Friday, February 26, 2016

Remembering Grandma

My grandma with her children and daughter-in-law, circa 1976.

For every loss I have experienced in my lifetime, it has come as a jolt. Like a car stopping suddenly. With Grandma it was different. She has been confined to a bed for the last three years and has been slowly fading.

Grandpa Moore, me, Grandma and Angela, 1986.

So while death is sad, there is a sense of relief that she has gone home to heaven. Home to loved ones that have gone on before her. Home to a place where she can walk again and do the things she loved the most, where she no longer has to wonder why she is confined to a bed. Some day we will meet her in that place.

Grandma holding Mark, 1986
This week, as we waited for the inevitable phone call, I have been thinking a lot about my Grandma. This sweet, little lady would have turned 95 in June and her life definitely had an impact on my own.

Grandma and Grandpa Moore, circa early 1990s

Before there was Pinterest, there was Grandma Moore...

Grandpa and Grandma visiting us in Corunna, Ontario Canada, circa 1990.

When I think of Grandma, I think of food. Good, southern food. As a child I would pore over her cookbooks, watch cooking shows with her (hello Julia Child), read her Southern Living magazines, and even help her cook

Me and Grandma before my high school graduation, 1998.

She gave me my first taste of cornbread and polk greens (that we helped her pick on the side of the road). There was fried okra (and pickled okra for my sister), sweet corn (and a story that my mom once ate 10 ears of Grandma's corn in one sitting), watermelon, and black berry cobbler (she always made extra pie crust for the cobbler so that Angela, Mark and I could eat it before dinner). Everything was made with love from foods she grew in her own back yard.

Daniel and I at our wedding with all of our living grandparents and parents, 2002.

She was a seamstress who sewed all of her own clothes, and made many matching dresses for my sister and I when we were little. She taught me how to sew when I was about 10, though I am sure she was somewhat disappointed that I never really embraced her lessons. Some days I wish I had paid more attention.

Grandma meeting Jack in Searcy, 2012.

Grandma introduced me to crafting and gave me many books that had step-by-step directions on how to make all kinds of things. Jack even has an original sock monkey that she made for my brother when he was little. And on top of everything, she was pretty fearless. I have vivid memories of her killing snakes in her garden without batting an eye!

Four Generations, Jack was the first grandson, 2012.

As I have gotten older I have come to realize that Grandma had a lot of stories to tell. She lived through the Great Depression where she had a front row seat to many new inventions: from electricity in the home to automobiles and eventually computers and the internet (which I'm sure intimidated her). She was a part of the Rosie the Riveter program during WWII, and worked on Indian reservations in Oklahoma, teaching women to sew and cook. She earned a college degree when my dad was little, and I am actually the third generation on both sides of my family to go to college.

Visiting Grandma when she was first confined to a bed, 2012.
As I look around my own house I see reflections of her. At this moment I am sitting in her father's armchair. I recovered it a couple of years ago and found remnants of at least four different fabrics hidden in the frame. The dinnerware that we currently use was passed along to me when I was in college. They are simple white plates and bowls that have served me well, as they did her. On my porch is her butter churn. It's decorative now, but it was put to good use in days gone by. I have a huge ceramic bowl that she used for holding scraps for her compost pile, and my siblings and I all have quilts that have been passed down from past generations.

Visiting Grandma after she moved in with our parents, 2013.

When I was little, Grandma and Grandpa Moore (her 3rd husband and the man I knew as Grandpa) had a camper and a National Park pass that they would use every summer to travel the country and fish. I suppose that plays a part in my own wanderlust.

Celebrating Grandma's 94th birthday, 2015.

Life for Grandma was hard at times and, like all of us, she had good years and bad. I hope I always remember the good things about Grandma. I am so thankful she was able to meet both of my boys (and her other greats) and I hope to pass along her legacy – a love for Jesus, good southern food, and hard work.

Grandma loved her great grandchildren. Meeting Isaac, summer of 2015.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Walk Down Memory Lane: Our First Home Reno

One of the best things about keeping up a blog is that it becomes a history of us. The ups and downs. The accomplishments. The growth. 

This is my 10th year of keeping an account of our life together and it can be such a blessing to look back on where we've been as we also look ahead to where we are going.

Recently Daniel got curious about the first house we ever owned. He was not in Charlotte for the final weeks of getting a new roof, siding and windows, and he also missed out on the actual closing. So he has always felt he didn't get closure when we left Charlotte.

To quench his curiousity, he decided to google our old house to see if he could find photos of the siding updates. It's been 6 years and he was surprised to discover that it is currently on the market

We checked out the interior photos online and were pleasantly surprised to learn that very few changes had been made. All of the updates we had worked so hard on have withstood the test of time. 

Which makes us feel good about all of those decisions we haggled so much over!

We have updates we need to make to our current home (some minor, some not so minor), but every once in a while I get the itch to work on a big renovation again (I just don't want to live in it while we do it!). You can click here to read about our renovation process and see finished photos.

Friday, February 19, 2016

I'm Not a Runner

Sprint down.
Touch the line.
Sprint back.
Push harder
Repeat again.
Lungs burn from the effort.
Try not to collapse in a heap.

TRX Rows with a jump.
More sprints.
TRX Push-ups.
More sprints.
TRX Pull-ups.
More sprints.
TRX Tri-ceps.
More sprints.
TRX Bi-ceps.
More sprints.

A total of 30 sprints with everything I have, down and back.
300 sit-ups to finish.

So tired.
But in a good way.

That was the nature of today's 60-minute workout.
With each sprint, I raced Todd, our instructor.
Pushing to the limit of what I thought I could do.
And then giving a little more.
It took me back to my high school days.

Todd asked if I was a runner.
No. Just a mom who has lost her baby weight and feels extra light these days.
After class, Todd told me that I was easily one of the top 5 fastest people he has had in his TRX classes.
Those words will be motivation for days when I feel slow or want to stop.

It feels good to push.
It feels good to feel light – I lug around a 25+lb baby all day every day, so that hour by myself is like running on air.
I'm not a runner, but today I feel like I could conquer anything.

New Shoe Review:
I recently purchased new shoes. I was long overdue. Shin splits and back pain after working out had become my norm.

I have really wide, short feet so I always put off shoe purchases because it is such a hassle. I typically choose the grey New Balance W990v3 but this time I decided to try the Brooks Addiction 12.

When your feet are super wide, it's hard to find shoes that have any kind of personality. I have been impressed with the Brooks Addiction 12. I really do feel like I am running on air. And while part of that is because of my weight loss, part of it can be attributed to having a new shoe to support me. Plus it's nice to have a shoe that isn't plain Jane.

Isaac is Ten Months Old

Today's effort in futility is brought to you by the number 10. At 10 months old, Isaac has absolutely zero tolerance for his mama's monthly picture taking. Every time I laid him down, it was a race to grab my camera and attempt a photo before he rolled over and sat up, or crawled away.

Isaac is our little giggle box who is doing his best to charm the world right now. By and large, I would say he is succeeding. It is hard to go anywhere without someone stopping to talk to him.

He is finally starting to experience a little separation anxiety. I have been waiting for this to happen. When I drop him off (at church, the Y, etc.) he has no problem whatsoever, but as soon as I come back and I am within sight of him, he starts fussing. Like his big brother, at this age, he is a mama's boy for sure.

Isaac is a big guy, but I realized that I am in denial about his actual size. On a whim I recently put him in an 18 month fleece suit and it fit. I pulled out my stored 18 month clothes and the pants are mostly too long (didn't I just pack this stuff up from when Jack was wearing it?!?!), but it looks like we are on the brink of moving up to the next size.

Our little guy didn't get so big without a little effort. Isaac loves food. Of any kind. We use this to our advantage to encourage Jack to eat things like onions and cooked bell peppers. Isaac especially loves meat. Example: He shared my burger from Sonic the other night. He will also devour salmon. Let's be honest, he will eat anything we place in front of him.

Isaac used to sleep in our arms during church. I think those days are now over. In recent weeks, he insists on standing in our laps so that he can look around and engage with everyone around us. As one of our friends informed us, "He entertained the three rows behind us throughout service." This milestone is bitter sweet.

When it comes to words, we think he is now actually saying "dada" for Daniel (at least Daniel hopes). Da da da da continues to be his main sound. He has a lot of inflection going on, but not very many different sounds right now (ah and dis being his other main sounds).

When it comes to getting around, Isaac is constantly pulling up, standing, and now cruising! He is mostly interested in walking, but we are trying to still encourage him to crawl.

If we place him in the middle of the room, he is FINALLY starting to make some movement forward. If for no other reason than to get to the couch so that he can pull up and cruise. We finally dropped the crib (we should have done it awhile ago) but he officially stood up in it yesterday.

Isaac really loves to play with toys (especially anything that belongs to his big brother). He has figured out how to bat a ball back and forth to me with his hands. He can also roll a car in this manner. It isn't a really controlled movement, but he definitely gets the concept of back and forth.

Jack and Isaac are developing a sweet relationship. Jack loves to entertain his little brother and Isaac loves to watch Jack and laughs at everything he does. They have a funny version of pillow fighting where Jack stacks all of the couch cushions and pillows around Isaac and then jumps on the pile next to Isaac. They are pretty funny together.

When I try to put Isaac to bed at night, he refuses to nurse if he can hear Jack or Daniel in the other room. He knows he is missing out on something and he really wants to be a part of the fun.

Both of our boys have been incredible blessings to us. I am trying my best to savor the sweet moments with these two.

Some days are harder than others, but I find that if I can just take a moment and be thankful for the good, it immediately erases the harder things. Grace for my family is also grace for me, for the moments I don't get it right.

*As with Jack, I will be posting monthly updates of Isaac on a quilt (inherited from my Grandma), next to a yellow Tonka truck (a toy from Daniel's childhood). Isaac at One Month | Isaac at Two Months | Isaac at Three Months | Isaac at Four Months | Isaac at Five Months | Isaac at Six Months | Isaac at Seven Months | Isaac at Eight Months | Isaac at Nine Months

A Look Back:
Jack at One Month | Jack at Two Months | Jack at Three Months | Jack at Four Months | Jack at Five Months | Jack at Six Months | Jack at Seven Months | Jack at Eight | Jack at Nine Months | Jack at Ten Month
(We used a quilt from Daniel's family for the Jack photos, along with the Tonka truck from Daniel's childhood).

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...