Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas in the 'Ville

Just a few photos from our first Christmas in Louisville. We were joined by Adam's mom, stepdad, stepsister, brother, sister-in-law, and 3 nephews. A full house made for lots of fun.
Our own little Mary
(she insisted on sticking the baby under her dress...I guess that's what happens when the mom of a three year old is pregnant at Christmas time...) Stocking Glee
"It's just what I've always wanted" (her favorite phrase for the day)
Pop! Goes the Weasel
No faking this excited face...
Christmas reading with Grandma Sue and Cousin Ryan
This is what happens when your brother-in-law leaves his two year old son in the care of the aunt who only has daughters...
The little guy had spilled grape juice on his white shirt, and the pink camo was the most masculine thing I could find in Katie's closet! He chose the wings for himself...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Best birthday ever

For my birthday/our anniversary celebration, Adam and I took a trip to Nashville. Why Nashville? Well, it's a cool city within reasonable driving distance (and as Adam and I learned on our ill-fated trip to Bardstown, Kentucky a couple years ago, we only "do" cities and national parks). But that's not the main reason. The main reason was this:
Andrew Peterson's annual "Behold the Lamb of God" concert at the historic Ryman Auditorium. Wow. Before the show, we got a personalized history lesson from one of the ushers about the Ryman. As you can see, it looks like an old church building...turns out, it was! Apparently, an evangelist came to Nashville in 1885 and was causing all kinds of "trouble" for the gambling industry (because so many people were being converted at his revivials!). One riverboat captain had had enough of this evangelist, so he went to the tent meeting one night, intending to confront the evangelist and run him out of town. As it turns out, this old riverboat caption was converted that night. His name was Thomas Ryman. He decided to build the evangelist a church so he wouldn't have to meet in a tent anymore. And thus began what would eventually become the Ryman Auditorium.
The other reason we went to Nashville was this:
One of my best friends from college (who happens to be married to another one of my best friends from college) drove up from Memphis for the show. It was all made especially more special because it was not only my birthday but also their anniversary. And just to make it more fun, Jaclyn and I are both pregnant and due within a week of each other! Doesn't get much better than that, huh?
A stupid picture of Jaclyn and me, trying to demonstrate the difficulty pregnant people have hugging each other

The concert was incredible (and made me want to buy the albums of each and every musician who performed). It was so awesome that I really don't have words to talk about it...except that you should buy the album and go to the concert next Christmas. Rumor has it that the tour may be coming to Louisville next year!

For other commentaries about the show, check out my friend Jac's blog and the blog of the mastermind himself.
The Ryman at Christmas (photo 'jacked from Andrew Peterson's blog)

After the concert Adam and I stayed at a fun hotel downtown and hung around Nashville the next day. The best part (besides the company) was the eating. Thanks to Blake's recommendation, we went to the Pancake Pantry...and boy, was it worth the wait!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fail and Fun

My friend Ruhiyyih had a great blog post the other day, tracking the highs and lows of her day. She inspired this Fail and Fun post for today.

FAIL OF THE DAY: Realizing at 9:30am this morning that I had forgotten to water the tree the night before and that it was bone dry. Which means that we now have to take the lighted and decorated tree out of the tree stand, cut 1/2 inch off the bottom, and get it back in the tree stand. Anyone think we can do it without taking everything off? (And this is after I literally sat on the tree on Sunday evening because I forgot that the tree was where our big red chair used to be!) Boo.

FUN OF THE DAY: Finding out while at the Y tonight that Davidson was playing basketball on ESPN...against none other than WVU, my husband's former school! Did I spend a ridiculous amount of time on the Precor tonight just so I could watch most of the game because we don't have cable at home? You betcha! (Thankfully, we were able to watch the last two minutes on ESPN360 and witness Stephen Curry pull off two awesome clutch 3-pointers to win the game. Have I ever typed http://www.espn.com/ into the address bar? Only when it's Davidson bball time! Go Cats!)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Trip to Baldwin Farm

Since this is the first Christmas that we will be staying in Louisville, we decided that we needed to forego our usual 3 foot tall tree (which formerly had fiber optic capabilities but thanks to a broken ac adapter no longer glows) and get a REAL, LIVE Christmas tree! And what better place to get one than the Christmas tree farm owned by my mom's first cousin just a few miles down the road in Richmond, Kentucky. We had a great time, not only because the snow added that special Christmas card effect, but also because our friend and neighbor Lan joined us! This is her first Christmas in the States, and she's excited to experience all traditional aspects of the Christmas season. Cutting down your own Christmas tree definitely falls into that category, so she joined us on the long (and sometimes treacherous) journey to Baldwin Farm. Thanks for a great time, Cousin Jo!

Man vs. Tree
Man wins.
The manly work continues at home.
Katie with nutcracker ornament just like I had as a kid!
Gazing at her ornaments.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A late post about the election

Since writing that post on abortion earlier this week, I was reminded me of the great turmoil I experienced on the day after election day. Lest you think that I believe that the world is coming to an end because Barack Obama has been elected president (although I do believe that the world is coming to an end, just not because of him), two things in particular excite me about his presidency. First, I am thrilled that our nation has elected an African-American president. I would have loved to be able to vote for America's first African-American president.... unfortunately, I completely disagreed with many of his views!

Secondly, a recent commentary that Dr. Mohler wrote about Michelle Obama gave me another reason to be excited about the Obamas in the White House. As Dr. Mohler writes, it is a great thing that a woman so highly educated and in such a prominent position is so publicly committed to her role as a wife and mother.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tea Party

We celebrated Katie's birthday yesterdat by having a tea party with two of her close friends. I opted to go for a smaller, more intimate gathering since I counted NINE girls who are in Katie's peer group at church..and I wasn't quite sure I could handle a tea party with 9 kiddos. However, I learned something important about my daughter through this experience. When I told Katie who would be coming to her party, she said, "And who else, Mom? I want more people to come!" She proceeded to rattle off a list of all the kids at church! I guess in the future I need to plan for a simpler party so that lots of kids can come! That's my little extrovert for you! Despite it not being the big crowd she was hoping for, I think a good time was had by all.

Decorating tea cup cookies (and eating the icing)Pouring the tea (aka apple juice)

"Don't we look fabulous?"

(or as Katie said as I was getting her dressed that morning, "Mommy, this is my best dress."

All the ladies

(with their fake "cheese" smiles that look like they're in pain)

"Pin the lid on the teapot"

video

video

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy Birthday, Katie!

It is hard to believe that my baby is three years old today! In fact, I often find myself singing to her that old Mariah Carey song "Always Be My Baby" and trying to explain to her that even though she's getting older, to her mommy, she'll always be my baby.

In celebration of her three years of life on this earth, I thought it would be fun today to do a photo tribute:
December 3, 2005

Christmas 2006, 1 year old

November 2007, 2 years old

Thanksgiving 2008, almost 3 years old

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving in the 'Mond

Carving the turkeyThe cooks...clearly doing a lot of cookingWaiting for some turkeyFinally got someA mom and her kidsThe whole gang
Grand Illumination at the Botanical Gardens




How Adam spent Thanksgiving (wii)

My sister-in-law posted the recipes for the dishes she made on her blog. Here are links to the recipes I contributed, as well as two recipes not online:

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Apple-Cranberry-Crisp-2/Detail.aspx

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Libbys-Famous-Pumpkin-Pie/Detail.aspx

Sweet Potato Casserole (9x13, 25-30 minutes, 350º)
3 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
2/3 cup white sugar
¼ cup butter, softened
1 t vanilla
½ cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
Topping:
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup butter, softened
½ chopped pecans (or more if you like)

My Great-grandmother's Famous Pecan Pie

1 cup broken pecans
3 eggs
½ cup white sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup
1/8 t salt
1 t vanilla
¼ cup Crisco (melted)
Beat the eggs well. Add sugar and corn syrup, continue to beat. Add salt and vanilla, and add the melted Crisco last and beat well. Place pecans in the bottom of an unbaked pie crust. Pour in the filling (the nuts will rise to the top as it bakes). Bake at 350º for 50-60 minutes. It is done when the pie shakes like pudding.

Monday, December 1, 2008

23 weeks and 6 days

It's hard to believe that the second trimester of this pregnancy is almost over. Our little girl is quite the mover, and at times I can feel her on both sides of my belly at once! I think she's trying to get all the stretching in that she can while she still has room.
Your baby weighs about as much as a large mango -- just over a pound. (Length: more than 11 inches.)

At church a couple weeks ago, I was talking to a friend who is a nurse/counselor at A Woman's Choice, the local crisis pregnancy center. We were talking about a number of things, but one thing I asked her was the latest a woman can get an abortion in Louisville. Expecting her answer to be around 12 weeks, she said, "23 weeks and 6 days." My jaw dropped, and I was speechless. As I sit here writing this blog post, feeling my daughter squirm and kick within me, it horrifies me to think that if I wanted to, I could go right now to the abortion clinic and end this child's life...and it would be perfectly legal.

After that conversation with my friend, I decided to look up the earliest that a baby has been born prematurely and survived and thrived. Here's what I found out from Wikipedia:

"James Elgin Gill (born on 20 May 1987 in Ottawa, Canada) was the earliest premature baby in the world. He was 128 days premature (21 weeks and 5 days gestation) and weighed 1 lb. 6 oz. (624 g). He survived and is quite healthy."

As I was researching, I also found this article with this picture of a child born at 23 weeks. I realize that in most cases children born this early have about a 1% chance of survival. But doesn't every child deserve to have the chance to survive? Fundamentally, what makes this baby, whose life doctors fought to save, any different than a baby the same age whose mother decides she doesn't want to be pregnant anymore? Do terrible circumstances or a woman's feelings change the ontological nature of an organism growing in a woman's uterus?

I don't understand how incredibly intelligent people can ignore this moral illogic.

Some in the "make abortion safe, legal, and rare" camp might argue that the survival of these premature children lends support to the idea of permitting abortions only prior to viability, as some sort of compromise. I suppose someone could argue that way, but that person would have to hold the conviction that a fetus is not a human being until it is viable. I, on the other hand, believe that a blastocyst/embryo/fetus is a human being from the moment of conception (even before implantation). I also know that some of the most intelligent pro-choice advocates do not deny that abortion is the killing of human life--they simply believe that a woman's "reproductive rights" are more sacred than the life of an unborn child.

I ran across another article on a blog recently that touches on this aspect of the abortion controversy. It follows the decision-making process of a pro-choice med student who's debating about becoming an abortion doctor. I highly recommend reading the whole article, but if you can't, Carolyn McCulley's blog post about it is well-worth a few minutes of your time.
Finally, whenever I blog about abortion, I can't help but think that someone reading my blog has had an abortion or had a hand in encouraging someone to get one. If this is you, I have a special word for you. I don't presume to know or understand all the circumstances surrounding your decision. I imagine it was probably the most excruciating decision you've ever had to make. I also don't know how you are feeling about that decision today. I believe that abortion is a sin and that sin separates us from God, both in this life and the life to come. Does that mean that someone who has had an abortion or supported one is beyond hope of being reconciled to God and forgiven of that sin? By no means! In fact, Jesus himself said, "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:32) Jesus holds out his loving hand of mercy to you. He died for us while we were yet sinners. Come to him and receive his forgiveness and let him heal your wounded heart.

Okay, enough soapbox for today. Thanks for reading. Thanksgiving pictures to come tomorrow.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!
video

I just had to share this hilarious story I read on the GirlTalk blog the other day:
One year at Thanksgiving, my mom went to my sister's house for the traditional feast. Knowing how gullible my sister is, my mom decided to play a trick. She told my sister that she needed something from the store. When my sister left, my mom took the turkey out of the oven, removed the stuffing, stuffed a Cornish hen, and inserted it into the turkey, and re-stuffed the turkey. She then placed the bird(s) back in the oven. When it was time for dinner, my sister pulled the turkey out of the oven and proceeded to remove the stuffing. When her serving spoon hit something, she reached in and pulled out the little bird. With a look of total shock on her face, my mother exclaimed, "Patricia, you've cooked a pregnant bird!" At the realization of this horrifying news, my sister started to cry. It took the family two hours to convince her that turkeys lay eggs!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Confession.

I am a hypocrite. In order to appear disturbed by the ever-increasing commercialization of Christmas, I outwardly complain to others about the premature appearance of Christmas decorations and holiday music in stores. But what do I have playing in my car or at my home....Christmas music!!!

It always begins subtly for me around the end of October. I usually break out the Indelible Grace Christmas album first, which is just folksy enough that you could actually listen to it in July and not seem totally crazy. The same is true for Andrew Peterson's Christmas epic, Behold the Lamb of God. But then the unexpected happened right after Halloween. I was picking up a few things at the neighborhood Wal-mart Market and found myself secretly cheered, even invigorated, by the Christmas music they had blaring. (And I do mean blaring. You were going to listen to Ave Maria whether you liked it or not. It was almost as bad as walking past Abercrombie & Fitch in the mall, minus the stench of too much cologne.)
That set the stage for the day I had to make some cookies. It had finally turned cold in Louisville, and the setting was just right for breaking out the ultimate Christmas album. I normally save this album to accompany the ultimate Christmas activity (decorating the tree), but something happened to me that day, and I found myself baking cookies and listening to John Denver and the Muppets serenade me with childhood memories. Ever since then, I haven't looked back. It's been all Christmas, all the time when it comes to musical selections. Burl Ives and the Vince Guaraldi Trio on Sunday morning, Steven Curtis Chapman in the car, Julie Andrews and Harry Belefonte this morning as I write this blog. And don't even get me started on the glory of Pandora's Christmas options. All the holiday music you love without the fear of hearing Paul McCartney's "A Wonderful Christmas Time" even once!

So there you have it. My Christmas confession.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tagged.

I've been tagged by my friend Cari.

Ten years ago I…
1. was a senior in high school (and nervously awaiting my acceptance/rejection letter from Davidson College).
2. wanted to be an ER physician when I "grew up."
3. was irritated that my class rank took a slight hit because I took a non-honors psychology class instead of taking study hall.
4. drove a 1987 Buick LeSabre.
5. listened to Caedmon's Call, Abba, the Cranberries, and the Good Will Hunting soundtrack. (My taste in music hasn't changed much, I guess.)

5 Things on Today’s “To-Do” List
1. Figure out whether Kroger or Wal-mart sells my favorite cleaning product and go buy it.
2. Make caramel dip for a meeting at our house tonight.
3. Give Katie a bath.
4. Schedule tutoring appointments for my husband.
5. Purchase tickets for the Andrew Peterson concert in Nashville!!!!!

5 Snacks I Enjoy
1. Puppy chow / Trash
2. Popcorn (slightly burned)
3. Trail mix (a recent favorite)
4. Raspberry yogurt
5. Peanut Butter & Apples

5 Things I Would Do if I Were a Millionaire
1. Buy all the books I've been wanting for a while as well as an Ipod and a bunch of music.
2. Help the Sims with their support raising.
3. Help the Cuthbertsons pay for their adoption.
4. Give a lot of money to Lottie Moon and A Woman's Choice Resource Center and bunch of other good organizations.
5. Put money in savings, especially for kids' college.

5 Places I Have Lived
1. Richmond, VA
2. Myrtle Beach, SC
3. Davidson, NC
4. Beijing, China
5. Louisville, KY

5 Jobs That I Have Had
1. Lifeguard
2. Research assistant at a missions agency
3. English teacher
4. Secretary at Southern
5. Mommy!

Now I'm tagging Laura Cuthbertson, Meredith Sims, and Cara Arnold.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Regret

I didn't want to write a post about the election. Especially after reading this post. But as I have observed my own response to the election results and grappled with my thoughts and feelings this morning, I felt like blogging might be an appropriate outlet.

I feel a tremendous amount of regret and sadness this morning. Not because I thought that John McCain was so great and would've been a stellar president. No, I am just so sad at the prospect that many more unborn babies will be killed because of the extreme views of Barack Obama. I feel a burden of regret that I did not do more to make my opinions known before the election and try to persuade many of my friends to consider the weightiness of his view on life.

A quick survey of some of my dearest friends' Facebook profiles showed me that many of them strongly supported Barack Obama. I myself was drawn to many things about him. Part of me is happy this morning to see that our country has finally elected an African-American president. I would've loved to vote for him for this reason alone--that I think it is good for our country to have a non-white president. However, I am a single issue voter. To many that may seem naive and irresponsible. But in my simple conscience any person who does not consider the lives of unborn children worthy of protection is disqualified from leadership. It's a similar standard some voters might have held to in the 19th century and mid-20th century. I could not have voited for a candidate who believed that people with dark skin are an inferior race and therefore worthy of being enslaved or oppressed.

Another thing that troubles me about the election results is the overwhelming number of people who cited 'the economy' as the primary deciding factor in their vote. To me this indicates an extreme selfishness and greed that has infected our country. Shouldn't we vote according to ethical principles or moral convictions? Or do we simply vote for the candidate who will leave the most cash in our pockets? This manner of voting is a perfect example of 1 Timothy 6:10 at work, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." (And please quote this verse correctly...it does NOT say that "money is the root of all evil.")

So, there it is. My post-election post. I am ashamed at not having spoken up sooner.

A wise friend told her young boys yesterday, "No president is completely good or completely bad. Even if the candidate we didn't vote for wins, God will use him for some good to our country." Even now I rejoice in what Obama's election says about racism in our country. It IS a symbol of progress in that sense. I pray that his administration will also be marked by progress in extending human rights to ALL humans--even those who are so vulnerable that they depend on their mothers for life.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Her first photo shoot

Realizing that ultrasound photos are notoriously unintelligible to anyone but the parents and trained medical personnel, I still couldn't help but post these photos of our girl!

Face shot: her head is on the right looking straight out with her right arm bent upwards, hand against her head like she's posing for the shot.
Leg shot: head again on the right, you can see her leg fully extended out in front of her. It doesn't come across quite as clearly in the scanned version, but in the actual photo I think her leg looks just like Katie's!
Side shot: Her torso is on the bottom of the picture, you can see her rib cage and the dark black spot is her stomach (I think). Her head is to the right with her hand touching her forehead.

Monday, November 3, 2008

And we're having a.....

GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ultrasound pics to come, but until then rejoice with us in what the ultrasound tech described as an incredibly healthy, "perfect" baby girl!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween 08

The Cowgirl Who Didn't Want Her Picture Taken


The Scarecrow, Lion, and Toto were there too!

Other sweet friends:


And last but not least.....Can you guess who they are???



Yes, yes, they did dress up as....
the Mohlers!