Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Freaky Morning

It's is 12:19 PM and this has already been one of the scariest days of my life. The fact that I'm sitting here blogging means everything turned out alright, but it has been wild for a couple of hours.

Annabeth slept late this morning. Yeah for me! I didn't get out of bed until 8:00. Jackson had already been up with Curtis, as usual. I got up to make breakfast before Annabeth woke up, which I was expecting to happen any minute. At 8:30 she was still asleep. Weird. I crept into her room to see if she was just playing silently and I found her fast asleep.

I went back downstairs and within a few minutes she was stirring. I brought her down to nurse her and that's when I noticed that her ear was red, hot, and enlarged. I thought maybe she'd been sleeping on it or something, but I'd seen her asleep and she hadn't been laying on that ear. She also had a red dot on her cheek, which I thought was a mosquito bite. A few minutes later I changed her position and saw that the other ear was also red and puffy. Not only that, but the back of her head was swollen. More than swollen, actually. Protruding. That's when I started to panic.

I took off Annabeth's jammies to see if she had a rash or anything and sure enough, her tummy and underarms and the back of her neck had red bumps. Surely it was chicken pox. I called my mom and she headed over to give me her expert opinion. This would be my second time to suspect it. I tried to talk myself out of something being wrong with her head. I felt sick to my stomach.

I called the doctor's office and they told me a nurse would call me back.

Mom arrived and confirmed that the back of Annabeth's head was protruding and she was very alarmed. She also didn't think it was chicken pox. I put in another call to the doctor's office and they said they'd call me back. Curtis came home to stay with Jackson. Mom thought we should just head to the doctor's office because this was not something we should mess around with. We weren't sure we didn't need to be at an ER.

We got up there and the ladies at the desk recognized that the situation was unusual and that they had two panicky women on their hands. We went to a special triage room and got to escape sitting with all the flu patients. (Which we may end up being in a few days.) The nurse hadn't seen anything like Annabeth's head before, but she thought the bumps were hives. They seemed to be getting worse by the minute.

We saw a doctor shortly after and she said that it was hives. By then, the swelling in Annabeth's head had gone down substantially but her ears were still sticking out. She may or may not have called my baby Dumbo. I may or may not be choosing to overlook that because she gave us such good news and saw us without an appointment. On the way home Annabeth was making a trumpeting sound and, without thinking, I said, "Is there a baby elephant in my car?" Forgive me, daughter! I knew not what I was saying!

Sweet, precious, adorable, angry little ear.

This is what one side looked like when we got home. It was under both arms, on both sides, in the creases of where her diaper was, on her arms, back, and stomach, and at the base of her skull. This picture doesn't really do it justice.

The back of her head after it was almost back to normal.

So the head, the ears, and the rash were all about the hives. We don't know what caused them. I'm just supposed to treat Annabeth with Benadryl. She's sleeping right now and I'll be interested so see what she looks like when she wakes up. I can't tell you how relieved I am. Seeing her head swell that like absolutely scared me to death. I really expected that we would be at Texas Children's right now.

Thank You, God, that we're not. And please help everyone who is.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Today's Topic is Hair

I need some hair advice. I don't know whether I should let Annabeth's hair grow out like it is or if I should go ahead and have it cut so that it will grow out nicely. And by nicely I mean not like a mullet. Or will it not make any difference? Do little girls have to have mullet hair before it gets cute? I need some wisdom.

Right now, her hair is starting to be thicker on top than it is on the sides. In the back, the bald spot has filled in 95% (I'm so mathematical!) and the hair is starting to get long on her neck. I'm inclined to cut it, but I wanted to ask you all first.

I waited way too long to have Jackson's hair cut for the first time and I regret it every time I see his pictures. I've sworn I wouldn't have an emotional attachment to Annabeth's hair such that I allow it to look bad because I'm waiting for some imaginary phase when one is supposed to cut their child's hair.

With that said, I hate taking Jackson to get his hair cut. We always get it cut super short and then let it grow out as long as we can stand it before we take him again. If it looks bad, you can know that Curtis and I are waiting until the other one gives in and takes him. I actually like it longer, but it doesn't stay cute throughout the day. He has thick hair and it gets poofy as the hours pass. I think it actually looks best when he's sweaty.

As for my hair? My roots are hideous. I'm getting them done on Thursday and it cannot come soon enough. Also, I've got a new part in my hair. I did not think it was possible to train it to part differently after so many years, but lo, it was! I was inspired by Making Over America with Trinny and Susannah to do it. I really like it, even though when I look closely at my part, I remind myself of a gremlin. The row of spiky hairs is almost comical. Thank you, baby bangs regrowth.

That is all for now. Please, if you have any experience with the delicate subject of baby girls and their hair, please take a moment to give me your advice.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

How Can it Be the End of September?

October is only days away. That is craziness.

We had a great weekend. On Friday night, Curtis and I took the kids to my mom's house and we went on a little dinner date. I had some pasta that messed me up for the next 24 hours and it was so not worth it. But the bread. Oh, the homemade bread! After dinner we picked up Jackson and took him to a high school football game. We met two other families there and had so much fun. The kids seemed to really enjoy it and they had plenty of room to run around with each other.

The next morning, Curtis blessed us with some warm Shipley's donuts. A moment of silence please. Yum. We did absolutely nothing until later that afternoon when Annabeth and I had a La Madeleine date with Mom and our friend Amy. Amy lives in the hill country and Annabeth hadn't gotten to meet her yet, so it was great fun.

We went straight from there to meet Jackson and Curtis at a birthday party. The party was at a gymnastics place and it was so cool. I'm going to try to get Jackson in a class there soon. He loved it. All the kids were smiling, dripping with sweat, covered with green icing, and exhausted by the end.

This is the Statue of Liberty headband hair that Annabeth had when we got home.

After that, I went to a movie with my friend Michelle and had some of the best popcorn of all time. AMC Theaters do it right. I figure since I'm paying so stinking much for it, it's okay if I ask for the popcorn that's popping in the machine right in front of my eyes instead of the popcorn in the bags that are sitting under the warmers. Try it and you won't regret it.

This morning we went to church, of course. I have done my makeup in the car on the way there for the last 6 weeks in a row. I'd like to think I've gotten real good at it, but I could look absolutely awful and not realize it. This week I was running so late that I also had to feed Annabeth her oatmeal in the car. That cannot become a habit.

Curtis and I had preschool duty this morning and helped in a class for two-year-olds. It's been neat to get to know some of our friends' kids by volunteering for this. (I found out today that our preschool department requires 70 volunteers every week. SEVENTY VOLUNTEERS!) A friend of ours was helping in Jackson's class today and it was neat to hear his stories about our boy. The daughter of our Sunday school directors was baptized during the service. What a wonderful day! I love the Lord and I love His church so much. It is truly the highlight of my week.

This evening we decided to go to our neighborhood pool because it was the last day it would be open. It was nice to be outside and it gave us something to do during the hours when you want the day to end but it's not bedtime yet. It was super hot this weekend, but the water was cold!

I got brave and took my camera since it was our last chance.

We hadn't been to the pool since Annabeth started sitting up. It was a new world for her!

It took her a few minutes to get over the chilly water.

This is the face Annabeth makes when she wants to get something in her mouth.

This is the face of a boy who loves the water and who had a blast swimming all summer. See you next year, pool!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Jackson Three Point Five

Dear Jackson,
At three and a half years old, you are a very energetic and physical little person. Actually, you don't like to be called little. You like to be referred to as a big boy, preferably Big Boy Jackson Jones. I'm amazed when I think back to what you were like exactly one year ago. At that point we were struggling through potty training and sharing and Annabeth was still in my tummy. A year later, we are well past the potty training marathon, Annabeth is almost 8 months old, and you have made huge strides in sharing.

When you were a toddler, you'd often be around bigger kids and they'd be so patient with you and willing to share their toys. Now you've had several opportunities to share and show patience with littler kids. It makes me so proud to see. You are not as willing to share with Annabeth though. You put your cars within her reach so that she will grab them and you can say, "Look, Mommy! Annabeth took my car!" You also like to take Annabeth's toys and put them out of her reach. We are working on treating others like we would want them to treat us. We're experiencing many teachable moments in this season. Having a sibiling definitely exposes the sin nature. I can say that for myself too, little man! I'm trusting God that these moments are bringing us closer and closer to the time when you will surrender your heart to Jesus.

Even though you act cheeky with your sister sometimes, it's obvious that you love her. You have this little language of high pitched nonsense words that you use to communicate with her. It sounds like "Peezy, squeezy, sheezy!" You still call her Annabess or sometimes Ann'bess. When we're in the car, you go to great lengths to make her laugh, but then you say, "Annabeth's laughing at me!" We've tried to explain that Annabeth is still just a baby and is incapable of making fun of you. She laughs because she loves you and thinks you're great.

You like to play in your ball pit/tent, ride your trike (we're going to get you a real bike soon), run, climb, be at church, play with other kids, go to school, sleep on the floor, read your Thomas the Train books, be with your grandparents, get presents, go to Walmart (?), and listen to music. You especially like David Crowder and Charlie Hall. You still love cars and get excited when you see airplanes in the sky. You enjoy donuts, Capri Suns, pretzels, carrots, PBJ's, Chick-fil-a, chips and salsa, Fruit by the Foot, and real fruit. Yesterday you told me you needed to drink lots of juice so you could be big like your daddy.

Every day you say the most hilarious things. Of course, sometimes we can't let you know how funny they are. Yesterday morning Daddy apologized to you for being cranky. He said, "I shouldn't have gotten so upset with you. I'm sorry." You asked him if he does wrong things. Daddy said that yes, we all do wrong things. Later that day you were throwing yourself on the floor and having a fit because Daddy wouldn't give you any more cookie-brownies. You looked him in the eye, gritted your teeth and said, "You do wrong things!" Daddy had to come downstairs where he and I laughed so hard, we cried.

You love to play with the girls who live next door. You call them "my girls." They are already in elementary school, but they love to play with you too. Sometimes they knock on the door and ask if you can come out and play. We let you, but we have to come outside with you. Three-year-olds don't get to roam the streets. The girls are probably moving soon and I'm so sad for you. I'm dreading the day when we'll have to break the news to you. Maybe the Lord will bring another neat family to be our neighbors.

Jackson, you're such a great kid and your daddy and I are lucky to be your parents. We think you're the handsomest, smartest, strongest, fastest, funniest, big boy God ever made. We love you to infinity and beyond.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I'm Feeling...

So very, very glad that it's fall.

Like I'm not quite ready to put out decorations yet.

Proud of my husband.

In awe of my God who answers prayers.

Thankful to my mom for taking me shopping today. I love you, Mama.

Excited about my new jewelry from Forever 21.

Ready for Annabeth's teeth to make their appearance. Bless her heart.

Amazed at the little person my son has become.

Achy in the heart because it's been way too long since I've seen my sister.

Grateful for a strong father.

Relieved that we don't have plans tonight.

Hungry for some roasted chicken and wild rice soup in a bread bowl.

Glad Curtis made cookie-brownie bars last night even though I thought he was crazy for starting that little project at 11 p.m.

Regretful that we stayed up so late.

Like a cup of tea is calling my name.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Spirit of Aggieland

I have to start out by saying that I'm so excited to be blogging about this!

Last night was my first Aggie football game to attend since I graduated seven years ago. I have such a renewed love for my school and for my diploma which is sitting in my closet in a maroon frame that doesn't match the rest of my house. Maybe I'll finally hang it up.

I fell in love with Aggieland when I went to my first A&M football game in sixth grade. My Uncle Mike, who's an Aggie, took my dad and me to the t.u. game on Thanksgiving Day and from then on I bled maroon.

I've been waiting with great anticipation for Jackson to be at the right age to go to his first game. Curtis and I had been thinking about giving it a try and we ended up finding 4 great tickets online for yesterday's game. We invited Sara, our awesome babysitter, to come with us because we had an extra ticket and thought we could use an extra set of arms. I considered leaving Annabeth with Sara at our house, but she's been refusing the bottle since early August and I was afraid to leave her that long. It seemed like a better plan to go all together.

So the Jones family got decked out in some new Aggie gear. We had a hard time finding anything for Annabeth with such short notice. I planned to look at one more place yesterday morning, but then I found out Annabeth - even though she's an infant in arms - was required to have a ticket. ARE YOU KIDDING ME, KYLE FIELD? There went her outfit. I dressed her in brown because it blends in nicely with maroon. Go me.

We headed out early so we could see Step Off, which is when the Corps of Cadets and the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band march from the Quad to Kyle Field. I'd only seen this twice - the first time was back in sixth grade and the second time was on the first game of my freshman year. It was still dern hot at 4:30, but Jackson enjoyed it so much. It was totally worth it. Plus, we met up with my friend Allie and her twins and that was so fun! Allie and I have been friends since Kindergarten and we have lots of memories at A&M together. It was a little surreal being there with our kids.

After that we had to figure out Annabeth's ticket situation. I was nearly sick over the prospect of forking over money for her when we didn't even expect to make it past half time AND SHE WASN'T GOING TO TAKE UP A SEAT. Curt kept talking to the scalpers, but I was determined to find someone just giving one away. Sure enough, when we walked up to the ticket booth I saw a man offering a single ticket to another lady. I eavesdropped a little and could tell she needed more than one ticket, so I boldly approached and let the man know we were looking for a single ticket for our precious, darling baby. LOOK HOW CUTE SHE IS IN THIS BABY BJORN! God bless that wonderful man because he gave us the ticket. It was a good one too, not that it mattered. I'm kind of embarrassed that I was so bold, but PRAISE GOD! Thank you, kind, kind sir for having mercy on us.

Then it was time for some grub, so we sat on a curb and ate some hamburgers from the Fuddrucker's tent. Annabeth was asleep in the Baby Bjorn while I ate. At this point, we were able to meet up with my BFF from high school, Jen, and her family. This was so fitting because Jen's dad was a huge influence on my love for A&M as a teenager. He was always taking us to games, bless his heart. There's no telling how many brain cells he lost as he was subjected to our discussions of whether we just made eye contact with a yell leader or if Corey Pullig noticed us.

We made it to our seats on the SECOND ROW at the 20 yard line. Awesome! They were singing "The Spirit of Aggieland" as we got seated, which was perfect timing. A few days ago I showed Jackson some Aggie propaganda films on You Tube to get him ready, so he was familiar with the song.

From this point on it was sort of a beating. Annabeth didn't even make it halfway through the first quarter before she was crying uncontrollably. She was so thirsty that she took water from a bottle without hestitation. (Enter mommy guilt.) I left the stands on a mission to find a good place to feed her. I ended up walking through some doors I probably shouldn't have and found an air conditioned hallway and a nice, quiet women's locker room where I could feed her. Maybe we shouldn't have gone in there, but MY 7-MONTH-OLD HAD A TICKET.

After that, Annabeth let me watch about 10 more minutes of the game before she was crying again. Sara took her this time and kept her until half time was over. Jackson was now spazzing out too. He was bored with the game (to be fair, he couldn't really see it) and couldn't be still. They were obviously too young for all of it, but I'm glad we tried. At one point I made him sit in between Curtis and me so that he'd chill out, and he looked at me and said, "You're not my favorite." Well, that was a first! I said, "That's okay, I don't need to be your favorite."

Jackson LOVED half time. He smiled and clapped and just got a big kick out of the whole thing. The band is so neat. As soon as it was over, we jetted. We made a quick stop at Sonic and then got on the road.

Next time Curtis and I will probably just go by ourselves, but the whole experience was great. I'm so glad Sara came with us because just having an extra person eliminated a lot of stress.

Here we are with Allie, Lauren and Blake.

Some members of the Corps getting ready for Step Off.

The canon being driven out.

Lots of marching.

Jackson watching the band approach. About 10 seconds after this we almost got trampled.

Annabeth was a big hit in the Baby Bjorn. She didn't even need a maroon and white outfit.

Mr. Wilson and his Aggie girls, all grown up. Jen, we'll pretend you didn't go to TCU instead.

That's the student section. You have to stand the whole time on that side, but I have to admit it's more fun over there.

This was right before the players came in. It was so exciting.

Some of the players. We were so stinking close!

Sara and Jackson.

Curtis and Annabeth.

Me and my boy.

Aggie Yell Leaders - bromance at its best.

The pilots who did the flyover sat right in front of us. Everyone clapped when they took their seats. I forgot to mention how much Jackson loved the flyover.

This is the Aggie mascot, Reveille. She is the highest ranking member of the Corps of Cadets.

I think I've seen that boy somewhere!

I don't think I need to explain this one.

This guy reminded me of Alice and Wonderland.

Freaky picture.

This guy's shoe fell off.

My favorite part!

Only in a college town.

Friday, September 18, 2009

August in Wyoming

Top ten reasons to ditch Houston in August and head to Jackson Hole, Wyoming

1. There are days when the temperature will make you wonder if it's December. And you will start singing Christmas carols without realizing it.

2. Instead of dead armadillos on the road, they've got these guys.

3. There are no billboards, no skyscrapers, and no sidewalks so hot you can fry eggs on them.

4. Your man might go for a hike and come back with something like this.

5. You won't have to wait until February to go to the rodeo.

That is my son drinking hot chocolate in August.

My future cowgirl and me.

6. There are good burgers to be had beyond our state's borders.

Oh, Billy's Burgers, how we heart you.

7. When life slows down, funny things happen.

That's a bagel in Jackson's mouth.

Annabeth's thumb sucking + our occasional heater use in the cabin + much drier air than we're used to = a very raw hand. Bless her heart, we had to put ointment on it and cover it with a sock at night.

She fell backwards and landed right in her brother's lap. He was so tickled.

Annabeth fell asleep while we were at a cookout. She had to have her thumb, of course.

8. Your hair may go bump-it in the night.

You are looking at God-given bump-it, siestas.

9. You might see a grizzly bear. Preferably from your car.

(This is zoomed in - we would never get that close.)

10. Yellowstone National Park is like the Disney World of Nature. You cannot believe how much cool stuff is in one place.

We got there early in the morning in hopes of seeing more animals.

Behind Curtis and Jackson you can see everyone waiting to watch Old Faithful.

And there it is.

I'm not sure what this is. Maybe Jackson was excited about the dirt on his hands.

Jackson and Curtis with the Upper Falls in the background (I think).

Can you see the rainbow?

River water going over the Lower Falls.

This picture makes the bottom of my feet hurt. Does that happen to anyone else when they look down from up high?

After seeing it from close up, we drove down the road and saw the Lower Falls from a distance.

Curtis and I marveled at how much Annabeth changed during our two weeks in Wyoming. This picture was taken on the day she started sitting up. She was using her hands but could sit for a long time.

Exactly one week later, when she happened to be wearing the same outfit, she was sitting with no hands. This is such a fun stage! I'm enjoying our last bit of time before she becomes mobile.

This was Annabeth's first time in a restaurant high chair.

One night after my parents arrived, we had dinner on the deck at Signal Mountain Lodge. After that we walked down to Jackson Lake.

Jackson is embracing his big brother role a little more these days.

This is a picture of one of the cookouts we attended by the river.

Curtis and Annabeth challenged Jackson and his friend in a race.

Annabeth did not enjoy being a track star.

Here's Baby Girl's first time in a playground swing. I did not bring her enough cool-weather clothes, so I frequently resorted to pajamas.

One morning our whole family attended a breakfast cookout up on a mountain. Dad and I and joined the trail riders on horseback while Mom and Curtis brought the kids up in a car. We had hot chocolate, eggs, bacon, and pancakes. It was so much fun.

Jackson and his daddy played hide and seek in the town square. Here's Jackson counting.

Here he is hiding.

A view of the Tetons from near our place.

Mt. Moran might be my favorite.

A deer in the river by our cabin.

The Sleeping Indian. Can you see him?

One day we visited Jenny Lake. You do not want to miss it if you ever visit Jackson Hole.

We took a shuttle boat across the lake to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point.

Looking up at the mountain from the boat.

Here's what we hiked to see.

We - mainly Jackson - got soaked on the boat ride back. The water was freezing! Jackson has always loved being splashed with cold water (seriously), so he had a great time. People around us were even trying to take pictures of him because he was so funny.

The pictures you are about to see are from The Greatest Day of Jackson's Life.

We went to Snow King and did the alpine slide.

The slide was really fun, but I only did it once because the ski lift to the top of it scared me to death. Curt says it isn't as freaky when there's snow below you. The Moores aren't skiers, so I wouldn't really know.

Then Curtis and I went temporarily insane and let Jackson do the bungee trampoline. You are seeing the highlight of his three-year-old life.

Everyone within a mile heard him squealing.

After that, we had lunch at the Saddle Rock Family Saloon.

The only beer they served was root beer. Oh my word, it was the best ever!

Jackson capped the day off with a horse ride. This is Blizzard, the most chilled out horse known to man. Jackson looked like a baby on top of that big ole animal.

That concludes the Greatest Day of Jackson's Life.

Here's a bad picture of some elk in the valley.

This is our favorite pizza place. No visit is complete without it.

It's our tradition to take a picture on this huge stump before we leave. Right after this, some very sad Joneses got in the car and drove to the airport. Sad, sad, sad.

Top ten songs from our vacation playlist

1. "Just Wanna Say" by Israel Houghton
2. "My Brightness" by Charlie Hall
3. "Glorified" by New Life Worship
4. "You'll Come" by Hillsong Live
5. "Light of the World" by Watermark
6. "A Grateful People/Bless the Lord" by Watermark
7. "Glory to God Forever" by Fee
8. "Since the World Began" by Matt Maher, Amy Grant, Ed Cash, and Mac Powell from Glory Revealed 2
9. "He Will Rejoice" by Trevor Morgan from Glory Revealed 1
10. "Waters Gone By" by Shawn Lewis from Glory Revealed 1