12.19.2007




We're back up and running, finally and thankfully. We were all technically back to normal by late Thursday evening but it really was quite a ride. I couldn't resist taking a picture or two to document -







Friday took us to Savannah for Ryan to work all week-end, unfortunately. Weak and still realing, we crawled to Savannah and did our best to just make it. And we did...returning home at 10:30 or so Sunday evening. Whew!

But now we are in full Christmas mode and ready to prove it!



A few fabric trees I whipped up to decorate a cofee table.






Charlie's stocking, finished a few weeks ago:


















And the mantle, adorned with all three new stockings!
During the Charlottesville years, Jill and I decided to start wrapping our Christmas gifts thematically. I've been doing it ever since. This year, red foil paper with gold ribbon (and when I ran out of red paper, last year's screen stepped in to fill the gaps!)

12.11.2007

And We're Down

Yep, all 3 of us, well, 4 of us. With the stomach bug. Thankfully I have the mildest case of all. I'm not sure if that's due to necessity or the grace of God. Who take care of Mama when everyone else is sick? Literally 22 diapers and a trip to pick Ryan up from work later, I'm about to succumb to terrible stomach pains and achi-ness. Let's hope we all make it through the night!

One final thought: THIS is WHY we are moving to Savannah - I need someone to help ME!

12.01.2007

Just a quick question

Just a quick question for all of you homeowners...anyone out there have a downstairs master (with the kids' rooms upstairs)? If so, how does that work? OK? Not OK? General thoughts on this issue? In trying to pick a floor plan for our next house, this is a recurring theme. I can think of pluses and minuses...

Thanks for your help!

11.29.2007

Random Thanksgiving

We had a very different Thanksgiving this year. Ryan was working so Charlie and I spent the day watching the parade (which he loved), cleaning the house and doing laundry. Ryan was able to sneak out of the hospital a little earlier than usual and we all celebrated by taking a nap and then going to Cracker Barrel for turkey and pecan pie. Sadly, Cracker Barrel was packed ?

BUT the week-end was great as my sister Anna, brother-in-law David and nephew Tyson (6 months older than Charlie) arrived late Thursday night. In addition to shopping and just hanging out, we made a trip to Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC. Charlie was thrilled - he pitched a major fit after we left the first three exhibits, apparently not catching on AT ALL that we were off to see more animals. But thankfully, about 20 or so minutes into it, he caught on and was excited to see "more anmals." He is not scared of animals (or much of anything, for that matter) AT ALL so he touched and fed every available creature. He are some of my favorite shots.


















Notice my face in this last picture. By this point, I was fed up with giraffe slobber. It was very cool to be be so close to a giraffe (they are HUGE in real life! Look at that head!) but really, we were on our 20th piece of lettuce!









Charlie loves Tyson. He's actually obsessed with him - he does not go one day-or really one hour-without mentioning "Tyse." And could Charlie look anymore like his Dad? :)



In other news, I'm suddenly feeling very pregnant. Twenty-eight weeks today. Yikes. This one is sneaking up on me! I'm tired, lots of things hurt and bending over to pick things up is a fate worse than death. I don't remember feeling such random pains with Charlie but then again, I didn't do the human pretzel every day to keep up with a wild and crazy 20 month old. That probably has something to do with it.

Anyway, by popular demand...a photo, taken last Sunday...Anna, also pregnant, is 20 weeks.



Thanks so my growing mid-section, Charlie has finally realized that something is going on. The other day he randomly looked at me, looked down at my stomach and said "baby." We told him there was a baby in there a few weeks ago and he was like, "um, OK, whatever." But I guess he remembered! Occasionally he'll remember the baby's name and say, "Baby. Eyat!" with a huge smile but most often, it's just "Baby." At least he's getting the memo that something is about to change!

In other news, we (well, me, Ryan has been working like crazy!) have really started looking at houses. For you Savannahians, our top choice at this point is a new house in one of the new neighborhoods in the Isle of Hope area. I'm so excited at the thought, I can barely stand it!

Cheers!

11.24.2007

11.19.2007

The Proof is in the Pictures

I have been busy, busy, busy at my sewing machine in recent weeks and finally - some proof! Last Thursday I put the finishing touches on stockings for Ryan and me. His is forest green with plaid trim and silver buttons on the cuff...mine is winter-white with black grosgrain ribbon trim and vintage-jewelry-esque black jewel buttons on the cuff (wouldn't Jackie O. be proud?). I'm extremely proud of the results at I have been wanting to make homemade stockings for about four years now.

The Proof




The fabric for Charlie's stocking has been selected, purchased and is ready to be cut and sewn. But it might have to wait until after Turkey day, though that would be putting myself slightly behind my self-imposed holiday schedule. :)

And tonight I turned out a little fold-up crayon pouch for one of Charlie's friends who has a birthday this week. It turned out well and was actually a very encouraging project for me...I've made four of these little guys and the first one nearly pushed me over the edge. I thought it was SO hard and it took me about five hours to cut and sew the fabric...and it didn't even look very good! But this one...the lines are straight and in the right place and the corners are actually squared! Not to mention the fact that I was able to make the thing in a reasonable amount of time. I think I'm making progress! Who knows, by the time we move, I might be ready to sew some curtains...

11.14.2007

Closet Environmentalist?

While in Chicago, I was assaulted hourly by environmental activists and nearly run over several times by fast-moving taxis in attempt to save myself by dodging my assailants. After spending some time thinking about the constant attacks, I realized that these passionate individuals probably took one look at me and sized me up as an environmental nuclear bomb, someone with a huge carbon footprint who couldn't care less about the environment. And while I'm certainly not an environmental activist, I certainly do believe that we as Christians should make care for the earth and all the living creatures living in it (people included and above all other "resources") a real priority.

Soon after returning from that trip, I saw a segment on The Today show entitled, "It’s easy being green! 7 ways to help the planet" and subtitled "Lowering your family’s carbon footprint is simpler than you’d expect" and I was intrigued. Here are the suggestions, from Chip Giller, president of Grist.org:

Day 1: Turn down the heat
Here’s a quick, easy solution that will save money and energy: Turn down your thermostat. Lowering your heat in winter by just 2 degrees can cut your energy bill by 10 percent. Get an automatic or programmable thermostat to make it easy to save on heating; set it to turn down when you’re away from home or sleeping, and to turn back up half an hour before you’ll be up and around.

Day 2: Unplug gadgets
Electronic equipment and appliances suck up energy even when they’re turned off — they’ve even earned the nickname “vampires.” Americans waste $1 billion a year powering items like TVs and DVD players while they’re turned off. So unplug your TV, stereo, computer, microwave and other electronics when you’re not using them — or use a power strip that you keep turned off unless you’re using one of the items. And make sure to unplug your cell phone and MP3 player chargers as soon as the devices are powered up.

Day 3: Wash clothes efficiently
When it comes to laundry, there’s lots of room for savings. Ninety percent of the energy used in clothes washing goes to heat the water, so washing cold is a simple way to cut energy use drastically. Plus, make sure to wash full loads. When it’s time to dry, make sure to check the lint screen before every load, and clean it afterward. And if you want to take efficiency a step further, hang some items and let them air-dry instead of running them through the dryer.

Day 4: Eat less meat
Meat production takes a lot more energy and resources than growing vegetables or grains, and 18 percent of human-generated greenhouse gases come from the livestock industry. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to make a difference in this area: Try skipping meat just one day a week. If every American had one meat-free day per week, it would reduce emissions as much as taking 8 million cars off the roads.

Day 5: Put the brakes on driving
Vehicles consume half of the world’s oil, and spew a quarter of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions. Leaving your car at home even one day a week can save a lot of gas and emissions over a year. Try walking, biking, car pooling or taking the bus or subway to get where you need to go — or see if you could telecommute to work one day a week. When you do drive, make sure your tires are properly inflated — under-inflated tires can cut your gas mileage by 5 percent.

Day 6: Go green in the home
Pick a small project you can do around the house to cut energy use. Here are a few ideas: Replace six regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs use about one-fifth as much energy as regular bulbs, and last about 12 times longer). Install a low-flow shower head, which will save on water heating and use. Lower the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees and insulate the tank. If you’re feeling ambitious, undertake a home energy audit to identify projects for the future.

Day 7: Write a letter
While it’s true that small changes at home can make a big difference, one of the most important things you can do when it comes to climate and energy is to let business and political leaders know that you care about these issues. Take some time to write a letter to a store, a manufacturer, or your representative to thank them for their good work — or to encourage them to do better. Look at their Web sites for contact info. You don’t have to be an expert on the issues to speak up. And if we all put in our two cents, it will add up to some positive planetary change.

When I look at this list, I realize that in spite of the stereotypes about conservative voters and suburban housewives, I am not such an environmental liability after all! We follow a nearly-vegetarian diet (thanks to my meat aversion), our hot water barely qualifies as hot, our home is an icebox in the winter, I unplug most of our appliances when they are not in use and I only ever wash full loads of clothes. And since I have so much opinion and am prone to fire off letters to almost anyone, Step 7 could become a reality for me any day!

However, I do admit that we could do a better job of caring for the environment and thinking about ways to reduce the impact our carbon footprints. And demonstrating an appropriate level of concern for the environment should be a priority for us as Christians and an opportunity to witness to the world. But don't lose heart...you don't have to switch to all-natural deodorant and toothpaste and start wearing an exclusively-hemp wardrobe to make an impact.

11.08.2007

Politcs again? I can't seem to help myself...

I'm in the middle of my early morning routine, just finished devotions and am on to my second cup of coffee and a healthy dose of Today, and couldn't resist posting on the latest '08 election news:

PAT ROBERTSON HAS ENDORSED RUDY.

Not that Pat Robertson is my example or political go-to guy by any means, but this is an interesting turn of events: "...there they were Wednesday morning, Robertson endorsing Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, as "an acceptable" Republican "who can win the general election" for president."

And in other news, Sam Brownback publically endorsed John McCain on Wednesday.

Interesting read on this topic:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/11/07/conservatives.endorsements/index.html

Who knows if any of this will be significant but I had to share.

11.05.2007

The Creative Juices

Last week I decided to get creative...I had some cheap "test" fabric hanging around the house and decided to put it to good use, to try my skills before investing in real fabric. So thanks to Amy Claire, I decided to sew a few fold-up crayon pouches to give as gifts; I then decided to sew a fabric tree and a Christmas stocking. Both turned out really well, so well that I decided to go out and buy some "real" fabric. I'm going to make our stockings and a fleet of trees to decorate and give as gifts! I also decided to decorate a few burp rags for Janelle's baby shower gift...



Turned out well, I think. Too bad I don't have an embroidery machine (hint, hint, Ryan!).

Speaking of Janelle's baby shower, we posed for quite a few pictures of our pregnant selves but alas, all turned out to be pretty bad pictures. But here are a couple of them anyway...she's due in late December. We've come along way since college!

11.02.2007

A Response

Glenn, a friend from the Charlottesville days, has responded to my previous post on a political blog: http://goodwillhinton.com/must_american_citizens_accept_the_status_quo_when_voting


and because I have a hard time leaving a friendly fight, I thought I'd respond to his comments...

__________________________________

I agree with you on two points, Glenn. First, I do not think that a single individual can "ruin" our great nation. And like you (and distinct from other Christians, I might add), I am quite optimistic about the future and truly believe that God is reigning and in control. But I digress...Clinton, for example, did not ruin the country. In fact, a couple of good things occurred during his time in office - the Defense of Marriage Act and the 1996 Welfare Reform Act immediately come to mind. HOWEVER, taxes were extremely high (my parents with 6 children living at home on >50K/year had to make monthly payments to the IRS, payments which could have instead been used to help me pay for college or the occasional family vacation) and Clinton did take some shots at home schoolers and the right to home school in general...in addition to sickening me and many others with his personal escapades, not to mention lying to the entire world...

Secondly, I agree with your assessment of the cycles of national politics and it is for this reason that I, until the past few months when Hilary really started pushing ahead in the polls, fully expected and had come to terms with the fact that a Democrat would be elected in '08 as I can certainly understand and in some instances agree with, the country's general level of frustration with the Bush administration.

But my agreement with these two points not change the fact that I do NOT want to pay extremely high taxes to a federal government that does not use my funds for causes in which I believe or support; I don't want an already big government to become even bigger; I don’t want socialized medicine (I’ve had way too much exposure to military medicine!); I don't want liberal activist judges appointed to the Supreme Court; I don't want marriage to be redefined. But even more than that, I do not want Hilary to be my president. While Barack Obama or John Edwards would obviously not be my first choice, I am bitterly opposed to the election of HRC to the White House. First and foremost, she is a socialist and while I agree that she cannot single-handedly turn us into a Socialist nation, I am very uncomfortable with and disturbed by her stance on virtually every issue of substance and her assessment of which issues are THE most important (http://www.hillaryclinton.com/feature/10reasons/?sc=8). I also think she lacks the experience and finesse required to run the most powerful nation in the free world and would be somewhat afraid for our national safety under her administration (not deathly afraid, stockpiling-weapons-and-canned goods-afraid, but still slightly unnerved and on edge about the possibility of future terrorist attacks). And lastly, I do not want her to make history by being the first woman elected as president of the United States. As an American—and Christian—woman, I do not want in ANY WAY to be associated with or defined by her personally, professionally or politically. She is not the wife, mother, friend, business woman or politician that I’d want to be and I think that many American women would agree with me. Any woman who would “stand by her man” as Hilary has is not a tolerant and forgiving wife but is instead an insecure and desperate ladder-climber, willing to sacrifice her self-respect and dignity for the privileges afforded by her last name and marital status. In the “real” world, women who stay with their husbands for their handsome faces or large paychecks are considered fools and I simply will never understand why the feminists of this country have adopted her as their role model. If anything, she represents everything we competent, confident and capable women should detest and seek to avoid.
So it is my intense opposition to Hilary that has inspired me to rally behind an electable candidate. And while there is no mandate, moral or otherwise, to support a 2-party system, it is my personal opinion (note: I did not say “educated opinion”) that voting for a 3rd party candidate is a wasted vote and does not contribute overall to the popular election of a new president. I have made the choice to vote against what I consider a “greater evil” (for lack of a better term) and to throw my support and vote behind the reasonable candidate with whom I have the most in common.

Coming soon: a fluffy post with pictures of my recent sewing projects. :)

10.24.2007

You have nothing to fear

While in Chicago, I was able to soak in quite a bit of the liberal news media and '08 Presidential politics and as a result, I have become quite "fired up" about the upcoming primaries and election. Fired up because WE as conservatives have quite a lot at stake in this election, from moral issues to fiscal issues to the general and quite basic rights and liberties that have traditionally been afforded to us as capitalists and citizens of the United States of America. Thankfully, the left-wing liberals seem to me to be their own worst enemy and may very well end up nominating Hilary Clinton, who seems to me to the LAST person they should elect if they want to win as she is quite a divisive and polarizing figure. However, even if they do their part and nominate Hilary, WE as conservatives must do our part as well by:

a) nominating an electable candidate. I know that this may break your heart but Duncan Hunter does not fall into that category. He is not going to win the '08 election. And neither is Mitt Romney, no matter how presidential he looks :),

b) actually going to the poles and voting for this electable candidate. I don't want to hear (or read!) any of you say, "I just don't agree with any of these candidates. I'm just not going to vote." Whether you like it or not, you vote either way. If you--a Christian, Libertarian or otherwise conservative voter--stay home, you vote for other side. So please, PLEASE vote against the candidate LEAST like you if that makes you feel better, but by all means VOTE. The Christian right is a powerful force in elections and we need US now more than ever!

c) and finally, under no circumstances nominate or support a 3rd party candidate to run on a "Christian values" platform (does the name Ross Perot ring a bell???).

An example of an electable candidate is Rudy Giuliani, who has been called THE most Republican electable candidate in the poles I've seen. He is also, unfortunately, the most likely to inspire the nomination of a 3rd party candidate. And (gasp) - I actually like him! See why below...

From Mayor Giuliani’s Remarks At The Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit, Washington, D.C., 10/20/07 -

As you look at this simple list of priorities, you’ll see a great deal of evidence of our shared views and our shard values. I’m not going to pretend to you that I can be all things to all people. I’m just not like that. I can’t do that. And you know that we have some areas of disagreement, but I believe we have many, many more areas of agreement and the one thing you can count on with me is I’ll always be honest with you. I’ll always listen to your ideas. I’ll always take them into consideration. And I’ll do the best I can to honestly tell you mine. I come to you today as I would if I were your President–with an open mind and an open heart and all I ask is that you do the same. Please know this— you have absolutely nothing to fear from me. I find it difficult understanding those who try to make me out as an activist for liberal causes. If you think that, just read any New York Times editorial while I was mayor of New York City...Ronald Reagan had a great way of summarizing it. He used to say my 80 percent friend is not my 100 percent enemy...Government should not force parents to send their children to failing or inadequate schools. Really, the idea, it takes a family, not a village to raise a child...We can all agree to move in the direction of setting specific goals to decrease as much as we can the number of abortions in America and to increase the number of adoptions in America...I can tell you I would appoint Supreme Court Justices in the mold of Justice Scalia, Justice Thomas, Justice Alito, or Chief Justice Roberts...There’s one last thing that I’ll mention the briefly in the time remaining, but it’s the most important and that is that we remain on offense in the Terrorists’ War against the United States...And we must be prepared to take action and participate in places like Darfur because genocide in Africa is no different than genocide any place else. Never again must mean never again...This conversation that we’ve had about shared values and goals is a beginning, it’s not an ending. I want to work with the community of faith to develop new ideas that can protect our shared vision, building a more civil society, restoring the social contract, promoting a culture of personal responsibility and in the process we’ll achieve our shared goals, protecting our children’s’ innocence and defending the expression of religious faith, strengthening parents’ rights and expanding school choice, advancing toward a culture of life by decreasing abortions and increasing adoptions, appointing strict constructionist judges, and winning the Terrorists’ War on Us. Because the more we all talk together, the more we share ideas, the more we all respect each other, the more we can achieve. I’ll continue to extend my hand to you and I hope that you’ll take it. Together we can help our country rise to new heights and continue to form a more perfect union. May God bless all of us and may God continue to bless our great nation, the United States of America. Thank you.

Bottom line: while he may not be as conservative as we'd like in terms of the social and moral issues that are very important to us, he's not a liberal social activist and will not a be a crusader against these important conservative values.

I encourage you to read the full text of his comments and to give him and his platform real consideration - http://www.joinrudy2008.com/article/pr/919

Not doing so could lead to increased abortions, liberal marriage laws, higher taxes, more limited civil liberties, a more demoralized military, and leave us more vulnerable to future terrorists attacks.

P.S.

For those of you acquainted with our precious first born, Tyke Samantha Moody (our Jack Russell Terrier), you might be interested to know that he had surgery yesterday to have a hopefully-benign cyst on his tail removed. We'll know if it's cancer after the sample is tested at UGA next week. Poor Tyke, I hope he doesn't have cancer!

Oh, where to begin?

We made it back safely from Chicago at about Monday night, after flying into Savannah, picking up Charlie and the doggies and then driving to Augusta. LONG day.

Our trip was great – Chicago is beautiful, the shopping is heavenly, my dream shopping experience and we enjoyed lots of quality time together and some really good food, including deep dish Chicago pizza (of course). But right before leaving Thursday, we found out that our elderly across-the-street neighbor (affectionately called The Mayor of the neighborhood!) passed away suddenly while on a cruise in South America. We are very close to this man and his wife and they love us (especially Charlie!) as well. I’ll spare you all the disturbing details involved in passing away on a cruise ship off the coast of COLUMBIA of all places, but suffice it to say that the stories we heard were awful, unbelievable. And the tears of his wife of 47 years were heart-breaking (she’s German – he brought her home from war to be his wife and she never became a U.S. Citizen…that’s another story in itself). Since finding out this news, we have been deeply sad and mourning this loss. Mourning the loss of our neighbor and friend, Charlie’s friend and sad for his lonely wife, across the street all alone in their new home purchased for retirement. I have also been so convicted and saddened by all the times when I rushed by these neighbors, too busy with life to stop and chat. Those with elderly / retired neighbors know how high-maintenance these people can be :0) and these folks are no exception. Having all the time in the world to chit-chat, sit out on the porch, point out all the problems with the landscaping of the yard, etc. can sometimes, well, be a lot of work for the busy young parents across the street. But this whole experience has taught me a lesson about what is important in life: relationships, taking time for people, knowing that life happens in the moments when the chores are not getting done and the daily schedule is not being followed. How I wish that I had taken advantage of all the moments available with this gentleman, to talk about life, things that are really important, to get beyond the dailies. I feel honestly like this relationship and this ministry opportunity passed me by. And I have been grieving this loss and soul-searching, trying to cement this lesson into my mind, hoping for a new “M.O.” in life. My schedule-oriented personality will have a hard time with this one but by grace, I’m hoping for real change…

Anyway, back to Chicago: The Magnificent Mile is indeed MAGNIFICENT. Every store and shopping experience was available, right on this one stretch of beautiful, CLEAN Chicago road. I was able to get re-acquainted with H&M, an old friend from the Charlottesville days, explore several of the most beautiful malls I've ever seen and just generally have fun shopping sans child. It was so pleasant to be able to shop without having to provide a constant stream of food or stop Charlie from crawling under the dressing room stall walls. It really was a treat. I think my favorite mall was Water Tower Place - among other things, the food court was a real gourmet restaurant and I had a delicious falafel pita served on real china! I sure did miss my favorite shopping partners ever, Jill and Libby! In addition to shopping, we also experienced a boat and river tour, which was a quick way to see the famous Chicago landmarks, though not as in depth as we would have liked. We will definitely be back, Chicago! We love you!

10.17.2007

First pictures

Today I had another ultrasound to confirm a few things because our littlest son was not cooperative last time (except for showing us his maleness) and the doctor wanted to try for some better views of his heart. Everything looked great, Praise the Lord, and I came home with some great pictures.



Here's a good shot of our boy -



and a precious little foot...




His name is Elliot, for one of my hero's Jim (and Elizabeth) Elliot (the rest of the name is still under discussion). And Elliot means The Lord Is My God...what more could you want? :)


Tomorrow we head back to Savannah, to drop Charlie off with my parents and fly to Chicago early Friday, returning Monday. Ryan has another conference and I'm once again going along for the ride. We've never been to Chicago so even though I hate to leave Charlie, I'm excited to see (and shop!) the city.

10.15.2007

I love motherhood because...


1. It helps me stay on top of my wrestling skills: every day with an 18-month old little boy is a wrestling match...

physically -






and emotionally -






2. I get to be an interpreter: who knew that "guygise" means "bicycle or "anana" refers to a stinky, dirty, well-loved blue lamb / blanket. And don't forget that "RoRo" means "motorcycle!"



3. I get to read Goodnight Moon (Goodnight cow jumping over the moon, goodnight light and the red balloon...) no less than five times a day and talk about trucks and balls once every twenty-seven seconds.





4. I'm constantly reminded to always wear shoes in the house: tiny trains and cars are NOT fun to step on. Ask my friend Lisa, whose husband had to get stitches after stepping on a star-shaped metal cookie cutter!



5. Children call it like it is: this morning on our walk, Charlie yelled, "Mess! Mess!" (pronounced "Mace!") after spotting our neighbors yard literally covered in tacky Halloween decorations. My sentiments exactly.


6. I get to indulge my creative side by thinking up really good stories like, "the moon is hiding" to explain the waxing and waning of the moon.


7. While daddy's are for fun and games, I'm needed whenever my little son is tired/hungry/thirsty/sick/hurt/otherwise in need of a cuddle.


8. I am allowed the privilege of observing my husband love and lead his son. There is such beauty and strength in the everyday moments of fatherhood.





9. Life is filled with wonder now: who knew that a hot air balloon, rising slowly and majestically over an early morning sky would be so magical? It is when it's spotted by a child, who wide-eyed with wonder, begins babbling, "balloon?! airplane?! bubble?! blue?!" over and over again, standing at the window until the balloon moves out of sight, and then sadly waves and mumbles "good-bye!"

There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again. ~Elizabeth Lawrence


10. I finally see some of the darkness of my heart, the depth of my sin and selfishness and the extent of God's saving and fathering love for me. Loving Charlie more than life itself has taught me that I love myself still more...but mercifully I have a Savior who helps me love him enough to put my trust in the One who promises to sanctify me, love and keep me, and use me-in spite of myself-in Charlie's heart, in this home, in this world.


Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 2 Corinthians 2:14

Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Isaiah 49:15

10.09.2007



We're back from our trip, much more relaxed--and in Charlie's case, healthier--than we left, thankfully. Ryan and I had a great time enjoying each other, the beautiful resort and delicious food. Charlie enjoyed his time with my parents, being the center of attention and having lots of people to clap at all his accomplishments.


But we sure are HOT here in middle GA, like everyone else up and down the east coast. Today, with the high temp of 94, we broke a heat record from the 1800s. This is the second high temp record we've set in the past month. So instead of serving up traditional fall food, like a bowl of chili and candy apples, we had to cool off with a taco salad supper. I whipped up some homemade salsa and guacamole (better than any store-bought brands, guaranteed!) .
In case you are so inclined, whip up some of your own - I promise it'll be a hit!
Fresh Guacamole
3 ripe avocados
1 small sweet onion
5-6 Roma tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
3 T fresh cilantro
5 T fresh lime juice
1 T extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Habanero hot sauce to taste
Cut avocados in half and scoop out flesh. Fork-mash avocados in a large bowl. Add finely chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro and hot sauce to taste. Stir in lime juice and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Guacamole tip...store leftover guacamole in a covered bowl with the avocado pits - it'll keep it from turning brown!
--------------------------------------------
Currently Reading
Bright Captivity by Eugenia Price, for fun
The Legacy of Biblical Womanhood by Susan Hunt, putting my Christian-woman-book-hater tendencies aside to appease my mother...will let you know how it turns out
Lord, I Want To Know You by Kay Arthur, biggest shocker of all, more on this later
Big Thoughts for Little People by Kenneth Taylor, a childhood devotional favorite for my siblings and me, original copy being recycled for Charlie
Plans for tomorrow
Charlie to school, dogs to the vet, dogs back home, clothes to consignment store, post office, Target. Can I fit it all into the 4 hours of Mother's Morning Out and squeeze in a pedicure?

10.03.2007

Tomorrow ends our brief stay here at "home" in Augusta. This is pretty typical for us lately...we come home during the week for 3 or 4 days, Ryan to work, me to clean and do laundry and work a little, all the while planning and preparing for our next trip. And tomorrow we head south, first to drop Charlie (and our 2 dogs!) off in Savannah for a long week-end with the grandparents and then on to Florida. Ryan has a conference in Ponte Vedra and I've been invited along for the ride. We are staying at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club and have been looking forward to this trip for quite awhile. The only problem - Charlie is not doing well today. Around noon he suddenly spiked a fever, 102. 4 or something like that. I called the doctor and was instructed to take him to the E.R. but this seemed a bit extreme so I just took him to the pediatrician. His ears and throat are fine, thankfully, so we aren't exactly sure why he is having such high fevers but they continued all afternoon, not even breaking after multiple doses of Tylenol and Ibuprofen. And he's still wheezing and in need of his breathing treatments. *sigh* So we aren't sure yet what we are going to do...Ryan might go alone, we might wait until Friday morning to go, maybe Charlie will rally and we'll head out tomorrow evening anyway. We shall see.




In between trips to the doctor, cleaning, laundering and working, I decorated about 1/16th of our house for Fall...






And Charlie is learning to deal with his breathing treatments, often climbing into his rocker and attempting to self-medicate!

10.02.2007

Relief

All is well! Thank you for your prayers, kind phone calls and emails. It has been a long day but the prep and the surgery went as smoothly as possible. The surgery was done at The Children's Medical Center and it was great - very kid-friendly and parent-friendly. Everyone was understanding and kind. I think that overall I was much more upset than Charlie, who made about 20 new friends and brought home 2 new toys! :) All in all, we were only away from him for probably 20 minutes. And the hardest part of the day, surprisingly, was the time we spent in the recovery room. When we went back to see Charlie, he was screaming bloody murder, which is uncommon for him. As wild as he is, he is not high-strung and rarely cries. So I was alarmed until the nurse explained that all the young children wake up upset, mad about all the wires they are connected to and how weird they feel because of the anesthesia. He was so groggy he couldn't sit up so he was just flailing around and crying, trying to rip off every wire attached to his small body. So we got out his cup and rocked him and he soon calmed down. And we were outta there...all by about 9:20am! This day, so dreaded by me, has been a blessing and an answer to prayer! Thanks again for thinking of us - we are so blessed to have an army of friends fighting for us!

10.01.2007

Travelling and Tubes

Just got back from Savannah late last night...Ryan was working this week-end. It was a fun but exhausting couple of days. I helped my sister with my nephew's birthday party (and by "helped" I mean pretty much devoted my entire Saturday to running errands, cleaning, setting up, etc. as my 12-week pregnant sis has been in and out of the hospital with severe pregnancy-related nausea, vomiting and dehydration, poor thing).

And I have been meaning to post about this for a week or so but in between all the trips and illnesses, I haven't had much time: Charlie is having surgery tomorrow to have tubes inserted into his ears. Yes, it's come to that. But after talking with quite a few friends and some really good surgeons, we feel that it's right way to go for him, in hopes of avoiding another illness-filled winter and long-term damage to his hearing. SO I just talked to the O.R. and we have to be there at 7:45 am for an 8:45 procedure. I was crying on the phone with this poor woman, in part due to my hormones, I'm sure, but also because I was hoping for (read: had my heart set on) a 5am arrival time. Why, you ask? Because Charlie can't have anything to eat after midnight tonight or anything to drink after 5:45 am tomorrow. As if the thought of my poor little baby having surgery, including general anesthesia (scary!!!), isn't enough, now I have to worry about him being hungry and thirsty on top of that. I just can't handle him begging for food or drink - that will break my heart! And he's a big eater so it's going to be rough. Thank goodness for the car DVD player. Hopefully that will distract him!

So everyone, please pray for Charlie (and us!) tomorrow. Pray specifically for:

1. General anesthesia - very scary for me. I had to sign many papers during the pre-op that list all the possible side effects and risks and believe me, it isn't comforting. And you never know how anyone, much less an 18-month old, will react to the anesthesia. Pray that all will go well, that he'll respond normally, and wake-up on schedule and in good in spirits.

2. The actual procedure - pray for wisdom and skill of the doctors, that the procedure will go well and be effective

3. Peace for Ryan and me - that we will trust our little precious son to his and our heavenly Father

Thanks for your prayers...and we'll let you know how it goes tomorrow!

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty, I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." Psalm 91:1,2

9.27.2007

Did anyone else hear about this? I receive John Piper's weekly newsletter and here's the one from yesterday...warning: tissues may be needed.


What I Said at My Granddaughter’s Funeral
A Granddaddy’s Thoughts

September 26, 2007
By John Piper
Read this resource on our website.
I had the privilege of sitting with my family while Tom Steller and Sam Crabtree ministered to us at the funeral of Felicity Margaret Piper who was stillborn at full term on September 22, 2007. Her father Abraham asked me to speak for five minutes on “A Granddaddy’s Thoughts.” Here is what I said.

I didn’t know Felicity Margaret. My experience of her life was entirely through other people for nine months. And my experience of her death, even though it was physically immediate and touchable, has been emotionally experienced almost entirely through other people.

So at this moment, what it means for me to be Felicity’s grandfather is that I am living this loss almost entirely through other people’s experience of this loss. And because of my love for all these people, there is a powerful sweetness in this pain.

Being Felicity’s grandfather means that I have tasted her loss through my daughters-in-law, her aunts Shelly, Melissa, and Lesley. The measure of her worth and the greatness of her loss have been written on your faces, and they are the more beautiful for it.

Being Felicity’s grandfather means that I have felt her loss in the shattered expectation of her aunt Talitha, my daughter. It was not easy to go to school on Monday. But you and Mommy made a good plan with the school counselor to inform the teachers and students. And now, in a way you never expected, your heart is knit together with Dasia whose little brother Zach was killed by the dog a month ago.

Being Felicity’s grandfather means that I have felt her loss through her uncles and my sons Karsten, Benjamin, and Barnabas. I broke the news to each of you and watched all your plans change. You are good brothers to each other. And I cannot tell you how much I love the tears and embraces of strong men.

Being Felicity’s grandfather means that I have felt her loss through her grandmother, my wife Noël. Strange and wonderful. Your tears came slowly and have increased. Mine came quickly and have decreased. Almost the story of our lives. Thank you for knitting Felicity’s blanket, and weeping as you decided to give it to her anyway.

Being Felicity’s grandfather means that I have felt the loss through her mother, my daughter-in-law Molly. For her entire life she depended on you more than anyone. You fed her, you cleansed her, you supported her, you protected her, you knew her better than anyone. The grace that God has given you to love her greatly and let her go is amazing. Christ is on display in your life.

Being Felicity’s grandfather means that I have felt the loss through her father, my son Abraham. The words from Saturday morning’s phone call are cut into my heart, “Daddy, we lost the baby.” Nothing, Abraham, has gone deeper inside of me than your loss.

Being Felicity’s grandfather means that I have felt the loss through her great grandfather, my father Bill Piper. And this experience is totally different from all the others. In this case, the loss is all gain. My father died six months and sixteen days before Felicity did. I believe the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ covers the sins of all who trust him and all who are not old enough to trust him here but will trust him later.

Therefore, I believe Felicity and her great grandfather met each other early Sunday morning in the presence of Christ. And my father said, perhaps, “Hello, Felicity. I’m your great grandfather Piper. Come, there is somebody I want you to meet. His name is Jesus. He’s the reason you’re here. You don’t need to be afraid. Your Savior has led you all the way. And Jesus does all things well.”

9.20.2007

Here we go!

I'm happy to report that we are having another boy! Yep, in spite of how sure I was that this one was a girl (I feel completely different than I did with Charlie!), it's a boy for sure. Though I'm scared to death of being a mom of two such little boys (Charlie really tries to kill himself and destroy our home daily :)), this is truly wonderful news. I'm sure they will love having each other to play with and fight with and at least I won't be torn between sword fighting and princess dresses! :)

He received a clean bill of health - everything looks good and he is developing normally and on schedule for his 2/21 arrival date. This might sound trite to some of you but a baby growing and developing normally really is a miracle and with Charlie, we were informed of potential kidney problems during this ultrasound so it was such a relief to hear "Your baby looks great!" God is so good to bless us with this new baby and we stand amazed at his greatness in forming him.

Psalm 139...
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

9.18.2007


I haven't written in awhile because, to be honest, I have nothing anything new to say...Charlie is still sick, still not napping, I'm still tired, etc. I'm not sure if this is a different bug or just getting worse but last week he got a chest cold. So he had to miss "school" and I had to miss my Friday morning Bible Study. Then we had to miss out on hanging out with friends over the week-end while we were in Savannah for Ryan to work and I had to miss church. You get the idea. He is still coughing and wheezing, in spite of having breathing treatments four times a day and a round of steroids. I'm starting to think that medicine doesn't help (no offense, honey! :)). So anyway, here were are in the midst of Week 4 of illness and yesterday was a bad day. A very bad day...Charlie slept hardly at all, cried most of the day, whined for me to hold him for long periods of time, etc. And my attitude left much to be desired, to be honest. So after crying a lot, receiving a loving lecture from Ryan :) and just doing some thinking, I decided that no matter how much rest I'm getting, I just need to get up a little earlier to get a head start on the day before Charlie wakes up in the morning. So today, I got up "early" (6:30 a.m. may seem late to some but not to this pregnant momma!), spent a few minutes reading and praying, ingested some caffeine and watched Today, got dressed in some lovely gym attire, brushed my teeth and when I got Charlie out of his crib, I felt much more ready for my day. It really is worth it to get up earlier than your family. I guess Proverbs does have a few good pointers! Anyone else out there come to this same conclusion?

Speaking of Proverbs...a few months ago, I started out on my own quest to discover what the Bible has to say about women and their roles and responsibilities. I really honestly can't stand the normal Christian "Woman" books (anything by Elizabeth Elliot being an exception). I have yet to read even one that I like or would recommend to others. For once, I wanted to know what the Bible says instead of reading what everyone else thinks the Bible is saying. I started with Proverbs 31 (of course) and haven't left yet. There is so much in this passage that I'm really taking my time and trying to apply it to my life right now. I highly recommend a slow reading of this chapter and Matthew Henry's Commentary on these few verses.


In other news, this Thursday we have the big ultrasound, the one where the sex of the baby is revealed. Boy or girl, I'll be happy for either. I just want a healthy baby.

The picture...during a 48-hr respite from illness a week or so ago, Charlie enjoyed his first lolly pop at a friend's birthday party. Needless to say, he loved it!

9.12.2007

Dear Sesame Street

I just wanted to take a few minutes to let you know about my disapproval of a recent broadcast / recently released DVD. The broadcast I’m referring to was focusing on the family but unfortunately, I’m not sure of the exact name. In any case, the show was interesting, educational and stimulating for my eighteen-month old son (who is, by the way, totally obsessed with Elmo) and for that I thank you.

However, one brief clip ruined not only this episode but my entire opinion of and trust in the Sesame Street organization as a whole. In this clip, different types of families were being showcased: families with one parent, families with two parents, families of different races, etc. This was all fine and good until a picture of a family with two mommies and two daddies appeared on screen. This to me is completely unacceptable – not only is this type of family not yet mainstream: it is not even legally sanctioned! As far as I know, same sex parents cannot yet adopt children jointly. Additionally, neither the federal government nor the majority of our states have yet to embrace homosexual marriage. Same sex families are against my moral and religious beliefs and it is for this reason that I primarily object to this clip. However, I also object based on the facts above: this type of family is not yet mainstream or legally sanctioned in this country. We must draw the line somewhere and I insist that it be drawn based on legal precedent. If not there, where is it drawn? Should I expect next week or next year to see a picture of a mother, horse and child displayed as a type of family?

I also believe that Sesame Street, as a non-profit organization, should be less focused and engaged in current political hotbeds and more focused on its primary objectives:

"The [Sesame] Workshop is committed to the principle that all children deserve a chance to learn and grow; to be prepared for school; to better understand the world and each other; to think, dream and discover; to reach their highest potential."

Advocacy entertainment is not appropriate for young children, and on controversial issues, I prefer that the education of my children be left to my judgment and guided by my moral standards. By engaging in this very controversial social battle, Sesame Street has abused the trust and lost the respect of many parents across the nation and the world.

I take this issue quite seriously and request a response to my concern at your earliest convenience. Thank you in advance for your attention to this very important matter.


Submitted to
http://www.sesameworkshop.org/aboutus/inside_contact.php

9.06.2007

Antibiotics - Week 2

We are on Week 2 of yet another round of antibiotics for Charlie. The nasty summer cold he sported during our beach week turned into a horrific ear infection last week. Poor baby, I didn't catch on that he was still ill until he a) had a 103 degree fever one afternoon and then b) was up for 3 hours in the middle of the night, crying. This child slept through the night (9 hours) at 5 weeks and has continued to sleep 16 hours a day since then. I'd estimate that he has been awake in the wee hours about 4 times since he was 6 weeks old. So I definitely knew something was wrong. We went to the doctor last Tuesday (as in a week and 2 days ago) and left with a diagnosis of an ear infection, soar throat and sinus infection. After a day on his medicine, he rallied and we enjoyed a few days in Savannah while Ryan was in AZ, studying for his upcoming Pulmonary boards. And then this week...more sickness. Charlie has refused to nap, refused to play and so finally, back to the doctor today for us...the ear infection is back in full force. So he received an antibiotic shot and a prescription for yet another week's worth of antibiotics. :( AND an appointment with an ENT surgeon for a tubes consultation, this being his 10th ear infection or something like that. So...this is a request for info. Anyone out there dealt with tubes? Do they help? Are they a pain to care for? Is the procedure to insert them just awful? Three straight weeks of antibiotics and a shot is certainly not a walk in the park so I'm ready to explore alternatives. :)

Also, anyone have any tips for the awkward 18-month stage / dropping the morning nap? It's not going so well for us!

8.26.2007

Home

We're back from a busy week in Savannah and Daytona, thoroughly enjoying ourselves and Ryan's parents in the sun and sand. It was thankfully MUCH cooler in Florida than it has been in Georgia recently so we were cured, at least temporarily of our 105+-degree temp-induced cabin fever.

However, though we had a blast and really enjoyed spending time together as a family, I did learn (or re-learn) that mothers of young children absolutely do NOT go on vacation. Or at least a vacation is not really a vacation for the mother. Murphy's Law for Charlie's young life is that he is always sick when we take vacation or go on trips. It's been this way since he was about 3 months old. And when he's sick, he wants me. End of discussion. Crying, whining, tired, and desperate for mom. That pretty much defines Charlie when he's not feeling well. And add to that the uncertainty and newness of a strange condo, and well, that spells not much time off for this mom. Ryan was nice enough to man the battle stations for a few hours so that I could enjoy some beachside reading time but much of the time, I was on Charlie duty, reading on our balcony while he slept. Thankfully we had a beautiful 9th-floor balcony facing the ocean...it really was quite a pleasant spot for reading and thinking and such. I finished reading Honey for a Child's Heart (GREAT book, by the way) and delved into Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson, which is exactly what I needed to be reading. I think that Charlie is the kind of kid Dr. Dobson had in mind when he wrote this book: "all afterburner and no rudder." Charlie also proves his point that "one of the scariest aspects of raising boys is their tendency to risk and limb for no good reason. It begins very early. If a toddler can climb on it, he will jump off it. He careens out of control towards tables, tubs, pools, steps, trees and streets...his mom has to watch him every minute to keep him from killing himself." That defines Charlie to a T. As several close friends and family members have said, "he's just making up for lost time." Sometimes I just cannot believe that this is the same kid who couldn't sit up a mere 6/7 months ago! I literally save him from injury or death multiple times a day. Anyway, all this to say that combined with Charlie's sickness and just being Charlie, I was struck with the reality that a vacation is not a vacation for me. Sure it's a break from the usual routine and a nice change of scenery...some quality time with friends and family and a lot of good food. But a "vacation" in the normal sense of the word? NO WAY.

And I have to admit: I was not OK with that several times during the course of the week. As I fed my sick little boy his lunch and wiped his nose for the hundredth time, I was secretly pouting and feeling sorry for myself that I was not enjoying my "vacation." And then would come the guilt over even entertaining such a thought. And then more self-pity for the guilt. It was a never-ending cycle. And I realized that God was dealing with me...using Charlie's neediness to show me the ugly parts of my heart, the parts still in need of refining. And so I repented and begged for JOY and PEACE in serving my family, for the ability to give up my FAVORITE things for them (which, incidentally, could be reading by the beach or pool :)). This was my issue du jour of last week, turmoil going on inside my heart: thankful for the privilege of mothering Charlie, ashamed for my selfishness and sin and oh-so-thankful for the forgiveness and healing that can be found in Christ. Without Ryan and Charlie, I would probably still be thinking that I'm overall a pretty good person...hard worker, honest, faithful friend, etc. But because and through them, I'm able to really see myself, and as a result of God's grace in my life, become a more peaceful, unselfish and giving person. And I've been able to taste and see God more in all of this - this IS his plan for my sanctification, not just some accidental issue I have stumbled upon. God is really doing some business in my heart, and further proof is what I read just yesterday, in the chapter on mothers and sons in Bringing Up Boys...

"Your task as a mother, in conjunction with your husband, is to build a man out of the raw materials available in this delightful little boy, stone upon stone upon stone. Never assume for a moment that you can "do your own thing" without serious consequences to him. I believe this task must be your highest priority for a period of time. It will not always be required of you. Before you know it, that child at your feet will become a young man who will pack his bags and take his first halting steps in to the adult world. And then it will be your turn. By all expectations, you should have decades of health and vigor left to invest in whatever God calls you to do. But for now, there is a higher calling. I feel obligated to tell you this, whether my words are popular or not. Raising children who have been loaned to us for a brief moment outranks every other responsibility. Besides, living by that priority when kids are small will produce the greatest rewards at maturity."

So there you have it. I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and joy when I read these words, knowing that the sacrifices required by motherhood are truly for the best; best for me and my sanctification, best for Charlie and his life, worth it in the end for all of us and most importantly, designed and mandated by the One who created all of this.

8.19.2007

So

So we're in Savannah...I'm typing from my sister's computer. Ryan has been working all week-end and tomorrow we head to Daytona Beach for a week in the sun and sand with Ryan's parents at their timeshare. We stayed with them at their place at the Tropic Shores resort last year and had a blast. After a long week-end of me taking care of Charlie solo and Ryan working, we're ready for some fun...and good food! Hopefully my camera will come through and I'll have some good pictures when I return!!

8.08.2007

Just wanted to let everyone know that it is currently 101 degrees in lovely Augusta, GA. The heat index is only 106. It will hit 110-115 before this beautiful day is over. Yesterday we broke a high temp record from 1857. Eat that, Barry Bonds.

In Savannah, my previous and future home, it's only 97 but it feels like 110. In Macon, GA it's 99 but feels like 106. In Atlanta, it's 98 and feels like 105.

Could it BE ANY HOTTER?

8.06.2007

So...

So I didn't really quit my job. Somehow, after weeks and weeks of discussions, negotiations and the like, I gave in and decided to accept a position called "On-call Consultant As Needed." HHhhmm, we'll see how this works out. I'm officially in the system as a 5-hr a week employee. The jury is still out as to whether or not this arrangement is going to work. And due to all the negotiations, etc that have taken place over the past few weeks, my original last-day-of-work was not July 27, as I originally intended. Rather, last Friday was my last working day, with this Friday being the last day of my full-time position. It worked out this way as we didn't settle on this arrangement until last Friday, resetting my 2-week notice period. But thankfully, my boss allowed me to take this week as vacation. So basically, I'm getting paid through August as a full-time employee, though I only worked one week (because we are on a 2-week pay delay). In any case, as confusing as it has been and still is, today was my first day of freedom.

So I woke up with an excruciating migraine, my pregnancy treat Du jour. Last time around I was plagued with migraines until about Week 17. This time I've been plagued with severe nausea, preventing me from eating just about everything and now the migraines have set in. *sigh* But after one pain pill, one half of a phenergan and lots of water, I finally emerged from Migraine Hell. I was so excited to be feeling better that I celebrated by joining the YMCA, buying cleaning supplies from Dollar General (great deals can be found at dollar stores!) and buying one of just about everything at Super Walmart.

Tonight I rejoin the world of meal preparation. It's been frozen food for the past 6 weeks but tonight, I'm braving the kitchen and preparing
Buffalo Chicken with Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce and Roasted Sweet Potatoes, a Food Network / Robin Miller original. Normally I love her recipes, so I'm excited.

Currently reading (since I now have time to read !!): Rock Star Momma by Skye Hoppus, Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson and Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss (obviously NOT in order of importance).

Week-end plans...to Macon, GA for a friend's white coat ceremony (basically an initiation into medical school official ceremony).

Things to do this week...organize my office, work with Charlie on animal names and sounds, attempt to workout a couple times, get the broken door-lock on our ghetto Kia Sorento fixed.

7.25.2007

And then there were four...



You may be wondering: is this their baby???!!! The answer is "No" 'tho we have one just like it! Yes, it's true - if all goes well, we will welcome a second Baby Moody on Feb. 21st and we could not be more excited...and nervous. Once again, many changes at once...new baby, moving, new house, new job, etc. But it sure keeps life interesting!

I'll be 10 weeks tomorrow and today I heard the heartbeat...and it almost stopped mine. Though I've done this all before, it still amazes me and brings tears to my eyes. Carrying a child is a privilege and an honor (even though there are many things about pregnancy that I detest!) and I'm thankful for the opportunity to do it again.

Those of you with multiple children...I'll soon be pestering you with questions and begging for advice!

7.23.2007

This morning I found Charlie reading The Little Black Book of Neurology. I think he wants to be just like his Daddy!

7.14.2007

Jesse Tree

Anyone ever heard of a Jesse Tree? I hadn't either, until we joined First Pres in Augusta. It's basically an Advent calendar but instead of each day providing a gift or candy or some other treat (along with a verse or some other spiritual token :)), the Jesse Tree provides the family with a picture to represent one of the many important promises or hints of the coming of Christ, starting all the way in the Garden of Eden. It is a tree, or a large banner with a tree, that is decorated each week, usually by the children, with ornaments or objects that represent Old Testament events from Creation to the Birth of Jesus. The ornaments are traditionally handmade and for us, the tree is handmade as well as I spent all morning at a workshop at church, carefully crafting our first Jesse Tree. I was there for 5 hours and still didn't finish the tree! It was quite a lot of work to make all the ornaments by hand...tracing, cutting, ironing, using glitter paint, etc. So while a picture of the finished product will probably have to wait until oh, November, here are some pictures of the ornaments.





And lest you think I'm too crafty, take a closer look at my WORST ornament - praying hands that look nothing like their namesake...




Happy Saturday! I'm going to take a nap to recover from all my hard work this morning!

7.08.2007

Breaking News!

It has been quite a busy summer for us...and we finally have some big news to share! First of all, as I have mentioned briefly in other posts, Ryan has been totally immersed in the job search for the past few months...we've been to Greenville (SC), made several job-focused trips to Savannah, head-hunters have been emailing and calling non-stop. And we've been thinking and praying and thinking and praying...what a big decision! Ryan has been so stressed for the past month in particular, really feeling the pressure to make a decision. This is the fourth move we'll make together and the third city we are choosing but it feels different, much different - the other moves were temporary. We knew we'd be in both Charlottesville and Augusta for a mere three years. But this time, this move is permanent. We hope it will be our last and if not our last, our last for a very long time. I have tried to be supportive and helpful but silent on this issue...Ryan has committed 14 years of post-high school training (rigorous training, during what many consider to be the "best years" of one's life) to his career and I wanted this choice to be HIS to make. Anyway, in recent weeks he narrowed his options to two practices in Savannah, one private practice job and one hyprid of private practice and academics. And this is where he really began agonizing as both choices-very different from one another-are good opportunities. So to make an already long story short: we headed to Savannah last Monday evening (July 2) for him to meet with one of the practices and to enjoy some time with my family at the beach. On Tuesday morning he awoke early and headed for his meeting. Three hours later he called me and said, "Well, I have a job. I signed the contract." So it's now official - we are headed to Savannah next June for Ryan to join a private practice group! He is thrilled and believes this IS the job for him. And while we are are nervous, we really believe in our family motto: Nil desperandum Christo duce (where Christ leads never fear). And for the record: I'm so proud of and excited for Ryan - he's dreamed about this since he was a little boy. Congratulations, honey! I love you!

In other news, I gave my notice on Monday. My last day as a slave to corporate America is July 27. My conversation with my boss went well, even better than the best case scenario I could have imagined. He was so kind in his response and did express sadness (which of course I would want him to do after working so hard for so long! :-)). I was in tears by the end of our talk, realizing what a big step this was and how my life was about to change. I have not yet informed my co-workers, at his request, as we have a meeting Tuesday to discuss "alternatives" but regardless of what he has to offer, I've already made my decision. The sacrifices of time with my family and my personal sanity are just not worth it to me at this point. I've loved my job and been proud of my accomplishments but motherhood changes everything. And the kind of family we want to have does not allow for two stressful, high-pressure, all-consuming careers. I have been thoughts on this topic but those will come later... Charlie and my nephew - they are six months apart and they LOVE each other. It will be fun for them to grow up together in Savannah!


A blurry shot of us on the beach waiting for the fireworks to begin.
The sisters and their boys...looking a little tired. :)

6.28.2007

World's Worst Blogger

Yep, that's me. I know it. But I'm sure none of you have missed me anyway, sniff sniff. :)

I'm going to re-enter blogosphere by participating in a fun little blogging game sent to me by Jill. I'm too tired and overworked to understand what this is myself but click here for an explanation...

1. “What were you doing 10 years ago?”
Graduating from high school and getting ready for college! It's my big reunion year!

2. “What were you doing 1 year ago?”
Working, mothering, etc.

3. “Five snacks you enjoy:”
Smoothies, cheese, chips & salsa, yogurt, granola sans almonds (hard to find, I'm allergic to almonds)

4. “Five songs to which you know all the lyrics:”
Baby Got Back, Bohemian Rhapsody, Be Thou my Vision, Amazing Grace, And Can it Be (random assortment, huh?)

5. “Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:”
Buy beach houses, re-decorate them and sell them for a profit (keeping a few for myself); start medical clinics in various parts of Africa; purchase a new wardrobe (sorry, I have to be honest here!); support the International Justice Foundation; pay off Ryan's loans :)

6. “Five bad habits:”
Surfing the net; stressing out; sleeping in; falling in love with um, questionable TV shows (Desperate Housewives, HBO's Big Love); gossiping

7. “Five things you like doing:”
Writing, working out, cooking / entertaining, shopping, getting pedicures

8. “Five things you would never wear again:”
bone-colored pumps, culottes, jumpers, tiny bikinis, high-rise blue jeans

Now, I’m supposed to tag 5 other bloggers who are supposed to answer these questions on their blogs. So: Amy Claire, Ethan (Megan), Maryanne, Posey, Maxeys (Katherine), go for it!

5.18.2007

Mother's Day was a great day for me, for our family. And not only because Ryan gave me a beautiful red camera and 2 precious cards. It was also wonderful because I really started to believe that motherhood IS worth it...worth the wider hips, decreased funds, larger thighs, darker under-eye circle, increased responsibility, more for others, less for me. Sacrificing yourself for someone else is sanctifying and overall, I find myself to be less selfish, less anal, more loving, more tender-hearted and overall more grown-up as a result of mothering Charlie. And those are good things.


Speaking of motherhood, I'm throwing a baby shower for an Augusta friend tomorrow. So tonight I'll be baking and washing china. I adore and take advantage of any opportunity to pull out the Lenox Pearl Platinum :). I'll be sure to document and post some pictures of the festivities.

Charlie was so excited to see the goats and chickens at a local petting zoo.

5.06.2007

The (Nearly) Finished Product



We are missing the third (top) shelf but overall, I'm very pleased! My little sister's blurry, cheap camera just does not do it justice! :) Ryan did a great job of hanging the shelves (which we found at Lowe's; the Target shelves didn't work). The shelves ended up being a little more expensive than we'd originally thought but we love it...and we spent about 1/9 of what we'd have spent if we bought the "look" from Pottery Barn! I have wanted a china cabinet since we moved in but budget and space issues have prevented us from finding and purchasing one. But patience has its rewards - I like this setup better than any others I have seen in stores or magazines and I just can't stop looking at it. :) I'll post another (hopefully more clear) picture after we find and hang the top shelf, which needs to be more shallow and ledge-like as opposed to a shelf like the other two.

The $12 cabinet is still by favorite purchase...with a fresh coat of paint and some new knobs, it sure is a looker!


Cheers!