Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Baby Bangs? Seriously?

Some of you are wondering if you're at the right blog. You are! Yay! I am so excited about the new design.

Others of you are wondering what the heck "baby bangs" is supposed to mean. I originally talked about this phenomenon in THIS POST.

During pregnancy your scalp holds on to every precious strand of hair. Almost no shedding for 9 months! Your hair becomes gloriously thick and beautiful, which I think is God's way of allowing you to keep some self-esteem while your ankles and waistline disappear. It gives the skinny women in your life something to admire. Besides the baby to come, of course.

Due to hormonal changes after childbirth, many moms experience an avalanche of shedding hair when their babies are a few months old. And those that don't may find that they've pulled their hair out due to stress and lack of sleep. Boy did I have an avalanche. I had to clean out my brushes every other day. I could pull about eight strands of hair out at a time just by putting my hand through my hair. And I could do it over and over again. My husband made me clean out the shower drain multiple times because it was obviously my hair that was punishing our plumbing. I couldn't even protest. That was a pretty gross experience to say the least.

It's possible that I could have avoided such a drastic loss of hair had I cut it short, but I was 100% committed to withstanding the temptation of a mommy cut. I had warned my hairstylist that anything I suggested in a hormonal daze after giving birth was to be explicitly ignored.

So after a few months of this, what was I left with? A wretched hairline with sparse patches above my temples. And then the hair began to grow back. Thank You, Lord. So I had tiny hairs growing all over my head, especially around my face. There you have it - baby bangs. If you look closely at Tom and Katie's wedding pictures, you'll see that Katie was sporting her baby bangs on her big day. Way to work 'em, sister.

My baby bangs are a few inches long now. They still poke out all over my head. I have to remind myself that the ones around my face need to be straightened with the Chi. On days I forget, like today, I have perfectly smooth hair with short curly pieces framing my face. Now THAT is pretty. Of course my new hair is growing in curly. OF COURSE IT IS. You should have witnessed my excitement when I realized my baby bangs were long enough to Chi. But I have to be really careful because if, heaven forbid, I scorched them off I'd be starting over again! I heard a rumor that the shedding process starts again after weaning. Oh Lord, have mercy!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Pass the Febreeze

Curtis and I met when we were missions interns one summer. Nothing strange about that, except that I was the first missions intern with zero mission trips under her belt. I didn't even have a good track record in G.A.s on my side. I used to try to fall asleep in the car on the way to Wednesday night church so that my mom would hopefully just let me sleep and not make me go to class. I was deeply spiritual. My dear friend Kay, who was already on the missions staff payroll and had been a G.A. Princess, put in a good word for me and I was offered the job. By vouching for me, Kay was really taking a leap of faith because she knew very well that I had no previous experience with missions. In fact, she was there the day the Moore girls seemingly ruined their missions careers forever.

Kay was probably too young to remember her first mission trip. Her whole family was very involved in it locally and overseas. They are incredible people - so godly, so fun, and so loving. There is no family in this world that I respect more. Our parents have been best friends since we were 2. We have vacationed together many times in our lives. So why not do the hard stuff together, too? One night when we were kids, Aunt B and Uncle Roger invited all the Moores to go with them to do some ministry in town. It was something to the effect of taking a Thanksgiving turkey to a family that had recently immigrated to the United States.

So we walk in the apartment. I can still remember the big smile on the father's face. The family was so gracious. I think they had soup cooking on the stove, but I can't exactly remember. My little sister walks in the door, hisses FISH HEADS, it smells like FISH HEADS, does a u-turn back to the porch and vomits.

Mom stays on the porch with Melissa while the rest of us play it off like Melissa did not just call out FISH HEADS and vomit on the welcome mat. The Moores never recover. I distinctly remember climbing back into the Suburban and not wanting to sit next to my sister. Was I feeling sorry for her that she vomited publicly? No. Was I emotionally distressed for having offended this precious family? No. Was I desperately concerned that she would shatter my life by giving me a stomach virus? Bingo!

So tonight Kay tells me that she took baby Jayk to Central Market for the first time. He loved looking at all the fruits and vegetables. He is his mother's child! But as soon as they entered the meat and seafood area, he was out like a light in the Baby Bjorn. You just gotta love those old memories that have been replayed and retold until they're family legends, cause my first thought was that he must have passed out from the smell of the FISH HEADS.

A Look at Your Life - One Year and One Week

Dear Jackson,
You are loving being one year old. You and I have started Gymboree classes together and it is the highlight of your week to climb around and play there. Last time, several of the other moms saw your big smile and said you seemed to be enjoying yourself. Indeed! You are such a courageous little boy. You are not afraid to climb anything. Our last lesson was on rocking and balancing and you loved it. Since then I can tell that your confidence in trying things out at home has really increased. This has added an extra challenge for you parents because you are taking risks that are fine at Gymboree, but not so fine on our mean hard floors. For example, you eagerly climb your new red chair and the blue rocking chair Aunt Bo gave you when you were born. Neither one is very stable underneath your climbing moves, but it doesn't phase you. You just smile and laugh.

Today you pushed your highchair across the dining room. Your daddy and I looked on in amazement. Forget about the push toys! You also like to push your piano and your toy bin. For your birthday you got a plastic pink piggy bank with big coins. Those coins are your most prized possession. There's no telling how many of them Beckham has secretly eaten.

Speaking of Beckham, he is spending more time outside lately. I think it's because you are so fascinated with climbing him. He loves you, but he just needs a little breather each day. But if he's inside he is never far from you. When I rock you before bed each night he still lays right there on the floor next to us. You are his best friend when you drop food off the side of the high chair. But it turns out he doesn't like veggies that much either.

In the last week or two you realized how fun it is to wave bye-bye to your daddy. Yesterday at the Black Eyed Pea (which at 8 weeks was the first restaurant we ever left mid-meal because of your crying) you waved at someone across the room without any prompting. You are such a friendly boy! Since you officially despise all baby food, Mommy has to order food for you off the kids menu. Yesterday I got you meatloaf and carrots. I felt so bad ordering you meatloaf because I myself would never eat it. But I knew you would like it based on how much you enjoy meatballs. And I was right. But still, it felt so wrong! The good news is that your meal came with banana pudding and we all enjoyed eating it with you.

One of the funniest things you do is take all the blankets in your room and scatter them around. Then you dive face first into them like a little dolphin. It makes mommy laugh so hard. But the other day there was a thin blanket in the living room floor and you dove face first into it, only to smash your sweet little nose into the floor. It was so sad! I held you for a long time after that and we smacked that bad floor and told it how much trouble it was in.

Little Mister, you are the apple of your daddy's eye. He loves to throw you over his shoulder and march around the house singing. You are getting big enough to have adventures with him. You have a new green wagon and your daddy is constantly thinking of reasons why he should take you in it. You have so much to look forward to doing with your dad. In the blink of an eye he will be taking you camping and coaching your t-ball team. He is unspeakably proud that you are his son. Every day we marvel at how special you are. We did not deserve to be given such a priceless gift. We love you so much!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

You made it!

I'm so glad you made it over from the old address. I'm making some changes to the blog and I needed to go ahead and move it over to this new address. It will make more sense before long when I have a new design for you to look at. After almost a year, I'm ready for something new!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Music Meme

Get excited! Here's a fun meme from Big Mama. Y'all know I'm sacrificing my valuable time on an exciting Friday night to do this. Actually, tomorrow will be the craziest, busiest day of all time, so we are very happily doing nothing.

Favorite Song From Childhood: I never saw the movie Cocktail, but you better believe I had the soundtrack. Every time I hear Kokomo or Don't Worry Be Happy it takes me right back to being 9 years old. If jr. high is considered childhood, then I'd like to add Love Shack by the B-52s. And please don't be jealous that during my wannabe hippie stage I saw them in concert at Astroworld.

Favorite High School Dance Song: I Will Remember You by Sarah McLachlan. Although End of the Road was the climax of every dance.

Senior Class Song: My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion.
Our class had actually voted on another song, which I can't remember the title of now, and then there was public outcry to change it to this after Titanic was released.

Favorite Rock & Roll Song: Crazy by Aerosmith.
Erin Wright and I were determined to skip school and go on some crazy adventure in my grandma's Mustang one day, just like in the video. Never happened. But I still love Liv Tyler.

Favorite Disco Song: Love Rollercoaster was on a 70's funk CD that my roommates and I used to dance to in college. That's probably not disco, but that's all I got. (Does anyone else remember "Spartan Coaster of Spirit" from SNL?)

Favorite Country Western Song: In honor of my Pappaw, Redneck Mother by Jerry Jeff Walker. I heard Shake the Sugar Tree by Pam Tillis on the radio last night. I sang it at the top of my lungs and thought, THIS IS MY FAVORITE SONG EVER, even though I hadn't heard it in two years.

Favorite Pop Song: Right now I like What Goes Around by Justin Timberlake.

Favorite All Time Love Song: This Woman and This Man by Clay Walker. This song makes me want to go to the Houston Rodeo.

Favorite Break Up Song: You Oughtta Know (Unplugged) by Alanis Morissette. Jen, this reminds me of riding in your bronco.

Favorite Make Out Song: Curtis Jones will delete my blog if I answer this.

Song That Always Makes You Cry: One Sweet Day by Mariah Carey and Boys II Men. If I had a heartache, Neon Moon by Brooks and Dunn could get me to crying. (Curt just clued me in on the fact that Alan Jackson did not sing that song as I had originally stated. Thank you for humbling me, honey.)

Songs About Your Kid/s: This is My Father's World was on one of our Praise Baby CDs. There was something so precious about thinking of a little bitty baby in a big huge world, so weak and helpless among everything scary. But no worries, because this is my Father's world.

Song That Reminds You Of Your Husband: Mr. Jones by Counting Crows and also Prodigal Me by Shane and Shane because we listened to it so much when we were first dating. Also, This is the Air I Breathe. Two days after we met we were on a mission trip with some youth. A drama team was doing a skit about a husband and wife with this song playing. I had a really strange feeling about Curt while I was watching it. That song always conjures up that feeling.

Favorite Gospel/Praise Song: Inside Out by Hillsong United.

Favorite Ringtone on Cellphone: Right now I have Leave the Pieces by the Wreckers but I'm bout ready for a change.

You are tagged! You know you want to.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

My sister the genius

We just posted an article - American Idolatry - over at the LPM Blog that my amazing sister wrote. It is a very thought-provoking, challenging, CONVICTING take on why our stars aren't doing so well. So yeah, I'll not be visiting today. Or hopefully any day in the future. Go visit and don't forget your steel-toe boots. Because your toes might hurt a bit afterward.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The milestone you've all been waiting for

It's here folks. The milestone you've all been waiting for. As of last week I fit acceptably back into my favorite pair of pants. I know, it's pretty big news. I bought these pants at Banana Republic when they were doing kind of a Naval theme in spring of 2005. They're white with black pin stripes, very long, and have large cuffs at the bottom. Which, incidentally, caused me to fall down the stairs one night when I stepped a skinny heel into one of them. That was fun. But seriously, these pants were so great that when my sister saw them, she immediately went out and bought a pair of her own. That's how I know when I've achieved shopping greatness. And also when my dad hates my shoes.

These were my go-to pants whenever I wanted to look good or feel professional. So you can imagine how eager I was to see them and wear them after Jackson was born. Something about being covered in poop, pee, spit up, and milk makes you crave even one hour of being clean and polished in your nice clothes. Which can be nicely accomplished (with a lot of work) on a Sunday morning.

It was perfect timing! By Easter I would be back in my normal size and I could wear them for several months. Right? But, sadly, when I mustered the courage and stepped into them I realized that something about the waist of the pants was very, very unforgiving. It's not that I couldn't button them, but I just wasn't doing them justice. I hope you can relate. And then I remembered that in the early weeks or months of pregnancy, these were the first pair of pants that caused me to look upon myself in disgust. I vowed not to attempt to wear them again this side of labor. That was a depressing moment - when my go-to pants did not perform.

Now perhaps I have adequately conveyed why this is such a special occasion. So tonight I'd like to thank Jamie, my aerobics instructor who has truly gained my respect, and Lean Cuisine for making this extraordinary moment possible. I just want you to know that I tried on the pants again tonight to make sure that all the birthday cake didn't disqualify me from writing this post. And we're still in business.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Family Ties

Last week, in the midst of the birthday extravaganza, I took a break from my emoting and read a really sweet post - Two Aprons - by Sarah at In the Midst of It. It got my mind spinning about things that make me feel tied to my grandmothers.

My dad's mom, Memaw, lives in Houston. She has been a faithful wife and mother for 53 years. One of these days I'll write about the gracious way she treats and serves my grandfather, and vice versa. They are an old-fashioned love story. My Memaw has a sense of elegance that I've admired since I was a child. There is style in everything she does. For example, Memaw used to take our Christmas presents to Neiman Marcus to have them wrapped with exceptional beauty. I can remember every square inch of every house she's lived in since I was itty bitty, what each one smelled like, and what interesting decorations, artifacts, and accents were where. To this day, I still love looking at all her things and how they're arranged, wondering what the story is behind each one. She's always kept a mirrored vanity tray with neat, old perfume bottles sitting on top. It's the kind of thing little girls love to play with. When we were children, Memaw would serve my sister and me strawberries and powdered sugar out of blue and white porcelain bowls on the patio. I crave that every year when it gets warm, but I couldn't tell you the last time I had it.

During my middle school years, Pappaw bought Memaw a horse. She was a quarter horse named Fancy, but they were sweet enough to let a 12-year-old tomboy rename her Nike. Memaw would pick me up from volleyball practice in her Mustang convertible and we would drive down the street to the stable. We would spend hours fussing over that horse and riding together. I have such unique and wonderful memories of that season.

By the time sweet sixteen rolled around, I had outgrown the saddle and was eager to take the wheel. Like many 16-year-olds, I wanted to spend 98% of my time with my friends and/or boyfriend. I regret that I did not leave much room for riding or for my grandparents. The night of my sixteenth birthday, our whole family walked out of my favorite restaurant and sitting there at the entrance was Memaw's Aggie-maroon, 1987 5.0 GT Mustang convertible - top down with a big red bow on it. I was amazed. She gave me her car! So the equine sharing continued well into college years where I got to fulfill a childhood dream of taking that shiny, gorgeous, maroon Mustang to the Mecca of Maroon - Texas A&M University.

I drove the car until I was about 21. She was so hard to give up. I had countless childhood memories with my grandparents in it. It represented my grandmother's style (she was obviously a very cool grandmother) and lavish kindness. It was something we shared, something we had in common.

After Curtis put a diamond ring on my finger and it came time for me to pick out my china, I was immediately drawn to the same pattern my grandmother has. It was a no-brainer. I never even considered anything else. For some reason this pattern had some serious longevity. 50 years! Soon after my wedding they were discontinued. Even though it's something as simple as china, I thank God for the opportunity to connect with my grandmother in this way. It's not that I call her on the phone to talk about our plates. But every morning when I open up my cabinets to retrieve a blue and white tea cup and saucer, I get a good dose of joy seeing it all in there. I know Memaw saw the same Oriental pattern that morning in her cabinets too.

Her plates are well-worn after 35 years. Mine still look new in comparison. I guess you could say it's a goal of mine to have my china look like hers one day. Of course, not as much for the style as for the symbolism. That will mean that Curtis and I have made it. That we endured the heartbreaks and celebrated the joys of an entire lifetime together. That we raised our children as a family intact. And one day, after my grandmother passes her china down to me, and our combined collection is passed down to my granddaughter or granddaughter-in-law, perhaps we will have the privilege of leaving this legacy together.

Monday, February 19, 2007

I Love My Birthday!

Can I just say that my son was the ultimate birthday boy? He LOVED his party. He smiled the entire time and was very enthusiastic about everything. The only time he cried was when the instructor had us put away the maracas. Jackson made it known that he was very unhappy with the arrangement, so he got to keep his for the duration of the party. We had an absolute blast! I will let the pictures tell you about it. We had so much fun that I had a really hard time falling asleep last night because I couldn't stop thinking about it. My friend Stephanie made the cake and it was incredible! It was so cute and tasted so good! Jackson really liked his cake, but he wasn't so sure about having icing on his fingers.

Welcome to my party!

My very youthful grandmas

Stylin on the playmat

Climbing this slide is my life's work

Titus, Ava and me playing under the parachute. There's some static in my hair.

Dad, Mom and Jackson

Amanda and Jackson, Janelle and Ella

King of the hill

Loving the bubbles


Jackson is One!

Curt's parents arrived shortly after my last post. We went to dinner with them and then Curt and I stole away to a movie while they put Jackson to bed. Later I realized I wouldn't be putting my baby to bed on the last night before his birthday! Panic! At 11:40 I crept into his room and pulled him out of his crib. He never woke up, but I rocked him until midnight. It was the sweetest time together. I held him close and I told him everything on my heart. At midnight I wished him a happy birthday, gave lots of kisses, and put him back in bed a few minutes later. That for me was the highlight of the weekend.

When I opened my eyes that morning and realized Jackson wasn't awake or crying yet, I summoned Curtis so we could wake him up together. We opened the nursery door and he was standing up smiling. We sang Happy Birthday and had a very happy, cheerful morning together.

Curt's parents and sister's family came over and we decided to go to the zoo. It was the most perfect day - gorgeous, blue, cool, and sunny. I had always wanted to take Jackson to the zoo and our first time did not disappoint. A lot of the animals were being really lazy, so I kept praying things like Lord, please make the kangaroo get up and bounce across the field. Please wake up the otters and tell them to swim. Lord, please cause the cheetah to run for us. Lord, make the gorilla wake up from his nap. Lord, please cause the baboon to show us his face and not just his ugly bald bee-hind. We did get to see the baboon's face, and it was rather creepy.

So after all that praying we walked up on a cage with nothing in it. I did not even know what was supposed to be in the cage, but a male lion suddenly emerged from a cave. He stood right in front of us and sized us up. He climbed up on a big rock and stood there. I was holding Jackson on my hip and we were both in awe. Then the King of the Jungle sneezed and we all jumped. We felt pretty was just a sneeze, but such a loud sound coming from such a mighty animal commanded a response. Then he started staring us down and opened his mouth and began growling. It was so freaky and so amazing. I jumped several times and held Jackson close - a completely involuntary response. But after seeing all those lazy animals, God provided the mightiest of all to show off for us. It was truly awesome. I thought about the first time I will see my Maker and what my response will be. I can't even fathom it.

We took Curt's family to Keller's for lunch. It was much more pleasant in the daylight. (We did try JG's, which some of you suggested. It was really good but we still think Keller's is out of this world.)

My parents arrived late that afternoon. It was such an answer to prayer that my mom's flight was not delayed and she made it easily from her conference in Detroit.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Thanks for putting up with my nostalgic reflections this week. I have not been the emotional basketcase I thought I'd be, and it's probably because I've been taking time to express all of this. With that said, here we go again...

At this moment last year I was in Dr. Clark's office, finding out if my body was getting ready for labor. If I was dilated, I would go to the hospital the next morning. If I wasn't, I would be admitted that night to get the ball rolling. After the very unpleasant exam (that no one warned me about!) it was decided that I would be admitted that night. So Curt and I got in the car, called our parents, and went home to pack. We took some pictures of my tummy that afternoon, which no one will ever see but me. We got packed and cleaned the house. I vacuumed right before we walked out the door because I knew it would get those braxton hicks contractions going.

We pulled into the hospital parking lot with our hearts pounding. Can you even believe this? I knew that the next time I'd see the light of day I'd be walking to my car with a babe in arms. That walk into the hospital was something akin to walking down the aisle at my wedding. Except much less glamorous. But just as exciting and life-changing. We got checked in within minutes and were so happy at our good fortune to be arriving in time to watch Without a Trace as we waited for the excitment to start. Oh, how naive we were! There was not a moment's rest as nurses were in and out of that room nonstop until we left. The next few hours were an exercise in pain tolerance and in getting over my need for privacy.

Today is not much different from that day. It's just as beautiful and blue, although it's much cooler than that warm day last year. We've been cleaning the house and getting ready for company. Curt's mom and dad will be here any minute. We're joyful and excited about the next few days. I'm wondering what the next few months will hold for us. I really can't wait to find out what life is like with a toddler. And what it will be like to look in the back seat and see my kid facing forward! Finally!

Jackson and I have been out and about buying his birthday presents. I hate that he was with me, but what do you do. We got him a little red toddler chair and a lunch box for when he starts mother's day out. A sweet lady at the store told me he was so cute that I should have 10 more! Oh my! What an interesting (and short and to the point) blog I would have then!

So here's to the last day of my first year of being a mom. I guess I will graduate from being a rookie mom tomorrow. But then again, you're always a rookie with your firstborn. Jackson Jones, you have made your mommy's world brighter, faster, louder, funnier, sweeter, and more beautiful than it ever could have been without you. I love you so!

Thursday, February 15, 2007


I just got a text message from Janelle. It said, "Ella is officially one year old!" It's possible that only Janelle and I will enjoy reading this, but that's okay. It's mostly for us. So here's my story about Ella.

I had told the Lord that I really wanted and needed a friend to be pregnant with. So one day at our church's youth camp, my friend Janelle came over to me and asked me how I knew I was pregnant. I was only 6 weeks along at that time. I think I told her that I had been emotional, really sore, and eventually very, very sick to my stomach. For some reason I didn't pry into why she was asking me and I didn't think about it again. On the way home in the rented bus, I left my seat in the back and stumbled up to the front row, hoping to avoid throwing up on all the kids. I passed by Janelle, who appeared to have been crying (from the surging hormones). But again, I didn't want to pry into her bidness. Shortly after that, she pulled me aside at our husbands' softball game and told me the amazing news that she was expecting. We were only two weeks apart. The Lord had given me a friend! Heath and Janelle were not exactly expecting to be expecting, so I've often apologized that God chose them to be the answer to my prayers. But I'm so glad He did.

Fast forward past months and months of comparing notes, complimenting each other's maternity clothes, being the only ones who would say "You're really showing now!", and studying each other's ultrasound pictures. On February 15 I was at Babies R Us getting some last minute things I needed before Jackson came. I got a call from Jennifer Parnell that Janelle was in the hospital in labor and she would be having Ella that afternoon! I grabbed a couple of preemie outfits for sweet Ella, who was arriving four weeks early, and got home as fast as I could. I picked up Jennifer and a Happy Meal (cause you know a pregnant woman doesn't miss a meal or even a snack) and we rushed over to the hospital. Meanwhile, Curtis was at church getting increasingly bitter as everyone told him about Janelle being in labor. He wondered what the hold up was with his wife!

We went upstairs to the maternity ward, where Janelle was in recovery from her c-section. We went in and saw Janelle, who was in the room alone with her nurse. Then we went to see Ella in the nursery. She was so very tiny and perfect. She looked like a little doll. I cannot even explain how exciting it was. And the whole time I was thinking, I will be here doing this in two days!!!

As the Lord would have it - talk about Ephesians 3:20 - our stay in the hospital overlapped with Janelle and Ella's. Our first night with Jackson, Ella's family came down to our room with Ella and we got to hang out for a while. It was surreal that we were getting to do that! We had joked about it and it happened! Shortly after, we heard the nurses urgently paging Janelle. They were freaking out because they couldn't find them! Ha ha!

Happy birthday, sweet Ella! And congrats, Janelle, on one year of motherhood!

In the hospital

Friends from birth

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Stupid cupid, stop picking on me

Happy Valentine's Day! I'm skipping out on church tonight because this cold is kicking my tail. There's a pile of 18 crumpled tissues sitting next to me. I don't get to spend much time with my Valentine today because of church, but he did secretly drop by today and leave me some roses and a sweet card. I never even knew he was there.

Jackson has been very busy today. I said a couple of weeks ago that I have so baby-proofed my living and dining room that Jackson can go crazy with no problem. (Some of you more experienced moms were snickering when you read that.) Well, tonight I'll be making some adjustments. I keep all my books for work in this trunk thing in my living room. He figured out how to open it and throw my books in the floor. And then he threw one of the speakers on the floor from the CD player (which is unplugged when not in use) featured in one of the pictures below. He's also discovered how fun it is to dig out the fake moss from the topiary. The topiary is chilling on top of the dining room table until I decide on its next location. So it appears that he's getting bored with the set up. Time for mom to get creative.

I was remembering a couple of funny things about last year's Valentine's Day. I was 3 days away from giving birth, so you can imagine what I looked like. Every day I wore black to minimize my figure. My present from Curt was a pregnancy massage at the Four Seasons Spa. They had one of those wonderful tables with a hole in the middle so you can lay on your stomach. Every pregnant woman's fantasy is to lay on her stomach. The masseuse said, "Oooohhhh, you're quite far along, aren't you?" Why, yes! Thank you for noticing! She informed me that she wouldn't be touching my feet or ankles because they have pressure points that can send a woman into labor. You should have seen her face when I invited her to induce my labor since I'd be having him on Friday anyway. She laughed nervously (I wasn't kidding) and said she'd show me how to do it myself. But I decided I wanted a couple more mornings to sleep in since that phase of my life would be ending forever. So Friday it was.

Then Curtis picked me up and we went to eat our last babysitter-less meal at On the Border. Bless my heart, when the precious teenage hostess saw me she whispered, "Would you be more comfortable at a table or a booth?" At the time I was very honored that this sweet, beautiful girl would want to make sure I was well taken care of. That she would have concern for me and not turn to her co-worker and make fun of the pregnant lady. And now I just have to laugh that I was ever so large that someone needed to ask me that!

And now I will tell you a little story that I think about every year on February 14. For many years I hated Valentine's Day because of the embarrassment I suffered in 4th grade. Remember when you had to bring a valentine for every student - boy and girl - in your homeroom? Well, that year I brought Snoopy valentines. I signed my name to each one and just dropped them randomly into my classmates' bags. It just so happened that I dropped one that had a picture of Lucy saying something along the lines of, "I want to kiss you, Valentine!" into a boy's bag...who I happened to like very much. And one of my classmates saw it and announced it to everyone! Oh, the horror!

So what is your crazy Valentine's Day memory?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Show and Tell

Here's my Congrats, You Made It! email from

And if you haven't already, meet my friends, Janelle and Sunni, who I am bonded to forever after everything we've experienced together with these babies. (Childbirth class, baby showers, breastfeeding class, being in the hospital together, same OBs, "playdates" beginning at 3 weeks old, girls night out at bunco, 1,000 emails and texts, praying for each other in the middle of the night, Sonic, etc.) We've been very busy reflecting on what we were doing a year ago right now. Girls, we probably could have done it without each other, but it wouldn't have been as pretty...or as fun. Y'all will never know what an answer to prayer you are. I love you and I love those sweet baby girls.

Here's a picture from our most recent playdate. We were so happy to have Keegan and Michelle there with us from Houston. AND - some of you may have been following this story - Laney was there! She and Ella were dressed alike, as proper BFFs should be. (Erin, thinking of you right now - pink and white striped shirts.)

Top row: Jackson, Keegan, and Joshua
Bottom row: Ava, Ella, and Laney

Captain Heartbreaker

Can you even stand the cuteness?

Feeling a little meddlesome

DJ in the making

Bill scoping out his girlfriend

Captain Heartbreaker

Monday, February 12, 2007

And the Birthday Week Begins

My dad likes to use a particular word that I've never even heard anyone else say. It's emote. Emote, emotes, emoted, emoting. It's kind of a funny sounding word, especially coming from a camo-sporting, knife-sharpening, gun-cleaning outdoorsman. Anyway, if you peek into my world this week you'll probably see a lot of emoting. The evil axis of emotional turmoil is descending on me even as I type. Weaning, hormones, and my child's first birthday...attacking all in the same week. I'm also coming down with this cold. Pray, intercede, for Curtis.

Saturday night at church was the kick-off for emo week. The first worship song we sang was "Lord Most High," which just happened to be one of the songs on a Praise Baby CD I was given at one of Jackson's baby showers. I played the CD all the time when Jackson was a newborn. It was really helpful to me spiritually since having a newborn can be really hard on, well, everything. You need all the help you can get. As soon as the band started singing the song, my tears began their ambitious attempt to flood the front row. I could feel that 7 pound baby in my arms again, remember the feelings of inadequacy mixed with love, and ache with that indescribable exhaustion. What I wanted to do was run to the nursery, grab my baby, and sob until I had no tears left. What I did do is pretty much stifle the emoting woman so that she can come forth in all her splendor at a more convenient time. Looking forward to that.

So, if you would rather not be privy to my emotional ramblings, you would do well to check back in next week. By then I should have some fun pictures and party reports for you. But this week I'm reserving the right to emote.

On a lighter note, I had a really fun Jackson moment yesterday. He was sitting behind his walker toy and I was about 5 feet in front of him. Prior to this moment, he had only ever walked with it after I'd stood him behind it. I said, "Jackson, walk over to mama! Walk over to mama!" Plain as day, that child began laughing, stood himself up behind it, and pushed it over to me. It may not sound like much, but I will probably never forget that sweet moment as long as I live.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Bill's Crush

Bill is one studly cat. Despite the fact that he's a eunuch and he never goes outside, he has a girlfriend. Maybe it's because he lives up to the very manly name we've given him. Or maybe his machismo is overcompensation for his gender identity issues in the first year of his life. I don't know.

Bill's favorite hobby is destroying mini-blinds. It's one of his enduring areas of destructiveness. For the past week he has been furiously darting from window to window, bending the blinds back to see out. Several have snapped, now putting us squarely on the white trash list until my hubby breaks down and lets me buy wood blinds. Yesterday he was over the edge, meowing and meowing at the windows. Bill, shut it! The baby's asleep! And then I see a petite, young she-cat - the object of his obsession. She was curled up and sleeping on a tree trunk four feet from the window. Bless his heart. Does he not know? That he ain't the man he once was?

She was back again today. Sister what are you trying to do here? Do you know what you're doing to my boy? Then I had a vision of myself thirteen years from now, wondering the same thing about some adolescent diva-in-the-making. She's already working her way onto Mama's bad list.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

What a Man

I'm falling in love with my husband all over again. First of all, I neglected to rise up and call him blessed earlier this week when he organized the pantry and CLEANED THE FRIDGE! Second, he shaved his head and it's very handsome. Third - I cannot believe I'm typing these words - he asked me to make him a cup of tea. Do you know how long I've waited for this? Actually, I gave up waiting for it because I had been rejected so many mornings when I've said so sweetly, "Honey, can I make you some tea?"

My entire life I watched my parents drink coffee together. They say they fell in love over coffee. I have really clear memories of my mom and dad coming home from a fancy birthday or anniversary or just because dinner - Mom dressed up so beautifully (I've always thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world) and dad looking so handsome in a sport coat. They walk in the door laughing and smiling. We missed you but it was a happy miss. Sorry we were late. We had the best cup of coffee with our souffle' at the Rivoli!

When I went off to college Melissa started drinking coffee too. The three of them share this crazy obsession over it. I'm on the outside looking in, praying that I will one day like it and be in on the sharing of the coffee. I want to be in on that first sip together when they sigh like they've just stepped into a hot tub after being cold for 12 hours. But I just can't make myself like it. In order to make it drinkable, I would end up turning it into hot chocolate.

When we were preparing for our five month stay in England, I decided to train myself to like tea. When it was offered to me in someone's home I wanted to like it. Eventually, with enough sugar, I took to it and I am now among the throngs of cool people with a special drink at Starbucks. These days when I'm home with my mom, dad, and sister, I have my tea while the rest of them have their coffee. It's helped with my insecurity. But there's one thing missing - drinking tea with my hubby.

Curtis came down with Jackson's cold and his voice is struggling. Which is great timing because this weekend he preaches three times. I, like the Windex-happy dad on My Big Fat Greek Wedding, immediately offered to fix him tea to soothe his throat. AND HE SAID YES. He might as well have given me a dozen roses. Or a new Virgen de Guadalupe bouquet. I've fixed him 3 or 4 cups in the last two days. Imagine my happiness! And tonight he says to me, "Hey, do you want to have some tea?" What is this? An invitation from the one my soul loves to...drink tea with him? ...Swoon...

Friday, February 09, 2007

Keller's Drive-in

Curt and I totally blew our diet (again) today. Oh wait, the You Complete Me moment is happening on Jerry Maguire. False alarm. Okay, months ago Oprah let her BFF, Gayle King, do a tour of America's best hamburgers. We were thrilled to see that number 10 on the list was in the Big D. Ever since, we've been meaning to visit Keller's Drive-in. Tonight was the night since Jackson missed his afternoon nap and was not in any mood to let mommy and daddy eat at Macaroni Grill. How long, O Lord?

There are two Keller's locations - one in a cooler part of Dallas and the other, well, not so much. The not so much location was closer to us. So we drove deep into Harry Hines Boulevard - a dodgy highway lined with bazaars, liquor stores, and massage parlors. We pulled into a run-down looking place that was packed with cars. This is number 10? We almost left but decided to persevere. We turned on our blinker to alert the car hop of our presence. In the back, cars were packed in 4 deep. I'm not sure what was going on. Apparently you can purchase longnecks there and have them brought to your car. Some of them seemed to be there for the long haul.

We only stayed long enough to get our food. Then we searched for a long time to find a nice-looking parking lot to eat in before our fries got cold. We ended up at Speed Zone, where we were entertained by the towers of bungee swings while we ate the burgers of our lives.

Low expectations, people. Low expectations. These were the best burgers we've ever had or even dreamed of. I'm ruined for any other burger for the rest of my life. (Which may help my diet!) I can't even describe it well enough to try. I said to Curtis, "Babe, if this was number 10, imagine what number 1 would be!" Just go there. After you try Scalini's.

A Savior

Anna Nicole Smith Dead

My heart is grieving over this woman. I see a soul who ended up taking every destructive road in her life and I wonder what went wrong early on.

We do not have to succumb to the turmoil and insanity of this life. There is one, Jesus Christ, who offers hope for the self-destructive starlet, for the drug addict, for the sexually broken, for the abused, for the impoverished, for the person grieving the loss of a child, and for the lonely. No one is beyond His reach.

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
Isaiah 61:1-3

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Cake Report

Today was the Day of Cake. Sunni and I loaded up the babies and drove on down to some cake bakeries. The first place was Dallas Affaires. I have to give them props for treating us so right. They would not have been more helpful had we been brides. Honestly, I kind of wish we'd worn our veils. They asked what kinds of cake we would like to try, even apologized for not having more of a selection, and then they let us try the filling flavors. I made the mistake of giving Jackson some cake to see if he approved and then, since I didn't give him the whole piece, he had a complete meltdown. He obviously loves cake, too. I went ahead and took him to the car where I realized we were both covered with icing. Happily, mind you.

Then we had the best thin crust pizza of all time at Scalini's on Abrams. You'll want to make a visit as soon as possible. Both babies, now covered in spaghetti sauce over crusty frosting, did some serious flirting with our adorable waitress. We think they were trying to recruit her for the babysitting lineup.

Then we went to another bakery which for the time being shall remain case they redeem themselves later. We walked in and they immediately put a sign on the door saying, "Back at 4." Not a good sign. The worker basically said she would help us if we could decide on everything in 2 minutes. Any longer and the floor would swallow us up. We even heard who was presumably the owner angrily saying, "You let new customers in?" Wow. We got some petit fours and left.

Now that you know more than you wanted to about our cake tasting day, I'll tell you that two days ago my little boy learned how to stand without pulling up first! I knew it was going to be a very special day when, from the first moment I put him on the floor in the morning, he wouldn't stop bear crawling. And then he just lifted himself right up like such a big boy! And today he took about 10 steps behind his airplane toy. It was so crazy to see him walking behind it! I had to pinch myself!

The following is for the grandmas. We had an 8:00 doctor's appointment this morning. Mama was showered, hair blown dry and straightened, makeup on, dressed, and in the car with Baby at 7:25. I can't believe it either. Little boy's cold turned into a bacterial infection and he has to be on an antibiotic. The doctor said his first ear infection is on its way, too. But the medicine will hopefully nip it in the bud. He weighed in at 23 pounds! Better get started now on your bicep curls before I hand him over to you next week!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

As if I haven't already

I'm about to expose myself as a complete freak. Okay, here goes. My friend Sunni and I have been planning our babies' birthday parties for the past 3 months. Just kidding! For the past 2 months. So today I tell her that I still haven't figured out where to get the cake from. (Countdown: a week and a half. That's how I roll, folks.) The CAKE! It's the whole point of a party!

In Houston I know exactly where I'd go - Cake Affairs, where we got our wedding cake. (Have I mentioned that I took a good portion of our wedding cake and groom's cake with us to Maui? Packed up in my carry on? I ate it for breakfast on the plane and then every day in the hotel that we couldn't afford room service in. I didn't think this was strange until my friends started referring to me as the One who loves Cake.) Back to the present. I did not know where to get a great cake around here. Any need for a baked good has always been met at el famoso JD's Chippery. JD's is evidence of God's glory to me.

So Sunni sent me links to three bakeries - Cretia's, Dallas Affaires, and Society Bakery. So I spent about 20 minutes looking at pictures of cakes and reading the list of flavors. Let me just tell you, it was as though I had just eaten a whole cake by myself because my heart rate began to accelerate and, I kid you not, I got goosebumps. I was THAT HAPPY ABOUT THE CAKE. I am a freak in my own eyes.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Speaking of neighbors

This post by Big Mama is one of the funniest things I've ever read.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Neighborly Love

This is why I love my neighborhood. A minute ago the doorbell chimed. A precious elderly woman was standing there with a letter in her hand.

"I was just walking to the post office and I passed your house like I do every day. It's just precious. I wanted to tell you that. I love what you've done to it. And these rocking chairs...well, don't be surprised if you find me rocking in them one day."

I thanked her, introduced myself, and invited her to rock on my porch anytime. She's going to stop in for a visit next time (I told her Thursdays are good) and see what we've done to the inside. (Note to self, have makeup on by lunch time.) This is the second random visit from a sweet older lady since we moved in.

Our house was a pretty bad eye sore until a woman from Sweden bought it in the late 90's and began renovating it. I have seen pictures of the condition it was in when she got it and there's quite a difference. So these visits are either a result of the contrast between the house then and now, or just the fact that my neighbors are actually neighborly!

When I drive through master-planned communities and get that ache to live in a beautiful, pristine place, I need to remember days like today. My town's slogan is "Where the people make the difference!" There's no guarantee that your neighbor's house won't end up painted white with neon green trim, but, by golly, you will love your neighbor!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Jackson Update

Jackson changes so much from month to month. Here are some of the things he's doing at eleven and a half months.

-He makes growling noises much like a dinosaur, which has earned him the name T-Rex.
-His current favorite toy is socks.
-He loves chasing Bill from one perch to another and pulling his tail. He hasn't figured out that Bill's growling and hissing means he doesn't want to play. I think that his sensitivity toward the baby is lessening now that Jackson is getting more aggressive. I may have to let Bill out soon!
-If there's something he wants under the couch, he will lay down and reach under there for it.
-His new method of relaxation is sprawling out face-down on the floor. He likes to taste the floor while doing this.
-He kneels with one knee and one foot on the ground. Picture the front row of your 8th grade basketball team photo and you've got it.
-We have a "Touchy-feely" board book called That's Not My Monster. He knows where he's supposed to touch on the page without seeing me do it first.
-He took 4 little steps tonight while standing behind and holding onto this toy.
-The volume of his voice is definitely INCREASING.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

A Letter of Appreciation

Dear Hooter Hider,
I just want to say thanks for your selfless service this last year. It was one year ago that I walked into Baby Bliss and saw you sitting there on a shelf. I looked past the polka dot, Hawaiian print, and white eyelet nursing covers and found you. When I saw your label I laughed and knew I must take you home with me.

We became fast friends. Remember that first night in the hospital when I was trying to figure out the whole breastfeeding thing, meanwhile there were some wonderful friends stopping by to meet Baby? That was my first experience with you.

From then on you were my constant companion anytime I left the house with Jackson. And when we were home you waited patiently on the back of the glider, giving me joy with your brown, blue, pink, and yellow pattern. You are altogether lovely. I loved you so much that I wanted all my friends to have one just like you. I gave away lots of different ones, but none compared to you.

You and I have been through some crazy stuff together, Hooter Hider. Remember when I was in the house party for my friend's wedding and I needed to be away from 7-week-old Jackson for 7 hours? You protected my dignity when I had to do my thing in the bride's room. I thought I was safe since the bridal party was taking pictures, but in walked a group of men, women, and children. Thank you, HH, for watching my back, er, kept me from curling up in a ball and crying my eyes out.

Hooter Hider, one of the silliest things I will always remember about you is how, when Jackson got older, he would reach his arm up through the opening that allowed me to see him, and wave his hand all around. It must have looked really funny. Sometimes he would grab my hair or my nose or jam his fingers into my mouth. And I would sit there and take it and pretend that it's normal to have someone's hand clutching your nose.

Anyway, Hooter Hider, I just wanted to say thanks. Jackson seems to like his whole milk, so you are hereby relieved of your duties as a nursing cover. If I were a queen I would knight you. But, honorable Hooter Hider, life is not a fairy tale and I am not a queen. So today you have become son's cape.

Mommy does know that having something around my neck is a choking hazard and of course I won't really be using this as a cape.

Friday, February 02, 2007


I'm not sure where my prayer journal from one year ago is (and I probably didn't write much for a while after February 17), but I know that when I wrote 2/1/06 at the top of the page, my joy was over the top. I had finally made it to the month when Jackson would be born. When we realized we were pregnant it was late June. There was no hint of cool weather, bare trees, a big tummy, or baby blue walls. All of those things seemed so far away, much too far to ever really be here. I was sore and swollen, nauseous, hot, eager to buy my first maternity clothes, and really hoping I would be one of the cute ones. And then February came. I love February - red and pink everywhere, thoughts of the one you love, heart-shaped chocolates, wearing sweaters and sometimes mittens. Now February would forever be made the sweetest of all. This February my heart belongs to two boys. One the original and the other his miniature. I am a blessed girl.

Today I called Jackson's doctor in desperation. His diapers have not been wet enough. He's too stuffy and too distracted to nurse. It's just not happening. I begged her to let me start him on whole milk two weeks early. The first answer was no. Then I recounted my whole sad story about how I've been waiting since early December and he won't take formula and he bites me and I need a rest already! Finally, a yes. Now I have a gallon of whole milk in the fridge and a new blue sippy cup to get started. And what did I do after I walked in the door with those things? I nursed him.

Curt said, "I thought you were done."

"Yeah, but it's a process," I replied with a lump in my throat, clutching my baby.

With a deep breath and a half-eager, half-sad heart, I'll give him his first cup of milk at dinner. We'll see how it goes! Pray that he likes it!

(I'm back after changing a dirty diaper. You might be amused to know that I started to button the snaps on his onesie before I put on the diaper. That would have been exciting!)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

You Must Not Know Bout Me

Oh my, I have a million things to say tonight. So I'll have to make a list.

-I stinking love Beyonce'. She's every woman. She looked so amazing in Dreamgirls that my fitness goal for 2007 was completely solidified. Since I've not shared that yet, I'll go ahead and tell you that my goal is to be the second-honeymoon-hottie on our vacation to Mexico this summer (for our 5th anniversary). I love her song Irreplaceable and I've thought about making it my ringtone or something. But it's really not an anthem for a married woman, you know? This morning I was flipping through the radio stations while waiting for Gymboree to open and what did I hear? Irreplaceable. In SPANISH. No sabes tu de mi... I only thought I loved Beyonce' before.

-Speaking of Gymboree, that's where Jackson's first birthday party is going to be. It's just a big room with stuff everywhere for the babies to climb, crawl around on, and slide down. We went for a preview class today and I had the best time with my little guy. He was so adorable and I just fell in love with him all over again. He is a delightful little being. He crawled through a tunnel, rolled around on a giant cage ball, crawled up and down a slide, slam dunked a basketball, and played with bubbles. We did have a couple of iffy moments. We did some activites with the group in which the babies practiced walking. Well, Jackson wouldn't walk in a circle while holding my hands. He held his feet off the ground like it was searing hot molten lava. He outed me. I have not been trying to teach him to walk and that became very obvious. Am I horrible? We're just not in a rush to get to that. Jackson also got a little sensitive after we did the parachute activity. But he was a brave boy and didn't cry until it was over. All in all I think we both had a great time and can't wait to go back.

-We left Gymboree and headed to Grapevine Mills to meet Mel and Baby Brynne. It was our first time to be together with both babies and they were so good! We made many laps around the mall, burning calories and then finding reasons to consume even more calories. The high point was going to Neiman Marcus Last Call and trying on dresses for a friend's wedding. Who doesn't like to try on pretty dresses? The low point was hearing that someone in the food court found a dead roach in their lunch from Panda Express. I was thisclose to getting my food there! I wonder if it had been stir fried.

-It was snowing huge fluffy flakes when we left the mall. Again, no warning before the snow. What's up with that? Do the weathermen think snow is a normal thing? I was very intimidated having to drive in it, but thankfully it wasn't sticking to the ground.

-The Lord smote me tonight at aerobics. What you don't know is that last week I made a formal complaint about the new instructor. I wrote an email detailing everything that I've come to hate about the class. So on Tuesday I was well pleased when I saw that some changes had been made to improve the class. (Same instructor, new music.) I felt proud of myself and my newfound assertiveness. I even bragged about it to Mel. So tonight we had the good teacher, Jon, and it was a great workout. But at the end he said the dreaded words, "This is my last night at teaching at this club." Are. You. Kidding. Me. Lord, I repent!