Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Lights, Christmas Ornaments, and Christmas GIVEAWAYS!

Sunday, December 23, 2012  at 1:41 PM
Are you ready for Christmas?  Got all the presents wrapped?  Mine is currently wrapped in a swaddling blanket and sitting with his momma.  Baby C LOVES Christmas lights!  Jenn and I have caught him looking at the Christmas tree out of the corner of his eyes several times.  In fact, we've put him down on his tummy time mat underneath the tree and watched his eyes sparkle at the shiny lights all around him. It's pretty cute!

Our Christmas tree is covered in very special ornaments that have been gathered ever since Jenn was a little girl.  Her mom, Kathy, started giving her (and me once I came on the scene) a new ornament every year.  Here's the one that she gave us this year.

Here's one of my favs considering that I love VW's so much.

Here's one I made for Jenn in 2004, three years before we were married!

Here are a couple from this awesome blogger that she's sent us the last two years.

And here are a couple of specialty ones that you might like.

It truly has been an awesome holiday I can really be grateful for and remember forever!

But I want you to remember it to...with a little momento from me!

Last year, Erika Myers @ contacted (go check them out...I'll wait here) about seeing if they would send her a medal hanger to do a giveaway on her blog.  Well, being the generous company that they are, they said, "Sure!"  I happened to win the giveaway!  And, here's what my medal hanger looks like!
In all honesty, half of those medals are Jenn's...
I freaking love it!  They even sent it to me with wall anchors, screws, and spacers to hold it off the wall.  It really is an awesome way to display medals.  They have so many different options for hangers, or you can even get something custom like mine created.  So, since I like mine so much, I wanted to give you the opportunity to be blessed by this great company as I was.  I contacted Gayle who is their sales coordinator to see if they would be willing to sponsor a blog giveaway.  Of course, just because they are so generous and cool, she said "Yes!"  She sent me three hangers, one of which I gave to the winner who guessed the closest to when Baby C was born.  Here's what they look like.
Pretty cool, right?  I know that whoever wins these hangers will be happy with it, and if you don't win, check out to get one of your own.

The Rules:
This giveaway contest will run until Friday, December 28, 2012 at 11:59pm, so make sure you have your entry's in by then.

You can get one entry for each of these options.  I will tally up all the entry's and use to select TWO winners.

  1. Leave a comment:  That's easy, right?
  2. Follow my blog: I know there are some of you out there that read but do not publicly follow this blog.  On the left sidebar, click the button that says "Join this site" and follow me publicly.  If you already do follow me, leave a comment telling me that you do. 
  3. Friend me on Facebook: Click the Facebook icon on the top of the left sidebar to take you to my facebook page and ask to be my friend. Again, if we already are friends, say so in your comment.  If you want another entry, post a link to this giveaway on your Facebook wall, and let me know you did.
  4. Follow me on Twitter: Just like with Facebook, click the Twitter icon on the top of the left sidebar to take you to my Twitter page and follow me.  While you're at it, tweet about this blog giveaway for another entry, and let me know that you did.
That's all you have to do.  I will announce the winner sometime next weekend and will ship them out asap.

I hope that you have a very Merry Christmas!  Enjoy the time off work.  Enjoy your family.  And most importantly, Enjoy The Food!!! :)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Infants and Ironman

Sunday, December 16, 2012  at 8:45 AM
Last year, I made the decision to one day train and complete an Ironman.  This year wasn't the year with moving, buying a house and switching jobs (although some people can do that, Erika).  So, I decided to go for it in 2013 in Louisville Kentucky on August 25.  Life is so much easier now with an infant that needs fed every two hours, right?  I'm totally joking!!  By the way, Baby C and his mommy are doing really well, and I know he's growing.  We go to the doctor this next week for another checkup to see how much he weighs.
All snuggly after his FIRST BATH!
So, it's time to start training!  I've looked and looked and talked and talked to established Ironmen(and women) about a training plan, and I finally settled on a 36-week training plan that I found on  You can see it here if you are so inclined (I think it's the 36-week plan from but is put in a slightly more printable format).  So TODAY is the first day of training that will take me to this:
Jenn's idea on our anniversary weekend in Asheville, NC
JUST KIDDING!  Not that IRON-Man.  How about this!!!:
I'm so excited about race day, but I'm just as excited about the training.  Check back with me at week 12 to see how excited I am.  I know that IMKY is a tough Ironman because of many factors, but I think it is the best option for me because of many reasons too.  So let the training begin!  I know that for the next 36 weeks, I am going to need a ton of encouragement and advice, plus, my #1 love language is words of affirmation, so don't be shy!

Speaking of affirmation...

Last month, I applied to be a part of the Brooks ID program, and I got accepted!  Yay!  For those of you that aren't familiar with this program, the running shoe company Brooks will be hooking me up with free shoes and apparel as I train and race events.  That's a hook up! Thank you, Brooks!
 So, let the journey to becoming an Ironman begin!  It's going to be painful, tough, challenging, difficult,.......AWESOME!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Baby "C" makes three!

Thursday, December 13, 2012  at 2:38 PM
Wow!  What an incredible week!  To make a long story short, we finally had our boy; we'll call him "Baby C"!!!  I didn't think I could love someone other than Jennifer THIS much!  It truly is one of the greatest things to ever happen to me.  I don't think anyone can really put into words what it is like to be a part of a miracle that is created because of you.  All the waiting was worth it!

On Saturday morning, Jenn woke me up and said that she thought she was having contractions.  Sure enough, they were coming easily and pretty far apart.  After a couple hours, they stopped.  We slept a bit more, and then I got up and went to church.  Luckily, I had my brother in law, Jason, who is also a pastor, already scheduled to come and preach at my church.  He did an excellent job!
Jason, bringing the WORD!
Shortly after getting back home, the contractions started to continue.  We were in the waiting game, although the end was in sight now.  Our doctor was super cool and called to check on us a couple different times during the day.  As the contractions started to get stronger and closer together, we headed into the hospital at about 11pm.  Once we got our room, the contractions became REALLY strong!  We tried walking the halls and different breathing techniques, but nothing was really helping.  After talking to our wonderful nurse, we decided that it was time for an epidural.  Let me just tell you, #1, if you are a guy, having a wife in contractions is one of the hardest things to deal with.  I felt so helpless!  Jenn was in so much pain, and I couldn't do ANYTHING about it!  And, #2, if I was going to have a baby, there would be no debate about getting an epidural.  That needle would be in my back asap!  Even with all the pain, Jenn was a trooper and always was positive about it.
Just after a tough contraction!
The anesthesiologist came in about 3:30am and gave her the epidural, and then we were able to rest.  We slept off and on for a couple hours.

At 7:00am, the nursed checked Jenn, and she was fully dilated.  So, we waited for the doctor to come, and she started to push.  If you have never been in the room while a baby is being born, it is quite the experience.  Jennifer was INCREDIBLE!  The doctor said that he thought she would have to push for an hour or and hour and a half.  It took THREE hours for this little guys to appear!  She was exhausted.  In fact, the nurse said that she had enough energy because she was involved in endurance sports.  Triathletes make great pushers!    Finally, after a whole lot of effort (by Jenn), this little guy appeared on the scene on Sunday, December 9, at 11:02am.

I got to cut his umbilical chord...
And he was free!  It was a little funny, because I wasn't sure who to go with.  Forever, my concern had been everything about Jennifer, and all of a sudden, there was someone else that I cared about in the same way.  I was torn between the two!  After making sure Jenn was ok, I walked around the bed to see my son getting worked on.

He was weighed and measured... 8lbs. 5 oz., 20.5 inches

He got his first diaper...
 Then, I asked, "Can I touch him?" to which the nurses laughed and said, "He's YOUR baby!"

Finally, after he was a little cleaned up, he got to go be with his mommy.

Jenn and Baby from Matthew Smith on Vimeo.

I couldn't keep the waterworks from flowing down my cheeks!  It was just a most wonderful moment in my whole life!

It didn't take long before he was whisked away to get his first bath.  I went with him as they finished up with Jenn.
So fresh and so clean, clean!
The next couple days have flown by so quickly with family and visitors wanting to get a look at this little fella.  Our church has brought us a bunch of food.  Mindy, my sister, came last night and brought a ton of goodies to munch on too.  We even had a famous blogger stop by for a visit.  We've determined that there will be an arranged marriage between our kids if they have a girl.
On Tuesday, we were discharged from the hospital, and we loaded up the car.  No one ever told me that this would be the scariest ride of my life.  I was overwhelmed with the responsibility of having not one but TWO people that I loved so much riding along with me!  I was terrified, but we made it home safely.  

Kathy, Jenn's mom stayed the night with us and showed us the ropes of parenthood.  She is a pediatric nurse practitioner, so that works out well for us!  Jenn is doing so well with nursing, and Baby C is really doing well.  I hate waking him up in order to feed him, but I guess that's just part of it.  He got all dressed up in his VW onesie this morning to go for his first doctor's appointment and passed with flying colors.  

Thank you for all the wonderful comments on Facebook, text messages and phone calls to check on us.  We feel so loved by so many different people, and I'm glad that we could share our life with you!

So, are you wondering who won the contest of who could guess when he would be born?  My aunt Linda guessed December 9 at 4am, so she is the winner.  Just an FYI, I'll be posting another giveaway contest here shortly which would make a great Xmas present for some athlete somewhere!

Monday, December 03, 2012

Baby Birthday Contest

Monday, December 03, 2012  at 4:18 PM

Since little boy Smith has decided to stubbornly stay in the "oven" a little longer, I thought it might be fun to create a contest to see who can guess when he will get here.

The Entry:
Leave a comment on my blog that says the DAY and HOUR when you think he will be born.   The closest to the actual time of birth WINS!!!

The Prize:
It's just that easy.  What will you be given, you ask?  Let's just say that if you are into running, cycling, triathlon, and anything else athletic where you receive medals or know someone that is, you'll be happy with your prize.

The Facts:(To help you guess correctly)

  • Baby Smith's due date was November 30, 2012
  • He is now 3 days past the due date.
  • Jennifer is READY and coaxing him out by walking, eating eggplant, rocking in rocking chairs etc.
  • He was 7lbs. as of last Wednesday.
  • Jennifer was born about a week late!

Happy Guessing!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Carpe Diem

Friday, November 30, 2012  at 9:43 AM
This past week, Jennifer and I have been doing our best to "Seize the Day" (or week in our case).  Today is Jenn's due date, but nothing is happening yet.  So, in preparation for long nights of waking up every two hours, a screaming infant that you have no idea why they are crying, countless diaper changes and not much time for yourself, let alone a date night of sorts, we decided to cram some fun things for just the two of us into our last week as a couple.

Here's what we did:

Jenn and I had some coupons to go see a movie, so we went to see Life of Pi.  It was a pretty good movie because it was clean.  It's hard to find a movie that isn't full of cursing, sex, violence etc.  We hardly ever go see movies, because we just wait for them to come out on redbox.

When that was over, we went to some of our friends/church member's house (The Blakes) to eat dinner and play games with them.  They are so much fun and have some of the coolest kids around.  They came over to our house the first weekend we were here and helped us paint into the wee hours of the morning.
From left to right: Jennifer, Raegen (with Maglee), Dylan, me, Garron, and Brendon. (Gina is taking the picture)

They are such an incredible family and we're so blessed to be in the same church family as them.  After some pizza and a little Sunday Night Football, we played Hand and Foot, which was a new card game that I'd never played but was a whole lot of fun.

We had a bit of a lazy day with me working from home and wrapping some details up on church projects.  I did have a chance to go on a quick bike ride in the afternoon.  I'm on total off-season mode as far as training, but it was nice to get back on the bike.

Tuesday evening, Jenn and I decided that it was time to try one of these wive's tales about hurraying up the baby.  I know it wasn't even her due date, but we're just too excited about him to wait any longer.  So, we went to the Olive Garden for some Eggplant Parmersan.  I'm about a twice-a-year Olive Garden guy.  It's just hard to walk around as a living garlic clove for the next couple days after eating those yummy breadsticks.  Anyway, the food was awesome, but it didn't induce contractions. :(
I know, she doesn't even look pregnant!
We decided to continue our little date night by doing something that we both enjoy, watching movies.  So, we went to see the new James Bond movie, Skyfall.  Two movies in one week?  I know...crazy!  On the way into the Mall of Georgia, we stopped by the big Christmas tree for a profile shot of that belly.  Ain't she the cutest pregnant girl?

My dad's birthday was Wednesday, so we met him at Philips Arena to see the Atlanta Hawks play the Charlotte Bobcats.  I got some super cheap tickets on that were in the second level, but we were able to move right down to the first section and had a row to ourselves.  It was a nail-biter at the end, but we ended up winning 94-91.

Pretty empty!  

We love our house, but one thing we've really wanted to do is put a fence up in the back.  Maglee needs to have a place where we can kick her out when she is annoying let her run around.
We need a fence!!!

Luckily, Tom and Colleen Kingery recently took down a whole bunch of chain link fence at their place, and they generously gave it to us!  Yay!  Jenn and I went over to load it up on a trailer and ended up just talking for awhile.  I love that we live so close to them.  We have so much fun together!  It's so neat that we'll be going through learning how to be a parent right alongside them.

After unloading the fence, we headed over to a special band concert of one of the youth in my church at Mill Creek High School.  She rocked, of course, with her flute!  She and her family gave us a quick tour of the school, and then Jenn and I left.

Today's the day that we've been waiting on for the last 9 months.  I know that the first baby is usually late, but it's hard to be patient.  We've already getting text messages from people asking if he's here yet, but that's just depressing, because nothing's happening.  I know he'll come when he's ready, BUT I CAN HARDLY WAIT!

Thanks for reading!  Maybe the next blog will be pictures of our new family member!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Makin a list and checkin' it twice

Sunday, November 25, 2012  at 10:00 AM
Are you ready for Christmas?  At this point, I could almost care less about Christmas and any presents at this point because I'm ready for the greatest gift I'll get this year...a son!!! 

The baby room is finished.  

The changing table is ready.  

The forms are filled out.  

We've gone through birthing class.

Jennifer has made her lists (there's more than one) of a birth plan, a who-you-call-when-the-baby-is-born list, and there's a couple more.  She's got the bag packed, and we're just so freaking ready for the baby to get here.  

The worst part is how uncomfortable she is!  She has a hard time sleeping or sitting or doing pretty much anything including putting her shoes on.  She's got a terrific attitude about everything, but I find myself pretty much helpless.  Other than tying a shoe or helping her up once in awhile, there isn't much I can do to make this baby come.

The due date is THIS FRIDAY, November 30, and we can't wait.  We're afraid that he's gonna come late, but we're so ready now!  It's going to be an amazing adventure, and it can't come soon enough.  We're so stoked!  I'll blog about it all once it happens, but if you want more current updates, follow me on twitter or facebook.  Thanks for reading, and keep us in your prayers as it's unknown for us both.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

7 Bridges Marathon Race Report

Tuesday, October 23, 2012  at 10:45 AM
People ask me all the time, "Are you a runner?"  My response is usually a "Yes."  But, I think it's sort of a lie.  I don't especially enjoy running.  I don't really look forward to doing it...ever.  I'm not really good at it.  I usually struggle through most running races and end up a little disappointed in my results.  I deal with running because I enjoy the sport of triathlon so much.  The hard part is getting compared to people, girls or guys, that are pure runners, who enjoy it and do so well every race they ever enter.  Maybe I've just got issues with competition, or self esteem, a core fear of failure, or just my own confidence when I don't live up to my goals at running races.  It is just disheartening when the first question I get is, "What was your time," and I have to report something less than amazing.  Maybe this should just be motivation to make me faster or at least more driven...

Thanks for letting me vent!  Now on to the race report!

Short Version:
I completed my first marathon!
Time: 4:48:04
AG Place: 19 out of 23

Long Version:
First of all, I have to say that I really did have fun at this marathon.  That's hard to believe after that first paragraph, right?  I knew it was going to be hard, and one of my goals was to have a positive attitude the whole way and keep a smile plastered on my face the whole way.  Well, I did both of those, and I think that's why I had such a good time.

Jenn and I woke up way before the sun on Sunday morning to go to packet pickup.  We had stayed at my sister's house which was only 20 minutes from the race site, so it was no trouble finding a parking spot really close.  As we arrived, I noticed that there were no signs telling us where to go.  This was a foretaste of things to come as I felt the race was not executed very well.  We finally found the packet pickup tent.  The poor volunteers inside didn't even have any lights to perform their duties with.  There was only one person that had a headlamp to use to find race numbers and fill bags with swag.  I was lucky enough to meet fellow blogger and triathlete, Beth, who has an awesome blog, The Petty's Quest.   She was just like all the other bloggers that I meet...super cool.  It's always fun to put a voice with the face and name you already know.  I would see her several other times during the race, and several of these pictures are from her camera.

After packet pickup, Jenn and I went back to the car to warm up since it was a chilly 45 degrees.  Before long, we headed one block over to the start line.  Of course the porta potties had a huge line, but I had found some earlier, so no worries there.  I gave Jenn a hug and kiss goodbye, and then got in line in between the 4:15 and 4:30 pace groups.  My game plan was to go out at 9:30's and see how far that carried me.  I knew that this wasn't "going out too fast," but I didn't know what would happen.  It's kind of scary running your first marathon or even your first full 20 miles.  At 7:00, when the race was supposed to start, THEY MOVED THE START LINE!  Everyone had to move to a completely different area and line up again.  Soon the national anthem was sung, but it wasn't someone singing it but rather a recorded version.  No big deal, but it kind of gave the impression that the little quality things of a well-organized race were missing. Jenn told me later that right before the song began, the girl that was going to sing came up and said that she was there to sing the national anthem, but it was too late.  Finally, at 7:15, the race began.

Miles 1-13.1:
The first few miles were dandy.  A half mile into the run, a friend, who was running the 1/2 marathon, came up beside me and asked what my goal time was.  I told him, and he said, "You're going out a little hot, right?"  Well, I knew that I was right on the money, so I went to show him on my Garmin.  Well, I hit the power button rather than the light button AND SHUT IT OFF!  I immediately realized this and turned it back on, but the rest of the day, it wasn't accurate.  Bummer.  By the first mile, I had ditched my sweatshirt and was enjoying the cool morning.

The first aid station was the third as well, since we were doing an out and back, and I was amazed at the lack of organization.  There were two, TWO, volunteers that had to fill cups and hand them out for ALL the marathoners and half marathoners.  It was ridiculous.  I carried my little Nathan water bottle, so I didn't have to stop at too many stations.  I was just amazed at the lack of organization.  There was even one station that was "self-serve!"  There were coolers and cups, but people had to stop and fill them to have anything to drink.

I made a friend, Helen, at mile 4 that was running the half, and we struck up a great conversation.  Before I knew it, I had seen Beth, Jenn, and then I saw my dad at mile 7.  He and Jenn were awesome all day as they leap-frogged me and each other to be a mobile cheering squad.  They really helped!
Helen is on the right
At mile 10, Helen peeled off, and I continued.  I found myself in no man's land between the 4:15 group and the 4:30 group.  I didn't want to push it up to the 4:15ers, but I didn't want to drop back to the 4:30 group either.  There was hardly anyone around.  Finally, I connected with Lizz who lives in Atlanta and was running my pace.

Miles 13.1-18:
Lizz and I had fun talking to each other and telling stories.  She had run several marathons and had actually run the All-State Half Marathon (See race report HERE) a few weeks ago.
Lizz and me chatting it up

We got to the one hefty climb of the day that goes up and over the Chickamauga dam, and of course we slowed down.  I ran/walked it but kept the same pace as Lizz.  At mile 18, we finally made it to the Riverwalk that I had been looking for, but the wheels started to fall off.  I had to make a pit stop, and wished Lizz good luck.

Miles 18.1-26.2:
After "draining the radiator," I felt pretty good and picked up the pace.  I ran to mile 19 where I saw Jenn again.  She saw that I was hurting pretty good (although still smiling!) and got a little choked up.  That choked me up too, but it was great to see her pretty face.  The run/walk started shortly after that, and it was slow going from here on out.  I made one more friend to get me through the race, Rachel, who was a student at UTC.  This was her first marathon too, so we stuck together.  We ran what we could, and walked quite a bit as well.  It was SO lonely out there.  I really thought this would be a bigger event, but there were some empty roads with few people.  I think if I ever do another marathon, I will pick a bigger one just to have people around me.  Rachel and I pushed each other and did our best. With 1.2 miles to go, we decided to run the rest and powered on.  With about 3/4 mile left, I told her that I wanted to pick it up, so I did and floored it to the finish line.

My goal was of course to finish my first marathon, but I really wanted to do it under 4:30.  Well, that didn't happen, but it's finished!  YAY!  It was quite the experience, and I can look back on a beautiful day and a whole lot of calories burned (almost 3500).

Post Race:
Again, I was a little disappointed with the post-race food.  They handed out water bottles (bike bottles) full of water, but there wasn't any powerade/gatorade/chocolate milk/electrolite drink of any kind.  The had a few bins of fruit that was chopped up and some REALLY stale pizza.  Maybe I'm being stuck-up, but I thought it would be a little different.  I just thought my $110 would have bought me a bit more...

I found a seat on the bottom of the Market Street Bridge, and ate, drank and rested.

I had to go over to the finish line area and ask someone to look up my time since they didn't have a huge clock or anything hanging over the finish line.  It was weak!  Soon, we left, and I got my ice bath and chocolate milk.  Awesome!

Today, two days after the race, I'm feeling a bit sore, but it was worth it!  I definitely don't have a marathon on my race calendar, but it could happen...we'll see.

***Special thanks to Jenn and Dad for taking their Sunday to be spectator/cheerleader just for me.  It really helped, and you guys are the best!  I love you both!***

One last HDR shot that I thought looked pretty cool.  Thanks for reading!