Monday, December 31, 2007

Last Day of the Year

We had an absolutely wonderful Christmas with our family in Missouri. My in-laws moved into their long-awaited new home just days before we arrived. The home is amazing and I am thrilled for my mother-in-law. There's tons of room for Jackson to run and play there. We got him a Little Tikes bounce house for Christmas and we were able to blow it up in the basement. He had the most fun! My husband has a very close, very loving family and my life has definitely been made richer by them. I kept thinking about how blessed my son is to have all these people love him. I have more to say but I will save that for later on when I am ready to post pictures.

The Jones crew rolled into town at about 10:00 last night. Our trip was ten hours from beginning to end, but we made two major stops along the way. That was huge. I've been making the drive with Curt for 7.5 years and the longest stop we've ever made was to eat Wendy's in the parking lot or for me to run in to Walmart for baby food. I've spotted interesting places along the way that I've always wanted to visit, but they've only taunted me as my back ached from being glued to a chair for unending hours.

Something must have gotten into Curt because not only did we stop at the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial, but it was his idea. It certainly wasn't a fun stop, but we felt very blessed to get to see it and to pay our respects to those who died and to those who were forever changed on that day. We were too late to visit the museum, but I hope to go back one day. The thing that moved me most at the memorial was seeing all the chairs that represent the absence of each of one the victims. It was horrible to see the small chairs that were for the children who died. Someone wrote on a card attached to a chain link fence, "Remember the babies." How unspeakably heartbreaking. One of the adult-sized chairs had a large, fresh bouquet of flowers attached to it. It was wrapped up in tulle, which made me think it would have been that particular woman's wedding anniversary. It struck me that this memorial was not old. The tragedy it represents was did not take place in another lifetime. Each one of the victims is still being missed by their families and friends. There are teenagers in Oklahoma City who lost a parent in the bombing. I loved the mournful statue of Jesus across the street from the Memorial. His hand is over his face and the inscription says, "Jesus wept." I imagine it has ministered to many hearts through the years. It certainly did mine.

Things like the Oklahoma City Bombing, like the recent assassination of the first female prime minister of a Muslim country, like devastating natural disasters, like the war in Iraq, like just about everything profiled on all the year-end recap programs make me think one thing. How could anyone take a good look at this place and not say, "This world needs a Savior!"? Here's to the hope that one year in our lifetime our Savior will come get us before we have to watch or read another depressing "Year in Review." Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay." (Hebrews 10:35-37)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Feliz Navidad

I should so be packing right now. My laundry is going to be dry in a few minutes and then I have to get busy. The Jones family has had a great weekend so far. My parents came up for a quick visit yesterday so we could exchange gifts and just be together for about 24 hours. A couple of years ago Curt and I decided that since our families live 11 hours apart, it is just too much to try to see both during the holidays. So we do Thanksgiving with one and Christmas with the other, switching every year. The parents we won't see at Christmas come to us a few days before. It has worked very well.

The only crummy thing this year is that my mom, Jackson and I have all been under the weather and now my dad is coming down with it. Jackson had a 101 degree fever again last night, so he had to go to the doctor this morning. Bummer. The Mister has his first ear infection, complete with blisters on his ear drums. I felt so bad for him, I nearly cried. I felt like a terrible mother and I figured he'd probably had it for days and I didn't know. The doctor said the blisters could have only been there 12 hours at most. That helped me a little. I say this a lot, but Mommy guilt is a powerful thing.

Jackson got lots of fun clothes from Baby Gap (Mommy's favorite) and a play cell phone from his grandparents. His Aunt Melissa gave him a set of four rubber balls and of course they were the big hit of the day. My parents gave me some clothes and money toward a new couch. Yay! This one's on my wish list. It's three chaises put together.

I can just see me, my man, and my babies (all boys I bet) snuggled up on it together watching the new American Gladiators. (Y'all know the Moores were huge fans of that show back in the day.) Or maybe Ninja Warrior, which is Curt's favorite show. His other favorite show, oddly enough, is now Jon and Kate Plus 8. I guess he's well rounded.

Tonight we did our annual drive through Highland Park to see all the beautiful homes decked out with lights. You can ride through it in a horse drawn carriage. I desperately wanted to, but it was very cold and we had a sick boy, so it was not to be. Jackson kept saying, "Neigh! Neigh!" every time we saw one. That's my boy! He loves horses. His Nana just got one, so he's all set.

We will make the trek up to Missouri tomorrow after church. Curt has a new route mapped out for us this time. Get excited. If the Lord brings us to mind, we would love prayers for safe travel, good conversation, and a happy/healthy boy. We won't have Internet access at all next week, which will be painful, but I'm in need of a good detox.

Alright, my suitcase needs fillin'. Merry Christmas, bloggy peeps! May your hearts and homes be filled to overflowing with the joy of Christ.
Many blessings to you,

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Brut or a Dove?

It was a lazy day. I didn't have anywhere to go, so I didn't get out of my pajamas and shower until Jackson's nap time. He is still feeling pretty bad and he seemed eager for me to lay him down. After I was all clean and smelling good, I reached into my toiletry bag for my Dove deodorant. It wasn't there. I looked all around and finally decided that the little Mister must have gotten to it and put it somewhere. Only God knew where it was.

That was my only deodorant stick, so I'd just have to try not to sweat until Curt came home and told me where his manly spray deodorant was. I would get some new girlie stuff when I went to the store later. That meant no drying my hair, no cleaning, and no wearing synthetic fabrics for a few hours.

As soon as Curt came home I inquired as to the whereabouts of his spray stuff. In the little cabinet in the back room. So I bounded into the back room like a graceful deer who can bound without inducing sweat, and I found the can of spray deodorant. I didn't look closely at the label, but it mentioned something about being waterproof. Great. It will take me three showers to get this man-smell off. I proceeded to, you know, deodorize. As soon as the spray left the can I knew there had been a huge mistake. It smelled like paint thinner! It was then that I bothered to read the label closely and see that I was spraying "Waterproofer" on my underarms. Lovely! Just lovely! I was of course squealing in horror while Curtis did his little wheezing laugh that he reserves for only the best of occasions. I'm so glad I could thrill him into the wheeze tonight.

Then I saw the Brut spray deodorant can sitting right on top of the dresser. I kid you not, the only difference between these two cans was the color and the label. They looked almost exactly alike. I had to scrub the waterproofer off my skin for several minutes before I could Brut it up.

About ten minutes later I found my Dove deodorant under a pile of clothes that I had been putting off hanging up. I'll just have to wait to be a Dove until Wednesday, because my underarms couldn't take anymore scrubbing. For now I will just have to remain a Brut.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Tour of Homes

Welcome to my home! I wish I could say that if you walked in the door you would smell mulling spices and sugar cookies baking. What you would actually smell is our rapidly drying-out Christmas tree. At least it's pretty.

I'm in no shape to go to bunco tonight, so while my girlfriends are tossing the dice and eating Becca's homemade chili, I'm joining BooMama's Christmas Tour of Homes. It's a little late in the day, but better late than never. So I'm sitting here with a tub of butterscotch haystacks to give me the mental discipline I need to focus. Brain food, if you will.

Here are my hubby and my son beginning the search for our tree.

It didn't take long for hide and seek to begin.

Later that day we went to our city's Christmas parade. Every parade needs two Santa's, right?

Here's my dining room.

You may notice that...
-There are no balls on the tree. That is because of the toddler. They are in a glass thing on the table and in a bowl on the bookshelf.
-The stockings are hung from the window. We have a chimney, but no fireplace. It's hidden in the walls somewhere.
-We have no tree topper. I'm not sure what happened to our last one. Thankfully, Jackson made one at school out of paper and it is perched happily at the top of our tree. I think he brought it home after I took this picture. I guess you couldn't see it anyway because of the light thing.

These are some of my favorite ornaments. Every year when we go to Jackson Hole for Thanksgiving, I buy a few new ones at Moose Be Christmas. One day I'd like to have a mountain-themed tree.

These three were from our first Christmas.

This is from our second Christmas and it's my fave.

This is our Compassion child, Marlon.

Curt picked out this ornament the Thanksgiving before Jackson was born. It's a daddy bear with a baby bear on his shoulders.

This one's from that same year, when I couldn't snowmobile because I was expecting Jackson.

Baby's First Christmas. That picture was actually taken in the summer. You can see that he had a little too much sun that day.

Jackson's new ornament for this year.

My door is so beautiful and festive that I couldn't bear to put a wreath on it. It looks so great with our Christmas lights. I'm obsessed.

If you were here in my home, I'd serve you spiced hazelnut croissants and some hot tea. I don't have a recipe for the croissants, but you can't get them here. They're amazing. Thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a merry Christmas!

Tis The Season

I have much to say about the last five days, but I am exhausted! It's been such a long day. Jackson had a fever last night and this morning, so I took him to the doctor to get checked out. Tis the season for pneumonia, the flu, and RSV, so you know it couldn't just be a simple visit. We ended up at a hospital to get his lungs x-rayed. It was a little surreal having to register there and get a little hospital bracelet just for the x-rays. It definitely added to the drama, as if I needed anymore today. You just cannot reason with such a young child that just because they are being restrained doesn't mean they are going to be hurt. Bless his heart. Bless my heart, too. We had an hour and a half to kill after the hospital before we could take the x-rays back to be examined by the doctor. Curt met us at a Chick-fil-a so that he could carry his share of the burden over a Combo #1 with cheese and no pickles. We weren't very hungry though. Jackson didn't even want the ice cream we got in exchange for his toy (thank you Amy for sharing that hint with me). So four hours later we were on our way home with the news that he didn't have pneumonia. Thank You, Lord. I felt so sorry for the four sets of parents who were there getting their newborns x-rayed. That must have been so scary. When I recover a little from Jackson's cold as well as my own, I will try to share more about my trip home, my LPM Christmas party, etc. Also? My boy's second birthday is two months from today. I just can't believe it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

On the Way Home

Despite the lack of sunshine, warmth, or dry air, Monday was a lovely day. I spent most of it with my dear friend Fay, making loads of delicious, fattening Christmas candy. We had two Kitchen Aid mixers going, lots of chocolate melting, and many prayers for self-control being lifted to the heavens. I believe the most destructive of the candies are the peanut butter balls with their 12 oz. of peanut butter, five cups of powdered sugar, two sticks of margarine, and plenty of chocolate coating. I stay far, far away from those. However, I have a real weakness for the butterscotch haystacks. There is a whole tub of them sitting on my dining room table and I must get rid of them as soon as possible. We also made peppermint bark. A new twist on this classic Christmas candy was that we poured it into cookie cutters. Once it hardened, we wrapped each cookie cutter in cute cellophane bags. I'm not sure who's getting those, but they are going to be very impressed. Or not. We made divinity and millionaires too. Those millionaires are another one of my weaknesses.

Sunni is back in town, so last night we decided to see August Rush at the movie theater. It's probably not a movie that every person would love, but I thought it was absolutely wonderful. I think Lauren had mentioned it and given fair warning that it is kind of a fantasy, so I knew what to expect. It was beautiful. Keri Russell was gorgeous as always. We called Janelle as we were leaving and I told her that I was going on a diet immediately. Especially since all I have eaten for the last three days is leftover lasagna from our college ministry Christmas party. Beyonce in Dreamgirls inspired by post-holiday fitness goals last year. This year it's Keri Russell.

So to babble on a little more because I just don't have enough to do today, I ran into LifeWay before the movie last night to see if there was anything I needed. Of course there was! I found an Amy Grant greatest hits CD and was thrilled to give it to myself for Christmas. It has all my favorite songs from The Collection and Heart in Motion CD's. If you are about my age and were raised in a Christian home, you might share my joy.

On the way home I prayed for some red lights so that I could have time to unwrap the CD and pop it in. It was a very dark, very foggy drive and I was feeling pretty nervous about it. Curt had left his cell phone at work and I would have no way to call him if I had any trouble. What a blessing to have my favorite song from childhood - "Angels Watching Over Me" - play while I drove 20 minutes home in the fog! "Thy Word" and "In a Little While" played and I noticed that I was singing at the top of my lungs. When we were kids, my best friend Molly would always tell me I was singing too loud when Amy Grant came on. I had to laugh about that.

It was a really sweet time with the Lord, singing those songs of my childhood faith. I remember when Leanne Rimes was a young girl just starting out in country music. My friends and I saw her at the Harris County Fair when "Blue" was her only song on the radio. It was said back then that if she was this good such a young age, just wait until she got a little older and actually experienced the love and heartache she was singing about. She would blow us out of the water. I couldn't help but think about that last night. As a child I sang those same songs to the Lord. They meant something to me then, but how much more does "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path" mean to me now? As an adult, I can think back on so many seasons of my walk with the Lord, good and bad. These songs remind me of His incredible, undeserved faithfulness throughout my life. Even when I was faithless, He remained faithful.

My heart was burning a hole in my chest as I drove and I just wanted to share with someone, anyone who had walked away from their childhood faith to come back! He is worthy of our trust, of the surrender of our lives. Those of us who have walked away from the Lord we knew as children will never have peace inside. We know what we are missing and we can't pretend that there isn't anything more. We know better. Living independently from Him will never get to be fun for us. Not really. Maybe for someone who never knew Him, but not for us. Return to the Lord, and just see if He doesn't come running toward you, embrace you, kiss you, dress you in the finest robe, and throw a banquet on your behalf.

Luke 11:17-24
"When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' So he got up and went to his father.

"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

"The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'

"But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Daddy's Boy

I may have had the world's best Sunday morning. It was absolutely wonderful. Other than the fact that Star and I were dressed almost exactly alike and Curt thought it would be awesome to keep pointing it out (and I pointed out that we both had it goin' on), our only snafu happened while we were walking home after church.

Curt had his truck there since he had gone to Whataburger to get taquitos for our students. So he walked Jackson and me outside and left us in the freezing cold mist to go drive the 1/10 of a mile home. As soon as Curt left us, Jackson started wailing and flailing in his stroller. I must admit that I had misjudged the low temperature and my child wasn't wearing a jacket - only a heavy wool sweater. It appeared that Jackson was screaming because he was terribly cold and disturbed by the mist. A horrified family saw the spectacle of my disgruntled toddler preparing for his cruel journey home and they offered to give us a ride. I declined, thinking that my cute polka dot umbrella was going to make it all better. It totally didn't. In fact, I could hardly walk forward with it since the wind was blowing so hard. The wind was also doing a number on my skirt. Go go gadget third arm!

By this time I wised up and realized that Jackson was crying because his daddy had disappeared. He literally cried until we got to the house and he saw his dad pull up in the truck. Then we loaded up and went to our pastor's house for lunch. On the way there, Curt had to run in a friend's house for a minute and Jackson started wailing and flailing again! He has always had a special relationship with his daddy, but I have never seen him act this way. It was really sweet but also kind of unsettling. He would not be comforted by anything but the sight of his dad.

I read in Dobson's Bringing Up Boys that sons go through a critical time (after 18 months) when they separate from mom and begin identifying with dad. I've been seeing lots of clues that it's happening and I think it accounts for what happened today. It makes me feel proud that my son is growing up and becoming a little man, but it also stings just a little bit when he prefers his dad. Oh well, such is the lot of a boy mommy.

In other Jackson news, he is learning all kinds of new words. Our favorites of the last week are sick and poo poo. And - oh my word, mark it down in
the baby book - he answered yes today when I asked him a question!

My loves.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Christmas Confession

Two years ago at Christmas, Curt and I were furiously trying to finish remodeling our home so that we could move in before the return of our Lord. It was absolutely the most stressful time of our marriage to date. There was not much holiday cheer in the little townhouse that we were so eager to vacate. We chose not to bother with decorating since we had enough to deal with between the house and a baby on the way.

Last year was going to be the most wonderful Christmas of all time. It was going to be one that we talked about for years to come. We had an adorable ten-month-old to add to all the joy of the season. It was his first Christmas, so we would need to document every little thing that happened and make everything as special as possible. We had a very cute house to decorate to our hearts' content. And boy, did we. Looking back, I can see that I was putting, hmmmm, just a leetle bit of pressure on, well, everyone and everything for it to be nothing less than magical. It makes me tired just thinking about it. And, honestly, I made no room in my heart for the baby Jesus. No room at all. In fact, on Christmas Day I started a huge argument with my sister. Yep, it was me. I picked it. And it was a big one.

This year is going to be different. The name of the game is peace. Financial peace. Sisterly peace. Peace in our schedule. Peace inside my house. (With about half the decorations we have instead of it looking like I robbed Hobby Lobby.) Peace outside my house. (With about half the Christmas lights we had last year, when Curt channeled Clark Griswold). Peace in my expectations. Peace in my heart with God.

Peace is something I will fight for this year. I want to enjoy this Christmas without all the self-inflicted pressure, unreasonable expectations, and needless distractions. I need there to be room for the baby Jesus, who, incidentally, is our peace.

I think if Mary had given birth to Jesus in 2007, she might have gone on eBay and ordered some custom-painted letters that spelled out his name on the wall. She might have emailed a picture of his crib bedding to the artist so that she could make it all match. To spell P-R-I-N-C-E O-F P-E-A-C-E would have cost Mary an arm and a leg. She might have even hoped Joseph wouldn't notice the $150 to PayPal on their bank statement. But those 13 letters are worth all the money in the world. They're the most lavish, expensive, mind-blowing, life-changing present we could ever give or get.

Colossians 3:12-17
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Sunday Story

What kind of Sunday would it be if I didn't have a story to tell? This morning my alarm woke me up at 6:30 so that I could conquer it all (meaning my flesh, my hair, and my toddler) peacefully and make it to church on time. It went very well and Curt even got us some Whataburger taquitos for breakfast. I apologize to those of you who do not have a Whataburger close by because it really isn't fair that you can't feast on these little blessings.

We walked out the door in time to be 5 minutes early-late. I felt not good, but definitely satisfied with the way I looked and I felt great about my calm demeanor. (I have been a walking hormone for three days. Calm has not been my middle name.) It had rained the night before and it looked cloudy, so I had my cute new polka dot umbrella with me just in case. That added a bit to my cheer.

Seeing a woman in pointy-heel boots pushing a stroller at a high speed scared a squirrel (a limb chicken, as Keith Moore says) up a tree. Look, Jackson! A squirrel! Suddenly that lovely, precious little creature leaped onto a branch directly above our heads. Swoosh! A two-second rain shower fell upon us, showering the top of my hair, my forehead, and my shoulders. Lovely. My hair, despite having been meticulously dried and straightened, was on the big side this morning. To now have the top of my hair wet and flattened against my scalp while the rest of it flared out like a bell was just going to be precious. PRECIOUS. Thankfully God gave me the grace to continue on to church and not go back home to fix myself. It dried and all was well. I'm kind of glad it happened because I enjoy having amusing stories to tell about my Sunday morning adventures.

Here's some randomness:
Jon and Kate Plus Eight - Someone mentioned this in a comment a while back. I watched it for the first time today. I also recorded the whole marathon on my DVR, but I think I can only take one episode a day. I was amazed. Very amazed. It was the episode where Kate has surgery to remove the huge blob of skin (she called it a front butt) left over from carrying sextuplets. Kate said that her stomach grew so far out that she couldn't even reach the end of it. What in the world? Again, I've been a walking hormone, but I cried at least four times. It was so awesome that they were able to make her stomach flat again. I can't imagine how good it felt to put her jeans on and have that thing gone. Sometimes I get so down on myself for not being perfect that I forget to be thankful for just being "normal."

By the way, Jennifer Love Hewitt is precious. If I could take her to lunch I totally would.