Sunday, December 30, 2007

Toddler compositions

We've been listening to quite a lot of music around the house lately, and Jonathan enjoys singing to himself as he plays. Sometimes he gets pieces of different songs mixed up, and the results can be quite humorous. For example, this afternoon he's been singing "Don't build your house on a sandy night."

This is a combination of two songs of quite different origins - can anyone guess which ones they are?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Play by play

Dad, can I go potty after I eat my banana bread?

I think you should go now.

No, after I eat my banana bread.



Daddy, can I go now?

Yes. Here, let me help you undo your pants.

No, no, don’t help me!!!

*door closes*

*door opens*

Daddy, I undid my snap!

*door closes*

*door opens*

Daddy, I do need help; I can’t get my pants down!

(Gabe shows Jonathan how to unzip his zipper; Jonathan pushes him out the door.)

*door closes*

*door opens*

Daddy, I undid my zipper!

*door closes*

*door opens*

Daddy, I got my pants off!

*door closes*

*door opens*

Daddy, my underwear is dry!

*door closes*

*door opens*

Oh no, Daddy, I had an accident. I peed on my shirt! I need a new one.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Really good Christmas thoughts

Veronica, who blogs at Toddled Dredge, is writing a beautiful, well-researched, and thoughtful series of essays on the genealogy of Christ throughout the Christmas season. I'd like to direct your attention specifically to her thoughts on Tamar: this is the best explanation and exposition of the text that I have ever encountered. Veronica's other Christmas posts discuss Jesus as descended from David, and Rahab the Caananite prostitute. Be sure to visit her site each day to read the latest essay!

Monday, December 24, 2007

This year Gabe and I watched The Nativity Story a few days before Christmas. I think it came out last year, but somehow we never actually watched it. That happens to us a lot, actually - we'll see a preview for a movie and think "that looks good, we should watch it!" and then six months or more later realize that we never actually did.

In any case, we did finally watch it, and I'm so glad we did! It is a beautiful movie, filmed well and with all ethnic actors. The actress playing Mary does a beautiful job. I can't say that I appreciated the "humor moments" with the magi, but Gabe thought they were funny so perhaps I just don't have the right sort of sense of humor. :) We plan to buy the movie and use it as a teaching aid as our kids get older. It brings the story to life while remaining quite true to the Biblical text. If you get a chance, this Christmas season, I recommend spending an evening remembering why we're celebrating.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Feeding the hungry

This site is fun and just a little bit addicting. Ok, it is a lot addicting and my husband and I are battling each other to see who can get the best ranking. But you can feel good about the addiction because you're helping feed the hungry! Read more about it, and give it a try!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

WFMW - Christmas edition

Shannon has some interesting ideas for making the "get ready for Christmas" rush a little easier. So do her readers, so you should check out the links, too. And this time I have something to offer as well! :)

Last week I held my (mostly) annual Get-Ready-For-Christmas Party. I started doing this a few years ago because it sounded like fun. Apparently my invitees thought so, too, because this year I forgot all about it until a friend asked me when it was going to be!

The idea is simple. Everyone comes over with their own Christmas project in hand. It might be presents to be wrapped, or Christmas cards to write, or a Christmas craft/gift, or just envelopes to be addressed. I serve cookies and tea (although I forgot the tea this time - oops!) and everyone works on their particular project in good company with good conversation. Each year it gets a little more hectic, as we have a tendency to keep adding children to the mix! But even with our small interrupters, we generally accomplish quite a bit and enjoy ourselves in the process.

It takes very little planning (just a bit of housecleaning and a batch of cookies) to host a party of this sort, because your guests bring their own entertainment. :) And you get the fun of a party AND the satisfaction of a project crossed off your Christmas "to-do" list. It works for me!

Carpet cleaning - oh help!

This is a long shot, I know. But I'm desperate.

Some time ago I blogged about my wonderful carpet cleaner. Sang his praises up and down and didn't include his name or phone number. I tell you, that was great planning on my part. Well, I do still remember his name: Jeff Cor, of Cor's Carpet Cleaning Services, based in Orange County CA.

Unfortunately, I have lost his business card (actually I'm almost positive that my youngest child ate it) and he isn't listed anywhere on the internet and I don't have a phone book. So I'm just wondering if anyone else knows about him and knows his phone number?

You see, my oldest child decided to get up early this morning and play (unsupervised!) with paint. And although I know that red is a lovely festive color, it just isn't quite the look I had in mind for my beige carpet. So we could use Cor's service right about now.

If you don't know of this guy specifically, is there anyone else (in this area) who you would recommend as being good and not too expensive?

It is times like these that I wish I had Shannon's readership. :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas cookies (and other Advent fun)

I have fantastic memories of being a kid and making Christmas cookies with Mom and my siblings each year. More than once Mom hosted a cookie decorating party for friends and we held marathon baking sessions to get ready. Picture our entire table covered with flour and cookie dough, and four children sticking their fingers and elbows in it as we all tried to "help". Poor Mom! :)

Well, yesterday I decided to continue the tradition with Jonathan. We mixed up a batch of sugar cookie dough (the same recipe that my Mom used all those years ago!) The best part, of course, was licking the beaters.

We assembled all our supplies at the table,

rolled out our dough, stuck our fingers and elbows into it, and succeeded in cutting out cookies! Jonathan placed the cookie cutters on the dough, I lifted them onto the cookie sheets, and he sprinkled the colored sugar. Such concentration!

We even managed to be cleaned up and ready for our guests by 11am, thanks to Jonathan's excited assistance picking up toys while I cleaned up cookie flour. Yesterday was our Annual Get-Ready-For-Christmas party - everyone comes and brings Christmas cards to write or address or whatever they need to do to get ready for Christmas. The children play (mostly!) with each other and we grown-ups get to do boring tasks while

One of the best things about having kids, I'm discovering, is getting to remember and recreate bits of your own childhood. Jonathan is old enough to get really excited about all things Christmas this year, and I'm nearly as excited as he is, because I get to see it all through his eyes.

Here are a few more shots from our Advent activities:

Jonathan continues to amaze me as he moves from being a toddler to becoming a preschooler. Who knew that he'd sit for so long and paint? And ask to do it again a few hours later?

Christmas stockings

Last week Libby and Mom M. came over and we worked on Christmas stockings for a few hours. Didn't they turn out nicely?

In process:

Interior with a ribbon hanging sewn in:Finished!
Libby opted for the traditional red and white:
We're quite pleased with how they turned out!

For the Austen fans

Mr. Collins Apologizes to Aspirin.

Dr. Fred Sanders was my favorite professor in college. Torrey sessions with him were universally good ones, yielding much good thought and usually many laughs as well. Dr. Sanders blogs at Scriptorium Daily, so pop on over there. I know you'll enjoy both his quick wit and his clear thinking.

If I had piles and piles of money

I'd never shop for jeans again. I'd just buy them from this site instead. Jeans that fit, shipped to my door! Oh, the joy! Oh, the very high cost!

Still, what a cool idea! And since I'm sure that most of my readers are with me in their inability to afford jeans at $80-140 each, you just might want to enter 5 Minutes for Mom's giveaway - $200 to spend on the jeans of your dreams. :)

I took a few minutes to enter my measurements at TrueJeans' website, and this is my favorite pair that they say will fit me:

Aren't they cute? And at $132 a pair they're almost *snort* affordable. :)

Well. Maybe I'll win that $200.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Some days just go right.

This morning I wake up with aching muscles and that exhausted "I haven't had enough sleep for a long time" feeling. So before I get up I ask Jesus to please (please, please, please!) help me to make it a good day for the three of us. And then I work on thinking about the day, rather than just letting it sort of happen and getting frustrated when it doesn't go well.

We start by helping Daddy get out the door, then getting the kids changed out of diapers and pjs. I always try to do this right away because I think it sets a better tone for the day. You know, we're dressed and ready for whatever comes! Then breakfast for the kids, and at least a few bites for me. :) I tend to eat my breakfast afterwards and usually somewhat on the run. This is something I'd like to change, but I'm not quite sure how to make that happen yet.

A few clean-up chores (the kitchen, mostly) and then a story for Jonathan. Nursing Thomas for his nap, then about 20-30 minutes of something new: preschool time for Jonathan. I've been thinking for some time that I needed to be more intentional about doing special "older kid" things with Jonathan - painting, stringing beads, molding with playdough or clay, etc. and after some brainstorming with Jessica last night, decided there was no time like the present. So today we painted. And I discovered that Jonathan is EXACTLY like me when it comes to creative artwork. He told me what he wanted to paint (a train, a tow truck, etc.) and when I said "great, I think that will be nice - go for it!" he looked worried and then said "but Mommy, I don't know how!" He wanted me to show him exactly how to paint a tow truck, and then he'd add a stroke or two. He wanted a certain finished result and didn't want to mess up on the way to that result! Oh my son, my poor son who is just like me. Maybe someday you'll forgive your mother for passing on these genes.

Thomas wakes up and Jonathan goes down for his quiet time. I take a shower and do a few more chores. Thomas is happy to play alongside me while I work.

We take a break for an early lunch, then the boys play (together!) while I clean up. At about 12:30pm I announce a new daily event: outside play time. Jonathan thinks this is a terrible idea and screams to be allowed back in the house. I set a timer so he'll know that this exile isn't forever, and we all head outside. I resign myself to Thomas needing to be changed and cleaned up, and let him roam. He's happy as a clam. Jonathan fusses for awhile longer, refusing to be enticed by any of my ideas, until he suddenly decides he'd like to be chased. So I get my exercise running after an inexhaustible toddler. After this he forgets to be upset about being outside and plays with his fire engine for quite awhile. I read a couple of magazine articles while keeping an eye on Thomas, who desperately wants to eat the leaves, the chalk, the dirt, and the bugs.

We come inside to clean up. Jonathan has a few slices of apple and plays by himself while I nurse Thomas down for his nap. Then we read a couple of books in his bedroom and he goes to sleep as well.

Amazing! They're both asleep at the same time!

This is time not to be wasted. :) I'm tired, but not tired enough to want to sleep this precious time away. Instead I grab a snack and read a book for a bit. The silence is restorative - I think what I miss most, now that I have two kids, is the dependable silence at regular intervals.

Thomas wakes up; too soon. I rock him back to sleep (thank you, Jesus, for this blessing!) and then head outside. The roses need to be pruned, badly, and it is the right time of year. Back inside for a warm drink (it is cold out there!) and a couple of quick chores before Thomas wakes up. When he cries for me this time I nurse him and then we play together on the bed until Jonathan wakes up. It is nice to have some Thomas-time, just for him.

Jonathan wakes up hungry, just past 4:30pm. I decide to feed him a full meal at about 5pm, rather than try to pacify him with snacks until Gabe gets home near 7pm. The evening just seems to go better this way. After supper I settle Jonathan down for a helicopter video. It is insanely cheesy, but he likes it, and I want to vacuum. Thomas is fussy, so I put him in the mei tai where he becomes quite cheerful.

I haven't finished all the chores, but I've done enough. Sometimes enough really is enough! Jonathan is happy playing, Thomas is still happy in the mei tai, and I want to sing. I'm working on learning a few pieces from Handel's Messiah, just to keep my voice in shape. It is such good music.

Almost time for Gabe to come home, and I didn't really plan for dinner. So tonight will be a pantry and freezer meal. Jonathan sits on the counter and eats frozen peas and helps me cook. Thomas still refuses to be put down, and I'm looking forward to Gabe coming home so my arms and back can get a break!

Gabe comes home and we eat dinner together. Jonathan isn't hungry (as I expected) and wants Daddy to play. We'll have to work on teaching him to either sit at the table with us, or else play quietly in his room. Hanging on Daddy's leg and whining isn't the best solution! After dinner we all work on stringing lights on the Christmas tree.

Bedtime for both boys. Blogging time for me, while Gabe works on his resume. In a moment we'll go clean the kitchen together. Maybe read for awhile, and then to bed. It has been a good day.

In the interest of repeating it: why did today work so well, even though there was so much non-child work that I needed to do?

1) Jonathan's day was very patterned. We never had a big block of time for him to get fussy in - everything was broken up by planned activities. I need to remember that even when it sounds too hard to plan activities for him, it is actually easier because he's not so contrary!
2) We all went outside to play. This is so good for us all and I must remember to do it.
3) Thomas spent his fussy time in the mei tai. Hence, he wasn't really fussy.
4) At nearly every activity change (and also whenever I thought I needed to head off some crankiness) I asked Jonathan to choose a book for us to read together. Five minutes of re-connect time over a book really seems to help throughout the day.
5) I spent very little time on the computer, and made sure it was either while they were sleeping or in tiny chunks of time.
6) Both boys napped at the same time, giving me a break and some silence. This isn't something I can control every day, but it is a goal we're working toward. Someday I hope to be able to count on daily silence again. :)
7) I remembered to ask for God's help. And really, that is the most important thing.

Grandma day

I just found a very old (six weeks old!) post that I had written and never posted. I think perhaps I meant to add a picture or two before posting, but never actually made that happen. I'm posting this today in honor of the fact that this Thursday Jonathan has another "Grandma" day planned. And there was much rejoicing from the toddler and the mommy! :)


Today Jonathan spent the day with Grandma and Grandpa Moothart. This happens about once a month and I look forward to every one. :) I think he does, too - he gets so excited about leaving he practically drags Gabe out the door! And then he cries when it is time to come home. I'd be shockingly hurt if I didn't enjoy my "day off" so much. :)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

St. Nicholas' Eve

Tomorrow is St. Nicholas' Day. This evening we read a short poem about St. Nicholas to Jonathan before bedtime. Then we carefully set up his shoes outside his bedroom door and stuck a carrot in one (for St. Nicholas' reindeer - technically the tradition says "horse" but we're trying not to be TOO confusing and Jonathan already is excited about reindeer!) And Jonathan went to bed excited about the morning when he gets to look in his shoes for surprises from St. Nicholas.

Now I'm off to be St. Nicholas and find some chocolate coins to fill up those shoes. :)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Beyond belief

Now this is a true countertenor. You won't believe your ears. But you should, because as crazy as it sounds, these guys really do exist (I knew one in high school!)

Monday, December 03, 2007

As promised

Results from our photo shoot!

This is what happens when you ask a recalictrant toddler to sit next to his brother and look cute.

Occasionally he held still for a moment:

But not often.

After awhile we just decided to work with what we had and let him run and jump!

But when you have an amazing photographer (and he is really good!) every now and then you get the perfect ones:

Thursday, November 29, 2007

First stitches!

Yes, we've had our first real injury here at the Moothart household. Stitches for Jonathan - five of them! Last Monday morning we were walking into Ashley's apartment complex. She was going to babysit the boys for me while I went to a doctor appointment. On the way in, Jonathan tripped and fell into the grass beside the pathway. He started crying hard, but it was muddy and I thought he was just over-reacting (as he often does!) to getting mud on his hands and clothing. Until he stood up and held up his badly bleeding hand.

I felt like a very deserving recipient of the Official Bad Mother Award.

Jonathan's palm was sliced open over half-way across. And it looked deep. Ashley came to the rescue with her first aid kit and we got the bleeding stopped, but I was pretty sure that this was more serious than something that would just heal on its own. Jonathan's reaction added to my worry - after the initial loud crying he calmed down - too much. He cuddled his hand against his body, shivered a little, snuggled against me and said "Mommy, I want to go to sleep". And then proceeded to try really hard to do just that. His breathing slowed down, his eyes closed, and while I knew he wasn't really quite asleep it was pretty scary watching that kind of shut-down reflex.

So I did spend the morning in a doctor's office - just not the one I'd planned on! Thankfully Jonathan's pediatrician said to come right in, even though their morning appointments were all full. I'm so glad they treated my concern as valid, and didn't just assume that I was being an over-reactive mom. That's one reason why I like this doctor so much!

The nurse brought us back to a procedure room, took one look at J's hand and said "oh yes, that will need stitches." Then we waited for about an hour for the doctor to come. Jonathan continued his attempts to fall asleep and actually did sleep for most of the wait.

Poor child, though, what a way to wake up. Stitches may not sound like anything too traumatic, but they really are. Yes, they numbed his hand, but the process of making it numb almost seemed as bad as just stitching him up without it. They did let me hold him throughout the procedure, for which I was grateful. I had been afraid they would just strap him down to the table (it was equipped with restraints). So I held him, and talked to him, and sang to him, and tried to make it a little less frightening.

He really was awfully brave. He cried a lot but never totally lost control - he's respond to my voice and tell me what songs I should sing next and why he was crying: "Does it hurt?" "No, I'm just scared!"

And then at the end, during the last stitch, I covered myself in glory (ha!) by coming very close to throwing up and fainting. I didn't. But it was definitely too close for comfort. Dr. Miyamoto says that it happens all the time and that moms quite routinely pass out in procedure rooms. He just called a nurse to come stand behind me in case I fell over, and then when we were finished had me sit in a chair holding Jonathan and drink orange juice before he let us leave. This is another reason I like this doctor so much: he's kind, and matter-of-fact about everything!

I comfort myself with the fact that some mothers would have passed out at the first sight of blood, and I waited for a good four hours. :)

We got a strawberry milkshake (his choice) afterward because he'd been so brave. I think he's not quite sure what "brave" means, though, because while we were driving back to Ashley's to pick up Thomas he asked me multiple times "Mommy, why was I so brave?" And then after a lot of explanations, he stated emphatically "Mommy, I don't want to be brave." I'm pretty sure what he meant was that he never wants stitches again!

Here is a photo of the aftermath: he stayed sleepy and sad for quite awhile.

Jonathan's hand is healing beautifully, and the stitches are scheduled to be removed tomorrow morning. Gabe is going to take him for that appointment!

Lets Say Thanks

It doesn't cost you a thing, takes 2 minutes, and might just boost the spirits of somebody's dad or mom overseas. Click the picture above to send a card!

Friday, November 23, 2007

The English Language

A conversation:

Gabe: Jonathan, can you say "yea verily"?
Jonathan: No.
Gabe (aside to me): I'm going to have him speaking the King's English if it kills me!
Jonathan: It kills me!


Most people assume that I naturally sing around the house a lot. After all, I was a voice major in college. I directed a choir before having my kids. I love singing in choirs. It is a valid assumption, and I often wonder why it isn't true. I have a permanent soundtrack running in my head, but it is rarely vocalized. I have to think about singing to the boys; it is a conscious choice to share music with them.

And it is a choice that I make, because it is important. I want my boys' lives to be saturated in good music. Today that means singing Jesus Loves Me for the 23rd time, and remembering to play cds during the day even when it would be easier on my brain to skip the extra "noise". In a few years it will mean teaching Jonathan to play "Mary had a little lamb" on the piano. Someday it may mean suffering through the beginner stages of learning a stringed instrument. Someday I will stand in church next to my teenage son and hear his tenor or bass join my alto line as we praise the God who gave us music.

Jonathan has been "singing" since he was quite young. We started singing a bedtime lullaby to him each night, and it didn't take long before he began singing along. It started with “spoken” singing - words spoken along with us as we sang to him. Later he started adding pitches (of a sort), moving higher or lower in somewhat the pattern we were giving him.

When he turned two he started attending preschool chapel during the first part of mass each Sunday. One of the things they do there is sing along with a cd of Wee Sing Bible Songs. It took a few weeks, maybe a month or two, and then I started hearing recognizable renditions of bits of "Deep and Wide" and other songs that I hadn't taught him. His intervals were all over the map, but the general pattern was discernible.

He started to ask me to sing to him, especially while driving in the car. "What shall we sing next?" is a common refrain. Sometimes he'll just listen, sometimes he'll sing along. I hear him singing to himself and occasionally singing to Thomas. He'll ask me to sing the "Jesus loves children of the world" song, or the "David" song or about "Father Abraham".

Around the same time, I began teaching voice lessons at home. I intended to get a sitter to take the boys away during that time, but was unable to find one. So they have learned to listen quietly during the lesson hour. Sometimes Jonathan sits next to me on the piano bench while I teach. Recently I assigned a vocal exercise that he found amusing, and later that day I heard him singing "hip, hip, ho ho ho ho ho" as he ran around the living room.

It is fascinating to me, as a teacher, to have a front row seat as Jonathan learns the fundamentals of music. Hearing him move from "spoken" singing, to shaped movement, and now to the earliest beginnings of interval matching, is one of the most amazing things I've ever be privileged to experience.

Last September I joined the Anglican Chorale of Southern California, and this, while meant for my own benefit, is also benefiting my children. Singing in a choir means that I have to sit down and learn the music. I practice in snatched moments during the day, and sometimes in longer chunks when Gabe plays with the boys in the evening. During the day, now, Jonathan will often climb up onto the piano bench, take out a piece of my choir music, carefully arrange it on the piano, and play and sing with abandon. He informs me that he is "practicing", and the results are surprisingly beautiful.

Sharing music with my children is a choice, but it is getting easier every day as I reap the sweet, sweet results. Today I will listen to my son sing "Jesus loves the little children", and I will smile, and hug him, and sing along.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Christmas comes early this year

Christmas Giveaway 2007 Sweepstakes

at least at 5 Minutes for Mom. Their Christmas giveaway includes such lovely possibilities as this,




and oh be still my heart, I'm drooling over this.

Click on the button at the top of this post for a list of all their giveaways, or click on each picture to go directly to that particular one. See, I've done all the work for you, so you have no excuse not to check it out. :) Have fun!

Nanny state

I was doing a big of blog-surfing during the kids’ naps this afternoon, and came across this sentence:
“If we can’t count on the government and toy manufacturers to protect our children, then we must step up and be vigilant on their behalf.”
Well. If we can’t trust the government to take care of our kids, well gee, we’ll just have to do it ourselves.

I found it amusing. :)

(You can go here for the whole post. Obviously I share CDG's concern about dangerous toys, so I'm being a bit tongue-in-cheek here. Still.) :)

Why I like doing business with Christians:

How many loan officers do you know who will say "given your situation, I would recommend not refinancing. If you decide to, then I'll do it for you, but I definitely don't recommend it."

That's what I thought.

The craziest thing is that I found this lady through a Christian real estate agent who I just happened to meet while waiting for my car at a Christian auto mechanic's shop. It appears to be an underground network. :)


This morning Jonathan found a picture of Mater that Hunter had left here a few days ago. He showed it to me and I said “oh, yes, we’ll have to get that back to them.” Moments later Jonathan wanders through the room, talking on his little red phone.
"Hi Brian. You left it here, and so Autumn can come back and you can drive the car and get it back to you. Does that sound fine? Ok, thanks Brian."
Then he turned to me, smiled, and informed me:
"Mommy, Brian will drive the car and come get it. Ok?"
Sometimes my son grows up so fast.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Change of plans

Sometimes, unexpected changes in my plans work out beautifully. Today was one of those times.

I had expected to have the car today. Tuesday is my day for grocery shopping and I had also planned to go to the post office to mail christmas candy packages and to Michaels to get supplies for a Thanksgiving craft project that I want to do with Jonathan. This would be doable, I thought, but would probably take most of the day once I factored in needing to be home for nap times.

But then Gabe realized that he needed to go to the office, and there went my carefully planned day.

Instead of having the car, I had a list of errands, a stroller, and my own two feet. Well. Nobody can say that I haven't learned something about rolling with punches. I sent my husband off with a kiss and a smile and threw everything into the stroller, and off we went. :)

Honestly, I think I prefer doing it this way. We got all our errands done. Jonathan and Thomas enjoyed time out in the fresh air (they like walks a lot). Thomas fell asleep when he got tired and slept through the grocery shopping and most of the walk home. Had we been in the car, he probably would have been awakened at each stop and been cranky. The boys didn't fight with each other and Jonathan didn't whine for a movie. It was a truly pleasant morning!

And, I burned a heck of a lot of calories. Calories per hour says that walking pushing a stroller burns 173 calories per hour, for a total of 607. I'm betting that I actually did better than that, since I was pushing a double stroller, which is heavy by itself, heavier with the boys in it, and REALLY heavy when the basket is completely filled with groceries.

I just may do this again next week.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Having photos taken of myself has never been something I enjoyed. Usually they turned out with a funny smile or an odd look, or I blinked when the shutter snapped, or my hair decided to be wild and unruly, or I hadn't noticed the stain in the center of my shirt.

But at least I sat still and looked at the camera.

We took family photos yesterday. We spent nearly an hour taking half a million family photos, in the dearly held hopes that one or two might work out for inclusion in our Christmas cards. Do you know how fast a two year old can move? Or how impossible it is to induce him to smile for a camera when he'd rather crawl inside Daddy's shoulder and disappear?

Thankfully, we were not doing this at a normal photography shop. We hired Daniel (a friend from church who takes beautiful photos - take a look at his website!) to bring his gear to a park and snap away. He was so good with our kids - he put "hats" on heads, created "frisbees" from bits of his (unbreakable!) camera gear, and moved incredibly fast. :) At one point he commented "this is like sports photography!" Yes. Well. That is my oldest son!

I do think we probably got some cute photos. At one point we arranged the three of us who weren't running around like maniacs, and then Dan convinced Jonathan to run full force at Gabe and give him a hug. We all tried not to fall over with the impact while smiling in the general direction of the camera. I think that the sheer volume of photographs taken must mean we got a few good ones.

After Dan fixes them up, he's going to give us the digital photos to print ourselves, so I can both print and post some. Stay tuned for photos of three smiling family members and a blurred toddler running out of the frame!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

One year later

A year ago today my mom had a brain aneurysm, and we all wondered if she'd survive. Today she is talking, walking, writing, and chopping vegetables. She has her sense of humor and her memories. She moves a bit slower, but she's still my incredible, courageous, kind, funny, compassionate, driven, hard-working mother. She's beaten the odds.

Mom, I'm glad you're here. I'm proud of you. And I'm glad I'm your daughter.


In the hospital:

Walking at Jonathan's wedding:

Oh help! (otherwise known as WFMW - Backwards Day!)

Shannon's "Backwards Day" edition of Works for me Wednesday came just at the right time for me. I'm having an "oh help" sort of day week weeks month.

What, oh what, oh WHAT do you do when you have two children who nap on completely different schedules? AND one child's nap schedule is utterly erratic, AND the other child occasionally (and for no discernible reason) falls asleep during his morning quiet time, thereby wetting the bed and throwing his schedule off for the rest of the day?

For example.

Thomas' naps have been all over the place for weeks. Sometimes his morning nap is as early as 8:30am, but sometimes he waits until as late as 10:30am. He'll sleep for anywhere between 1 hour and 3.5 hours. Depending on what happened in the morning, he might be ready for an afternoon nap anywhere between 1pm and 4pm, or he might skip it entirely and be a basket case by dinnertime.

Jonathan has had a very predictable 2pm naptime for ages now. It was wonderful! :) He also has a morning quiet time that varies with Thomas' nap (that's the only time I can guarantee a smidgen of time without a kiddo needing me!) Last week he fell asleep during his morning quiet time not once, not twice, but three days. When that happens, he skips his regular afternoon nap and dinnertime is a disaster.

In the midst of all of this, every week I'm supposed to (somehow!) get out to go grocery shopping, errand running, take the kids to the library and to the park for Mom's Group, go to mass, and (dare I dream?) fit in a few workouts at LA fitness.

Yet there is no way to plan times to do this, because at any given time of the day (between 8am and 4pm) one of my children could/should conceivably be napping. And if I miss the window when they ought to be napping, (especially for Thomas) I pay for it for the rest of the day.

I'm starting to think that it can't be done, and I'm going to give up and become a hermit. We'll just sit in our little house and watch mail-order DVDs and order pizza when we run out of groceries.

You know, that actually doesn't sound half bad right now. :)

But really, if you have some good ideas (particularly if you've dealt with this sort of thing before) please comment!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Where did that come from?

Jonathan: Ah hahaha! That airplane looks expensive!!
Me: What?
Jonathan: That big one there - its expensive!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Eating out with children

Last night we went out to dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory because I came home tired and asked Gabe to take me out. Wonderful man, he promptly did!

Thomas enjoyed the evening by chewing on a spoon (we almost absconded with it when we left, actually) and devouring a slice of lemon. Mom, he takes after you. :) Jonathan informed us that the food (noodles with mizithra cheese) was "very good" but he would have preferred that we serve the ice cream "warmed up".

The wait for a table had been more than 30 minutes, (that's what you get for choosing a popular restaurant on Friday night!) so we ate in a hurry. Our server gave us a strange look when, having been seated for approximately 30-40 minutes, we asked for boxes, ice cream, and our check. Apparently he didn't know that 8 p.m. is past toddler bedtime!

Ah well...even eaten in a hurry, and juggling children, OSF is my favorite place for dinner. Thanks, honey!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Seeker sensitivity

Apparently, "seeker sensitive" approaches to ministry aren't working as well as people had hoped.
Willow Creek has released the results of a multi-year study on the effectiveness of their programs and philosophy of ministry.
. . .
The report reveals that most of what they have been doing for these many years and what they have taught millions of others to do is not producing solid disciples of Jesus Christ. Numbers yes, but not disciples.
I found it very encouraging, however, that Bill Hybels admits,
We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become ‘self feeders.’ We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their bible between services, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own.
With such a wide following (for Hybels and Willow Creek), perhaps this kind of confession can lead to some truly positive change?

Hat tip to Amy for the link - thanks Amy! Your links are great!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It is a new generation, folks...

Yesterday I bundled the kids into the car; heading off to do some errands. The following conversation ensued (and to my chagrin, I am NOT making this up):
Jonathan: Mommy, where are we going?
Me: We're going to do some errands. We'll make some copies at OfficeMax, go to the bank, and then get our groceries at Vons.
Jonathan: *pause* Mommy, I need Starbucks. Let's go get coffee drinks at Starbucks.
When I was a kid, I vaguely remember it being soda that held such appeal. Coffee was interesting, but it was clearly a drink for grownups. Apparently that isn't the case anymore!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dyson vacuum, anyone?

Pink Dyson Vaccuum Giveaway by the Domestic Diva

I first heard the praises of the Dyson vacuum sung here. Shannon is generally a reasonable (and slightly nutty and very funny) mom, and I couldn't imagine her spending $400 on a vacuum cleaner...but she did and she didn't regret it.

Well, I did it. I bought a Dyson. Your glowing feedback convinced me. And I hope you were right, because I had to sell one of the children to pay for it.

(Joke! That's a joke!)

. . .

And then I turned it on.

Oh-for-the-love-of-all-that-is-good-and-HEPA-filtered, now I get it.
Thus began my covetousness. I want a Dyson vacuum cleaner. My house is just as dirty as Shannon's, I'm sure of it! Since I don't have $400 to spend on one, someone should give me one. Q.E.D., obviously.

Well, someone is giving one away! And you should all go enter the contest here, although I hope that none of you win it (because, of course, I want to!) :)

Also, today is the LAST DAY TO ENTER (I know, I came to this party a little late). So check it out now!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


I wrote this about a week ago and forgot to actually post it. So when it says "today", please read "last week". :)


If we hold up a palm and say “high five, Thomas!” he’ll put his hand up and pat ours. Jonathan thinks this is wonderful.

Jonathan has taken to quoting books, sometimes appropriately and sometimes, not so much. Yesterday he matter-of-factly informed me “Mommy, you’re very old and sick” (a quote from “I’ll love you forever”).

Today when Thomas woke up from his nap, Jonathan was still asleep. This doesn’t happen often, so we made the most of it! We snuggled down on my bed and played tickle and patticake for awhile. Then Thomas got the hiccups. He’d hiccup, and then I’d say “hiccup!” and he’d chortle and grin until I laughed with him, then hiccup again, and we’d start over. For some reason he thinks “hiccup” is the funniest word in the English language. And I think that my son’s giggles are the most wonderful, mirth-inducing sound I’ve ever heard.

Warning: politics! :)

I'm curious what you guys think of Wayne Grudem's endorsement of Mitt Romney as a presidential candidate. You can read his reasons here:

I found this article quite convincing, and some digging into Romney's positions has made me seriously consider him my choice for the nomination. Many people (and many in the media) are saying that Romney can't win because he won't get the Evangelical vote. What do you think? Should he?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Advanced mathematics

Veronica always has thoughtful things to say. The fact that she has three children and still finds time to both think, and then type, has always amazed me...more so after I switched from one child to two. But here, ah, here she spills her secret. :)
I don’t know how you mothers of only one child do it. One child is too much. Three children are not nearly so many.
Go read the rest!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Right or left brain? (UPDATED)

I have to admit that this has me stymied. As hard as I have tried (and I have given myself a headache in the attempt!) I cannot see the dancer turning any way but clockwise...but supposedly that means that I'm right-brain dominant. And right-brain dominant I have never been.

Can anyone explain this strange moving picture? And how anyone could see it turning counter-clockwise? And why I'm supposedly "fantasy-based" and good at "spatial perception" (ha!) and an "impetuous risk-taker"? I'm so confused.

Gabe can see it going both ways, but only if he sort of looks at it from the corner of his vision. After he said that, I tried it...

turns out that if I look straight at it, I see her going clockwise. But if I look elsewhere and see her in my peripheral vision, she's going counter-clockwise.

I don't know what that says about me. :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

The story of a nutshell

"This guy, he was born, then he was bleeding and needed a band aid, and then he was alive again!"
Jonathan, age 2.5

It's practically theivery

Last week I found one of the best Grocery Game steals ever:

3 boxes of cold cereal, which retail for $3.89 EACH...

for $1.

The checker stumbled a bit over her words as she said "And Ms. Moothart your total, $1...and you've saved...well. 91%."

Heeheehee. :)

(Just to clarify: I bought the cereal separately from the rest of my shopping trip because I thought they were out and asked for a rain check. It turned out they still had some, but they were in a special display elsewhere in the store. So I went through the checkout line again.)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Learning to crawl

in pictures! This is for you, Mom. :)

SB 777 - you may want to write the governor

You may not have heard about the passage and signing of legislative bill SB777. Governor Schwarzenegger signed it last Saturday and it was largely ignored by the major news outlets.

SB777 is meant to be an anti-discrimination law, specifically targeted at public school campuses. The concern (which I share) is that in the name of not discriminating against LGTB people, this law creates a situation of reverse discrimination against all who do not agree with the politically correct position on this issue. There are some who fear that this law would allow harassment suits to be brought against parents or students who simply voice the opinion that having "two mommies" isn't a good idea.

Another worrisome aspect of the new legislation is the change in the definition of "sex" to that of "gender" as "sex, and includes a person's gender identity and gender related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person's assigned sex at birth." (See 210.7 in the bill.) Some worry that this eliminates protections, for example, for girls in a female locker room. What is to prevent a peeping tom declaring himself "female" and waltzing in?

I dislike some of the histrionic reactions that are floating around the web on "christian right" websites. Still, I believe this bill is definitely cause for concern. Read it here and decide for yourself.

It is easy to email the governor, if you are also concerned.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

My helper

Jonathan decided he wanted to be my helper today. So all morning I would periodically find something taken out of my hands with the firm statement "this is a Jonathan job". :) He helped me take out the trash, put a new bag in the trashcan, sweep the floors, pick up toys, and wipe up sticky messes. He was so pleased with himself!

I'm quite pleased with him, too.

Time to baby-proof the house!

Re-baby-proof, that is. We're mostly safe, I think, but I want to walk through again and be sure that I'm not missing something that is safe for toddlers but not babies.

Why, you ask?

Because Thomas is crawling! Yay Thomas! We're so proud of you!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sausage and Pepper Sandwich

We had these for dinner tonight and they were amazing. Better than what you'd pay $10.99 for in a restaurant, and we fed our family for less than $6.

Sausage and Pepper Sandwich

2 medium spicy Italian sausages
1 T. oil
1 green pepper, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
jack cheese, sliced
sourdough hoagie rolls

Cook sausages, covered, in a skillet with about 1/4 cup of water over medium heat. When the water boils away, take the lid off and add the oil. Let the sausages brown and crisp, then slice and set aside. Empty any residual oil in the skillet, then add a small amount of olive oil. Saute onions for a few minutes, then add peppers. Cover and cook until just tender. Meanwhile slice hoagie rolls and place under the broiler for about 2-3 minutes. Cover with sliced cheese and return to broiler for 1-2 minutes. Remove from broiler. Place on plates and top with sliced sausages and peppers/onions.

The sausage, peppers, onions, and rolls all came from Henry's Marketplace, one of my favorite places to shop. :) They have consistently good produce, their bakery is superb, and they have wonderful meats (they make their own sausages and I like them better than anything else I've had). Plus you can get bulk spices there for a fraction of the usual cost.

No, they are not paying me for this promotion. ;)

This is a good week to try them out, though, because they have peppers on sale 3 for $1, both green and red! The sausages are also on sale for $2.99/lb, which is hard to beat.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I finished reading Madeleine L'Engle's "Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage" today. It is a beautiful book; a lovely chronicle of a well-lived marriage. It draws you into their story and at the same time makes you want to live your own story to the fullest. I want to be able to look back, at the end of my marriage, and say with Madeleine that "I wouldn't have missed a minute of it, not any of it."

Reading this now was a challenge, and made me cry more than once. Much of the story takes place woven through their experience in the hospital as Hugh is being treated for, and eventually dying of, cancer. Reading it brought me back to the hospital with Mom, being afraid, not knowing what to expect or how to pray. And it made me confront the fact that some day I may face a hospitalization with my husband. Someday I may have to say good bye. Someday it may be me saying that "it is hard to let go beloved flesh".

I earnestly ask God to give Gabe and I a long, full life together. But I know that no matter how long that life is, at some point one of us will go to heaven first. My marriage vows are "until we are parted by death" and the very vow reminds me that this will, indeed, happen.

I don't want it to happen.

When it does, I hope that we can walk that road with the kind of dignity and faith and love that is evident in Madeleine and Hugh's story. I want to spend my life, my marriage, becoming the sort of faithful, faith-filled partners who can say good bye with sorrow and yet let go gently. I want to live each day, each year that I am given with Gabe, with gratitude, mindful of the gift that is it.

Rainy day

The sky is grey and rain sprinkles down just often enough to make me think twice about heading out for a walk. We are all still in our pajamas - warm and comfortable and snuggly. After breakfast we read stories. And stories and stories and more stories. Thomas even gets in on the action with a board book of his own, although he is more interested in chewing the edges than listening to the story. Who needs to turn pages, anyway, when you can eat the book instead?

Thomas takes a nap, Jonathan has a quiet time and I get to spend some time praying and reading. Then more reading with Jonathan, and a snack, before Thomas wakes up.

With Thomas awake and fed, the three of us sit around the piano while I practice. Jonathan lies underneath the bench and depresses the pedal at random moments. Thomas tries to eat the piano leg and then tries to pull himself up (unsuccessfully) to his great frustration. So ends the rehearsal!

Lunch and hot chocolate (what better on a rainy day!) and Jonathan plays with his cars and Thomas sits on my lap while I blog. :)

At some I know I need to do some chores and laundry. But so far, this morning has been exactly right. Sometimes you just need to put everything on hold and snuggle, and read, and make music, and enjoy each other.

The sounds of our house

Thomas: Rarararararah!!!! Rararrrrr! Rararm! Gggg!

Me: Oh Jonathan, you spilled hot chocolate on your pajamas!
Jonathan: Yes, well, that happens sometimes.

Thomas: Rarrrgurgle!
Jonathan: Thomas, row your boat gently down the patticake bakers man!

Me: *finishes singing a song*
Jonathan: What shall we sing next?
(This one will go on forever, particularly if we're in the car!)

Thomas: aaahhh!!!!!
Jonathan: Thomas, say "Mommy, I dropped my bottle."
Thomas: aaaaaaahhhh!!!!!
Jonathan: Thomas, say "Mommy, I want more food please."

Jonathan (singing): A B C D next time won't you sing with me?
Jonathan: (singing): hm, and hm, hm, and hm, flowing hmhmmm...

Thomas: *giggles* gurgle *giggle*

Jonathan: Mommy, I want to do doey.
Me: I don't know that word. You want to do "doey"?
Jonathan: *giggles* I'm just joking!

Jonathan: Mommy, who loves you?
Me: I don't know, why loves me?
Jonathan: Jesus loves you! because he died on the cross and then was alive again!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sewing success!

Made all the sweeter by being unexpected. :)

This is my "practice" bag. All the material was from the clearance section at JoAnn Fabrics, because I didn't want to spend a bunch of money on something I was pretty sure I'd ruin. :) But it got closer and closer to completion, and it wasn't ruined yet, so I started to dream about having a very pretty bag at the end.

What do you think?

I'm pleased with the result. And I definitely learned a lot. There is a lot about sewing that you just have to learn with your hands, I think. I can sit and stare at a pattern and at fabric and think and think and think about it, but it isn't until I actually pin and sew that I realize "oops, that didn't work, and now I know what I ought to have done!" All my mistakes this time were fixable, but I spent an awful lot of time fixing them. And then thinking some more. :)

My next projects are (hopefully!) going to be Christmas gifts. My next attempt is going to have some added "features" like pockets. I'm pretty sure I've learned enough from this one to be able to do it well. And the fabrics I've chosen are so pretty, I can't wait to get started!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Being oldest

We had our first major instance of oldest child frustration today. I had put both boys in the kitchen sinks to give them baths and then let them play in the water while I cooked dinner. This worked well for awhile, but Thomas kept trying to either steal the water faucet, or turn it off, not to mention grab whatever Jonathan had in his hand. Jonathan cycled through an impressive repertoire of "please share, Thomas", and "it's my turn, Thomas", and "no, no, Thomas" but to no avail. Finally he sighed deeply, turned the water off himself, and announced "we're all done, Thomas."

I could hardly get them out and dried off, I was laughing so hard.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Sacred Marriage

Jessica loaned me a book a few weeks ago: "Sacred Marriage" by Gary Thomas. The most important thing I've learned from it?

I have a truly amazing husband.

Just about every example of what spouses ought to be striving toward made me think two things:

1) Am I doing this? I should be doing this!
2) Gabe already does this.

I noticed this most in the chapter on serving our spouses. You know what? Gabe does this well. And consistently, which is more than I can say for myself.

So I have some new goals. And a whole new level of appreciation for the man I married.