Monday, May 31, 2010

Boston Bucket List: Sugar Mags and The Beach!

On Saturday, we went to Sugar Magnolias in Gloucester for breakfast with the Morgans!  Sugar Mags has this amazing breakfast dish called the Greasy Pole (named after this crazy and hilarious tradition) that Nick and I always get... it comes with bacon (yes!), a variety of other greasy and delicious meats, pancakes (we get the carrot cake pancakes!), toast, eggs, and taters.  Yum!

Then, we went to Singing Beach for the last time.  We walked along the ocean and, on the way back, got some Captain Dusty's Ice Cream.  We have loved being just 10 minutes from this beautiful beach and got season passes every summer.  Even in the winter, we'd go every now and again and sit on the beach with some hot chocolate.  It's a very strange thing for a Texan to see a snowy beach, but it was really fun :).  We are really going to miss the ocean!

 Breakfast at Sugar Mags? Check!
Singing Beach and Captain Dusty's?  Check, Check!
Just a few things left!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

What We'll Miss: Hiking and Camping

There's something about nature that gets my blood flowing, so it's been so fun to be just a few hours away from beautiful places like Acadia National Park, the White Mountains in NH, and the Green Mountains in VT!  I think we'll really miss hopping in the car with some friends, driving a couple of hours, and spending the weekend camping and hiking... aaah, really good memories :).

 The White Mts. in NH (Oct '07) for our 2 year anniversary

Coastal Maine and Accadia Nat'l Park (Aug. '08) - where the mountains meet the sea!

The Whites with the Hicks and the Lehtinens (June '08)

VT with the Cumbies and O'Briens (May '09)

Monadnock with Knoop and Becky (June '09)

Monday, May 24, 2010

What We'll Miss: NYC's just a drive away!

We have loved being in such close proximity to cool places like NYC!
It's literally just a four hour drive away.  We went three times in three years... who gets to do that?!

In January of '08, we went to NYC just the two of us and saw Wicked!

In June of '09, we went with Jonathan and Erin and picnicked in Central Park.

In August of '08, Nick and his brother Michael went together and stayed in a super-nice hostel (not really).  By the way, this is one of my favorite pictures of Michael.  It's a framer, Debbie.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Boston Bucket List: Rockin' It.

We rocked our Boston Bucket List this past week and last weekend!  Last Saturday, we went to take some pictures of old graveyards...  By the way, am I weird to want to take pictures of graveyards?  Don't answer that.  They're just so old and we just don't have anything like this in Texas!

This one in Essex dates back to1680...

This one in Manchester by the Sea dates back to 1661.
This is my favorite because of the beautiful crooked trees growing all around the grave stones.
Weird that I have a favorite cemetery?  Probably.

This old church in Essex dates back to 1792, and it has a bell cast by Paul Revere.  Dang.

That night, we went to our favorite pizza place - The Riverview - in Ipswich, with the O'Briens and the Hicks and Jude and Ellie!  It is seriously one of my favorite pizza places of all time.  
Second only to Gattis! :) 

On Sunday after church, we went to the Boston Public Garden to relax, walk, people watch, and see the famous swan boats one last time.  It was a really nice day, and it was so fun to be there with Ellie!

On Friday, we went to Siam Delight (Thai food) one last time with the Hicks and the Morgans and had yellow curry and Pad Thai.  It was delightful indeed!
  Has any other North Shorite (er...or, North Shorian?) noticed the big screen TV and what plays on it?  What a weird use of a big screen TV, right?  But I always end up watching it, mesmerized.
Here are Nick and Jeff posing with the TV. :)
Pictures of the old Graveyards? The Riverview? Public Gardens?  Siam Delight? 

Check. Check. Check. Check.


Told you we rocked it...  Next up, the beach, the Cow, the woods, and burritos!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What We'll Miss: Friends

As we wrap up our time here at Gordon-Conwell, I'm going to start a little blog series called "What We'll Miss."  And here we go...

It probably goes without saying that we will definitely miss our community here at GCTS, but I'm sayin' it anyway.  We have been built up in Christ. We have had crazy adventures with these friends.  We have laughed and played. We have tried to bear each others' burdens.  We have shared in each others' suffering and we have celebrated things like new babies with each other too.  Some of our friends will stay here in New England.  The rest are going to places like Wisconsin, Indiana, Nashville, North Carolina, and - of course - Texas (!).  We will miss this community immensely.  

The boys are making me laugh in this one.

Coreographed dance to Salt N Peppa?  Yes please.

Going to miss those Friday night hangouts with the Catlins and the Morgans.

At the Catlin's going away party!

We love the Clemens and the Pages!

I love my co-workers.

Moved here together in the fall of '07 and graduated together!  
We will miss the O'Briens and the Hicks.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Moving to Texas!

East Asia to the East Coast to East Texas.  Big Ol' Foreign City to Beantown to the City of Roses.  
Yep, the Smiths are moving to Tyler, Texas.

And my Texas talk is already coming out.  I mean, I just said "Big ol'" for Pete's sake, y'all.

Nick has accepted a job working for his dad's company, Penco Oil, filling a new position in finance and accounting.  He's excited to get more experience in these areas and to learn from his dad, who really has done a great job running Penco and building up his business.  Nick would love to work for a non-profit (or even a for-profit) one day that is involved with social enterprise (i.e. social development, microfinance, etc.), doing finance and/or accounting.  We think this job is a great first step toward that, and we are excited for him to get started.  We plan to be in Tyler for at least a year and a half or two years, if not more.  I'm going to be staying at home with Ellie, which I am really feeling good about!  Nick has been taking care of her while I've been working full-time the last few weeks, and we are both excited to "switch" roles.  Nick's gonna bring home the bacon.  And I'm going to fry the bacon (errrr... yeah, something like that).  And hopefully have some time to work on music. 

By the way, I am in love with bacon.  

But I digress...

We have a lot of mixed emotions as we think about moving to Tyler.  We are excited to move to Texas and to be within driving distance of our friends and family.  I'm planning some day trips to Dallas to see friends and family there, and some overnight trips to Houston (I miss my parents!).  We are excited to be close to Nick's family.  Nick is looking forward to being hot (temperature hot, that is).  I'm not so excited about that, but I'm excited about jumping in the lake... in March... which is unthinkable up here! :)  And for those of you who know me well, you know that I'm excited about the food.  The BBQ, the burgers and, above all, the Tex Mex.  Mmmm, mmmm!

But we're also scared.  We really don't know anyone in Tyler except for Nick's family.  After living in such tight community here, in East Asia, and in Dallas, it's so hard for me to imagine literally having no friends outside of family and starting from scratch.  

Hello, I'm Caroline.  My friends think my awkwardness is funny, but you probably think I'm just awkward.  I write songs, but you've never heard them.  I bet you have a story, and a great one, but I don't know it and you don't know mine.

No friend to call up if I want to meet someone for coffee.  No friend to go on a walk with.  There are other things too - not having a church, not being sure of where I can play music or how I can use those gifts, not being used to living in a "smaller" town (although it's really not that small) - but I think community is the kicker.  The most felt need for both of us.  The thing we keep praying for as we prepare to move.
Although we know that this will be a hard transition, we also know deep down that God has a good plan and purpose - for both of us individually and for us as a couple - in Tyler.  I know that my identity is not in who my friends are, or what people think of me, or music, but in Christ alone.  I know that God is taking us to a place that is uncomfortable for us for a reason, and we truly are excited about how He will grow us and the new relationships that He will bring to us.  

Yep, the Smiths are moving to East Texas.  A place we didn't imagine living.  But a place that God did lead us to, through open doors and shut doors and prayer.  So, we move.  Knowing it will be hard, but also knowing God is faithful.  

So, come visit us anytime in the City of Roses.  We have an extra bedroom.  And I'll even fry you up some bacon. :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ellie is 2 Months!

Ellie turned 2 months old on May 6.  I know people say this way too much, but seriously... this time has flown by!  She is smiling more and more and we are really enjoying her.  It's been amazing to see her develop a little personality and start to communicate through her cries and her smiles and her little faces.  She's sleeping better and eating better and she lets us put her down in the swing or on her back or propped up in her Boppy.  Nick is getting good time with her as I'm now back at work full-time this month before we leave.  He did face a major poop explosion today, but other than that he's doing good at this whole Mr. Mom thing! 

Here are some fun "2 month old" pics of Ellie.  This tomboy mom got girly and dressed her up in a tutu!  And a pink bow!!!  I know.... I couldn't believe it myself.  I tried to tell Ellie that this was a photo shoot and she needed to smile, but she didn't quite get it and seemed to be in the lounging mood rather than the smiling mood.  Oh well.  We think she still looks cute.  In her little pink tutu... and bow....  Oh my, what have I become?  :)

Nick's Graduation!

Nick graduated with his Master of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Seminary on Saturday!  It was such a neat rite of passage for him (and for me!) and such perfect closure to this wonderful phase of life.  I am really proud of my business-and-numbers-minded husband for tackling lots of abstract theological/philosophical concepts, tons of research and writing, loads and loads of reading, and even a little preaching.  This time has been sweet for many reasons, but one of the sweetest things about this phase has definitely been our community - both our tight-knit group and the GCTS community as a whole.  We will miss this place, these people, New England, and Gordon-Conwell so much.  I'll blog more in the future about all of that (and about what our specific next steps are!) but, suffice it to say, these have been a great 3 years and - as excited as we are about moving back to TX - we are sad to go.

We had fun hanging with his parents this past week (and I think they had fun hanging with Ellie!).   

Ellie did great during the graduation ceremony - she slept right through the speaker and woke up in time to hear Nick's name called.  I know what you're thinking... and yes, she's really smart. :)

The Texan's we came in with in fall 2007 that we love.

Nick with some of his professors, Dr. Anders and Dr. Vidu.