Thursday, December 30, 2010

On the Brink of 2011

We are staring into the face of another year.

I always feels so much pressure this time of year.  Here we are again, a chance to start over, try again, hope to get it right this time.  Maybe, just maybe, I'll get it right this time.

On the one hand, I love the idea of a new beginning.  On the other hand, I dread the thought of failing once again.  Failing to meet the goals, cross the finish line, follow through.  There are so many words spinning around in my brain-- budget and weight loss and homemaking and parenting and educating and the list goes on and on and on and on, until I feel dizzy.

There are simple things--dealing with Ada and the potty (you catch my drift?) and getting the walls painted.  Why are these two things so hard?  It seems like they should be so simple.

And then there are the major things that start with my heart.  That start with my getting gut honest before the Lord and asking Him to dig deep into my heart and change things there.  The rest will just be overflow.  The thing is, there are a million things I could focus on, a million things that could change, but I just finished reading Radical, just in time for the New Year, and he has great suggestions for what I can focus on this year, and his suggestions matter.  I mean matter more than those five pounds I am dying to lose.  (I gained 20 less pounds with John, and yet these last five pounds are hanging on much longer than they did with Ada!!)  So there is one place to start, maybe even with just one word.  A word like intentional.  I pray that my days would be intentional.  Prayer and gospel and bible driven days.  I believe that if I am intentional and prayer driven and focused, that the smaller things will fall into place, and if they don't, it will be because I learn that they just don't matter that much.

So excuse me while I ramble all over this computer screen, but in these last days of 2010, my mind is speeding along trying to figure out a way to failure-proof 2011, and..."it ain't happenin."

 So, I will start with prayer and His word.  There is January's resolution, just start with prayer and His word.  (I have decided to take this year's resolutions one month a time, maybe one morning at a time?)

By the way, I still want to post pictures of Christmas.  I will get to it, maybe before 2011?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Eve

We are in Alabama enjoying time with family.  We have been with my family since Christmas night, and we are headed to see Scott's family tomorrow.  I want to go ahead and post a bit about Christmas Eve and Christmas morning before too much time passes.  Things are a bit harrowing here because John is, once again, sick.  He has a giant of a cold.  His little cheeks and nose and eyes are so runny and chapped, and he has a terrible sounding cough.  I feel like it is one thing after another with that kid, but I am thankful that it is nothing serious, just inconvenient, and I know uncomfortable for him.  Plus, it makes him extra clingy to me and extra fussy, so things are a bit more trying than usual.

Anyway...back to the subject of the post...Christmas.  

This was Ada's first year to really "get" Christmas, so we opted to stay at our house for Christmas Eve and morning.  I confess that I felt a bit sad at times because it was the first Christmas ever that I wasn't at home with my family, but I definitely think it was the best decision, and we will continue to spend Christmas morning at home in the years ahead (I think, obviously we will make that decision from year to year based on the current circumstances).  We also wanted to be at our home Church for the Christmas Eve service.  

After the Christmas Eve service (which was great, but my kids weren't super cooperative.  At one point our entire family was out in the lobby with two crying kids, and I wasn't feeling super Christmasy or reverent), we let Ada and John open one gift--John was super excited about that;)--which was pajamas.  I think Ada was thinking, "really, pajamas, where are the toys?"  Then, we put John to bed, had some yummy appetizers for dinner, and did our second to last Advent reading before putting Ada to bed with anticipation of all that was to come the following morning.  

Then, Scott and I had to stay up late getting the gifts ready and packing bags.  Scott made fun of me because I used the word magical so many times that night.  I just think that Christmas needs to be magical.  Right?  I actually never believed in Santa as a child, a consequence of being only 18 months younger than my older sister and hearing the truth from her at a very young age, but Santa or not, Christmas was magical, and I want that for my children.  Christmas is remembering God coming to earth in the flesh that he might grow up and save us from our sins!!!  It should feel magical and overwhelming and exciting and "goosebumpy," shouldn't it?  Can you imagine it, even a bit?  I get excited about a little Christmas cash under the tree (thanks, mom and dad!!), so can you imagine what it felt like to look at God in the flesh as a baby?  It's unreal and yet, so very real.  So very true.

So, that was Christmas Eve for us.  Church and packing and wrapping and making sure that things were magical enough for the big reveal the next morning.

I'll be back later with Christmas Day pictures, but here are a few images from that night.

Okay, never mind.  I can't figure out how to get the pictures onto this blog post, so just see the ones above for a glimpse of our night.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Moores

With Love Chartreuse Christmas Card
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Almost Christmas

Here we are on December 23rd (my dad's birthday), on the Eve of Christmas Eve. 

I told Scott that as a child, Christmas Eve was my favorite day because that is when the excitement reached its absolute peak.  Christmas morning is over so quickly, but on Christmas Eve, the anticipation was almost too much to take.

Now, as an adult, I am feeling a bit panicked as the day closes in on us.  And my list is long of what I am hoping to get done.  I talked to my mom today, and she helped me prioritize the list;)  She even suggested that I just throw all of my dirty clothes into a garbage bag, take them with me to Scottsboro, and wash them there.  She is serious, and depending on the level of panic, I might take her up on it.  So, as John slept (he's still sleeping), and I got Ada settled and watching Curious George on television, I took a moment to regroup and refocus by reading today's chapter in Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.  I am desperate for the Lord to meet me in the midst of the self-induced chaos.  I don't want my focus to be on laundry and dishes and clean floors; I want it to be on what took place in Bethlehem on that first Christmas Day.  I want to get it, just a little bit. 

Here is part of what I read.  My favorite part...

The message of Christmas is that God came into the world in all his glory, and what was only a whisper became a shout.  And someday in the future, as we read in the book of Revelation, he will come back in his blazing glory, which Jesus called 'great glory.'  When he comes back in second coming glory, the Bible says the shout will be even louder so that every voice in the universe will cry and shout and sing his praises.

What does this say to us?  We discover in 2 Corinthians 2:18, 'But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.'  The veil is taken away.  The things that were mysterious, troublesome, and confusing have been made clear.  We now behold clearly the glory of the Lord.  It's Christ.  And as we behold him and look at him and gaze on him, we literally become like him. 

Every authentic believer in Christ is being brought to spiritual maturity by that very process.  We're gazing at his glory and being transformed into his image in the process.  (95).

I love this.  In my weekly women's bible study, we have been talking a lot about daily taking the time to simply "behold Christ."  We have discussed disciplining ourselves to search for, study, seek out His glory in everything and then meditate on that glory, on who God is.  I love the passage above because it says that this is the very thing that God uses to sanctify us.  It is never about us, is it?  Even the sanctification process.  It happens as we Behold Him and His glory.  Anyway, it was a nice little "getaway" to read that in the middle of this 23rd day of December, two days before Christmas.  I want to focus on Christ!!!  I want to get what that meant for God to send his son in order that he might die for me.

And I want to find a way to see God's glory in the daily stuff.  In the daily making beauty out of chaos.  That is what we talked/joked about at our last bible study.  How can we see God's glory in the laundry, we asked.  And Jessica mentioned that in the laundry and the straightening and the sweeping and everything else, we are, in fact, making beauty out of chaos.  It is a way that I can reflect him, right? is what my house looked like at the end of yesterday.  And Ada helped me.  She helped me after several spankings and pleadings and perhaps a raised voice here and there.  But, she did help me. 

Better, right?  Certainly not perfect, but much less chaotic, I think.  And on that note, I need to make my way upstairs to "make some beauty out of chaos" with the master bedroom and the laundry in the hallway. 

Merry Christmas Eve, Eve.  May we experience Him!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mess of a Girl

Here is just a hint of why my house is never straight.  never.  That, and John has decided that he LOVES to throw toys.  Out of the bath tub, across the room, at Ada, off of his high chair onto the floor.  He thinks it's hilarious.  So does Ada. 

When I asked Ada what all of this was, she said impatiently, "It's called a game!!"  (obviously, how could I even question it?)

And what we have here are books as skates.  Of course.

And there is the ever popular, "take baby John (who is a girl) to the grocery store."

And here is my long, long list of what I hope to accomplish between now and Christmas Eve.

By the way, as I type this, Ada is walking circles around the living room, "Baby John" on her shoulder, as she bounces her and says, "shh, shh, shh...shh, shh, shh" in the same rhythm that I repeated over and over both when she was a baby and when John was a baby.  I confess that I love that Ada is already learning to be a mom.  That's what I hope for her.  That she will be a mom one day, walking circles around a living room, getting that precious baby to sleep, passing it all on to the next generation.  (I also hope for her sake, that I live close enough to her that I can come to the rescue if needed).

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Girl's Night Out

Last night, Ada and I left the boys at home and headed out for a night on the town.

The teenager who is teaching Ada's little ballet class, was performing in her company's Christmas ballet, and I really wanted to take Ada to see her dance.  I suspected that Ada would love it, and I was 100% correct.  She was on the edge of her seat the whole time, and she did not want to leave when it was over.  I had to convince her that the ballerinas were not coming back out. 

After the performance was over, I needed to pick up a couple of things at Kroger, so our night continued there.  Ada was thrilled to be able to walk beside me instead of ride in the grocery cart, and we even ended the evening at the Chick-fil-a in Kroger, Ada drinking a Sprite and I, you guessed it, a diet coke.

It was a fun evening, and I enjoyed the alone time with Ada.  That is a rare treat since John came into our lives.  Maybe next Christmas we will upgrade to a mother-daughter trip to the Fox to see The Nutcracker. 

It was a fun night with my mess of a girl.  She never fails to make me laugh out loud, and I am so thankful for her, and the fun it has been to see Christmas through her eyes.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Here I am again, blogging.  I suppose I am in a blogging mood.  Or maybe, just maybe, there is a mountain high pile of laundry that needs to be folded, and I am avoiding it.  It's definitely one of those two things.

Here is what we are up to this morning.

Coffee with eggnog latte creamer.  This was a must when both of my children opted to wake up before it was light outside

As I drank my coffee and did "morning things" like the Today show and e-mail checking, Ada got busy playing church.  This is one of her favorite activities and usually involves her playing the drums in the band and singing made up songs.  It's hilarious.

 I also tried my hardest to occupy John so that he would leave Ada alone.  She loves John most of the time, but she hates it when he messes up her little "scenes" that she sets up.  It was all in vain because he knew exactly where Ada was, and he was determined to play with her.
 Look at her face.  She is saying, "Mom!!!!!  He's messing up church!!!"
Anyway, John is now down for his morning nap, and Ada has a new scene going.  I am not sure what this one is.

And I am making a master list of all that still needs to be done before the 25th.  Ada's shopping is done, but I now need to finish the extended family Christmas shopping.  And let's face it, making a list of Christmas gifts that still need to be purchased is much more fun than folding laundry.  Piles and piles and piles of laundry.

I need to say to myself over and over and over..."She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness," Proverbs 31:27.  Unfortunately, that verse includes laundry.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Moving Right Along

We are moving closer and closer to Christmas Day.  We are doing that sticker countdown with Ada, and it is amazing to me the number of days that have already been marked off.  Everyday Ada asks, "Is it Christmas morning?"  as if she wouldn't know ahead of time.  This has been an extra fun Christmas season for me as Ada is old enough to catch onto the excitement.  It's the most anticipation I have felt since being a child myself. 

Another treat for us this week is that Cake!!

 (Kate, my youngest sister) is here for a couple of days.  She flew into the ATL airport from New York!!!, where she had been visiting with a friend, and we picked her up and brought her here.  My dad is coming today to take her back to Scottsboro for Christmas break.  I have been hearing all about her trip and living vicariously through her.  While she was making her way through SOHO and Greenwich Village, I was changing diapers and forcing John to eat baby food;) 

Really, I am teasing.  I wouldn't give this up for anything.  After leaving Lenox the other night, I kept noticing all these lit up coffee shops and cafes, and I began to "dream out loud" about all that Scott and I could be doing if we didn't have the responsibility of children.  And then I looked at him in disbelief and said, "Really, I would give up these TREASURES for a night at a coffee shop.  I don't think so!!!"  And then I felt strangely content to drive straight home to my suburb and tuck these babies into bed. 

I am, however, dreaming of the day when debt is paid off and I don't have a child quite so attached to me and maybe I can go gallavanting around New York for a few days.  A girl can dream, right?  Right now I am hoping for a night away with Scott in April for our anniversary (oh the wording of that sentence is terrible, but I don't have time to go back and figure it out), which of course depends upon a certain little guy being WEANED. 

The little guy I am talking about is pictured above.  He is playing at my feet as I type this.  NEVER FAR AWAY FROM ME!!!  In fact, a minute ago my post was rudely interrupted when that stinker crawled under the desk and turned the computer OFF.  Luckily, blogger saved automatically because I would not have had time to re-type all of this.

Anyway, I just wanted to blog.  It's my journal, of sorts, you know?  A place where I think out loud and record all that God is doing here in our everyday.  It doesn't always seem like much, and then I begin to read through the older posts, and He is ALWAYS at work isn't he?  Here are my stones of remembrance, right here, for all the world to see.

And now I will close with a quote from the book that I am reading, Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus.  I think it sums up Christmas so well

For the son of God to empty himself and become poor meant a laying aside of glory; a voluntary restraint of power; an acceptance of hardship, isolation, ill-treatment, malice, and misunderstanding; finally, a death that involved such agony--spiritual, even more than physical--that his mind nearly broke under the prospect of it.  It meant love to the uttermost for unlovely men, who "through his poverty, might become rich."   This Christmas message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity--hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory--because at the Father's will Jesus Christ became poor and was born in a stable so that thirty years later he might hang on a cross.  It is the most wonderful message that the world has ever heard, or will hear.  (70-71).

Amen and Amen and Amen!!!  And Amen again!!  Do you agree?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cold Day Spent Inside

It was freezing cold outside today, so we opted to stay inside by the warm fire. 

Please excuse my stocking that is turned the wrong way, and, again, all pictures are from the phone, so the quality is not so good.

Lately, I don't mind a day spent at home.  I used to become incredibly restless if we had no plans for the day, but not anymore.  Especially when the wind is making it feel 7 degrees outside.  No, thank you!!  In fact, I just left John in his footie pajamas so that he would be warm and toasty all day long.

This is little Ada below, asleep by the fire, her "my little pony" tucked in beside her.

Ada/Mommy explained that doll Ada gets to sleep in mommy's bed.  I think this was a hint on Ada's part because these days she is loving the chance to sleep in my bed with me.  She climbs in every morning, and in my sleepy state, I don't protest, as long as she will just let me go back to sleep for an hour or two!!

This is Ada and "mommy" (and you will be quickly corrected if you accidentally call "mommy," Ada!).  Ada is at the doctor, and apparently mommy fills the role of both doctor and mom.

 This is John playing with what is supposed to be his Christmas present.  Apparently Ada found the gift (a hand-me-down) and pulled it out for him to play with without me knowing it.  He loved it, so that's good to know.
 And this is John, setting the record straight.  "I am able to eat things other than milk!!  I hear mom is giving me a bad rap--something about texture therapy?"  It's true, John has started eating like a champ.  Scott and I joke that John must have heard us say texture therapy, and he thought, "fine, if you're going to make me go to therapy, I'll just eat."

Okay, I have a few Ada things to say, a few conversations to record.

First, as she was playing "mommy and Ada" as she calls it

Ada:  "Oh my gosh"

Me:  Ada, I really don't want you to say gosh. 

Ada:  But, I'm the mommy. 

touche', Ada, touche.'

And next conversation

we were in the car riding, and Ada was in the back seat drawing.

Ada:  Mom, this is a picture of Jesus walking to the cross.
Me: I love it, Ada!
Ada:  and this is God.
Me:  What is God doing?
Ada:  Obeying our sins on the cross.

I think the information got a little jumbled in her brain.

And now she is still playing "Ada/mommy", and she was just quickly rushing around the room.  I said, "Ada, what are you doing?"  and her answer, "Cleaning up for Ellie and Luke."

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Marathon-long Christmas post.

We have been "Christmasing it up" in the Moore family this weekend, despite John's confirmed case of pink eye (THIRD ROUND!!!) and sinus infection.  We are becoming quite familiar with that doctor's office!!  This time, John is taking an oral antibiotic rather than eyedrops, and I am THANKFUL for that!!

The good news is that John doesn't really act like he feels bad, his eye just has that obvious goopy, pink eye look, so we decided to go ahead with any plans as long as they involved John being close by my side.  You know, when you're feeling sick, mom is a must. 

So here is what we did...Saturday afternoon, after I tutored and did the weekly grocery trip, and after Ada napped (which was a prerequisite for all weekend plans), we piled into our car and headed for Lenox Square mall to visit the famous Pink Pig ride at Macy's.  I know many of you ATL natives are super familiar with the Pink Pig tradition, but this was a first for us.  I had heard about the Pink Pig last year from Tutti and other friends, but I recently heard more about it through my connection with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (part of the proceeds benefit Children's!!!) Well, we were obviously first time visitors and did not plan well.  If any of you are not familiar with the Pink Pig, go here to read the background.  In my words, it's an Atlanta Christmas tradition that began at Rich's department store in 1953 and is now located at the top of the Lenox parking deck in a big tent.  You won't be able to miss it.  Just look for the insanely long line!!! 

I am thinking that we picked the worst possible time to ride the Pink Pig.  It opens at 10 am, and next year, I plan to be there at 10 am!!!  This year we were there around 6:00 pm.  on a Saturday night.  two weeks before Christmas.  You can imagine the situation.  Plus, I just didn't realize exactly how cold it was.  So, after about two seconds in line, we headed ourselves into the mall to Baby gap to purchase hats and gloves for the kiddos.  I told Ada that she needs to act surprised when she sees those gloves in her stocking in a couple of weeks;).  Okay, so after purchasing the least expensive, but warm, things that we could find, we headed back to the line, tickets in hand.  Let me just say, the line moved fairly quickly, and Ada was so excited about the upcoming the ride, that she didn't complain at all.  She was too busy jumping up and down, dancing around, and putting her mouth on the germ infested rope that fenced in the line.  And the ride was a hit.  Ada loved it.  And it did feel Christmasy and festive and traditional and all of those seasonal things, and I am all for coming back, at a much less crowded time.   I also noticed as we were leaving the mall later, that the line was much shorter, so coming near closing would also be a good idea.  And--thank you, Lord--John was also a trooper, only getting really fussy right before we got on the ride, and he was a happy camper once the train started moving. after we got off the pink pig train, we headed into the mall for Ada's first mall and escalator experience.  She loved it, and I felt like we were "country come to town" the way she was going nuts over the sights and sounds of Lenox.  I didn't realize how much we don't do malls until I saw her reaction to everything.  If we do shop (which is rare) it's Target or the local outlet malls, which have everything we need.  And I see why that is a good thing after coming up with a list a mile long of clothing items that I "have to have" after observing the crowds and the store windows.  Oh the boots that I saw.  The gorgeous boots. was a fun, albeit tiring, night, and I recommend that everyone take a turn on Macy's Pink Pig Ride.  I also recommend that you go some other time than 6:00 on Saturday night, unless you don't mind a wait.

Here are the kiddos waiting in line, photographs taken by my new smart phone.  I am loving it, and can't believe I have one because it is so unlike us to have anything even slightly technologically up-to-date.  All photographs will be taken by the phone for a while because our camera is under the weather, just in time for Christmas.  But honestly, the camera's pictures were the same quality as the phone's, so it doesn't really matter.

 Little trooper, despite his pink eye.  Can you see it?  It's permanently pink, it seems.

Next Christmas activity of the weekends--CHRISTMAS COOKIES!!!  Using my mom's butter cookie recipe topped with homemade buttercream icing.  We were prepared with plenty of Christmas themed cookie cutters, sprinkles, and everything in between.  Ada was excited, to say the least. 

So...I made the dough last night after the kids were finally in bed, and I let it harden in the fridge overnight.  Then after a Sunday afternoon nap today, we rolled that dough out, and Ada went to town (with much help) making her Christmas cookies.  She even had a little apron to wear.  Below are images from the afternoon.  Notice that she went a bit nuts with the sprinkles, and I think she ate her weight in cookies before I regained control of the situation.  Oh well, how often do we make Christmas cookies together?  Not often.

By the way, the photo below is a picture of the buttercream icing, which contains, count them, THREE STICKS OF BUTTER.  I even called my mom to make sure I was reading that correctly.  But it tastes really good, as you can imagine.  I will post the recipes for the cookies and the icing at the bottom of the post. 
Again, the recipes both belong to my mom, and I have eaten those butter cookies all throughout my life.  The taste says home to me.

Okay, the recipes, copied straight from the e-mail that my mom sent last night, that I read on my phone.  I know, I know, I am so behind the times, but I still can't get over how I can check my e-mail or facebook or google reader from anywhere.  Crazy stuff.

Butter Cookies

1/2 cup sugar, 2 sticks of butter(room temperature), 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of vanilla, 3 cups of flour, and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder.

With a spoon mix the butter and sugar really good. Then add the egg and vanilla and mix it in really good. Next add the flour mixture and stir until it is mixed all together - this part makes my arms tired.

This dough does best if it gets cold and hard in the refrigerator after you've mixed it. If you bake the cookies right after you mix the dough, it works best if you just drop spoonfuls onto the cookie sheet, without trying to roll out the dough. Bake at least 10 minutes in preheated 400 degree oven, maybe longer, 10-13 minutes. Check them to see if they are the right amount of brown.

Laura Beth, the above is how I bake them. I like them crisp. Ann, however, likes them softer - so she bakes them at 350 degrees - she says they hold their shape better at that temperature and she doesn't roll them out as thin as I do. Also - right after you take the dough out of the refrig it will be very hard. You'll have to leave it out just a bit and work with about 1/4 of the dough at a time. Don't try to roll out the whole ball of dough at once.
And the icing, also copied straight from the e-mail.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

1- 1/2 cups butter, softened

4 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add milk; beat until spreading consistency. Stir in vanilla.
Okay, I have to get off this computer.  It is 10:26, and I still have "miles to go before I sleep."