Monday, January 31, 2011

Here it comes...

I was beginning to think that the Northeast was going to get all of our snow this year.  Over the past few months it seems that my sister in Kentucky and friends in Nashville have been getting more than we have!  And then I read that South Bend, Indiana got two feet??!!  Wow!  Now I'm not really sure what a "normal" winter is like here in Small Town, Illinois since this is only my second one, but I am pretty sure that we're supposed to (logically) get more snow than our friends in the south.

Thank you, Mr. Weatherman, for proving me wrong.  Apparently we're in for some good stuff tomorrow:

Yep, that's right... 12 to 18 inches headed our way!  Yowza!  Apparently the sky has been waiting to just dump it all on us at one time rather than in these little 2 and 4 inch showers we've been getting over the past few months.  To say I'm a little giddy would be an understatement.  In my opinion, if it's going to feel like the arctic tundra outside, it might as well be snowy.  And believe me, it feels like the arctic tundra.  I know that I have many friends up here who are moaning and groaning about the impending blizzard (can I call it a blizzard?  I might have to look up what needs to happen in order to refer to it as a blizzard.  That sounds way more exciting than winter storm), but I say bring it on!  Sure, the roads will be bad until the plows get out, but I don't have anywhere to be, so that doesn't really mater too much.  And sure, we'll have to shovel (and by we, I mean Josh) but that's why we invested in our snowplow, which lucky for me is his new favorite toy.  I don't see any reason to complain.

And the best part (in my opinion) about the snow?  Those lovely snow days.  Granted, I "work" in Miami, so I won't necessarily have one, but it's a lovely treat when the world around us shuts down for a day and the hubby gets to stay home.  He'll do some work from here, but seeing his face all day long makes my day a little happier.  

So blizzard?  I say, "yes please!"  And that goes for the kind from Dairy Queen, too!  This post just officially made me hungry.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


My sweet, sweet hubby bought me a laptop for my big decade-changing birthday.  Even though I have one for work, I don't like doing my personal fun-stuff on there and we needed a "home" computer for our photos, music, etc.  So when I saw my shiny, purple Toshiba, I was pretty pumped.  When we turned on our new shiny, purple Toshiba however, and ran more than one program, we waited... and waited... and waited some more.  It was a bit slow, so we decided to take it back and get an upgraded version.

The more we looked, the higher the price rose.  We compared, asked advice, and went back and forth between a couple of machines.  After a long debate with myself in my head, I said "yes" to this:

Yup, I am the proud new owner of a Mac... I have officially crossed over to the geek side and I couldn't be more excited.  Everyone I know who has one loves it and all of the store clerks (not in an Apple store) raved about them.  I'm still trying to figure it all, decide whether storing photos in iPhoto is worth it, and watching tutorials on iWeb and all of that fun stuff.  So I have to throw out the question: to those of you who have a Mac, what are your favorite features?

I think my husband is still scratching his head about how I managed to double the price of my original birthday present.  It sounds like thirty has made me pretty darn clever!

What's the best gift you've ever received?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Adam is ONE!

When people tell you that kids grow up too fast, they aren't kidding! When my sister, Mindy, was pregnant last year, it felt as if the wait was forever long for her kiddo to make his debut. But as soon as he got here, it seems as if 365 days have flown by in the blink of an eye. But one year ago today, I got one of the best text messages that I have ever received along with this picture:

Adam Robert Moreland had arrived! He was quite possibly the most "grown-up" looking newborn we had ever seen (probably due to all that hair he had!), but he was oh-so beautiful! I couldn't wait to squeeze him and it made me even more excited to meet our little one.

Seven weeks later, Jacob came along and much time was spent on the phone with Mindy as we shared stories. It's funny to me now, actually, because when Josh and I found out we were expecting we were actually a little afraid to tell my sister! She and her husband had been married for three years and this would be their first baby, so it felt a bit like we were stealing their thunder considering we had been married for all of two minutes. But as soon as we had them together for the first time, we just knew how special it would be for them to always have a cousin the same age. When Adam was ten weeks and Jake was three weeks old, they met for the first time... although, Jake looks nothing like himself. Adam, on the other hand, looks identical to the day he was born!

Even with her being in Florida and us way up here in Illinois, we got together when we could. We saw each other briefly in Georgia last summer (shown below) and then again in October when we "met in the middle" in Kentucky. And of course, the boys had ten glorious days together over the holidays.

Adam, you are one of the most handsome, happy, easy-going babies in the entire universe and I am so proud to be your auntie. Thank you for deciding to walk for the first time at my house so that I could share in that moment! Thanks to your mommy and daddy for doing such a great job raising you... you could not be more of a joy. Seeing you and Jake play together just makes my heart melt, and I think one day we'll have to find a way to live much closer so that we can get you two together more. Nothing would make your mommy and me happier.

As I post this, however, it makes me realize that in a mere seven weeks, I'll have a one-year-old in my house, too. One whole year that went by far too fast, but was filled with more love and great moments than ever. I better enjoy my "infant" while I still have one!

Oh, and happy belated birthday to my sweet, sweet Nana, too! We love you!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Other Side of Labor

So who remembers the creepy, graphic video that we all had to watch (well, most of us probably had to watch) in high school health class of a baby being born? Shudder. No amount of soap in the eyes could erase that... it was awful! So imagine my surprise when I enthusiastically said "YES!" when a my friend Chelsea, whose husband is deployed, asked me if I would be in the room with her when her baby decided to make its debut. There was no hesitation on my part and I gladly accepted, not really thinking about that video or what my eyes might possibly see again.

A couple of Fridays ago I was doing some work and I got a text message. My water broke. Seriously, that's all it said. No sense of urgency- not even an exclamation mark! I had to read it twice for it to sink in and then I ran around my house, much like a nervous dad might do, throwing items at random into a bag. Josh was at the gym so I frantically dialed his number to let him know that if he didn't get home soon, our child would be left unattended while I rushed to the Quad Cities to coach a new baby into this world. (Disclaimer: I would never leave our child unattended. At least not until he is able to make himself something to eat.) Once my hubby was back home, I kissed him goodbye and rushed out the door. This would be Chelsea's fourth baby, so in my mind it might just fall out without notice. That sounded logical to me. I had about a forty-five minute drive and I pretty much spent the whole time trying to convince myself that I could handle this, even if I saw blood, which sometimes makes me queasy. I said a few prayers for Chelsea, her husband Joe, and that sweet baby of theirs, and then I said a few for myself, too, asking God to make sure that I didn't pass out.

When I arrived to her room, there was very little activity. In fact, she wasn't even having contractions, much to her chagrin. So we just sat and talked... and talked... and talked some more. Her mother-in-law stopped by, I ran out to get some dinner, we watched part of a movie, we talked some more, and still there was nothing. She was told that if there was no action by the morning they would start her on Pitocin... not the news that she wanted to hear.

After a very interrupted night of sleep (which I cannot complain about since my mattress was very cushy and I got way more than she did!) the nurse came in the next morning and administered the medication. What she did not tell us was that she needed to go through a certain number of saline bags as well before she could get an epidural. Chelsea had made it clear from the start that she's very pro-epidural, but not until she really needs it. So when she got to the point that she really needed it, we still had to get through another bag and a half. Her contractions were coming on pretty strong and it was a long forty-five minutes (well, an hour and a half really by the time the epidural was administered and kicked in) to endure. I pretty much just took orders, getting her ice chips and wet wash cloths, just trying to be as supportive as I could be. Then she told me that something was happening and I needed to get the nurse right now. I flew out of that room and the nurse and the doctor quickly followed. And as a mother of four would know, it was time.

Let me just say that the next hour was probably one of the most amazing, awe inspiring hours of my life. If I hadn't been through birth myself, there is no way that I would've appreciated the experience, or even agreed to it for that matter. I stood up by her head as she pushed, and after pushing through three (yes, only three... which she later told me was the longest she ever pushed for any of her kids, at which point I tried not to tell her that I hated her) the head was out and the doctor was able to ease the baby out from there. I hadn't really planned on watching this part, but I couldn't help it... my eyes were drawn to that baby. As the doctor turned it over and I saw it's little face, I was overcome with wonder at what a miracle it truly is. The night before, Chelsea and I talked about how we both felt birth was more like something from a sci-fi movie, like an alien being extracted from you. That's definitely how it feels anyway when it's happening to you. But as a witness, I quickly changed my mind. Seeing a new life come into the world changed me somehow. In that moment, it's not that I understood God because nobody actually can, but I was struck at how only He could administer a process like this. I have said before that childbirth is the closest I had ever been to God and this only reaffirmed that feeling. In that moment, I could feel Him. His hands took over the doctor's hands and He guided that sweet little girl into the world. I felt as if time stood still and the room was just filled with overwhelming love, which is what God feels for us. In a word, it was incredible, but even that does not do it justice.

I never really thought that witnessing a baby's birth would ever be on the list of things that I wanted to do, but now I'm gladly adding it (and crossing it off) my bucket list. I firmly believe that it's something that every woman who has already been through it themselves should have the opportunity to be a part of. The more I read about Biblical times, back when men were not allowed and midwives delivered babies, the more I understand why they did it that way. Don't get me wrong... having my husband in the room for the birth of our son is not something I would ever do differently, but as a woman, witnessing another woman going through labor and having felt that same pain to produce the same results was both endearing and empowering. And seeing the instant love of a mother as she held her baby for the first time will forever leave a mark on my soul. Some women wonder why God made labor such a painful process, but now I realize just how remarkable it is. The pain is worth it. The work is more than worth it. And in the end, the pain and work make it even more special. Perhaps that's why mothers instantaneously nurture... the greater the pain, the greater the love. God knew that, too, when He sent his only son to die for us. Witnessing that had to have been the greatest pain any man could ever know, but that's how much He loves us... the greater the pain, the greater the love. How anyone could ever witness birth and not believe in God is beyond me. No amount of science, no big bang or evolution theory could ever convince me that it's anything other than a miracle. And I am honored that a friend thought of me of all people to be with her and be a part of it.

Oh and the baby? Yeah, she's a doll. Even though most of my readers don't know Chelsea, everyone loves a baby, right? So to my Mauneyland readers I introduce Charley Lilyanna:

When I returned home, Josh asked me if I ever wanted to go through childbirth again having now seen it from another point of view. I just laughed and told him that she made it look way too easy, even though I know that there were a couple of rough hours right before Charley made her debut. And even though I'll never go as far as to say that the "coach's" job is even close to being as difficult as the mother's, I will say that next time I'll have a bit more sympathy for my husband. It's a very helpless place to be at some points and watching someone else in pain is almost heartbreaking. But if he pouts or complains at any point next time we go through it, I'm going to take that last statement back. :)

Thank you, Chelsea, for letting me be a part of an incredibly special day in your family's life. It was an honor to be asked and I love that you felt like we are close enough friends to ask. Being there for Charley's birth is a memory that I will always cherish and remember as being nothing short of amazing. And watching her grow up is going to be even more special knowing that I was one of the first people who ever saw or got to hold her. And an even bigger thank you to your husband, Joe, for sacrificing so much to be overseas fighting for our country. You have a very strong and special wife who is doing an unbelievable job under the circumstances. I am proud to just get to be friends with you both. And Chelsea, as promised, now that you've "shown me yours" I'll gladly have you in the room to "show you mine" whenever our next little one decides to come along! But consider it carefully, because you won't only have to put up with me, but with Josh as well! That just might make things a little bit interesting!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

King of the Hill

When the uncles and cousins were all here visiting, they built quite an impressive snow fort in the backyard. A few weeks later, all of the snow melted, but the frozen fortress remained. It was largely ignored by the four-legged friends that rome the backyard until it snowed again and got a fresh new roof. I'm not sure which dog discovered it first or what inspired one of them to try and climb it, but the pups have taken it over! It's a high enough vantage point that they can now see over the fence, and I cracked up when I saw both of them sitting up there together. They may be cold, but at least they're happy!

Monday, January 24, 2011


Since it's been far too long since my last update on life-as-usual here in Mauneyland, here is a little bit of what we've been up to: We've been...

Trying chocolate chip pancakes (thanks, Auntie Elizabeth!) for Mommy's 30th birthday. Clearly they were a hit!

Doing some business. He is either the smartest baby in the world or perhaps auditioning to be the next E-Trade baby
Waking up with some SERIOUS bed head

And wearing some REALLY strange outfits.... yes, those are gloves on his feet. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle gloves with Dora the Explorer pajama pants to be exact...

To my defense, my son left for church dressed in a very cute long-sleeved polo and sweater vest with jeans and Nike sneakers. He came home in this. Apparently the nursery workers (God bless you, Jamie) got to experience one of Jake's blowouts that literally "rocked his socks off" as his onesie says. Yes, it was all the way into his socks! Blowouts are at least a once-a-week occurance for us it seems. A friend of mine called a couple of weeks ago absolutely shocked that her son had pooped up to his neck and I just had to laugh. For me, that's just what I call a Tuesday! Poop, pee, spit-up, throw-up... it's amazing how these things consume you and really don't bother you when you become a mom. At least when it's your own kid!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I have been avoiding my blog all month. Why, you ask? Well, awhile back I posted that my goal for the new year would be to post weekly "meaty" posts, based on things that I am studying in scripture. You know, things that would lift up my readers and inspire them. Things that would be life-giving and life-changing. Really amazing things.

So during week one of January, I sat down to write the first one. And I drew a blank. I actually had a topic in mind and yet I had nothing to put down on paper... or the computer screen... or whatever. So I let it go into week 2 as a draft. At the end of week two I changed it to be an "every other Friday" post. I figured I could manage that. But during week two, it didn't get any better. In fact, it started to get worse as I made changes to it. So this week I sat down to change it yet again to a "monthly meaty post." And it seriously just all went downhill from there. The verses that I was going to use just didn't seem to be fitting together. The point that I really wanted to make just didn't seem to come across. I was at a loss for words, which is rare for me.

Wondering where I had gone wrong, I looked back over the last year and the few "meaty" posts that I did manage to write and I realized something. All of those posts were unplanned, somewhat spontaneous, and truly flowed from the heart. It was as if God was making my fingers dance across the keyboard and when I was finished, I was a little bit impressed with the outcome if I do say so myself. When I sat down and planned, however, I felt a bit boxed in. What I was planning to post on did not necessarily coincide with what I am currently reading, and I think what I am currently reading is the stuff that's truly speaking to me right now. And so that's what should be speaking to you, my readers, through me if I can manage to get it out. So I've decided to give myself a bit of a break. Yes, I did commit to one a week, but I'm thinking that if I end the year at an average of one a month it will be pretty darn sufficient. And I say that as a low-ball estimate considering that the more I read and "feed" myself with God's word, the more I will have those inspired moments when words flow out of me. And so twelve this year doesn't sound difficult at all... and I think I'll do more. They won't come on a certain day of the week or a day of the month, but they will be posted as they come to me. I know that this entire blog-hiatus and lack of a once-a-week "meaty" post did not need an explanation from me, but I think I needed the explanation for myself. So that I can get back to posting regularly about the not-so-meaty things in my life, since that's what my days are filled with. Ninety percent of my day is spent sitting on the floor that needs to be vacuumed, in my sweats, playing with my son. Or watching Barney. Or being pooped on... you know how it goes. So I think it's okay if ninety percent of my posting at this season of my life is related to that.

Motherhood is strange. I've been in it now for ten months, but I still seem to forget to give myself a little bit of a break. I think us moms are too hard on ourselves sometimes. I think that on some days all we can see is a dirty house, piles of laundry, a face without make-up and hair that needs to be brushed, and a blank screen in the place of a thought-provoking, majorly deep Bible study. But at the end of the day when I can finally look beyond all of that, I see a big grin with seven little teeth smiling back at me. I hear the sound of his laughter that makes me so happy it practically makes me rise off the floor. I watch as a little boy looks under furniture because he just figured out that his toy did not just disappear but actually went somewhere. I see these little, miniscule changes that I might have otherwise missed if I had been worrying about all of those other things. And even without being divinely inspired, it is in those moments that I really get a glimpse of God. I am not sure how anyone can become a mother and not believe in Him. I have the privilege of witnessing a miracle every single day, and I would not want it any other way, even if that meant looking a little more put together. So being a mom comes first right now, and eventually, at least twelve times this year, I will squeeze in some time to be the divinely inspired creative writer that I know God can make me, if I just make a little time for that, too.

In the meantime, I am going to leave the idea of a weekly message to my husband. There is definitely a reason that he is a preacher and I am not, because I have a whole new respect for the amount of time it takes to put together a message. This whole experiences just makes me love him even more.

Phew... I am sure glad I got all of this out there and off my chest. Up next? Expect some sort of fluffy post about how my ten-month-old son is the smartest, most amazing, genius baby on the planet. Isn't that what us moms like writing about best anyway?

Monday, January 17, 2011


This morning I woke up at my leisure since my usually early-rising baby slept in. Light snow has been falling all day and we already have about four inches on the ground. My best friend came in town yesterday and made our traditional feast of chocolate chip pancakes and strawberry milk. My husband left me the sweetest card on the counter before heading into work for a couple of hours. I got to take a long, hot shower and take my time drying my hair and pampering myself later. We have plans to drop Jake off with some good friends and go out to a nice, Italian restaurant tonight.

So far, thirty has been pretty incredible. I know some people freak out about it, but surprisingly, I never went through that. I welcomed it with a smile after a refreshing night of sleep. My twenties were marked with too many emotional ups and downs to count. From finishing college to figuring out who I was created to be to going through some seriously bad relationships to finding the one life-changing relationship (well, two really since my husband introduced me to who Christ
truly is) to having a baby, I went through a lot. Even though amazing life-changing events came at the end of my twenties, I'm not going to miss them too much. As I enter this new decade, I know without a doubt who I am. I know that I was created on purpose and for a purpose, which after a lot of prayer, I am discovering more and more. I wake up each morning next to a man who loves me with all he has. I spend my days with a baby boy whose smile lights up my insides and lifts me up. Thirty is a wonderful place to be. My thirties will be filled with many special days and exciting journeys. Thirty is not old... in fact, I think it's the start of a new journey. I welcome it with open arms.

PS - I know my posting has been few and far between... there is no excuse and I promise to return to the blogosphere soon. I have enjoyed my hiatus and have spent much more time playing on the floor with my son and cuddling on the couch with my husband. Sometimes a little break is nice, but I do miss my blogging buddies, too, and look forward to returning soon. Love to all my readers!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

'Cuz You're My Best Friend

We had the pl3asure of having my sister, her husband Michael, and their adorable son Adam stay with us for ten whole days in December. There wasn't much of an agenda, but there didn't really need to be with two babies in the house. Adam will turn one in January and Jake's birthday is in March, so these two are pretty close to being on the same level. So for your Thursday morning viewing pleasure, brace yourself for a double-dose of cuteness:

Did you try the strained peas? I thought they were kind of dry, didn't you?

Quick! Sit still! Maybe they won't notice us hiding in here!

Seriously, dude... that was supposed to be MY puff. You're just lucky that this shiny table is so distracting!

Jake, what did you put in my juice?? It's GOOOO-OOOOD! And where are they taking us anyway?

Jake: I can't believe they're making us pose for another stupid picture. This is lame.
Adam: What Mom? I can't hear you! Must be all the paparazzi yelling at me!

The cuter we look, the less they'll notice what a mess we made, right?

And here's my personal favorite...

I get to hang out with my cousin AGAIN today??? ROCK ON!!!!

We miss you all already, but especially that little man of yours. Come back and see us soon... Jake is already tired of seeing 'boring-ol' Mom' everyday!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Undeck the Halls

The holidays are here and gone... can you believe it? And usually with the return of January 3rd or 4th comes a little bit of let-down. The family has left town or you have traveled home, the cookies and yummy treats that you've allowed yourself to indulge on for the past month have all been gobbled up, and those Christmas decorations that were fun to put up are now just taunting you with the task of taking them back down. But for some reason this year, I actually enjoyed taking them down. Christmas and New Year here in Mauneyland were spectacular, and it was a nice break from the norm, but I realized as I "undecked the halls" that I love the norm... the norm is good. Often times I can get so caught up in checking out other blogs and reading about other lives that I forget how good I have it here. I have blogging friends that seem to have it all, do it all, and have perfect hair and cute outfits all the while I sit here in my sweats and continuously figure out a way to squeeze in three minutes of me-time to blog or workout or whatever!

But then I think about the things I blog about... my wonderful family, our fun vacations, our beautiful house... and I realize that anyone reading my blog might think the same about me. I wade through our mounds of pictures to find the ones where I look the cutest, regardless of how everyone else looks (oh come on, you do it, too!) and I talk about our happiest times. With this, I do hope that I never sound like I'm boasting or bragging, because I certainly do not want to come across that way, but looking back over the past year of posts, I can see how much joy we've shared here. Regardless of whatever other struggles we are going through, and believe me, we have them just like everyone else (as to my perfect blogger friends), there is so much laughter and an abundance of joy and I love that it has been captured here in my own little blogoshere. I used to keep a journal about all of the things that I am thankful for day-to-day, but this is so much better, and it makes me excited for the "norm" of 2011. It's a new year, and with that comes such hope, such excitement, and such a feeling that anything can happen. So as you take down your ornaments this year or get beat up by pine needs as you try desperately to unwrap the lights from its grip (yes, this already happened to me), just keep your eyes focused on the promise that is to come. And most importantly, fix your eyes on Jesus and the promises of His father. I find that my years are full of joy and happiness because I continue to keep my priorities straight. And just think... if I focus even more of my day-to-day norm on Him, 2011 will be more blessed than I can even fathom. I can't wait!

And just because I love posts with pictures (and because I never got around to it in December), here are a few snapshots of our home before the undecking. Our home is truly more cozy at Christmastime...

Our snowman and woman guard the candy, but don't ever seem to do a good job. These two lucky fellows were forgotten about when we put away stuff in 2009, so they got to stay out all year long, even through the summer!

The lighted garland up our banister is always my favorite!

We don't have one- but two!- mantles to decorate. I contemplated leaving the lighted garland up all year round because it looks so bare without it!

And let's not forget the stockings!

My mom has made all of our stockings over the years. As we got married, she lovingly crafted each of our husbands their very own. And then came grandkids and of course she did the same. I searched everywhere for this one as it was a "vintage" kit (meaning they don't make it anymore) and found it on eBay. I think it's now my favorite.

And here's where the real fun begins... and a quick story. This is our living room... or was our living room until the week before Christmas. When my sister and her husband were here, they asked us if we had ever considered putting the pool table in this room and our living room furniture in the room where our pool table resided. We had always felt like our living room was pretty cramped, and the room with the pool table really served no purpose as we rarely play and it is smack in the middle of our house. So within two hours the four of us had made the switch- light fixtures and all! So for Christmas we not only got lots of presents... but we got more space! I don't really have "before" pictures of the rooms before the change (aside from this one) because it all happened so fast! So here's the old living room decorated before...

The tree in its new spot in what used to be the "billiard room"...

And the room undecked! This picture is taken from the old living room, which is the new home to our pool table... confused yet? Our new living room is so much bigger. Thank you, Mike and Mindy for all of your help! We love it!

And one more shot from the dining room. Our living room is now in a much more central location in our house and much more conducive for family and friend gatherings. Why didn't we think of this sooner? Plus (and ironically enough) our furniture actually matches the new rooms better... I never liked the green with the red pool table and the old living room was too beige. Problem solved!

So that's our extreme home makeover for 2011... new year, new living space, new hope! :) I wish you all the best for your 2011, too! Make everyday count!