Thursday, January 31, 2013

Books I read in January (#1-2)

I think it may be a few years before I can commit to reading 52 books in a year again. Last year I made it to 28 and for the month of January of this year, I managed to read two. I guess I just have to wait and see how things pan out.

Our church is reading the book, The Story: The Bible as One Continuing Story of God and His People this year. It is a chronological telling of the Bible using passages from the NIV. I have read the first "chapter" which starts with creation and goes through Noah and the flood. During the year, sermons and classes at church will follow the entire story of the Bible. I have read through the Bible several times, but I find this to be a fresh take and I am enjoying the discussions we have had in our class so far.

The first book I actually read this year was The Wander Year: One Couples Journey Around the World by Mike McIntyre. I have to be honest and say that since it is a travelogue, I had high hopes for this book. However I found it disappointing

Perhaps, because of all the travel blogs I read {or have read}, or maybe because it covers a world trip that Mike and his girlfriend took in the 90s, I just didn't get into it. I don't know. If you are looking for good travel stories, I would suggest you check out about a newlywed couple that cycled around the world in 2006-2008 or Traveled Earth about a Canadian couple who quit their jobs in 2011 and are currently traveling the world for an undetermined amount of time. 

I guess I just relate to these blogs because they are written by people closer to my age? Whatever the reason, The Wander Year didn't do anything for me other than give me something to read before I drifted off to sleep at night. I gave it 3/5 stars on Goodreads.

The second book I read this month was Gods and Kings by Lynn Austin. It is the first in a series of 5 books. It is historical fiction {a favorite genre of mine} that follows the Biblical story of the rise of King Hezekiah as found in Kings and Chronicles in the Bible.

I started this book after a friend recommended it. I found it fascinating and it really gave a clear picture of what King Hezekiah might have felt like as a child growing up under King Ahaz and then becoming king at a relatively young age. I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the rest of the series. I gave it 4/5 stars on Goodreads.

What books are you reading this year? Any good recommendations?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

See Jack {December 2012}

This is an ongoing series of videos that I am sharing so that our extended family can keep up with how Jack is growing and changing in these early years. 

See Jack eat ice cream for the first time.
{early December}

See Jack with a dancing gingerbread man on Christmas Eve. 
This video doesn't show it, but he kept trying to hug the 
gingerbread man every time it started dancing.
{Christmas Eve with the Moores}

See Jack show off his "reading" skills and his nose-blowing skills.
He loves to copy us.
{end of December}

See Jack wear mittens for the first time.  
He wasn't sure what to think. We had to be ready to go to Searcy 
where there was snow on the ground after Christmas! 
{end of December}

See Jack practice walking.  
He really took off right around Christmas time.
{end of December}

See Jack play the piano with Uncle Mark.
{end of December}

Thursday, January 24, 2013

More Than Just a Mom

Last year I read this post on A CUP OF JO about Jo's struggle with postpartum depression. For her it didn't come until she was weaning her child. I found it interesting and must have stored the information from that article in the back of my cob-webby mommy brain.

Anyways, I didn't really think that I would struggle with strong emotional feelings when it came to pregnancy and motherhood. I am a fairly stoic person and not overly emotional. While pregnant, I can count on one hand the number of times I cried for no reason. I even saw the movie "The Help" and I didn't cry. Surrounded by women in a theater and very pregnant and I didn't even tear up. 

After Jack came along I jumped into the business of being a mom and don't recall feeling anything unusual. When my period came back I had intense cramps but no strong emotional feelings to go with it. All of this to say that I appeared to be returning to my normal, even after giving birth.

So, it has been a bit of shock that as I come to the end of nursing my sweet boy {we are in the process of weaning, and Sunday will be the last day} I have been feeling at odds with myself. I have felt lost in a sea of motherhood. Some days I feel that all I am is a mom and it overwhelms me. I have been having odd panicky feelings surrounding death and illness that grip me in the night. Bouts of insomnia have plagued me the last couple of weeks. And I wonder what is going on.

Then I remember reading this article and I think, this could be what is going on.*

And it makes me feel a bit better.

I have also been reminding myself that while I love being a mom and Jack has made me a better person, I am more than that. There are roles that I filled before I became a mother that I still fill today. None of that has changed. Some of those roles may have shifted in priority, but they still exist.

Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Christian. Artist. Outdoor Enthusiast. Good Cook. Adrenaline Junkie. Designer. World Traveler. Lover of Books and Learning.

I think my recent feelings are why it was so important to me to go hiking last weekend. I didn't care that it was a bit cool or that we got a late start and would only be able to squeeze in a couple of miles. I desperately needed to feel like me. I needed to do it for myself. I needed to do it so that I could be a better wife and mom. It is why I have been forcing myself to go workout with a group a couple of times a week. Even though it is dark and cold out, I need those moments to clear my mommy head and feel like I am me again. No other obligations, just me.

*Note that I don't think I am suffering from any kind of severe depression. Certainly not anything debilitating. It is more that I have just been struggling with my own personal identity and I think that some of what I have been going through could be linked to hormonal changes that go along with weaning a baby.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

See Jack {early December 2012}

This is an ongoing series of videos that I am sharing so that our extended family can keep up with how Jack is growing and changing in these early years.

At the beginning of December {last year}, my sister and I took our kids to Arkansas to spend some time with our parents before the holiday season got too busy. All of these videos are from that trip.

See Izzy make pizza with Grammy while Jack and cousin Levi eat cheese and watch. 
{early December}

See Jack and cousin Izzy ride a horsey together.  
Izzy is tame in these videos since Jack is riding with her.
{early December}

See us celebrate Jack's first birthday for a second time.
{early December}

See Jack play with a baby bouncer... not sure when you get to be too old for this.
{early December}

See Jack play with his cousins. Izzy shows off how she normally rides her horsey.
{early December}

Monday, January 21, 2013

DeSoto State Park: Indian Falls

I don't know about you, but there are times that I have an intense desire to get out in nature. It restores my soul. It could be cabin fever -- having been cooped up all week with a baby who has had off and on low-grade fevers {most likely due to teething} –– but mostly I think that I just need to be outside, enjoying God's creation.

We settled on DeSoto State Park in the Little River Canyon National Preserve since it is within an hour of our house and we hadn't been since I was 23-weeks pregnant with Jack. On that particular trip, we hiked a 3.5 loop to see Laurel Falls and Lost Falls. It was summertime and water levels were low, so there wasn't a lot to see.

On this hike, we just did a quick in and out, totaling 2 miles, on the DeSoto Scout Trail {marked DST with a YELLOW blaze}. The trail is well-marked and easy to follow. We didn't find it overly strenuous -- even carrying a baby and hiking with our dog.

This hike took us to Indian Falls and down into the canyon to follow the Little River where there were numerous rapids. I think this trail would be great for accessing swimming holes in the summer.

Daniel and I imagined what it would be like to run the various rapids {though our canoe is probably too big, a smaller, inflatable kayak would work better}.

It was nice to get out in nature and spend time as a family. I look forward to when Jack is big enough that we could go mountain biking or do an overnight backpacking trip {we hope to do a backpacking trip when the weather warms up}. We are looking forward to more visits to DeSoto State Park and the Little River Canyon in the future.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

See Jack {late November 2012}

This is an ongoing series of videos that I am sharing so that our extended family can keep up with how Jack is growing and changing in these early years.

See Jack "talk" on a pretend phone to Dada.
Everytime my phone rings, Jack starts saying, "Dada."
{late November}

See Jack at his first chocolate chip cookie 
as part of our Christmas decorating tradition.
{late November}

See Jack playing with ornaments on our newly decorated Christmas tree.
He didn't really bother the tree too much. We did leave him some 
low-hanging fruit that kept  him entertained though.
{late November}

See Jack at lunch. A typical lunch time with my boy.
{late November}

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Top 10 from 2012

Well this post is a couple of weeks late, but I wanted to share our Top 10 list that we have been writing every year to include in our Christmas cards. I can't believe we have been writing this list for TEN YEARS! The past year was pretty low key for us -- no major accidents or big trips, but we were certainly blessed.

We hope you have a wonderful 2013.

Top 10 from 2012:

10. The night your baby decides to sleep through the night again, your dog will inevitably decide that she needs you to get up and let her out in the middle of the night.

9. Juggling a baby and a small business will mean that there might be weeks where you eat pizza two nights in a row. Don’t worry; someday your wife will cook real meals again.

8. Daniel celebrated five years without seeing the inside of an emergency room.

7. We were blessed this year to get involved with a life group at our church. Sometime in the last few years we went from being the young’uns to being the old people. We are just thankful to have made some good friends.

6. We have learned to lower our expectations for hiking. It now takes some additional planning: Has Jack eaten? When, where, and how will the next diaper change be? Is he going to cry for the last 2 miles until we get to the car?

5. Daniel fell out of a canoe last year. This year was Cheree’s turn. We took Jack out for his first canoe ride but he has not had this particular pleasure. Yet.

4. Jack started climbing up and down the stairs at 11 months by himself (started at 9 months). He has taken up to 6 steps, but refuses to walk {or do anything else} on demand. He is definitely our son. By Christmas, he was showing off his walking skills to the family. Today he is walking 80% of the time.

3. It only took 11 months, but we finally took our first vacation as a family.

2. Driving 14 hours to Canada will make the adults {Cheree & Daniel} exhausted and grumpy. On the other hand, Jack will have a blast meeting his extended family and getting hauled to see Niagara Falls when it is freezing out.

1. We’ve had a busy year but it has been a blessed one. We celebrated our son's first birthday, 10 years of marriage and the life of my Grandpa

If you are interested, here are our Top 10 List from Years Past
2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | We skipped 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011

Monday, January 14, 2013

Little Libby's Catfish Diner

Daniel and I have come to the conclusion that we must be getting old. Yesterday, we stopped at Mellow Mushroom for lunch in Jones Valley (Huntsville) before heading home after church. It was loud, crowded and the food was just "okay." Typically we love Mellow Mushroom, but listening to a ballgame that is on TV screens every 4 feet above our heads is not our cup of tea. The only redeeming thing was that it was kind of cute to watch Jack clap every time other patrons clapped and yelled over a good play. Maybe this has more to do with our apathy towards football than it does our age...

Anyhow, a couple of weeks ago, we visited Little Libby's Catfish Diner in Madison and had a much better dining experience. Maybe we just like dives better?

Libby's is a meat-n-three kind of place, with catfish being the main offering for your "meat."

The portions were humungous and the sides were pretty amazing – it all tasted like something your Grandma would make you. We could have easily split one lunch special between the three of us. If you go for the normal portions, get the small. Daniel got 2 pieces of catfish and it was way too much food. We were also served a complimentary piece of red velvet cake – it was not as good as the actual meal, but free is always nice.

Libby's was a much better experience than Mellow Mushroom. 

Little Libby's Catfish and Diner on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 10, 2013

See Jack {mid November 2012}

This is an ongoing series of videos that I am sharing so that our extended family can keep up with how Jack is growing and changing in these early years.

See Jack "talk" on the "phone" – anything is a phone these days, even a thermometer.
{mid November}

 See Jack clap for himself. He is so proud each time he does something new.
{mid November}

See Jack "practice" yoga. He is great at imitating the things we do.
{mid November}

See Jack's initial reaction to cow's milk. Two months later, he drinks without a problem.
Our solution: feed him chili and peanut butter sandwiches {not together}
Milk tastes good {even to a baby} when paired with these kinds of food. 
{mid November}

See Jack eat turkey for the first time.
{Thanksgiving Day} 

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

2012 Book 28: Alice in Wonderland

The last book that I read in 2012 was the classic Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I guess I never read the book growing up, though I watched the movie many times. The book is seriously trippy {is that a word?}. The movie makes sense, kind of. But the book. Wow. I didn't really get it at all until the very end. The last page made it come together. As much as it was going to come together.

Some excerpts from the book: 
'I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.'

'Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?' 
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat. 
'I don't much care where--' said Alice. 
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat. '--so long as I get somewhere,' Alice added as an explanation. 'Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, 'if you only walk long enough.'
"Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise."

...she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood: and how she would gather about her other little children, and make THEIR eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago: and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days...

So I didn't make it to my goal of 52 books in 2012 {first time in about 5 years to not make this goal}. However I am still happy that even with a crazy year, I still managed to read 2+ books a month. Not too shabby for this new mama. Though technically if I count all of the children's book I have read to Jack in the past year, I would be closer/past the 52 mark. 

My favorite kids books from 2012 include: Bear Snores On, Little Blue Truck, Trucks Go, and Over in the Meadow. I am a huge fan of children's books that are written in such a way that they are fun to read aloud. They are more like poetry than just words on a page. I love the rhythm to the words and I especially love it when they tell a good story. Jack loves when I add voices and sounds to support the story. Reading aloud to my boy brings me great joy.

In 2013 I am going to continue reading, but I am not shooting for any specific goal. I will write a monthly recap of any books I do manage to read, but I am not holding myself to any kind of schedule or lofty goal.

What are you reading this year? I would love to hear your recommendations for good books that you are into.

Monday, January 07, 2013

First Haircut

Over Christmas break, Jack hit a big milestone: We had his hair cut for the first time. 

For the last several months we had been feeling like we needed to take Jack to the barber. We were even tempted to give his bangs a trim at home, but weren't confident in our abilities.

December was so crazy that we couldn't seem to find a moment to take him to the barber. But while visiting my parents during Christmas, Daniel decided that enough was enough and he found a barber shop in Searcy with good reviews online.

Jack is such a laid back kid that we weren't overly concerned about the experience. But I was glad that there was a little boy getting his hair cut when we walked in the doors. Jack was able to observe before we stuck him in the barber chair.

He did so well. Mostly he was curious about what the barber was doing to him. He kept trying to swivel his head around to see what was going on.

Toward the beginning he did get a little frustrated at having a cape draped around him, but getting to hold on to some race cars cured him of his frustration.

Bruce at Race Cuts did an excellent job with our son. We are so glad this was a good experience for all of us.

No more ladies in the grocery store telling us they love our "daughter's" curls!

I kind of miss the curls though!

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Christmas, Part II

This year was a little abnormal when it came to our Christmas traveling. Typically my parents would come to Nashville to celebrate a big holiday with us. But this year, some family circumstances prevented that from occurring. So we decided to make the trek over to Searcy instead.

We spent Christmas day with my brother and sister and her family, with plans for all of us to head to Searcy at the end of the week, after my sister finished her nursing shifts.

Then on Christmas day, Arkansas was hit by a pretty big snow storm. I believe there were actually "blizzard" warnings for parts of the state. My parents received about 6" of snow and many were without power in central Arkansas.

Since we weren't headed to their house for another day, we decided to see how things played out. In the end, my brother decided to hitch a ride with Daniel, Jack and I. On the other hand, Angela and her family decided that with the weather conditions and recent sickness, it was too much for them to try to go this year. They were certainly missed!

Once in Searcy, we found that the roads were in pretty good shape and thankfully my parents still had power.

Jack got to experience his first snow and Grandpa Voyles even pulled out a toboggan for a little "sledding." He also spent the weekend practicing/showing off his newly acquired walking skills for everyone.

We enjoyed visiting with my folks. Everyday we also drove over to my Grandma's house to spend some time with her – she fell back in September and has been confined to a bed ever since.

We were also able to visit my uncle Keith in the hospital – he had a heart attack the day after Christmas. He is home now recovering. We are thankful we were able to see him.

Daniel and I managed to sneak in a date night; we also had breakfast at Bobby's; and we even squeezed in Jack's first hair cut.

I am so thankful we were able to spend some time with my parents, even if the weather wasn't what we expected.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Outdoor Adventures | 2012 edition

With a new baby, 2012 was light on adventures. October was a busy month as we got in a groove, but the rest of the year was lacking.

First Hike with Jack at Monte Sano Park | Huntsville, AL

Racoon Mountain Round the Rim 5k | Chattanooga, TN
Monte Sano Part II | Huntsville, AL

Waterfall Trail to Hemlock Falls | Cloudland Canyon State Park, GA 

Incline Railway | Lookout Mountain, TN
Paddling Lake Guntersville | Scottsboro, AL
Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll | Huntsville, AL
Northwest Georgia Canoeing - Jack's first paddling excursion | Ellijay, GA
Highest Point in Georgia | Brasstown Bald, GA
Amicalola Falls | Amicalola State Park, GA

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Word for the Year: Deliberate

Happy New Year from the Moores!

I am a bit behind on my blogging – okay, a LOT behind. December was a truly insane month for me. Not including normal driving, I managed to log 3,294 miles. According to Google maps I spent 52 hours in the car. I'm sure with a toddler in tow it was much longer. I am ready for a break.

I hope to catch up on my blogging, but getting my house in order and wrapping up a freelance project are my main focus right now. Bear with me, I know many family members are anxious to see pics from all of our travels.

For the past several years, instead of writing resolutions on January 1st, I have focused on choosing a word that would represent a theme for the coming year. I like this tradition better than making resolutions that I know that I will struggle to keep.

I am a few days behind, but the word that I would like to focus on in 2013 is deliberate:
carefully weighed; studied; intentional; unhurried: to consider; to think carefully or attentively; or to reflect
I don't regret all of the things we did this past year, but I feel an intense need to slow down. To be in the present. This last year I experienced the loss of a grandfather and a grandfather figure, as well as a friend. I think loss of any kind makes you want to slow down. Likewise, the insane traveling of December is enough to make anyone {besides a travel-happy college student} want to slow down. 

I used to feel out of sorts if I didn't keep up with my emails; or my Google Reader; or if I didn't blog often; or read a book once a week... I am letting it all go. 

The past month has forced me to be more intentional and I haven't regretted slowing down. 

Jack needs my attention. He is walking now. He gives tight hugs around the neck when you ask him. He chatters away, mostly recently he loves to shout: Cee. We're pretty sure he is saying my name. I don't want to miss these sweet moments with my boy or my family because of TV or the internet or things that are unimportant. I want to be deliberate about my life. 

Words from previous years: 
Fortitude {2010}  ~ Adaptation {2011} ~ Patience {2012}

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Books I Read in 2012

For the last several years, I have been making the effort to read one book each week for a total of 52 books. In 2012, I only made it to 28... not too terrible for a new, full-time mom. Below is the full list of books that I read in 2012. If you are interested, here are my lists for 2009, 2010 and 2011.

January -- a strong start with 5 books read
1) The Secret Garden
2) Catching Fire
3) Heaven is For Real
4) Shanghai Girls
5) The Post Mistress
6) Mockingjay
7) Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know
8) Common Sense
9) The Long Run
10) Latitude 38
11) The Imortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
12) Deedee Divine's Totally Skewed Guide to Life
13) The Pig in the Pantry
14) Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
15) The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (#3)
16) Handle with Prayer
17) Baby Led Weaning
18) The Girl Who Came Home
19) The Last Explorer
20) The Plains of Abraham
21) Lost in Shangri-La
22) How to Become an American Housewife
23) On Becoming Babywise II
24) Wrecked
25) Anne of Avonlea
26) Anne of the Island
27) Brain Rules for Baby
28) Alice in Wonderland

Family Hike at Fiery Gizzard

On Saturday we had originally planned to go on a group hike on the Fiery Gizzard Trail , but it was cancelled at the last minutes. So...