Saturday, February 27, 2010


-Jackson's backyard playset arrived on Wednesday and it is CHANGING MY LIFE.

-Beckham ate an entire loaf of bread that I left out on the counter this week.

-Annabeth is into everything. Curtis did some major childproofing for me last night and now I think I might survive another toddler.

-Curtis has renamed our daughter "Mulley." I'm not sure if I can keep persevering through this hair phase. A haircut may be in the near future.

-Normally I'm ready to wear flip flops by mid-February, but I force myself to wait until March. It is February 27 and I haven't been tempted once.

-Spring, come quickly!

-It makes me extremely happy that both of my children love Chinese food.

-One of our former college students from DBU is coming to stay with us tonight. Yeah! We can't wait to see you, Angela!

-You can watch Compassion's Help Haiti Live benefit online for free tonight at 7:30 CST. Go here. You know you want to. All the cool kids are doing it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dear Bride-to-Be

Dear Bride-to-be,
You are experiencing a wonderful time of your life. People are showering you with gifts, paying you profuse attention, and telling you what a beautiful bride you'll be. Girls your age are chatting you up on all the latest bridal trends and talking about the clarity of your new diamond. They ask what kind of wedding band you'll get to match.

If you happen to rub elbows with any ladies who have graduated from brides to wives - it happens in the blink of an eye - they may slip you some advice here and there. You'll probably hear "Love him for who he is. And don't expect to change him," more than once. Although you will both change, it probably won't be on your terms. The big sis figure in your life might advise you on how not to get a UTI on your honeymoon. She may even give you some tips on how to delay that big, bad ugly word very few brides-to-be want to think about - motherhood. *Shiver*

While you're complaining about the stress of planning a wedding while finishing school or maintaining your career, you'll overhear an older woman say softly, "I would love to be a bride again." You won't really get it because you can't see past the wedding budget and your massive to do list.

Ladies like me, who have enjoyed marital bliss for 5-10 years, will come to your bridal shower and marvel at how quickly time passes. One day we were wearing pretty veils and the next thing we knew, our badge of honor was a hospital gown. How quickly we were brides, then wives, and now MAMA!

I'm starting to feel bitter. I'm sorry. I was only writing to pass along a piece of advice. Are you ready for it? Get your pen and paper ready. You know those nice wedding gifts you're getting? One of them might even be a really extravagant serving piece that your mom's friends went in on together. Don't save it to use someday when you host a fancy party. Use it now. Enjoy it. Don't hide your china away where you can never reach it. Make it accessible so you can enjoy your morning coffee or afternoon tea in a fancy cup. Or give that casserole you botched some extra oomph by serving it to your hubby on your nicest plates. Put those things to use now because you just never know.

But whatever you do, don't store your favorite thing in a place where one of your precious, darling angels can grab it out of the cabinet and unite it with the cold, hard floor. It won't be pretty. You'll cry and want to give someone a spanking. But you'll know it was your own fault for not putting it in a safer place. And, after all, she's only a baby. The sting of a ceramic shard lodged in the bottom of your foot will be nothing compared to the regret you'll feel for being so dumb. And for crying over a piece of fired clay when your baby is infinitely more valuable. You'll consider the irony that that serving piece was something you hoped to pass down to your adorable little stinker or even her own daughter. If only she hadn't broken it!

And as you're writing a blog post to burn off the steam, you'll realize that your sadness over that wedding gift might have just a teeny, little bit to do with missing your newlywed years.

Mug shot.

The end.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I Missed the Party

Well, I have a lot to blog about but not much time to do it. For Lent I decided to give up time on the computer after Curtis gets home. I also deactivated my Facebook account. I thought I would miss it but my mind is 100% more peaceful now. Isn't that weird? My life feels much quieter.

The weekend was full of highs and lows. The first high was getting to have dinner on Friday night with the directors of our new Sunday school class. I think I failed to mention that Curtis was asked to be the venue pastor for our church's chapel service back in October. Our chapel service meets during the same time as the traditional service. The praise team leads us in worship and then we watch Pastor Gregg on the screen. Curtis does the welcome, announcements, invitation, and various prayers. And if anything goes wrong with the video feed, he has to be ready to preach. Ha! I thought it was going to happen two weeks ago but everything worked out. In order to do this we had to leave our beloved Sunday school class, which has been so hard and so sad! I really miss all my girlfriends. After a major move two years ago and now this, I confess that I've been unmotivated to get to know new people. However, we have settled in a really neat Sunday school class and are starting to make some friends. We'd heard that the directors of our class are known for hosting amazing dinners and they lived up to their great reputation. We had some twice baked potatoes that were slap-yo-mama good. This couple has two adorable daughters who were really sweet to Jackson even though his rambunctiousness was probably a bit of a shock. They're a neat family and we enjoyed getting to know them better.

On Saturday morning we went to the first birthday party of one of Annabeth's sweet church friends. They were born a couple of weeks apart and are in the nursery together pretty much any time the doors open. A wonderful breakfast was served and it made me long for my MOPS days!

After that I ran all sorts of errands to get ready for Jackson's birthday party. I nearly forgot to pick up the cake, which would have been awful!

That night, Lindsee, Missy and I went to Debra's house for dinner. We had cheesy chicken spaghetti, salad, bread, and cupcakes. Yum! We talked 100 mph until it was time to go home. It was so great!

Here's where the weekend took a turn. I woke up at about 3 a.m. and realized I'd been dreaming about not feeling well. Then I realized it wasn't just a dream. Oh dern! I had the pre-throwing up feeling! I went into the bathroom and sank against the cabinet. That's when I realized that if this feeling didn't pass on its own, I would be missing Jackson's birthday party. Bummer. Huge, big, stinky bummer! I did throw up but it did not seem as torturous as having to miss the party. I took some phenergen and pretty much knocked myself out for the next 12 hours. Curtis took the kids to church and I slept the sick away. Later I asked if Annabeth had even had a bath before church. I'd accepted that her outfit probably didn't match, but I hoped she at least smelled nice. I'll let you guess Curtis' answer.

I was really down late that afternoon when my boys left for the party, which was at a local gymnastics place. A few minutes later my mom texted me a picture of the table that she'd set up for the kids and it lifted my spirits. She and a lot of my friends who were there texted me throughout the party and filled me in the details. I knew Jackson was having the time of his life. A little while later my boys walked through the door with a big bag of unopened presents. I loved getting to be there when Jackson opened everything. He's such an enthusiastic little guy that you can't help but share his joy. Thankfully, my parents had taken lots of pictures and Curtis recorded the whole thing on our video camera. I'm so grateful. Now I almost feel like I was there.

By bedtime my body felt like I'd been hit by a truck. After Cold Case, I took a hot bath and then went to sleep. I woke up hungry and feeling much stronger. Thank You, Lord! I even had leftover pizza rolls and cake from the party for lunch.

Now I'm just praying that the rest of my family stays healthy along with the 30 other people I came into contact with over the weekend. Lord have mercy! What a bad time to be socializing! At Jackson's combined second birthday party with Ella, he had pneumonia (we found out that night). And last year Ella came down with a stomach virus on the morning of her 3rd birthday party. February's pretty brutal. I think all the red and pink and hearts and paper doilies are just there to compensate.

Stay well, y'all!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Four! And an Ode to My Husband

So. My little boy is four. In fact, on this day four years ago, the doctors and nurses kicked Curtis and me out of Baylor Grapevine hospital and made us take him home and parent him unsupervised. We had absolutely no idea what we were doing. I had not even started changing his diapers yet. Curtis had done it all up to that point so I wouldn't have to get up and be reminded of the physical trauma of his birth. The next day - when I woke up in the likeness of Pamela and had a hormone crash that would scare Satan - would probably be the most overwhelming day of my life. But we were thrilled to have our little guy. Absolutely thrilled and in love.

I know I should say something more sentimental but my mom wrote a really precious letter to him on the other blog and I will not attempt to match it at this time.

Wednesday was the big day. Jackson had been looking forward to it since February 18, 2009. I kid you not. Curtis woke up very early and got donuts. We were in the living room waiting for him to come down when we heard his door open. No one came out and it shut again. I crept into his room and found him covered in his blanket on the floor (where he sometimes sleeps). I said, "Is there a birthday boy in here?" He jumped up and said, "I'm four!" We rushed down the stairs and he looked around with a big grin on his face. I said, "Do you think there are any presents around here?" He squealed "Yes!" and started zipping around the house in search of them. He found his presents and donuts on the dining room table. He opened each one and was so excited. Then we ate donuts and eventually Annabeth woke up. I felt bad she missed it but I wanted to take in those moments without being distracted. Sorry, AB. You wouldn't have remembered anyway.

The birthday really revved up when Bibby came over bearing gifts for the kids. They both got a pillow pet. Jackson's was a frog and Annabeth's was a bumblebee. They were thrilled. We met Curtis at ITZ Pizza (which is like a ginormous and awesome Chuck E. Cheese). We had a quick lunch and then got to enjoy the rides and games with hardly anyone else there.

About an hour later, we headed over to a business that sells backyard playsets. My parents were giving one to Jackson for his birthday. He got a netted trampoline for Christmas that has been a tremendous blessing for such an active boy. He even naps again after 6 months of no naps! Our backyard is going to be hideous but Jackson is going to have so much to do. He played on all the playsets while Mom and I picked out the right one. It gets delivered next week.

Mom and I drove the kids home while Curtis went his own way to prepare for Wednesday night Bible study. There were a million absurd moments on the way home that kept us in stitches. For one, we got tickled that the voice command feature on my Blackberry cannot pronounce my husband's name. Then Jackson locked his wrists in the toy handcuffs he'd won at ITZ and he had to ride like that all the way home. I saw a friend walking by when we pulled up in the driveway and I had to let her pass before I got him out with his hands locked together. Thank God the neighbors didn't see. Then I set him free and he was fine.

That night we went to church and Curtis brought a strong word on 1 John 2. We missed fellowship supper because Annabeth refused to take her second nap and I'd told Curt I wasn't taking her to church if she didn't sleep. She would be a nightmare - and she's a handful on Wednesday nights anyway. Curtis didn't approve of that option, so we waited her out. She finally fell asleep at 5 and we let her stay in bed until 6. We drove through McDonald's and thankfully no one got fries with their nuggets or burgers. I can count on one hand how many burgers I've had this year and I have to be honest and say that it was the most delicious thing ever. I noticed that my right arm kept wanting to search for the fries. It's sick, I tell you!

Wednesday was such a great birthday for Jackson. We're having a little party for him this weekend, but I think he had a blast on the actual day. I went to bed so happy.

Then Thursday arrived. I woke up sick to my stomach and stayed that way. (I have IBS or something. I even get sick when I can tell a storm's coming. Nerves much?) Curtis and I had requested a progress report meeting with Jackson's preschool teacher and afterward we were going straight to the pediatrician for our kids' well visits. WHERE THEY WERE BOTH GETTING FOUR SHOTS. Ugh!

Curtis took our boy to school and once I got Annabeth in bed, I got down on my knees with my Bible and started praying. I was in the worst mood, nervous, and dreading the day. I thought it would help to read some Psalms outloud, so I opened up to Psalm 100. The last verse is, "For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." When I read "generations" I just began to weep. I had no idea what we would learn during Jackson's progress report, but I was assured of God's love for my child and for the generations that will come after him.

Curtis treated his girls to lunch, then we went to the school for our meeting. The Lord be praised, it could not have gone better. We were told things like, "He shares well...he minds the first time...he's a hard worker...he's kind and compassionate...he brings joy into the room...he's doing well academically." Hearing these wonderful things said about our son brought both of us to the verge of tears. We'd never had a meeting like this and we really had no idea what we were going to find out.

We got our boy and rushed out to the car so we could tell him the wonderful things we learned about him. He acted like he wasn't listening but I'm pretty sure he heard us. (This morning I asked him what his teacher had told Mommy and Daddy and he said, "I'm a good boy." And he smiled.)

There was not much time for talking because we had to get to the doctor. Oh my word, y'all. We were fools! We'd opted for one really bad day rather than two bad days. Big mistake. First, we spent 50 minutes in the waiting room, which meant our kids were already melting down before they were seen. Second, our nurse told us that another family had scheduled a dual well visit for their kids at the same time in the afternoon. Their two were babies. So the two nurses drew straws to see who had to take ours. Seriously? Who admits that? Lucky for her I couldn't understand a word she was saying because Jackson was rustling the paper on the exam table. Curtis filled me in later. I don't know. Maybe he heard wrong. Basically, both my kids were terrible the entire time, I was frazzled, and Curtis was annoyed. I'm a bit embarrassed that we put our doctor and nurse through that. Never again!

Then the horrible moment came when the nurse had to tell Jackson that he was now a very big boy at four years old and that meant he had to have four shots. He acted so brave. Oh my word. He kept smiling and nodding his head. I was thinking, "Bless his heart. He doesn't understand." But he kept smiling until Curtis was leaning over his chest and holding his arms. The nurse had his legs and was prepared to go fast. Jackson was very tough with the first two and with the second two I could see the tears in his eyes as he started to whimper. But he never really cried. As soon as it was done he bounced back and was smiling again. Holy cow! The nurse looked at me in shock. She couldn't believe it. We just kept telling Jacks what a brave and tough boy he was.

Then we were off to Chick-fil-a to have an early dinner and reward our kids and ourselves with ice cream. Jackson went into the play area and Curtis and I began to rehash our wonderful meeting with his teacher. At that moment I looked up and saw him doing something only a boy would do right in the window that looks out into the restaurant. It was a perfectly humbling and hilarious moment that brought us back to earth.

I looked at my husband and said, "We've done a lot of parenting today."

A few days ago my friend Kim Smith gave me a DVD from our Venezuela mission trip back in March of 2001. That was nine stinking years ago! She said it's three hours long. I haven't watched it yet, but I can't wait. It was on that trip that Curtis and I sensed God leading us to be married to each other and serve Him through our partnership. We came home and immediately began talking and praying with our parents about our future. We were engaged about five weeks later.

We had - and still have - so many dreams of adventures in ministry. But I don't think we gave much thought to the adventure of parenting. That probably would have been a good idea. The last two days were plenty adventurous. They weren't anything we imagined when we were 19 and 20, but nothing could have made me love my partner more than walking through those moments together.

No one else on earth could have known my emotions when Jackson's teacher told us what a great kid he is. No one else could have kept him calm while leaning over his chest and holding his hands down. No one else could have so effectively affirmed our son's developing character and masculinity. I didn't know what a serious decision I was making when I chose my mate. Parenthood seemed a lifetime away. I didn't know what qualities to look for in a college guy that would translate into a great dad.

This I do know: in a million ways, Curtis Jones is God's grace in my life.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Under the Lone Star

My daddy called me at about 4:00 and mentioned that he and Mom were going to spend the evening outdoors.

Gorgeous weather + kids who get fussy late in the day + mama who needs to get out of the house = inviting ourselves to join them!

I put on my cowboy boots and the old bootleg jeans that I typically save for experiences of the equestrian kind, pulled my hair back in a pony tail and grabbed an ugly jacket. We were going to traipse through a muddy forest! Yes! I'm not always an outdoorsy girl, but today I was feeling it.

We took a beautiful drive into the country. By the time we got to where we were going, we had about 40 minutes until sunset. We hiked along mushy paths, tripped on a few roots sticking out of the ground, ducked under branches and vines, and got a little dirty. My dad led us with Geli on a leash. He was wearing his cowboy hat and a Carharrt jacket with his typical Wranglers and boots. I felt proud to be the daughter of such a maverick. If you want to get an idea of what Texas is all about, spend a day with my dad. The attitude, the appearance, the speech, the dreams, the hard work, the independence - he is it.

Curtis carried Annabeth on his shoulders and Star, my mom's border collie, thought they were one horrible, frightening beast. Maybe it didn't help that AB was wearing her bear bunting. Jackson got to sit on the seat of a bulldozer for a few minutes. Dad offered to turn the thing on but Mom and I yelled NO! in unison.

We'd worked up an appetite, so we loaded our cold and foresty selves into our trucks and set out for some Mexican food. The moon was a tiny crescent in the sky, which always reminds me of a fingernail clipping. We passed a slew of fading farm houses and rusty metal barns that never cease to charm.

At the restaurant, we plowed through several baskets of chips and bowls of salsa. Jackson got a salting lesson. Colorful lights hung from the ceiling and made me feel warm. There were a few other families eating together. No one was fancy. We were miles from pretense.

An old Jerry Jeff Walker song played in the background. I called Dad's attention to it and he started singing Redneck Mother, which is a totally different song. A tacky one, in fact, that my equally maverick grandpa taught me when I was twelve.

Jackson got bored when the food was gone and wedged himself under Annabeth's high chair. A defiant minute later, mother and son made the march of shame to the bathroom for a moment of correction. My bark was worse than my bite, but I will not allow my son to disrespect me in front of my parents. Especially not with my boots on! He returned to the table happier than before. We had a few more moments and then the baby was done.

We said our goodbyes in a dusty parking lot. Pulling out, I noticed some stars for the first time in a while. I sighed happily and told Curtis I love being a Texan.

I love feeling at home in my big city - knowing how to navigate our ridiculous freeways, understanding that you can't slow down or you'll get hit. I love the view of the tree canopy that I see when I'm driving over the sky high Beltway 8 ramp onto I-10. Our city's too flat to see it otherwise.

I love the way men hold open doors and give up their seats for women. I love that if I say "What?" when my mama calls for me, she still corrects me with "Yes ma'am?" How many times a day do I say that to Jackson?

I love the diversity of this state. The doctor who delivered my boy was African American, his first pediatrician was Indian, our current doctor is from the Middle East, and Jackson's classmates come from many different cultures.

I love that Texans are generally warm-hearted, even if we do have a lot of pride.

I love that in a span of 48 hours I can shop at the Galleria in my nicest outfit and then turn around and do something a little country like stomp through the woods in an ugly coat. Or, my heavens, go to Monster Jam! I love that 90% of the concerts I've seen have been at the rodeo. I love the pines and the oaks and sometimes the palm trees, even though most of them probably didn't survive our freeze. I love that my dreams for Annabeth involve ballet shoes as well as horseshoes. I love that last night Curtis and I had a fancy steak dinner, but I would have been just as happy having a chicken fried steak at the Black Eyed Pea. (Although maybe not on the 14th of February.)

I love that in Texas I can be the city mouse or the country mouse, depending on the day. After all, the city and the country are both under the Lone Star. But tonight the country won me over.

Friday, February 12, 2010

So Long French Fries

It's been six weeks since the crispy, salty goodness of french fries graced my life. I will now try to explain this tragic, emotional breakup to my gentle readers.

I've been asked a number of times how long I'm planning to live without fries. A few months? A year? No, friends. I am giving them up for life.

Before anyone gets self-condemnational for not joining me in such an extreme decision, you need to know that my french fry consumption was far beyond normal. I clearly cannot handle fried potatoes in moderation. My maiden name is Moore, after all.

I started jogging after I weaned Annabeth back in October. I had high hopes for quickly losing my leftover ten pounds. Alas, all that came off were two measly pounds and I'm sure it was just the result of weaning. The running helped shape up my backside, which had been ravaged by my girl-pregnancy. (It was nothing like that with Jackson. Good grief!) But the pounds were not coming off and let me tell you how discouraging that was. I was busting it 3-4 mornings a week and my body was tired! With barely any results!

I've always loved food and have worked out so that I could eat what I wanted. But I realized that at age 30 my body is not going to let me get away with the constant abuse. Especially not after two pregnancies. I've accepted the fact that I have to make changes in my diet. And by changes I mean no more french fries. That has been so radical that I haven't even attempted anything else.

I'm not a fan of dieting. I feel like if I can't eat in a restricted way forever, why should I do it for any amount of time? Let's talk about bread, for example. There is no way on earth I could ever live the rest of my life without bread. To me, being a size whatever isn't worth the sacrifice. So I'm not gonna go on a carb restricting diet because I can't possibly keep that up. If there's an occasional worthy short term goal in mind (like a beach vacation or a wedding) that's different. But overall, I think diets stink. Isn't it proven that it's better to keep the 10 pounds on than to lose and gain them back over and over again?

So goodbye to french fries. Not hasta la vista. Not hasta luego. Just plain old, severe and permanent adios. It's been hard but not as hard as I expected. Curtis gave them up about a year ago and it has helped both of us to be on the same page. We are eating MUCH less fast food (and drinking much less Dr. Pepper) because it's lost much of the attraction. The hardest moments are when we're out to eat and Jackson gets something with fries. My instinct is to reach across the table and pilfer a few. I even had a bad dream that I did that a few nights ago and blew the whole thing.

My first test came when we were in Missouri visiting Curt's family. Ironically, it happened on the very first day of my french fry-less life - January 1, 2010. We drove through Chick-fil-a for lunch and I ordered fruit instead of fries with my combo meal. I was immediately tested when I looked in the bag and saw an extra thing of fries, which caused me to yell, "Get behind me, Satan!" and scare Curt's dad. They got thrown away.

Every Wednesday night after church, we drive through Sonic and get drinks. This habit started in the hot summer months when it was still 95 degrees at 8:30 p.m. Even though it's winter and we're no longer dying of thirst at all hours of the day, we've kept up the tradition. On one recent night I was having a horrible craving for Sonic tots (also gone from my life) and their picture on the menu was taunting me. I probably should have recited some Scripture or something, but I fought the temptation by ordering a Frito pie. Just keeping it real, lest any one of you is tempted to think more of my will-power that you ought.

The past couple of weeks have been super busy and I haven't jogged as much as I've needed to. Nevertheless, my body has started to shed some weight. PTL! I honestly don't think it has anything to do with the fries. I think it has everything to do with hitting the one-year-post-partum mark. (This happened after Jackson turned one, but I was weaning and starting to work out all at the same time and I never knew which factor caused the weight loss.) On one hand it's really discouraging that I couldn't make it happen before now, but on the other hand I'm just glad my waist is finally coming back.

I whine about the effects of pregnancy on my body but I know it's a small price to pay for these two.

Also, I'm thinking about writing a book called So Long French Fries, You've Been a Bad Friend to Us. I think my mama would be real proud.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Annabeth at 12 Months

Dear Annabeth,
The craziness of your birthday week has passed and now I am left with a one-year-old. I can hardly believe it every time I have to write "12 mos" on the check-in sheet in the church nursery. My heart is severely conflicted, as part of me would like to keep you tiny and dependent and another part of me is thrilled to see you learning and growing.

When I lay you down in your crib, you suck your thumb for a few seconds but then pop right back up and stand at the rail. A couple of weeks ago you loved sleeping but right now you do everything you can to resist. In the event that I do catch you laying down, like when you're having your bottle, it astounds me how long your sweet legs are getting. But then when I see you standing at the edge of the bathtub in your birthday suit, you still look so tiny!

Mommy is so happy that you finally like your dolls. A couple of weeks ago you learned to say "love you." It started out as "muh myoo" but this week you're saying "I love you" pretty clearly. You love to say it to your dolls and to your Baby Minnie Mouse and give them big, open-mouth kisses. You like to hand me your baby doll and watch me love it, then take it back and do the same. You also bang their heads on the floor but I can see the love growing. You got a stroller push toy for Christmas and you love it. It's hilarious how you haul buns down the hall with that thing.

This is a glorious time for feeding you. You're at a wonderful stage where you will eat anything I put in front of you and you eat a ton of it. I remember Jackson doing the same thing until he got his first stomach virus, after which he developed some opinions about food. I know you're done eating when you start dropping pieces on the floor and leaning over the high chair to see how they landed. I switched you over to whole milk about 5 days before your birthday. Your formula had run out and I didn't really want to buy another can. Thank God we're done with that! Except to get rid of what I have in the pantry, you're done with baby food and completely on table food. You have oatmeal mixed with yogurt for breakfast, and things like ravioli, carrots, peas, green beans, bananas, strawberries, grapes, and cheese for lunch or dinner. You love chicken - especially fajita meat. I'll be glad when you can be trusted with a plate because I have no idea how to feed you in a restaurant without those sticky placemats.

Your sleep schedule is currently in flux, but you have been waking up at 7:30 and going down for your first nap from 9-11. Then you sleep from about 1-2:30 in the afternoon. You've just started waking up closer to 8 and I can't figure out your ideal naptimes. You've been crying a lot more before you go to sleep, which I hate. You are very schedule dependent right now. If something gets thrown off, it's not pretty. That makes our church days a bit difficult.

Your developing speech continues to blow my mind. I love it! You say uh oh, bye bye, love you, dada, and hi. What really gets me is how you try to mimic things I say and it's always so close! You're very eager to learn words and that's so thrilling. Mama was your first word but you've put that one in storage for some reason. You also used to blow kisses. We need Nana to come down here and remind you how to do it! When I say "Where's Annabeth?" you point to yourself and when I say "Where's Mommy?" you point to me. You love to clap and wave. When you stand at your toy table and the music comes on, you bend your knees up and down. You look like a little deejay and it makes me laugh so hard.

You still think your brother hung the moon. He makes you laugh and you're very interested in what he's doing. I love seeing you two play in the same vicinity. I know you're not really playing together, but it's still sweet. I'll never forget when we were sitting at the breakfast table and he looked over at you and yelled, "She's growing! SHE'S GROWING! What's she gonna be, Mommy? A doctor?" It was so adorable. I said, "I don't know buddy. Maybe so! What are you going to be?" He said, "A Daddy!" You have a great daddy, Annabeth. He loves you so much.

Your nicknames at 12 months are Beauty, Beaut (only Daddy says that), Princess, Annabee, Annabear, and AB. For some reason I cannot stop calling you Punky Dewhurst. Please do not ask me why! It probably stems from my great love for Punky Brewster.

We are going through an interesting phase with your hair. It can go in tiny pigtails in the back, but the rubber bands don't really stay in. I also try to sweep your bangs to the side with a bow but it gets ripped out as soon as you realize it's there. You hand it to me like you're doing me a favor. I have retired some of the bows you used to wear simply because I would be so sad if they got lost. When your hair is wet or newly washed it curls a little at the bottom. But as time passes it straightens out and gets the mullet effect. We are persevering for the greater hair glory. If it never comes, we'll have it cut in a bob and you'll be precious! Your hair is light brown and fairly fine and straight. Jackson's started this way and ended up fairly wavy. We'll see if yours does that, too.

You have four little teeth in your mouth and you enjoy grinding them. Mommy cannot stand that, sweet precious angel, and I beg you not to do it.

You took about four steps in the last month or so. We had been working on fingertip walking, and then Mommy and Daddy pretty much coerced you into taking these steps. We counted the first one since we were both there to see it. You started standing independently four days ago. We are so proud! Now I know that your real first step will probably be from that position. So far you're content to just stand there. I've caught you bear crawling a few times, so I know walking isn't too far off.

You just figured out how to climb into your little blue rocking chair. When we're in your room, you crawl to it as fast as you can, throw the teddy bear on the ground, and climb up. Then you try to rock yourself, which is hilarious to watch. Another thing you love to do in your room is open up the dresser drawers and pull out all your clothes.

Baby girl, I love you so much. You are just the sweetest and happiest little thing I've ever seen. The sound of your babbling is the best music I know. I feel incredibly blessed to be your mommy. I'm still scratching my head and wondering why God would want to bless me with the two cutest, neatest kids He ever made. Daddy and I can't imagine our lives without either one of you.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Pre-Historic Valentine

Jackson will exchange valentines with his preschool classmates this Thursday. He's really going through a dinosaur-loving phase, so I was happy to find a box of dinosaur valentines at Target.

Last night's bunco party was Valentine's Day themed and we were all supposed to bring valentines to exchange. Well, let's just say I was done with overachieving after Annabeth's birthday party and the V-Day baking extravaganza. So I grabbed 11 cards out of Jackson's dinosaur box to take with me.

I learned in 5th grade that you should always, always, always go through the cards and make sure none of them says something embarrassing. That year I accidentally and randomly gave the boy I liked a Snoopy card that said, "I want to kiss you, Valentine." Horror.

So I was going through the cards and I found this one.

Okaaaay. No soup for you, prehistoric valentine card! Okay for four-year-olds, not okay for grown women.

The first thing we did at bunco was decorate bags to hold all our valentines. Then everyone started filling them with adorable handmade valentines, heart-shaped brownies, and homemade cookies. I would have felt insecure about my little dinosaur cards but the mental energy I usually devote to succeeding! had been sucked dry along with my ability to care-slash-obsess!

Anywho, this morning Jackson and I had a wonderful moment on the couch together before he went to school. He snuggled next to me and we watched a few minutes of Dinosaur Train on TV. Just before walking out the door, he said with such love and wonder, "When Bibby and Mommy were babies, did they see dinosaurs?"

You cannot make this stuff up, people.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Ronel, V-Day Baking, Monster Jam, and the Super Bowl

The last week has been a whirlwind. Truly. If you saw the state of my home right now you'd know I'm telling the truth.

After Annabeth's party on Wednesday, we went to church. We always eat dinner up there and hang out with friends until Curtis' Bible study starts. If you're in the area and want to come, Midlink lasts from 7-8 in the Garden Room at HFBC. Curtis is teaching out of 1 John. My favorite thing about it is that the group consists of all ages. It makes me really proud of my man when I think of that. Is it okay for me to say that?

On Thursday Jackson went to school and Annabeth and I hung out at home and enjoyed having nothing to do. However, BIG HUGE THINGS were happening with Debra's family. Long story short (and I hope you already know about this because you're already following her), Ernest and Ronel made it home from Haiti (after a stop in Florida) that night! Praise the Lord! Some friends and I hopped in the car together and went to the airport for the welcome party. I made a sign out of the top of Annabeth's cake box. Ha! Getting to witness Ronel's arrival with his Hero Papa was one of the most awesome things I've ever seen. When they came down the escalator into baggage claim, Ronel had a huge smile across his face. It was beautiful. Everyone cheered at first, then it got very quiet because I think everyone was emotional. Debra has a lot of pictures and some video on her blog. If you're reading this late, go back to her February 2010 archives. God has written an incredible love story for the Parker family.

On Friday we chilled at home and I spent hours working on the birthday party post. Notice I have not posted anything about Christmas and it's because it takes for-stinking-ever to do picture posts. It's just hard when I have an almost-four-year-old who wants something every 15 minutes or less and a baby-now-toddler who needs me for, well, everything. I hope that explains my recent lack of pictures. Pitiful.

On Friday night we went to this restaurant called BerryHill for dinner. I'm suddenly taken with fish tacos and they have great ones. There was a guy playing the guitar and singing, which made our little family dinner extra fun.

Saturday was crazy but a blast. My friend Missy hosted a Valentine's Baking Party at her house. I will refrain from describing it so that you will just go to her blog and see it for yourself. As I've said before, everyone needs a friend like Missy. I'm sure I've gained 5 pounds since that day.

On Saturday night we met Kristy and her family at DoubleDave's and enjoyed some pizza rolls. Jerrell and Jayk met us a little later and we all caravanned over to Reliant Arena for...drum roll please...MONSTER JAM! Somehow we ended up being late even though we had aimed to get there super early. I cannot explain how this happened but I'm sure it was my fault. We were walking in the gates when the trucks came roaring to life from outside and sped in to the arena. I hated that we missed seeing it from our seats, but that was cool, too. Annabeth came with us and she was a champ. The Sister is no sissy. She wasn't bothered by the loud noise as I expected. She got sick of her headphones and then got cranky from being tired, but I was shocked that she lasted as long as she did. Curtis told Annabeth that she fit in at Monster Jam with her mullet. Rude, rude, rude! We are trying our best to persevere through an awkward hair phase. I forgot my camera that night but it would have basically looked the same as last year. I did take this with my phone.

It was a late night and I almost couldn't get myself out of bed for church. I skipped having my tea and deeply regretted it all day, especially when I nearly went into REM sleep during the offertory prayer. We had a quick lunch with my mom, then went to home to our beds. After our naps we were ready to join the land of the living. That's when we went to Heather's house to watch the Super Bowl. She and her hubby spoiled us with fajitas from Pappasito's, some amazing desserts, and a corn dip that I will dream about for the next week. We had the world's best time.

I have a lot on my plate today. I need to pick up the house, go to the store, work, wash my hair, and plan Jackson's birthday party. And if I survive all that, I'll go to bunco tonight. Which brings me to this question: Why am I on the computer?

Happy Monday.

And happy birthday to my beautiful sister-in-law Lindsay! I love you, my dear!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Annabeth is One!

I'm having one of those mornings. Annabeth is determined not to take a nap for the second day in a row. I forgot that the pest control man was coming this morning and when he arrived, we were all in our pajamas and the house was a mess. We still have all the party decorations up and it must have looked like a freak show. Jackson and I both woke up feeling very strong-willed. Earlier I told him to go play with his trains and he looked at me and yelled "FINE!" Is there a space in the baby book for that?

Thankfully, today is no reflection on how wonderful Annabeth's birthday was!

As I was driving to the church for Bible study on Tuesday afternoon, I passed my OB's office and realized that at that exact moment a year ago, I was getting the news that I was in the early stages of labor and that my baby would be coming soon. That was such a great moment to relive. I had been so happily shocked.

I came home from Bible study pretty late and began getting the house set up for Annabeth's party. Right after midnight I went up to her room and plucked the sleeping princess out of her crib. We spent the next few minutes snuggling in her soft pink rocking chair as I whispered my happy birthday wishes. She slept right through it.

The next morning, Curtis, Jackson and I went into Annabeth's room together to get her up for the day. Jackson ran in and yelled, "It's your birfday, Annabeff! It's your birfday!" He was so excited for her. We sang and clapped and she loved it.

Then we took some quick pictures with the Big Pink Bear. I was still half asleep and didn't notice that her shirt was wonky. My bad.

I told her to give the bear a kiss.

Twelve months later, she gets out of the chair herself. It's boggles my mind how much they change in a year!

The rest of the morning was spent getting ready for her little party. All of Annabeth's LPM aunties were coming over at noon to celebrate with us. In hindsight, I should have cooked the night before, but I was too tired after Bible study. Mom and Nancy came over early to help. I would not have been ready on time if they hadn't come! In the midst of the pre-party choas, Nancy asked me what time Annabeth was born. I answered 11:38 and looked at my watch. Unbelievably, it was 11:38 right at that moment! We all stopped and I got to give Annabeth some kisses and take it in.

"The Village," as we like to call ourselves, arrived at noon and the fun began. We had enchiladas and a great salad that my mom made. I served sparkling blackberry and sparkling pomegranate Izze's because they went with my color scheme. Then we had birthday cake and frozen cappuccino punch and opened presents. I'll let the pictures fill in the rest of the details.

Memaw brought a present for the big brother, too. So thoughtful!

Annabeth with Auntie Nancy. This was before she rejected her bow.

Memaw, me, Mom, and Annabeth - four generations of "Moore" girls.

Mom making her salad.

Very little evidence exists that I know how to use my oven, but here you go.

Auntie Kimberly McMahon/KMac helping me with the punch.

My grandma let me borrow her beautiful punch bowl and that gave me so much joy.

I imagined this looking cuter. The water bottles ruined it.

Auntie Kimberly Meyer showing the candy bracelet napkin rings.

Curtis and I simultaneously spilled our red drinks all over the table cloth. I nearly died but it just beaded up instead of soaking in! We just wiped it away! Is that not crazy?

My handsome man.

Kristy, KMac, Jenn, and Michelle.

Linda, Sabrina, Susan, Memaw, Nancy, and Kimberly

Annabeth with Auntie Sabrina

Second only to the guest of honor - the cake!

Bring it on, people!

Contrary to how this looks, she could not reach the candle.

Annabeth loves to throw her head back.

Warming up to it.

Meanwhile, Jackson was downing a piece.

Mom and Nancy did such a good job slicing it. The first few pieces were as big as our heads, but at least they were generous.

I put a photo book of Annabeth's first year in my office for everyone to see. Curtis gave it to me for Christmas.

Icing's pretty good, y'all!

Making very good progress on the smash cake.

The invitation specifically said, "No gifts please," but do you think anyone listened? I told them they were lucky they didn't have to sit on the time out step. Annabeth was blessed with some adorable spring outfits from her aunties and a few little toys, which we will definitely enjoy.

She was very interested in what she was getting.

Annabeth wanted to share some cake with KMac.

Auntie Michelle, Mom, Nancy, and AB.

Playing with some new toys after the party was over.

These are the beautiful roses that Aunt Melissa and Uncle Colin sent. Her dress was actually their Christmas present to her. We missed them but they were with us in presents if not presence!

These things were so fun! I would have left them up for days but they started falling down that night.

I'm not sure we'll ever be able to eat all of these.

The perfect use for a silver bowl, don't you think?

These little pennants came with the banners that I ordered from Love September.

The banners say, "Happy Birthday Annabeth." I love them and plan on hanging them up every year.

This was right before the birthday nap. She had a hard time falling asleep after all that sugar.

The night before her first birthday I finally got the nursery like I wanted it. So here are some pictures.

Mandy Moody made the adorable canvas letters. (She can be reached at

Happy birthday, sweet Annabeth! The last twelve months have been amazing. I love you so much!

Frozen Cappuccino Punch
(Thank you Annalee!)

1/2 C sugar
1/4 C instant coffee granules
1 C boiling water
8 C milk
1 qt vanilla ice cream, softened
1 qt chocolate ice cream, softened

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and coffee. Stir in boiling water until dissolved. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Just before serving, pour coffee mixture into a 1 gallon punch bowl. Stir in milk. Add scoops of ice cream. Stir until melted.