Wednesday, December 31, 2008


My daughter is an undiscovered voice-over talent. She could be a hawk for a nature program, a baby pig fighting for milk, screeching tires on a car in an action film, or the best screamer any horror movie could ever hope for. You get the picture, er... sound. You might be thinking "Not that sweet little doll baby with the big pink cheeks!" Oh yes, the kind of sounds I imagined when I thought about the "weeping and gnashing of teeth" as described in Matthew do emanate from my angel baby.
On a sweeter note. She learned the sign for "milk" today. She had learned the sign for "drink" before. We mistakenly used it as the sign for "milk." But it turns out to be convenient to assign a different gesture to cow's milk, which she had for the first time today, to differentiate it from formula. I showed her the udder-squeezing motion once and gave her the sippy cup. She drank some and then made the sign herself. My very own baby Einstein... or baby hawk, depending on her mood.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I'll do a Christmas-wrap-up post, but I have to brag a minute on my one-year-old. Yep, she's one today and learning by leaps and bounds. No, she's not walking, but she's concetrating on other important stuff like communicating. I have no idea how this compares with other signing one-year-olds, but I'm pretty impressed with her sign arsenal.
She's known for a while: eat, more, all done, milk. Then she learned how to say: dog, please, thank you and hat. Most recently: baby, night-night, phone, cheese, and excuse me. Just yesterday, I was feeding her turkey and she signed "more cheese eat." Her first signed simple sentence! I am so impressed.
As far as verbal expression, she's pretty happy with all her made-up babblings. She is, as of yesterday, saying "uh oh" when she drops something. She's working on associating "Dada" with the man himself and she actually tried to say "Papa" this morning when I showed her a picture of him (after I said it, of course). I think we may be started on the fast track to learning more words. We'll soon find out.
Happy 1st Birthday Eden, my Dede, my baby. You're such a pretty, smart, happy little girl and Daddy and I are so proud of you and so happy you are ours. We love you so much and can hardly believe we have a one-year-old daughter. Keep up the good work! Jesus loves you!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Why do people spit? I can understand it if they chew... even though I don't understand why anyone would chew. I remember when I was a little girl, my dad used to help me dry off after my shower at night before bed and then he would help with my pj's and read to me. I must have seen someone spitting and thought I might like to try it. I guess kids just get ideas and don't really have reasons. It's just part of exploration. I knew not to spit outside and came to the conclusion that during a shower would be a good time to try. I was seeing how far I could direct it and wasn't really doing all that well. After my dad came in to dry me off, I stepped out and decided to try to spit back into the shower. He was not to happy about that. Here's his 4 or 5 year old girl spitting like she's waiting for her turn to bat! It's a bit of a blur what happened after that, but, suffice it to say, I was told that that wasn't very ladylike behavior.
So why do people spit? Can anyone tell me? I was waiting for Chuck to come out of the hospital yesterday, already contemplating writing a blog about this very topic and out walks this guy and promplty spits into the bushes right outside the hospital doors.
I just don't get it. Anyone got any ideas?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Letter

I wasn't planning on doing this, but Ali from Two in my Cup did it and I thought it might be a good idea, in case I missed anyone when sending out Christmas letters, or in case anyone reads this that might like to have been sent a Christmas letter.

Here you are:

Merry Christmas to you and your family! After a year off from Christmas letter writing, I’m back on the job and still determined to make it a tradition. Last Christmas, I was waddling around with an overdue baby in my belly and had neither the creative energy nor the desire to write. All my thoughts were on getting that baby O-U-T.
Well, she came in God’s perfect timing. Our dear daughter, Eden Abigail, was born December 30th, 2007. She was 21 inches long and weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce. This year has been our first as a family of three with many countless firsts experienced related to our new position as parents. Our sweet Eden is the light of our lives and becomes more precious to us every day.
Charles not only took on the role of Daddy this year, but also that of Doctor. He graduated in the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine class of ’08 and matched at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. He has completed half of his year as an Internal Medicine Intern and will continue here for four more years following as a Radiology Resident.
We knew we would be moving this year, we just didn’t know where. We were hoping and praying for a match at Emory University in Atlanta. Ultimately though, we knew we had no choice but to submit to God’s will and pray that it come to pass in our lives. The days leading up to the match were some of our most stressful and the anticipation just before opening the envelope that would reveal to us where we would build our lives for our first five years as a family was palpable. We both teared up when we read “Jackson, Mississippi.”
We were disappointed, scared, apprehensive and sad to think of being so very far from the people and places we knew and loved. We were about to be stretched in a big, big way. There were more tears and sad goodbyes as we packed up and made the long drive from Augusta to Jackson in a caravan of one giant moving van and two cars that included Charles, his dad, me, my parents, Eden and Dolce.
About a month before we moved, we embarked on a week-long house-hunting expedition. We looked through about 50 houses online and narrowed them down to the ones we wanted to see in person. Our wonderful real estate agents, Leslie and Melissa, worked tirelessly with us to help us stay within our budget of both time and money. With God’s favor and direction, we closed on a beautiful three bedroom, two bath ranch house in a wonderful neighborhood in Northeast Jackson. We are still enjoying it and continue to make it our own, bit by bit, project by project.
God has faithfully blessed us and guided us in the areas we have asked Him to. He has given us a church where the Word is preached unashamedly and dance is welcomed. He has given me friends who can provide Godly support as I continue to pursue unattainable perfection in the quest to be a “good Mom.” He has blessed us with neighbors who are welcoming and helpful. And He has blessed us with vehicles that can take us back, every so often, but not often enough, to the ones we miss so much.
Most recently, we experienced the sadness of loss. We became pregnant in September but the baby only grew for 7 weeks before he went on to be with Jesus. We felt so much love and support during our grief, and for that we are thankful. God was with us through it all and I continue to feel His comfort in a very real way. I had no anxiety or issues during the pregnancy and my body finished the process naturally, as I had prayed. God has quickened the healing process in my heart, as He continues to heal my womb. Our hopes are in Him and therefore, still high, that Eden will have a sibling by the end of next year.
We have grown as individuals, as parents and as a family over the past year, but especially since moving to Jackson. We are learning to be independent, make the big decisions, train our daughter, make time for each other, find good deals, keep house and plan for the future, all while making a life for ourselves in the present.
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow and for His ultimate gift to us, without which we would most certainly be in big trouble. Blessings and Joy to you this Christmas!


I'm already looking at inspiration photos for my next maternity shoots. We're not pregnant yet, but that doesn't mean I can't plan! I am so blessed that my mother is a wonderful photographer who always wants to try out new things and experiment with me when I ask for stuff she might not have tried yet. I might be biased, but I think some of her best work has been done while working with me. You can check out her site at There are pictures of me in the maternity gallery and in some other galleries too.
When I was pregnant with Eden I spent loads of time on the internet searching for unique inspiration photos for my shoots. Some of them were of pregnant women and some were just cool shots that I wanted to imitate while pregnant.
I just thought of a great idea for a picture series and I really hope my mom and I can make it work. Here's the idea: I didn't get any dancing pictures last pregnancy. I got lots of other amazing ones, but none dancing. So, this time, I thought it would be cool to create a set of four images that are framed side by side where I am doing a movement of some sort in sequential order. Does that make any sense? The first picture would be the beginning of the movement, the second picture would continue it, the third pic would continue and the fourth would be the end of the movement. Here's the twist. Pic one is at, like, 1 month, pic two is 3 months, pic three is 6 months and pic four is 9 months. I'll wear my hair the same and stuff, so it will look like she just took four back to back shots of a movement, but my belly grows. Do you like it? I think the biggest obstacle will be that I won't be in Altanta as often as I'd like because, after Christmas, Chuck has no more time off until May. I guess it may require Eden and I taking a little weekend trip on our own sometime... we'll see.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Unapologetic Peace

This blog was inspired by the message our pastor gave today. He's a real "tell it like it is" kinda guy and today was no different. He did actually stay pretty focused and gave a cohesive message where he covered the three points he promised to cover... thank goodness.
The message was titled "Prince of Peace." He read the passage in Isaiah 9

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

He made reference, as he so often does to the signs of the times and the fallen and crumbling world system we live in. A note on that: I realized today what an honor it is that I can celebrate the birth of Christ freely and openly and that, overall, my country supports it. It's on all the calendars. The Christmas themed stuff is everywhere. Yeah, it's all been watered down and hyped-up and Santa's taken over... but none of it would be happening if we weren't celebrating Christmas at all. My freedom to sing the carols publicly, wish people a Merry Christmas and display a creche could be taken away in my lifetime. Lawsuits are widespread. Satan is looking for willing participants to spread his message of tolerance. A tolerance that means Christians must be silenced so that any and all false religions can thrive. I heard on the radio just the other day about a Jewish Mom who sued her daughters school over their music class singing the song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" because it uses the word "Christmas" and also mentions "Santa Claus." I'm sure that music teacher went to great lengths to pick safe and acceptable songs that no one would object to. The objection to the word Christmas because of it's direct association with Christ makes sense (if it makes sense at all), but Santa?? We're not even raising Eden with a strong sense of Santa because we feel that it doesn't place Christ in the center of Christmas to do so. Anyway, I became aware that I take for granted my privilege to celebrate the true meaning of the season how I choose.
So, on to peace. Pastor mentioned that there had just recently been an international conference held to promote peace between peoples and tolerance between religions. They referenced a book by Gorbachev that states that exclusive religions must be eradicated. Unfortunately, just with a couple of quick searches online, I can't find the exact quote for myself. Maybe you can... The gist of it is that the road to peace is acceptance of everything and eradication of the unaccepting. This time of year reminds us to celebrate our friendship, kinship no less, with the Prince of Peace Himself. Everybody at that summit missed it. Gorbachev and his followers have missed it. It's not complicated. It's about surrender to Him. Yes, it's exclusive, but it's open to all. Yes, it's a global issue, but God made the world and all those in it.
Now, on to my title. I've experienced this peace for myself in a very real way just recently. I wondered (and sometimes still tend toward wondering) if there was something wrong. Something waiting to erupt beneath the surface, something I hadn't let myself experience. You know, repression of the grief or something else a psychiatrist would suggest as a reason for my unexplainable peace. I knew it was God. I had asked Him for it. But I felt apologetic about it. Others go through so much grief. This can't be right. This can't be ok. Something's wrong with me. (If that isn't Satan twisting a gift from God, I don't know what is.)
The three points Pastor had today were: 1. Get right with God. 2. Let God give you Peace. 3. Experience Peace with others.
He said everyone, including Christians, is trying to complicate it. I could totally see how I was doing that in my own situation. My experience was too simple. I went to God. I got peace from Him and I was able to be glad for others who were having healthy pregnancies. I was able to mourn, but not despair and not have tension when interacting with my husband or family. Peace, that's what it was.
Now take that and apply it to whatever you need to apply it to. Finances, marriage, relationships, work, mothering, fathering, whatever. In your weakness, He is strong. That means a weakness is merely an opportunity for Him to work, not a failure to fret over. That's peace in a situation that would usually be stressful.
It does seem too easy, but why would our God want to make it difficult. You think He gave His only Son to die for us so we could struggle to find the right prayer, the right combination of good works, the right feeling, the right fill-in-the-blank to open the combination lock on all His blessings? That's pretty pointless on His part then.
He wants us to have ALL the good things He offers! And we shouldn't be apologetic about receiving them just because others aren't! He offers them the same free gifts, and we can be the ones who bring the message! That's who I want to be this Christmas: an unapologetic messenger of Peace.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Stockings all Hung by the Chimney With Care

I think we've got most of our shopping done for Christmas.
I've made four unique photo books of Eden's first year for the grandparents and great-grandparents.
We're getting this wonderful book called "To Our Children's Children" for Chuck's grandparents. It's something we bought my Grandpa Gault the year before he died. It's just a guided journal that encourages the recipient to write out the memories of their life to pass on as a keepsake. The typed, bound copy my Grandpa returned to us is one of the most precious things I have from him.
We're baking for the aunts. I found a great carrot cake recipe from Giada on Food Network and I have some cute snowflake shaped cupcake... thingys.
My parent's said after 30 years of accumulating stuff as a couple, they can't really think of anything they need. I suggested they pick a charity and let people know how to donate in their name. We're still waiting on their decision.
The last person I needed to get something for was my cousin who's about 4-5 years younger than me. Yesterday, I came across this great sterling silver tree pendant and Psalm 1 came to mind:

1 Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.

3 He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

It's perfect for her because she's come from a broken home, surrounded herself with the wrong people, broken away, come back to God, and has started making a concerted effort to trust Him, keep a job and go to school. I'm so proud of her and I want to encourage her. I think God gave me this idea, so hopefully it will speak to her heart.
Our Christmas cards are going out in batches, and all in all, everything's pretty much on schedule. I'm proud of myself my first Christmas with a baby.
Speaking of the baby, she's yelling from her crib. Nap's over. :)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Hunt

It's wonderful to have a child who can feed herself. It's so freeing because I no longer have to roll the office chair over to the highchair in the kitchen and put each puff in her mouth and then each spoonful and then hold the bottle. I can sit in the office chair in front of the computer in the office and check email or... write a blog.
I'm writing this one just after she's finished and she's fussing in her highchair right now because I'm a little frustrated with her. I was over here reading someone else's blog while she drank her milk and then I heard the sound of the bottle tapping the tray, which meant it was not in her mouth. This is a very typical moment, by the way, lately... She's finished drinking and now she has a bottle in one hand and is looking at me, sitting straight up, just staring. I say "Ok, you finished? Very good. Mommy will come get the bottle." And I keep talking as sweetly as possible about how good she did and that she's all done while I quickly, but not too quickly cover the 6 feet or so of kitchen tile between us. In slow motion, I can see her moving the bottle out over the side of the tray. I try to move faster, but still not fast enough to make her drop it before I get there. I've tried lunging and yelling "NOOOOOoooo ma'am!" But it was already on the floor before I was halfway there. I feel like a tiger, but one who is trying to sweet talk it's prey into staying put. Still sing-songing how good she is, I keep eye contact and try to read any signals that she's about to let go. I'm one step away. "NOoooo ma'am!" I yell, leaping to try to intercept, as the bottle clatters to the floor... again. I smack her hand and firmly say "NO!"
She smiles sweetly at me and reclines. Then she signs "more." grrrrrr

Friday, December 05, 2008

Dexter's Lab

It's been a while since I did a favorite Friday post. This video is longer than most, but it's the only decent Dexter's Laboratory cartoon video I could find on YouTube.
I love Dexter's Lab. There's no special reason why, it just entertains me and makes me smile. I think the concept of a well-meaning extremely short-statured boy-genius who has so much brain power that he has to constantly be inventing things while trying to evade his loving, but air-headed sister Deedee, all with an accent that begs you to try to replicate it... is funny.