Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chasing the Sun: A Book Review

As you all know, I love a good book ;), and I am not picky when it comes to what I like to read.  I read things that are all over the map from classic literature to nonfiction to easy novels.  During these days of mothering "littles," I am usually a bit brain dead at the end of the day, and I am eager for a way to escape.  So, for me, Chasing the Sun, by Tracie Peterson, was just the thing I needed.

In this novel, set in Texas at the end of the Civil War, Hannah Dandridge finds herself a woman in charge of a ranch and her two younger siblings, after her father disappears in war torn Mississippi.  Not knowing where her father is or if he is even alive, Hannah is faced with caring for her younger siblings and the ranch her father left behind, avoiding the unwelcome advances of her father's pushy partner, and dealing with a wounded Union soldier, William Barnett, who returns to Texas, claiming that the Dandridge ranch legally belongs to him.  In the midst of all of that, Hannah also has to deal with her confusing feelings regarding Barnett--does she love him or is he the enemy, seeing that her father was on the side of the confederacy?

Though it took me a little while to get into the story,  I did think that this novel was an enjoyable read.  I enjoyed the historical setting and the details of life in Texas during the Civil War.  As for the love story itself, I was intrigued and interested to see how it would all end, but I thought a bit more plot and character development would have made the romance, and the twists and turns to the story, more realistic.

However, I am hooked enough by this novel, that I am eager to read the next book in the series, coming in June.  Bottom line, if you are looking for an easy read that is fun but doesn't require a huge amount of brain power, this is the one for you.

*FYI, I was given a copy of "Chasing the Sun" by Bethany House Publishers but all above opinions are my own.  If you, too, are interested in reviewing books for Bethany House, click on this link!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

And Summer Officially Begins...

We kicked off the summer today in the only appropriate way--a trip to the pool.  Granted, a chunk of the time spent at the pool was spent in the rain, but my children did not care in the least.  They were promised the pool today, and to the pool we went.

John was caught up in the hype as well, and he, along with Ada, put on their floaties two hours before we left for the pool.  (Ada doesn't yet know how to swim on her own, fyi.  Has anyone taught their child to swim without swimming lessons?  Anyone, anyone?  She is very confident in the water with her floaties on--swimming around, putting her face under, etc. etc., and if I didn't have John with me, I would just work with her, but all of my attention is on John when we are in the pool).  John was fired up and he didn't even know why.  All he knew, is that Ada was jumping up and down excited, and that must mean something good.  He kept saying, "I go, mommy!!" and pulling my hand towards the door.

 "Rest Time" activities, as we were all worn out from the pool

And John's newest obsession is his "tuttle" float.  You may think the following pictures are of us leaving to go to the pool.  But you would be wrong.  We were, in fact, on our way to the gym.  John was headed straight for a melt down over wanting to bring his turtle float, and Ada came to his defense and said, "Just let him bring it in the car," so I gave in, and he did.  He loves that thing.

In other news, we are narrowing down our van options, and we hope to soon be minivan owners.  I will let you know.

As for the Mazda situation, we are in the process of dealing with them and working all of those details out.  Yes, it does seem that Mazda should be held responsible for the part (obviously, is what I want to say to them), but they don't see it as clearly as we do ;)  So, I think that whole thing is going to be a long drawn out process, and who knows if anything will even come of it.

But, this week, we are just enjoying the first week of summer.  Pool today, blackberry picking tomorrow...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Minivan Thoughts?

okay, obviously based on the last post, the Moores are officially mini van shopping.  Based on our price range and the mileage we are hoping for, I am looking at '07 or '08 Kia Sedonas.  I know that Honda Odysseys are the best, or that was the overwhelming facebook response, but as I have researched, I just don't think we can get an Odyssey in our price range without tons of miles on it.  And I have heard that Sedonas are reliable vans, so I think that is the route we are going--if we can find what we are looking for.

So, I am wondering if anyone out there drives a Kia Sedona?  I would love to hear your thoughts.  I am hoping someone out there can give me an opinion on the Sedona.  Anyone, anyone?  Especially if you drive an '07 or an '08!!  That would be ideal ;)

Also, we are new to car shopping, so I would also love used car shopping advice.  Sedona or not, do any of you have tips for how to get a good deal and make sure the vehicle is reliable?  Better yet, do any of you know a reliable car salesman in the Atlanta area?

As for the poor, poor Tribute, we are still working through all the details of that.  We are fairly certain that the fire started because of a recalled part.  We tried to get the part replaced a couple of months ago, but Mazda told us that the part would not be available until later this year.  We are in the process of investigating that.  So, if you are wondering why my car randomly caught on fire--it's because of a bad part.  So, if you also drive an '01 or '02 Mazda Tribute, be warned!!

And in good news--friends of ours from church will be on vacation for the next week and a half, so they have offered their car to me while they are out of town.  I am going to pick it up this afternoon when Scott gets home from work.  So, thank you, Lord, I will not be stuck at home, and by the time they get back, we will hopefully be closer to purchasing a van.  He is providing!!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Counting My Blessings

Yesterday was a crazy, crazy day.  Crazy.  But this morning I am counting my blessings--big time ;)

Last night, as I was leaving Jessica's house after tutoring--I had picked up my kids and we were heading home--I noticed a funny smell coming from my car (a 2001 Mazda Tribute) and a weird sound as I put on the brake at a stop sign.  I (being the genius that I am) decided to keep going.  I'll be honest, I was in denial just a little bit because I just wanted to get home and get the kids bathed and in bed, I was so tired.  I did try to call Scott, but he didn't answer, so I drove on to the red light at the entrance of the subdivision (it's a big subdivision), and at that point, I noticed the smell was getting worse and smoke was coming from the engine.  Now, in one of my finer moments of life, I just froze.  Ada was asking if we should get out of the car, and I was just sitting there frozen and not knowing what to do.  Luckily--Praise the Lord--two men drove up beside me, and having more sense than me--started yelling, "mam, get out of your car and get your kids out of your car."  Still a bit stunned, in disbelief that what was happening was really happening, I did get out of my car, but probably slower than they thought was good, so they continued to yell, "mam, get your kids out of your car!!"  So, I did, and I managed to grab my purse and diaper bag and head to a grassy area away from the car.  Even then, I was looking back at the car, thinking I needed to get other things out.  As smoke continued to come out of the engine.  Again, in a bit of shock, maybe?  I just started walking back towards Jessica's house, which isn't a far distance, but I was nervous with John not being in a stroller because he doesn't yet have a sense to stay out of the road and stay near to mom, plus my reaction time was a little numb.  Again, praise the Lord, a kind, kind man, pulled over to ask if that was my car smoking at the entrance.  When I said yes, he said he would drive us to Jessica's house, and he advised me to call 911.  Again, in one of my finer moments of life, I had not yet done that.

Here's the thing.  I am a melancholy, pessimistic person, yes, but I always assume in these types of situations that the worst thing isn't what is happening.  Surely my car is not catching on fire!!!!  Doesn't that only happen after a really bad wreck?!!!  So, in my mind, I wondered if I need a mechanic, not 911.  Again, I am just being honest with you.  Stupid?  Maybe.  But, thankfully, this man had more sense than me, and I decided to go with what he was saying ;)  So, I did call 911.  When I got to Jessica's house, her husband John (we'll call him John H. to distinguish him from my John) also had sense enough to know this was a BAD SITUATION, and he grabbed the fire extinguisher and headed back to "the scene."  I stayed at the house with Jessica and our kids, and I was still a little bit shocked, frozen, "surely this isn't really happening."

Long story short, it was happening.  My car--our "good car" at that--caught on fire.  CAUGHT ON FIRE.  Isn't that so random?!!!  I am praising the Lord that it all happened the way that it did, and that so many people came along with much more presence of mind than me to think for me.  For the record, in case you hadn't figured it out from this post, I am horrible in emergency situations.  Like, the absolute last person you want with you.  Seriously.  God was also good because once John H. got back to the car and as he was hosing it with the extinguisher, he was also grabbing things out--car seats, Ada's bike that was in the back from a trip to the park, and what is most important to me--"Clementine," Ada's American Girl bitty baby.  I dreaded having to explain to my little girl that Clementine was no longer with us.  She had apparently already been asking Jessica about Clementine back at the house.  In fact, before I knew that John H. had been able to grab the doll, I was watching the firemen hose our car, and all I could picture was little Clementine sitting in between Ada and John in the back seat.  At that point, I said to John, and I think the policeman standing there, "not that it matters at this point, but there was a baby doll in the back seat..." and John told me then that no, in fact that doll was in the back of his truck.  It's such a small thing, but I am so thankful for Ada's sake (she was also very shaken up last night, and woke up several times through out the night) that Clementine was spared.

We are a bit in shock, as all of a sudden we are down to one car, just like that.  But there are blessings here--in abundance--our protection, for one.  Thank you, Lord!!!  And we live within walking distance to a lot of places, so the kids and I will not be as isolated as we could be--we can walk to CVS if we need something, several fast food places, and our town's square, so we aren't stuck.  We can't, however, walk to Sonic ;)  And we are just praying that the Lord provide a car.  We are looking into what our options are, and we are trusting him with this (and worrying too, and then praying, and then trusting again).   God knows the details of this situation.  He can provide a car.  In our mind, we were going to the beach and we were going to throw all our money at savings and debt, and in about two years (we have prayed that our cars would last another two years), we would start saving for a van, but God has thrown us into this situation, and we are canceling our plans and turning to Him to ask him what to do.  We are praying for wisdom and clarity.  And, I am also praying that he does something crazy and shows us how to purchase a new-to-us car and also still go to the beach ;)  I know that is probably not his plan, but I can pray for it, can't I?

 Bottom line, we are thankful for his protection.  It could have been so much worse.  He is good and he is sovereign, and I am asking him to help me rest in that truth.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Summer is Coming

How do I know?  Because of how often I am having to scrub the bottom of my tub.  We are spending as much time as possible outside, and at the end of the day, there is much dirt to be washed off.  I said it at the end of last summer, when we first moved into this house, but after living in a house with a tiny square of a yard, we are so thankful for all of this room to run and play outside.  What this house lacks inside, it makes up for outside.  And we plan to soak it up all summer long.

 giving John a boost into the tree

 And then, after a long afternoon spent outside, daddy is home!!

 other excitement at our house?  A plumber had to come one morning to fix our leaking fridge.  That same morning the Harman kids were over here (Jessica and I swap baby-sitting services), and the plumber's truck was the star attraction.  That is what these three are looking at.
 I decided that lunch outside was the easiest option...

And do you see the new car that has been added to the line up?

And that's all.  Just a quick picture update.  And now, to continue our outside theme, we are headed to the park with some friends.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!!


What a gift.  Often a gift of suffering and dying to self and even just plain monotony.  But, other times, the joy sneaks up on me.  It almost takes my breath away as I realize what I have in these precious children.  These precious children.

It's amazing to me now to look back on childhood with the eyes of a mother.  To see, just a bit, what my own mother must have been thinking and feeling.  I think back to times that she was impatient, her voice raised, and I now wonder what I had done?  How tired did she feel in those moments?  How many times had she asked me to do the same thing over and over and over?  And how awful was my attitude as I disobeyed?  I didn't understand what she was doing--making the decision to be at home with me.  I had no clue that there was more to her than being my mom, and that she was laying down so much of that to be my mom.  I had no clue.

Ada tells me a lot lately, after I ask her to pick up her crayons or put away her dress up clothes, she whines, "you ask me do everything."  And I am sure in her mind, I do ask her to do everything.  I don't think she even sees the things that I am doing, because I didn't see.  It never crossed my mind that mom wasn't jumping up and down thrilled to cook yet another dinner ;), so when she asked me to fold a pile of clothes that might interfere with the book I was reading or television show I was watching, I was clearly offended.  It makes me cringe to think about it.

And I have a feeling, that one day I will be a grandmother, and I will look back and think, "oh, this is what it was like for my mom."

It is amazing to me the other parts of the story that rise to the surface as you grow up and look back.  The puzzle pieces that begin to fit together.  Of course my mom "lost her patience."  I am doing good on any given day to find mine in the first place.

Scott and I just had an anniversary--our 6th, and it sort of just came and went, as these types of things tend to do these days.  I am okay with that, though, as we are saving for the family beach trip, which will cover anniversaries and birthdays all rolled into one.  But, of course, anniversaries do make us reflect, don't they, and I said to Scott, in reflection, "When we were engaged, and I was thinking about marriage, I had no idea how exhausted I would be all of the time."  And it's easy to fall into a pity party, so quickly fall into a pity party.  And then I look at what we get to do.  These children that we have been entrusted with to raise and disciple and teach and love.  And John comes up to me, and he says, "mommy, mommy, mommy, hug?!!!" and I hug him, and he grins and says, "again?!!"  And Ada asks yet another impossible question about God and who he is, like, "how big is he?  And what will Heaven be like?" and I welcome the exhaustion that comes with something as rich as this.  That I get to be on the front row as God grows these children.

Oh, Lord, have mercy on me.  Give me grace and wisdom, and please, let me hear your voice.  Show me how to do this impossible thing.  And, please, take my eyes off of myself so that I don't miss this gift.  This treasure with which you have entrusted me.  Give me grace upon grace upon grace, Lord.

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there.  Keep on keeping on, my friends. 

And I will end with a picture I took yesterday--of Ada and my grandmother--my dad's mom.  My only living grandparent.  Such a reminder that this mothering is not just about this generation but generations to come.  There is much at stake, right?  Again, keep on keeping on.

p.s. I am also aware that for so many, Mother's Day equals heartache.  So much heartache.  So for you, I also pray that God would give mercy and grace.  So much mercy and grace.  And that he would be near to you in your suffering.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Because Ann and my mom both pointed out that I posted no pictures of John in my last post, I am back to put up a picture or two of my little stinker.

What we have here is John refusing to get in the car unless I let him go back inside and get the rest of his cars and trains.  Ada was already in the car and buckled, and I had enough trouble getting John out the door, with the door closed behind us.  John is saying, "Mommy, mommy, mommy, my cars..." and he was not happy with me.  Of course, it had taken him that long to get out the door because he kept the dropping the cars that he already had in his arms, but he just couldn't fathom leaving for "errands" without all of his cars.  As soon as I took these pictures, I picked up a still protesting John and carried him to his car seat, which made him even angrier, because he wanted to do it himself, "mommy, mommy, mommy, I do it!!!"  Mommy is always a series of three if he is excited or angry. with each mommy increasing in shrillness.

Which, right now, Lightening McQueen, the most favorite car of all, is MIA, and multiple times through out the day, John comes to me, his little hands open in question, "Mommy, mommy, mommy, Queen?!!!"  And I say, "I don't know where he is, John," and John always says confidently, "he's that way," and points some way, and then runs off with much hope of finding "Queen" in that particular direction.  He has started calling Mater, Queen, almost as if to comfort himself.  He normally calls Mater, "Mato," by the way.

Also, you'll notice he's wearing his crocs, but that only happened with much protest from him.  We received some hand-me-down flip flops from Ann that have monkeys on them--from Gymboree--and they are cute, but they don't really fit him yet.  Well, all John knows is that the flip flops have monkeys on them, so anytime that he has to put his shoes on and I bring him something other than the monkey flip flops (which are too big), he says, very shrilly and accusingly, "mommy, no mommy, monkeys!!"

One last John story.  I often say to John, "are you a baby or a big boy," and sometimes he says big boy and sometimes he says baby.  Well, the other day we were in the car, and I asked him that question, and he answered, "I a puppy," with a big grin on his face, and then he made a barking sound.  I have to say, it was super cute and funny, and John definitely though himself quite clever when he said it, grinning at all of us.  So, I kept asking, "are you a baby or a big boy?" and he kept answering with different animals, followed by the animal sound.

So, there you have it, a quick John update.  I know that two can be a challenging age, but I also think it is a super cute age, such a great combination of baby and little boy.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

hello, strangers...

I haven't updated the blog in a little while because there just doesn't seem to be much to say. 

My college roommates (all 13 of us) and I email from time to time, you know in "mass email" form, and this past week we had an email chain going.  The plan was to give a general update on our lives, and I couldn't think of one thing to say.  Hmmm...the Moore family, we wake up, unload the dishwasher, eat breakfast, play outside, watch cartoons...I mean, what can I say?  But then I felt very thankful that there wasn't much to say.  Last year, every time I turned around there was some sort of something to update on, and it was always a negative update, so I have decided that no news is definitely good news around here.  So, here's to thanking God for an uneventful season of life. 

We have been doing some things, but are they really blog worthy?  I don't know.  Is anything really blog worthy ;) 

We are digging in our heals with our budget/Dave Ramsey plan.  And I am the new person in charge of the budget.  Scott did our budget for years, and then we both woke up one day, realized that in the case of our budget, my anxiety-ridden personality might actually work for us, where as Scott's laid back, everything will work itself out personality was most likely working against us--trust me, it's usually the other way around in our marriage--his personality usually wins ;), and just like that, I took over the budget.  I sort of love doing it.  It's like a game, and finally, we are winning the game.  I do tend to get a bit obsessive, though.  In fact, as we are saving for a family beach trip in August--woo-hoo--I am becoming a bit obsessive about things like turning the lights off, not turning the AC down too low, etc. etc., and I have Ada on my side.  I gave her the "job" of making sure lights are turned off when we aren't using them, and she is on top of it.  Throughout the day, I hear her little voice saying, or accusing, "who left this light on?!!!"  My biggest money temptation is eating out, because, of course, eating out means that someone else does the cooking and cleaning, so to fight my temptation, I figure out how much the meal out would cost, and I immediately transfer that into savings, and we eat at home instead.  And today I used my crock pot for Sunday lunch instead of eating out.  I am telling myself that the little things add up.  Do any of you have little savings tricks you want to pass along?

What else is there to add to this super exciting blog post?

Hmmm...John's verbal skills are improving daily.  Though I am sure that the rest of the world still can't understand most of what he says, he really can communicate anything at all to me.  We have entire conversations, and I am loving seeing his little personality come out so much.  Plus, I can see that his frustration with life has decreased just a bit with his increased ability to communicate.  However, now that he is two and such a big boy ;) he wants to do everything that Ada does, and he gets quite frustrated with me when he can't do everything that Ada does.  So, I don't know...maybe the two things cancel each other out and we are both the same amount of frustrated :)

Now, I am just going to post some pictures, and add a caption or two of an update.

I took these pictures of Ada a few weekends ago because she is so my daughter.  She loves jewelry, and she doesn't like to go anywhere without her necklace and "chunky" bracelet.  (I love "chunky" jewelry).  Plus, she is in that stage where she insists on picking out her own outfits, and she always asks if she can put on my make up before we go somewhere.  Though I say no every time, she continues to ask...

 here Ada is stretching to go on her first ever "run with mom."  She didn't even run for ten seconds, by the way, which was even less time than I thought she would make it.  John on the other hand will run forever.  Really.  Those chubby, short legs just go, and he doesn't stop.

And above, Ada was having her nails done at Ellie's birthday sleepover.  Ada, John, and I made a quick trip to Alabama to celebrate Ellie's 7th birthday.  John stayed at mom's during the sleepover, and I was the other "chaperone" at the party.  Ada insisted on trying to sleep in the room with the other girls--on the floor of the bonus room--and I was in Ellie's bed, just a room away.  Finally at 11, Ada came to get in the bed with me.  I knew she would never ever fall asleep on the floor, but I just waited her out.  I was relieved when we were both in the bed, but still, she was tired the next day.  She is already asking if she can have a sleepover for her birthday.  The sleepover was super cute, but I will wait and let Ann post those pictures.

 It was a hot weekend, which called for, what else?  a sprinkler and a popsicle.  The best way to beat the heat when you're four, right?  John does not like the sprinkler, by the way.

 the orange "strip" on the ground is a sprinkler we found, which sprays water in lots of crazy directions.  Ada wanted a slip n' slide, but I thought a sprinkler would be simpler and easier to store, plus I thought John would like it better than a slip n' slide.  Of course, he hates the sprinkler, but, oh well, Ada loves it.
So there you go.  I may blog soon about all the things on my current reading list, but we'll see if I get to it.  Now, I am off to bed to rest up for the start of another week...

happy Monday, everyone!