Not that we didn't grow before, but the move to Nashville has brough with it so much more growth than I ever thought possible. To me as an individual, as a wife, as a daughter, and as a mother; but also to my family. My faith has grown exponentially, not by being in a church pew every week, but by truly experiencing God in a real and present way. I have learned so much about myself and my relationships over the past year that it truly makes me marvel at how much I've changed, for the better as a product of stepping out in faith to move here and trusting He would do amaing things. Though I still do not know for what major purpose we are here, I am content in knowing so much has grown within me to know that if nothing else comes of our move, it served it's purpose.
There's a ton more for which I am thankful, but it's all pretty much inferred as a by-product of those three main things. I hope you all find yourselves thankful this year...there is so much.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

So here I am again, not having written in quite awhile. Not to say things have not been abuzz in the Tabler house, it's just finding the time to sit and jot about them...

After our travels to Charlotte, some time was spent recovering from the drama that ensued and we finally found ourselves back on track. Aiden celebrated his four month birthday, and while uneventful in activity, it has been more than eventful in his little life. He is a curious, laughing, smiling, and very interactive little guy and it's been really really fun to watch him come into his own the past few weeks. He laughs a LOT, he talks a LOT, and you know just by looking at him he can't wait for everyone to understand him and for his little legs to help him scoot! 

We moved Aiden to the big boy bed a few weeks ago, right around the time he hit the four month mark, and I will say that as nice as it is to have the freedom to go in my closet after 6 pm (which is where his bassinet still sits), I miss being able to walk around the corner and just watch him sleep. His big boy room is upstairs and at the other end of the house, so peeping takes a bit more time and effort, though still a worthwhile venture. So many changes in this short time, and it's amazing to watch him experience life with the innocence and vigor that being a child provides. It's sad he's grown beyond sleeping in that little nook and I'll miss him, though I know this is probably the least painful "letting go" experience I will ever have. 

When we go to get him in the morning, bright eyed and ready for action, we start up his mobile, equipped with four little "aminals" that he watches do their thing while the music plays. He talks to them, and almost sings with the music...again, first thing in the morning...he is SO my child. But as I sit there and watch him talk, sing, and bat his long-eyelashed lids at his animals, I realize how simple life really is and how much we miss being adults. I think so often that's really how God looks at us, in utter awe and sheer joy that we get a smile out of something he put in our lives. We often complicate things to the point of no enjoyment, but as I stare at Aiden, I am constantly reminded that it's the simple things in life that bring us the most joy. 
How I feel about Aiden is probably like 1/10000000th of how He feels about me, though I often forget that, no, I take that back, I all too often fail to BELIEVE it... something I am making a conscious effort to be aware of and change. Seek out the things in life that are not temporary, but eternal, and find your joy resting there....

But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, 
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love. (Psalm 33:18)

Monday, November 10, 2008

So as a follow-up to my last note, I mentioned we'd had some pictures taken with our friends Dan & Candice. They have a photography business that they just began working full-time and are amazing people, an incredible couple with a heart for God and his people. We really miss them! Anyway, they were going to come shoot Aiden when he was born, but things were so crazy and he was born in the middle of wedding season, so things were not ideal for that to happen, so this was our "make up" opportunity. And what a day it was. Despite the fact that we were really harried and crazy after driving in from Knoxville, dealing with a screaming baby whose ears popped all through the mountains, and visiting with friends upon our arrival (and trying to squeeze a nap in to get rid of tired eyes!), the pictures turned out amazing. Hopefully we got a Christmas card out of this, but even if we didn't, we were able to capture this significant time in Aiden's life with some beautiful images AND get some great shots of the two of us that manage to capture how in love we are. How they do this, I really don't know, but they do a great job!

For those of you who'd like to see a glimpse, they published a slide show for us to share with our family and friends. You can see it by clicking here.

They also wrote about us on their blog, and included some great shots as well as the slideshow.

Don't be surprised if you see one of these pictures in your mailbox in a few weeks! All suggestions welcome.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

This Halloween was fairly unusual for us. While it would have been quite lovely, and even fun to be at home this year, we found ourselves on the road for the first time in a long time. Our neighborhood goes all out for holidays, and Halloween is no exception. The homes are decked out, they host a haunted trail in one of the walking trails, and on Halloween night, homes in the neighborhood are designated "cider homes" and "chili homes" (which basically just means food and drink houses; offering both the adult and child varieties). So while we were looking forward to introducing Aiden to his first Halloween adventure in Westhaven, we were off to Charlotte for what seemed like a simple weekend trip, but in reality served way too many purposes than seems humanly possible...

1) To introduce Aiden to his fan following at Charlotte Christian, my alma mater and my mom's place of connection to Charlotte;
2) To attend a family wedding - my cousin Casey was marrying his bride Heather;
3) To let Aiden meet his great-grandparents on the Down side (he's the first great-grandbaby and that's quite a special thing!);
4) To let Aiden meet his Grandpa Tabler, Nate's dad, whom he had not yet met; and
5) To take part in a little photo shoot with Dan and Candice, some friends of ours from Elevation who were taking pics of Aiden as well as some family pics for our Christmas card and home.

Needless to say, traveling with an infant at anytime poses it's fair share of challenges, but when that travel requires traveling through the mountains with a little dude who already has sensitive ears, it makes it that much more "fun". Friday was interesting, but he did get to meet his CCS family. You can see pictures here. They, of course, loved him. :)

Next, it was on to our little photo shoot, of which we'll have pictures to share later...and we can't wait. Candice and Dan are awesome people and we really miss their friendship here in Nashville, so it was great to see them. God has blessed them with an incredible gift to share together that they are now able to pursue full-time, which is really awesome.

Saturday we were off to lunch with some people at Cafe Monte followed by a visit with my grandparents at Cracker Barrel, which was fun! I hadn't seen them in several years, so it was great to have some one-on-one time with the two of them. They are so active and young for their age and I love to hear their stories and see their life come forth. Here's some pictures of our lunch. Then it was off to the wedding, which was lovely. Poor Aiden was wiped out, so we spent time with him asleep in the barn above the wedding, but dancing away regardless. :) It was quite lovely and we were so glad to be there.

Sunday we did the church thing (and oh how we miss Elevation in Nashville!)...and then we prepared to head on our way back home. Despite our plans, little Aiden didn't feel so hot, so I spent most of the morning consoling him and helping him nap so we could have a good trip back, but as we got into the day, it didn't look so good. At the last minute, we decided Aiden and I would fly home to Nashville and Nathan would drive home...I know, not fair for him, but it was what had to be done. So the little guy and I headed on a jet plane (and he did FABULOUSLY, sleeping the whole trip!) and got home a few hours before big daddy Nate. We LOVED coming home and I am 99% sure Aiden knew when he was here. It was so cute. It was a great trip, but long and tiring, so all in all a Halloween worth screaming about.