Good reading

For the past few weeks, I've been reading The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer. The title of the book makes it sound as if it is a Christian Home Economics textbook but all one needs to do is read the first chapter to know that is definitely not the case. The book's subtitle more accurately describes it's content: "Creative Ideas for Enriching Everyday Life." And the book begins by explaining why we should even attempt to enrich everyday life: because God himself was the first Artist and it is obvious, from looking at creation, that beauty and aestetics were absolutely paramount to God. So, according to Schaeffer, "The Christian should have more vividly expressed creativity in his daily life, and have more creative freedom, as well as the possibility of a continuing development in creative activities...then what I call 'Hidden Art' should be more important to the one who knows and admits that he is made in God's image, than to those who do not." (She goes on to define "Hidden Art" as the art which is found in everyday life.) She makes no gender or marital-status distinctions either - male, female, single, married, widowed/er, divorced, etc - she calls all Christians to exhibit creativity in daily life. The reason: "There should be a practical result of the realization that we have been created in the image of the Creator of beauty....the fact that you are a Christian should show in some practical area of a growing creativity and sensitivity to beauty, rather than a gradual drying up of creativity, and a blindness to ugliness."

So the rest of the book is devoted to the different aspects of everyday life and Schaeffer, in her quirky yet intelligent and inspirational style, makes the case for the importance of each and ties them all back to the Master Creator. Topics covered include: music, painting/sketching/sclupting, interior decoration, gardening, flower arrangements, food, writing, drama, creative recreation, and clothing. Since I'm a convicted plant killer and have absolutely zero drawing skills (much less sculpting!), I have been picking and choosing the topics as opposed to reading thru the book. And I have been so inspired by something in every chapter I've read so far that now am afraid to read the chapters on gardening or painting for fear that I'll want to take up hobbies in those areas as well...and there is only so much time for creating! :)

Anyway, my next few blog posts will each contain some highlights from the chapters I have read. I would list them all at once but I'm afraid would get bored and stop reading my blog. :)

So, to kick off my series...

Interior Decoration
- Defined as anything we do with the place in which we are living for any length of time - your "spot" (regardless of whether or not it's a hut, a palace or a hotel room)

- Your spot shoould express something about you - what you like, what is important to you, who you are

- She challenges her readers to express themsevles not only in selecting things to buy but also in what we can make ourselves...and she goes on to describe the joy and satisfaction that comes from creating something for use in decorating one's "spot." And she gives ideas for creating home decor items

- She further challenges her readers to start somewhere and try something in the area of doing something creative in the area in which we live

- She also mentions how important creativity is to children: "'A child won't notice' is a very bad and untrue phrase to admit into your mind. A child will be affected by originality, beauty and creativity. And a child in a Christian home should connect being in communication with the Creator God with having been made creative, in his image...creativity...should be enhanced adn developed because of being brought up in a Christian home, not in spite of it." (I found this particularly inspiring.)

- Another way of showing creativity in decorating is to do something for someone else who may not be able to express creativity in their "spot" - an elderly homebound or nursing home resident or someone who is disabled.

- Finally, she mentions continuity as an important factor in home decoration because "to have familiar things around us is to feel 'at home.'" And so she challenges us to make continuity a priority for ourselves and our families because it can help ground us in uncertain times and times of change.

That's all for now! Stay tuned for more from Edith on enriching daily life. :)

I have to say before I close how much I am enjoying being Charlie's mom. I wish I could freeze him in time at 9 months. He is so precious right now - laughing, kissing me, scooting around. He has brought so much joy to us in general, but particularly so these last few weeks.

Here he is enjoying his new favorite food, tofu. The kid just can't get enough! He's eaten it everyday next week and cries for it while I'm cutting it.

And here is today, dressed up for church. I thought he looked so cute, I couldn't resist taking a picture (or 10 :)). Even Ryan liked his knee socks (and you can see my sewing machine, still boxed up awaiting next Saturday's lessons).


A Very Domestic Christmas

I GOT A SEWING MACHINE (and sewing lessons) from my dear husband AND A KITCHENAID MIXER from his dear parents! I couldn't be happier. I'm right now making my first creation in the new mixer: my friend Amy's whole wheat pizza dough recipe. I hope it turns out OK. So far, so good but we haven't tasted it yet. :)

We had a wonderful Christmas (more on that later) and so enjoyed having Charlie. Too bad the little guy is sick AGAIN and we think he has RSV. :( He's right now crying and coughing his little head off. So the lengthy Christmas post will have to wait until he's feeling better.


Party Remorse

Why do I always decide to host events and then, hours before the guests arrive, develop "party hostess regret" syndrome? I always do this...and yet I keep coming up with ideas for parties to host. Will there be enough food? (Likely there will be enough to feed a small African nation.) Will everyone have fun? (Of course - they'll be eating and drinking.)

I've been cooking since last night. Here's the menu:

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle (Paula Dean's recipe)
Pecan Squares
Chips & queso
Spinach dip w/ crackers and pita pieces
Cheeseball & grapes
Cheese Pecan Crackers (recipe downloaded from Marlo's blog - thanks Marlo!)
Wassail (YUMMY slow cooker Christmas-y apple cider beverage)
Red & white wine

Hopefully I'll survive. :) 20 people have said that they are coming.

And then tomorrow we have church - regular morning service and then the Christmas Eve service at 6pm. And then Monday - open presents with Ryan's parents in the morning (they've been here with us since yesterday) and then head down to Savannah around lunchtime for a quick one-night trip to see my family and open gifts with them. Then we head back to work on Wednesday.

It seems the holidays have flown by this year...but in spite of the business, Ryan and I have been able to cherish and enjoy this first Christmas with our little Charlie. He has brought us so much joy this Christmas and we are so thankful for him! Even though many of you will receive this picture in the mail, I can't resist posting it...

Merry Christmas, everyone! And remember where true joy is found...

"Come Thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free; from our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in thee. Israel's strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art, dear Desire of evry nation, joy of evry longing heart."



It's been a busy week and a half since I returned from VA! It was definitely a whirlwind trip and it left me completely exhausted. So here we go with a stream-of-consciousness, not-in-chronological-order post. :)

I returned last Thursday (12/7), which in addition to being Pearl Harbor Day, is my dear husband's birthday. For the past several years I have made a cheesecake from scratch for him but this year, I couldn't muster the strength and instead assembled a no-bake Jello cheesecake from the box. It turned out great, actually, and we enjoyed a quiet night at home with Thai food and TV. What could be better? :)

Then on Saturday Charlie and I drove to Savannah for my sister Caroline's ballet recital. She was Clara in the Nutcracker so we couldn't miss the show! Wasn't she a pretty Clara?

Here we are with Clara, our Papa, my brother Hunter (far left) and my cousins Brittany and Alex.

We put our tree up the week-end before my trip we put our tree up. Here is my manly husband cutting it down from the roof of our vehicle:

And not to copy my friend Jill who is incorporating a different ornament into every post, here are our 2 featured ornaments this year, purchased at the craft fair in Savannah last month...

And the finished product...beautiful if slightly crooked. :)

And I cannot believe that I haven't posted this yet but the biggest news of all is that I've already gotten my most-coveted Christmas gift: 2 weeks ago Charlie learned to sit up!! We've been praying for and working on this milestone for so long - praise the Lord! Here is the first picture of our little guy practicing his new skill -

He's lookin' a little rough because he had just finished a hard therapy session. :)
Week-end plans include a trip to the Columbia Zoo to see the Lights Before Christmas. And thankfully Charlie is healthy now so we'll be able to go to church as a family for the first time in quite a few weeks!
And on the 23rd, we're hosting our first annual Christmas Open House. So if you're looking for me, I'll be cooking!


Leaving on a jet plane

Tomorrow Charlie and I are making a last-minute quick trip to my office in Charlottesville. We are driving to Charlotte and flying to Charlottesville tomorrow morning and then flying back Wednesday night. Charlie gets to experience daycare for the first time and I get to attend a mandatory meeting Wednesday morning. I would be relatively excited about seeing my co-workers if Charlie weren't so sick - he has a double ear infection and bronchitus. We went back to the doctor this afternoon and came back with yet another antiotic, some prednisone (an oral steroid) and an ASTHMA INHALER complete with mask and pipe. Poor little guy. He is wheezing up a storm. The doctor said he should be OK to travel, though (which is good - if I don't go, I don't get reimbursed for the $700 plane ticket that was just billed to my Discover). So please everyone, PRAY for Charlie and I. This is going to be a hard trip. I'm not getting a good visual...Charlie sick, me in the airport with my him, my luggage, the diaper bag, stroller and car seat....


November in pictures

This is a picture of my Puffed Apple Pancake, created for brunch in honor of Ryan's parents visit to Augusta in early November. Taken from one of my Junior League of Savannah cookbooks, this recipe was DELICIOUS! (Jill - very WASPy, I know). Ignore the ugly blue salt shaker the the nasty dog toy under the table. :)

Janelle and her new husband, amid a sea of bubbles!

Fast-forward to Thanksgiving - Rachel, Megan and I ran the Turkey Day Ten Can run in Savannah. It was only a 5k but it helped me accomplish half of one of my '05 New Year's Resolutions!

Charlie with Aunt Caroline (my 15-yr old sister) and my cousin Grace

Charlie with his great-grandfather, my Papa.

Isn't his bib cute? :)

OK, you don't have to eat more Turkey!

And finally, a few shots of our half-decorated home. The rest of the decorating will be done this week-end, including the purchase and set up of the tree (at which time the presents will be removed from the hearth and put in their proper place).



"Oh Thou who has given us so much,
mercifully grant us one thing more: a thankful heart."
- George Herbert

My thanksgiving post is coming a little late this year and that is due to the fact that I have been feeling very overwhelmed...overwhelmed by all the blessings in my life and yet ashamed that I, to some extent, do take them for granted. I have also been challenged and convicted about my utter disdain for and fear of suffering. So I have spent the last several months, and the last several weeks in particular, wishing with all my heart that I could arrive at the point where I am perfectly grateful for all the joys that life has presented to me thus far and be at peace (thankful even!) about the current hardships we are experiencing now and will undoubtedly experience in the future. The challenge for me now though is that I know in my head that this state of being is ultimately unattainable…I will never be as thankful as I could be or as willing to suffer as I must be while living on this side of eternity. So I’ve been struggling with feelings of restlessness and fear, not knowing how to live with the reality that I am not what I want to be, yet being hopeful that one day this part of me will also be redeemed (and is being redeemed right now even). So with George Herbert I’ve been praying, “Lord, make me thankful.” And these are just some of the things for which I want to be truly thankful this year:

1. Ryan – need I say more? I couldn’t ask for a better friend or husband.
2. Charlie – what a blessing it has been to become a mother – words cannot even describe it. Yet suffering with and for Charlie as he struggles with developmental delays and other health concerns has been so raw and painful for us. Charlie’s health has definitely been a source of suffering for which I’m trying to be thankful…I’m thankful that his health issues are relatively minor in the grand scheme of things AND for the opportunity to enter into suffering and rejoice in it, as Paul did.

3. Our families – we both have parents who are still married to each other, who love and support us. And my plethora of siblings is such a blessing – built in friends!

4. Friends – I honestly have some of the best friends anyone could ask for, sniff, sniff. So thanks to you all…and I miss those of you who I don’t get to see often (which is actually like, 99.9% of my dearest friends, unfortunately!)

5. My job – what a blessing to be able to work from home, contribute financially to this family and use the skills God has given me while still having the opportunity to be Charlie’s primary caregiver. An amazing blessing. Yet another source of suffering in many ways…how can I do it all and do it all well? This will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable tasks of 2006! :)

6. Health – We are healthy and have no physical limitations. My sister beat the odds this year and did not have cancer (even though preliminary tests indicated otherwise), our immediate families are all healthy...how often do we all take that for granted? Hhhhmmm…

And of course, I'm ultimately and most thankful for a Savior who saved me once and continues to save me daily. And man, do I need saving!

So Happy (late) Thanksgiving everyone and may the Lord grant us all thankful hearts!


Need I say more?

I'm DYING for one of these babies!


By popular demand

Here is the recipe for the Szechuan Green Beans and Pork...

1/2 pound lean ground pork
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 teaspoon peanut oil
2 1/2 cups (1-inch) cut green beans
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 cups hot cooked white rice (I used whole grain brown rice)

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork mixture, beans, and garlic; cook 3 minutes or until pork loses its pink color, stirring to crumble.

Combine hoisin and next 3 ingredients (through soy sauce) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add hoisin mixture to pan. Cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Serve over rice.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup pork mixture and 1/2 cup rice)

I can't take credit...this is from Cooking Light.

Stay tuned for a cheesy, mushy thanksgiving post.



Every month flylady challenges her audience with a new habit. One recent month it was "a load a day keeps the chaos away!" which challenged us to do one load of laundry per day. I have implemented this habit and it has indeed made my life much easier. This month's habit is meal planning which not only results in a happy, well-fed family - it helps keep the grocery bill under control. So I took her up on the challenge and created a menu template. This menu template includes breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon - Thurs as well as a slot for week-ends, special occasions and snacks. In my new found Domestic Goddess state, I have tons of recipes just waiting to be made so menu planning will facilitate my culinary creativity while saving money.

On this week's dinner menu:
- Monday - Szechuan pork and green beans (DELICIOUS!)
- Tuesday - Pumpkin Black Bean soup (Ryan is a little "iffy" on this one so last night's leftovers are the back-up plan)
- Wednesday - Lime chicken and roasted potatoes
- Thursday - leftovers

Snacks for this week include blue corn chips with queso fresco and spinach dip with reduced-fat wheat thins.

I also decided to host a Southern Living at Home party in a couple of weeks and have begun menu planning for it as well. I need to create a new menu template for parties. Perhaps I'll do that during my 4pm conference call, which will undoubtedly bring this post to a close. I know for sure that I'll be serving Paula Dean's gingerbread trifle. I'm salivating already.

One more tidbit before I go...today I got my hair COLORED FOR THE FIRST TIME. And not because I wanted to but because my gray hair has finally gotten out of control. And I've developed a bald spot from plucking out too much hair. :( So I found myself at a very redneck but cheap establishment and proceeded to explain to the very dyed beautician that I wanted "subtle coverage." Amazingly she understood and my coverage is indeed very subtle...so subtle in fact that my grays are STILL visible. *sigh* I guess it's back to the drawing board...I will be calling her tomorrow for a "touch-up."




How he slept through this, I'm not sure. But he did. As Ryan Moody always says, "Never underestimate the power of a Moody to sleep. " :) And he managed to somehow free himself - when he woke up an hour later, he was no longer stuck in the crib.

We are about to leave for a quick trip to Savannah. This week-end Christmas Made in the South, a big regional craft fair, is in Savannah and I always try to go with my mom and sisters. I'm so excited...but too bad it is going to be 80 degrees...so much for beginning to feel like Christmas!


Things I really don't like

Perhaps it's the weather (dreary, cool) or my hormones or, most likely, the election results, but regardless of the reason why, I'm feeling very grumpy and negative today. So here is a list of things that I really don't like:

1 - Democrats

2 - My job (today anyway)

3 - Spending about 6 hours a week on Charlie's therapy (and that's just the clinical part - what we do at home isn't even factored in!)

4 - Daylight Savings - I am so tired ALL THE TIME now

5 - Nancy Pelosi

6 - All the strip malls in Augusta

7 - Ryan's pager. He's back in the ICU this month which means every other night, he gets paged all evening and all night long.
8 - Democrats finding out about a scandal that could put children at risk and then sitting on it for MONTHS so that they could break the story a few weeks before the mid-term elections. Dirty dogs!
9 - The disgusting republican who sent provacative emails to children.

And just to not be too negative...here is something I do like.

Good thing our troops still have a sense of humor. And I also REALLY LIKE the fact that John Kerry is not our president!


It's a bird, it's a plane

Our first halloween with a kid was a lot of fun! We went trick-or-treating in our neighboorhood with a friend from church (who also happens to be a neighbor) and then went to another friend's house to eat chili. Charlie looked adorable in his Superman costume, chosen by his father, of course. I would have picked something cutesy, like a pea or a frog but I appreciated my son's cuteness in the costume of his father's choosing. :)

I decided to dress up at the last minute, at the request of my friend Leslee. I was Ryan Moody and she was a cowgirl...with a Strawberry (her daughter Lexi).

On a different note...I made a carrot cake (including icing) from scratch yesterday for the chili party and I was very proud of myself. Here is a picture of my masterpiece. The recipe was from one of my Junior League of Savannah cookbooks and I even decorated it myself, with help from my favorite magazine Real Simple. I cannot stress enough how much I love this magazine. It makes me want to become a domestic diva or a stay-at-home WASP (for a definition of WASP, see my friend Jill's blog). So if you're bored, you really must peruse realsimple.com. I also can't recommend enough Martha Stewart's holiday magazine with instructions for homemade gifts - I'm definitely in the mood for crafting now. :)


Brides and babies

Many, many years ago when I was a blushing bride, one of my bridal showers was shared with a pregnant co-worker. It was a funny mix of people and emotions...I remember opening a gift, suprised to find lingerie inside, and then a few seconds later even more surprised when my co-worker said, "That [pointing to my lingerie] leads to this" as she brandished her new bib. Not what I wanted to think about four weeks before my wedding...I remember thinking, "I'll die if I get pregnant! That would be horrible!" My how times have changed...

I took this trip down memory lane as an intro to this post which will largely focus on brides (Janelle - my best friend from college) and babies.
First Janelle -
Two weeks ago my other best friend from college Katie and I hosted a lingerie shower and bachelorette party for Janelle in Charlotte. We had a blast and it was a) my first night EVER to not put Charlie to bed and b) my first time "out" since becoming a mom. I was definitely a little rusty - I wore a turtlenck and jeans (as compared to Katie and Janelle's cute little tanks tops); a man walked by, apparently looked at my um, "bottom" (according to Katie) and I panicked, backing furiously into a wall; I only ordered 2 drinks for the entire 9 or so hours we were out; I complained about the smoke all night long and I began yawning at promptly 10pm (I didn't get to go to bed until 2am). Katie and I came up with some "tasks" for Janelle to perform throughout the night, my favorite being the one where she was supposed to jump in and play an instrument with a band. Since we ended up at a club with a DJ, Katie and I had to "help" her with this one - we coerced the DJ to play "Like a Virgin" and announce her name. Oh - and the 3 of us danced in the cage during the song. :) Don't believe me? See below...

And isn't Janelle just so cute in her paper veil? For you Covenant folks out there, the big day is November 18!

All in all, it was a great night - the food was fabulous (probably the best mexicon food I've ever had), the club was fun (crazy '80's dance party) and the girls were really fun (some I knew, some I didn't). I enjoyed my time away from the demands of motherhood but I also found myself thankful for where I am today...being a wife and mom - cooking, cleaning, general caretaking - and realized that I wouldn't trade it for the wild and crazy fun of single life for a single minute!

Now babies:

Last night I spent an hour or so after Charlie went to bed searching boxes in the garage for my china. I am so sad to say that my beautiful Lenox Pearl Platinum china has been sitting in boxes in the garage since we moved, along with all my various other treasured kitchen "essentials." I did this because tomorrow I'm hosting a baby shower at my house for a friend in my small group. I am so excited to put my china to good use. And now Ryan can't say that I never use it. I bought a set of those china storage bags/boxes at Bed, Bath and Beyond today, and plan to use them to store the china in the linen closet, so hopefully I'll use my china more now that it's packed in boxes. I'll have to take a picture of my set-up before the shower tomorrow. I'm sure you are all dying to see.

Now I must get to work. Get to work on my "real" job, which is not party planning, unfortunately. I worked until 1am last night, am working now and will likely not be finished until 1am tonight. But that's another post...


Babbles and a time crunch

I have so many things on my mind and heart right now, many about which I'd like to share...insights from my reading of What is a Family? by Edith Schaeffer, pictures and tales from Janelle's fun bachelorette party, my thoughts on my career, and others. However, the business of my day and week in general does not allow time for such. So instead, I'll post a few pictures. These were taken last night, on our family outing to the local pumpkin patch. Perhaps I'll find a few spare hours in my week to carve it...I've never carved a pumkin before so it should be um, interesting (halloween and all its associations were of the devil in my childhood).

Perhaps later this week I'll be up for profundity (musings from Edith Schaeffer) or silliness (Janelle's bachelorette party) but for now, I'm off to cook dinner. Turkey tenderloin is defrosting now and there are baby limas waiting in the crock pot...


Prayer Request

I sent the email below earlier this week...some of you may have received it. But just to cover all our bases, I wanted to post it here as well.

Hi everyone,

I’m writing to ask that you all pray for Charlie. Our therapist and pediatrician have become more concerned in the past week or so about Charlie’s lack of physical progress (meeting milestones) and the slow progress of his therapy for torticollus. We spoke to his doctor this morning and he will getting a CT scan next week to check for possible issues with his head (big words I can’t say – check with Ryan if you are curious J) and he may have to be sedated for this test. Please pray that sedation won’t be necessary. Then the next day, we have to go to the pediatric neurologist to discuss the CT and his other developmental issues. Based on this meeting, we may likely be referred to pediatric surgery.

Our pediatrician is also working to get PT and OT scheduled for us in our home. Apparently kids sometimes respond better to therapy in their natural environment so please pray that this works out as well.

Also, please pray for Ryan and me as our hearts are breaking over this situation. Pray for Charlie’s healing, of course, but also pray that we will be able to trust God and praise him no matter what the outcome of all these tests.

Thank you all for being such good friends and for the prayers that I know you will offer up on our behalf.


Baby Gear

Babies require a lot of gear. Anyone with kids knows this firsthand. Charlie has so much gear that it's starting to take over our home. And now...we are in need of something else - a jogging stroller. Has anyone out there researched jogging strollers? If so, which one should I buy? :) I have tried to make myself do my own research but I'd much rather do other things (like read blogs :)). So if anyone one out there has any recommendations, please lemme know!


New Year's Resolutions

I'm sure your first thought after reading the title of this post was, "What is Emily thinking? It is most certainly not New Year's!" And you're right - it is most definitely not January (it is, after all, 88 degrees outside!). However, as September draws to a close I'm starting to look back over the year, evaluating my successes (giving birth) and looking for areas of improvement (not wasting so much time online, ahem) and I'm forced to evaluate whether or not I will meet some or all of my New Year's Resolutions. Unfortunately, it is looking like I will NOT be meeting my one professional resolution, which is to read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, which incidentally was an '04 resolution as well (*sigh*). I am "iffy" on one of my big personal resolutions...to run 3 5K races by the end of '06. I made this resolution when I was 6 months pregnant and I thought that by committing myself to these 3 races, I would somehow become inspired to become the recreational runner that I am not and get back into shape while I was at it. So fast-forward to today (actually to about 3 weeks ago when I first started thinking about 5Ks), 6 months post-partum, realizing that if I am going to even come close to meeting this resolution, I'd better get on the ball!

So I started the Couch to 5K Running Plan. My new treadmill makes this running plan very easy since it has one-touch speed control (I press the "6" and I'm suddenly running. I press the "8" and I am full-on sprinting, I press "4" and I can breathe again, you get the point). Now I am not my friend Maryanne who still runs daily in her 8th month of pregnancy. Nor am I my friend Amy Claire who decided to train for a triathalon while nursing a 9 month old AND growing Baby Number Two but so far, so good. I'm on Week 3 and am running more than walking for the 25 minute workout so that's good. And I'm not pushing myself to maximum levels of exertion during the workout, which is also encouraging. So after realizing that I could indeed run again, I began searching for 5K races. Given the fact that I've waited until October, I did not find very many options...so I-dum da dum dum dum-signed up for the Savannah River Bridge Run (picture above) on December 2. Now the curvature of this bridge may not be visible to the naked eye but this 5K run includes 1.4 miles of 5.5% grade. Yikes. So the plan is to finish the a Couch to 5K Running Plan, which is 6 weeks long, and then start to work on hills. This is going to be interesting...wish me luck! And if anyone out there wants to run with me, I'm looking for a partner! :)


New additions

Big news for this week is that Charlie is getting his first 2 teeth! It's the 2 bottom teeth...here is my attempt to capture it with my 2 year old digital camera with a 20-second delay. :)

Some miscellaneous things going on in the Moody household...

1 - Because of Charlie's Torticollis, it is really important for him to spend a significant amount of playtime on his tummy. But now that he can roll over, it is really difficult to keep him off his back. In fact, I think he learned to roll over because he hates being on his stomach. :) This picture shows me bribing him with a Praise Baby DVD and trapping him in the Boppy -

3 - This past week-end we had our friends Ryan and Megain over for dinner and took some pictures of our kiddies in their matching seersucker outfits (both were gifts from Ryan's mom).

Charlie cooperated with the photo shoot for a little while and then he was outta there!

4 - Tonight I get to go out for a rare few hours by myself. A friend is having a Southern Living at Home party and I am pumped about the free snacks. :)

5 - This week-end my sister, her husband and my nephew are coming into town. We're cooking steaks on the grill Friday night and going shopping on Saturday. I'm so exicted!

OK, I'm off to cook dinner...quiche is on the menu...


Happenings in our house

I just realized that it has been quite some time since my last post. My absence can be attributed to several factors:

1 - I have been sick! I have been all but down for the count since September 10th. I woke up that Saturday morning very ill. And then the antibiotics I took for that illness caused my to have stomach issues until last Monday. So I have spent this week catching up on all that I did not get done last week.

2 - Ryan. He has been working like crazy so I've been running this household alone for the past 2 and a half weeks. Thank goodness he's almost finished with this busy rotation in the Intensive Care Unit! Next week is his last week until November.

3 - Work. I nearly had a nervous break-down this week because once again I was called upon to travel. Now a night alone in a hotel sounds absolutely fabulous (and a night alone in the Omni Hotel in Cville sounds even better) and the free Charlottesville dining experiences are very appealing however Charlie is a very high-maintenance child right now and leaving would be difficult (see Point 4 below). So, after consulting with Charlie's doctor today, I had to tell my boss (once again) that I could not travel. We'll see how long I can stall.

4 - Charlie's health. We are still working on his Torticollis by stretching at home and going to physical therapy twice a week. He is improving, slowly but surely, but the physical delays that sometimes accompany torticollis are starting to be more obvious as he gets older. He was 6 months old yesterday and he cannot sit up yet - he has no trunk control whatsoever. Wearing a collar :( and surgery are both still on the table if he doesn't drastically improve in the next 6 weeks. But he did learn to roll over last week and for that we are thankful. He is also a very high-maintenance eater - still refusing to take a bottle and not too interested in eating baby food. So that makes leaving him VERY difficult. After talking with his doctor today at his 6-month appt, we decided to move him straight to the cup - she doubts he will ever want a bottle now that he has made it this long without it. So please pray for his neck, his physical development in general, his flexibility with eating and for my attitude about his special needs. I am so trying to be thankful that this is all we are dealing with and that we have an overall healthy child but sometimes I just feel so sad for him...and sad for myself that I feel like I can't give him all the attention he needs due to work demands.

On a lighter note, I did purchase a very cool kitchen gadget last week: a Magic Bullet blender. This is the greatest contraption! I bought it with the intention of using it make Charlie's baby food (jarred baby food is repulsive to me and quite expensive) but this thing can do so much more! This morning I enjoyed a blueberry smoothie that literally took about 2 minutes to prepare. It was fabulous. This week-end I'm going to make some broccoli soup and hummus...All in the magic bullet! I'm telling you - CHECK IT OUT! :)

Quote of the day:
"Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for power equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle for you shall be a miracle." Phillips Brooks, abolitionist minister


Expecting perfection

A few years ago I found this quote:
"If you expect perfection or nothing from human relationships, you will get nothing every time."

Being a perfectionist and somewhat of a control freak, I have always struggled with having too high a standard for others and expecting way too much from everything - friends, family, myself and life in general. So I found this statement very helpful in that it enabled me to put all my relationship struggles in perspective...family interactions, friendships, my marriage.

But for some reason, I have not applied this realization to my relationship with my child. Instead, I have spent the last 5 months expecting a tiny little baby to sleep on command, be hungry when I expected him to be hungry, play when I felt like playing and be content to entertain himself when I had other things to do. Now this may sound absurd but it's true - I really did expect these things to happen. I wanted to be in total control of this new parenting thing.

So yesterday, I had a "bad" day - Charlie wanted to eat more often than usual and that got in the way of my job, my cleaning schedule, my workout plans and the music class that we are doing together. I was highly inconvenienced by his larger than usual appetite and complained to Ryan about how "hard" my day had been. [Side note: last night was one of those RARE occasions in which I get to go somewhere ALONE. I went to a very WASPy dessert meeting for the MCG Women's Auxiliary (basically the wives club at MCG) and kids were not invited. So I slipped out for a brief 1.5 hours of glorious alone time, leaving Ryan in charge of Camp Moody.] So back to my day: as I was driving to this dessert party, IT hit me: what do I expect from Charlie? Whatever it is, it's WAY too much. And that is not fair to him, Ryan or myself. The kid sleeps 11 hours straight at night and takes like 3 or 4 naps during the day. What do I have to complain about? So he is hungry from sleeping so long! Big deal, Emily - let 'em eat as much as he wants to because those 11 straight hours of blessed sleep and peace are SO worth it. And then I started realizing that that this truth applied across the board to parenthood - Charlie and our other future children will not come into the world knowing what to do and they are little sinners. It will be up to us to patiently love and parent them with appropriate expectations. And I know that I didn't come up with this on my own - God is totally using Charlie to change me and for that I am thankful.

So yes, I grew up a little bit more last night during that brief 10-minute drive. I felt TOTALLY different when I came home to my crying child. I felt more patient, much happier and much, much more at peace. I'm sure I'll forget this again (likely later on today) but for now, things are much quieter inside my heart and my head and I feel ready for today...and tomorrow...and the next day.

And I also realized that I DESPERATELY need some time to myself, time to distance myself from all the demands of my job, family, dogs, etc and just be still. I turned off the radio, just thinking and praying during that 10-minute drive and it refreshed my soul more than any other period of time since Charlie was born. My friend Marlo posted this verse on her blog earlier this week and it spoke to me then and again this morning:

Is. 30: 15 - For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel,"In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength."


Just some new pictures

I don't have anything to say. I honestly can't think of a word to say. But here are some new pictures, courtesy of Ryan's parents high-quality digital camera.


Thoughts on Women

The Today show featured a segment this morning on which I just cannot resist commenting. I don't have much time right now but you all must immediately checkout this article on forbes.com: http://www.forbes.com/home/2006/08/23/Marriage-Careers-Divorce_cx_mn_land.html. The first paragraph gives you an idea of the subject of this article: "Guys: A word of advice. Marry pretty women or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blondes or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don't marry a woman with a career." And women with careers are defined according to this standard: "a 'career girl' has a university-level (or higher) education, works more than 35 hours a week outside the home and makes more than $30,000 a year...We're not talking about a high-school dropout minding a cash register."

Yikes! I have many, MANY comments about the above and this entire article but for now I'll just say 3 things:
1 - I am a "career girl" based on the standard above and I have a wonderful marriage.

2 - My husband finds my job and my success outside the home fascinating, stimulating and he is proud of me. He is equally proud of my accomplishments at home and is eternally grateful for my caretaking of our home and our son.

3 - I have respect for the women who are not fortunate enough to have blue collar jobs yet still take pride in their work, their careers, if you will. And I find it offensive that this author so demeaned these women.

OK, I lied. I have 4 things to say... :)

4 - This author does not take one important factor into consideration: Christ. As Christian women, we have an anchor stronger than workplace temptations, ego factors or "falling out of love." We are committed to our marriages and our homes because our God has called us to our men, our children and our homes. And no matter what we do in our free time, we know with whom our allegiance ultimately lies and by whom our priorities and subsequent actions are dictated. I tried to copy some relevant versions from Proverbs 31 the Godly woman working diligently inside and outside the home…and being praised by her husband for both but blogger didn’t like it. But do read Proverbs 31 again, even if you’ve read it may times before. http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/search/?q=proverbs+31

Praise the Lord that our successes in our marriages and our work in our homes (or outside our homes for that matter) is not dependent upon us NOT having the opportunity to meet other men, earn a salary or take pride in a skill learned or job well-done!

[Now for the stay-at-home moms reading this post - I am not in any way saying that career is more important than our tasks at home. I 100% believe that a woman's primary responsibility is to her family so let's not even "go there." :)]


True Confessions

I have not gotten dressed for work since Charlie was born. There it is. My secret is out. I have attended phone conferences and delivered presentations in my PJs since I returned to work in May. I sincerely hope that none of my co-workers are reading this blog. In any case, I divulged this information because it is relevant to my newest endeavor: keeping my husband feeling loved and satisfied, my child fed and entertained, my house clean, my clothes freshly laundered, my personal interests/needs indulged, my work requirements met and my sanity intact. Now this is not really a new endeavor - I've been working on this feat (and posting about it) since May however, a new discovery (or rather an old discovery resurrected) has made this goal much more attainable: the flylady.

I was first introduced to the flylady by a friend in Charlottesville. This friend was a Domestic Goddess, if you will, and I really thought that, due to the personality of this friend, the flylady would never work for me. I never even gave her a chance because I thought, "I'll never be this anal; I'll never have a need for such a structured life." WRONG. Yesterday I was sitting at my desk, thinking about to get everything done, so overwhelmed that I couldn't even "do the next thing" as my hero Elizabeth Elliot recommends. Suddenly I remembered hearing about this website that helps women get organized and decided that I definitely had to try it out. But I couldn't remember the name of the site. All day long I tried my hardest to pull the name from the recesses of my brain but no dice - I could not for the life of me remember it! But then last night, as I surfing the net, I made my way to my friend the Marlo's blog and in one of the comments, someone mentioned the flylady! I could not believe it! I took that as a sign that I should immediately begin investigating the FLyLady's goods. So first thing this morning, I joined the group.

One of the more interesting tidbits I read on the website really confirmed my decision to try the FlyLady:
"Since starting this group, I have continually harped on putting your shoes on your feet each morning. I want you to do this and you are not the exception to the rule...I see this problem more in the SAHM (Stay At Home Moms) because often they don't have to leave the house and it is not necessary to get dressed every morning. Only their children are going to see them. I want you to listen very close. You have the most important job of all, raising productive adults. NOW, do you want your children to remember that Mom didn't get dressed until it was time for Dad to get home? Or do you want your children to have to answer the door because you are still in your gown tail and bathrobe? If you would look at your day just like the Payroll SHE and realize that the jobs around the house will take as long as you let it (all day in most cases because you allow it) and get off your "Franny" and get dressed all the way to shoes. Because it is time to go to work."

So it's confirmed: I need to get dressed in the morning and organize my life around the flylady.


I bit the bullet

and bought a treadmill. I am so excited and yet I cannot believe that I spent so much money at one time! Thank goodness for free shipping and payment plans. :) I do consider this to be a good investment, considering we spent almost twice the cost of the treadmill on our Omni Health and Fitness Club membership last year.

I spent several days last week-when I should have been working, cleaning or doing laundry-researching online and I finally settled on the ProForm line of treadmills. I chose this line mainly because of the free shipping and the "hot summer sales event" which gave me several options under $1,000. After changing my mind several times, I decided on the ProForm Crosswalk Caliber Elite which "is more than just a treadmill" as it also has the Crosswalk Upperbody Arms feature, supposedly providing an optional upper-body workout. A built-in fan, well-lit console (??), iFIT® 8-Week Weight Loss Program (??) and a 300-lb weight limit make this THE perfect treadmill for me. :O) It will arrive within 2 weeks (no wonder shipping is free).

Now all I have to do is decide where to put it. The garage is not really an option, since I won't be able to run until the afternoon after I've finished my work day. I think I might die if I ran in my garage in Augusta, GA in the afternoon heat. And I'm not exaggerating. The master bedroom is an option, albeit not a good one since it really has the best furniture we own (besides the coffee table from Walmart, of course) and a treadmill would most certainly spoil my decor. Any suggestions?


Charlie at 5 months

This week marks Charlie's 5th month of life and I must say that he keeps getting more and more fun. Just when you think you couldn't love a little person that you haven't even known very long any more...

The doctor tells you to feed him prunes, because um, he hasn't "gone" in over a week. Now this is a kid who has never even had rice cereal. Prunes have been a disaster...and a really, REALLY big mess. The pictures prove it.

This one shows my cool lime-colored kitchen and Charlie's new toile highchair. :)

Here is my big 5 month old boy, smiling away on his blue shag rug.

And here's a final snapshot from today: Charlie with VERY red eyes hanging out in my office with me, likely wondering, "when is she going to get off that phone and put me to bed?"

Poor buddy, his head is getting better with therapy but we aren't quite there yet...