Saturday, July 31, 2010

Katie Bug in Wonderland

On Thursday, my parents and I took advantage of Daddy's day off by heading out to the "Wonderland Adventure" exhibit at the Gaylord Texan.  Let me tell you, those people know how to decorate on a theme!

I am so embarassed to say that Mommy has never read either of Lewis Carroll's books about little Miss Alice.  She has, however, seen Tim Burton's adaptation of the story and is quite familiar with the poem, Jabberwocky.  Given her lack of Wonderland background knowledge, though, I am sure that the siginificance of some of the decor was lost on her.

Throughout the Gaylord Atrium, there were various stations that depicted scenes from the Wonderland books.  Each station was accompanied by a short description of the scene, as well as a note about the artist and medium.

This umbrella display was one of Mommy's favorites...although she has no idea where this plays into Alice's story!  Anyone care to enlighten her?

She thought this depiction of the Jabberwock was quite clever, too.

Daddy was very impressed by this sand sculpture.

There was so much eye candy at the Gaylord that I was more than happy to stay in my stroller taking it all in...

for a while, anyway.  Then it was up to Daddy's shoulders...

and down to the ground for some walking. 
As excited as I was to see the big "hop" (Mommy called him the White Rabbit), this was as close as I let him get. He was a good hop, though. He chould sense my uneasiness and didn't try to get any closer.

Mommy and Daddy managed to get me (sort of) still long enough to snap a few pictures on the big girl park bench.

If you live in the DFW Metroplex, I recommend taking a little day trip out the the Gaylord to view this exhibit.  It runs through September 6, so you still have plenty of time!  Here's a link with more information. 

Oh, and learn from our mistake...Mommy just noticed that parking is complimentary with a daily purchase of $25 or more at any of the restaurants or retail stores (you just have to get your ticket validated).  If we had known that beforehand it would have saved us $12!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Illinois Family Photo Shoot

My family is thrilled with the professional family photos we had done while we were in Illinois.  Here's a sample of some of the shots.

I think I only cracked a smile in about 5% of the pics.  I was in a very no-photos-please-I-want-my-Mommy mood that night!

Ahh, there's that crooked smile my parents love!  It only took an old, paint splattered ladder to bring it out.

In case you're interested, our wonderful photographer, Kara Kamienski, has posted a few more of our photos on her blog.

And I can't forgot to give a big thanks to all of you who shared your opinions on my outfit for the shoot!  As you can see, we decided to go with the denim dress from "Aunt" Michele and "Uncle" Ryan.  The red pouf bow was actually borrowed from Kara....that girl came prepared, I tell ya'! 

Thanks to a recommendation from another mommy on, we were also able to find a great brown dress at a Crazy 8 store.  Poppy actually made the thirty minute trek to Crazy 8 the night before we headed to IL, so I need to say "thanks" to him, too!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Feet Washing and Nail Painting

One of the highlights of Auntie, Mimi, and Poppy's trip to Haiti was washing the feet and painting the nails of over 200 women and children.  As I mentioned Monday, Mommy first thought this act of service was a huge, frivolous waste of time. 

She was wrong, though. This comment from our blog friend, Jessica, was spot on.  She said, "It may seem like frivolity, but to women who never get the luxuries we do, I'm sure it was very life-giving. Like making eye contact or touching the hand of a homeless person, anything to show you see them as a human being is an incredible gift."

After hearing several members of our church's Haiti team describe how God orchestrated the events of this day, Mommy came to realize that the women of Gelee Beach really did see these pedicures as a gift.  And since there's no way I could recount the details as well as someone who was there, I decided to share Auntie's account of that day (with additional commentary from Mommy in paranthesis...because she always likes to add her two cents).

"There are so many things that God did while we were in Haiti, and time after time he showed us his divine plan for us being there.  One of the most impacting events for me on this trip was the foot washing.

Every night we spent time debriefing about the day and praying for God to show us his plan for the next day. For those who don’t know, the original missionaries we were going to work with were unable to take on our team and we found this out 2 weeks before our trip. But we believe God ordained this change and we all trusted that God had a reason for this last minute change, even though it was originally hard for some of us to accept.

Sunday night after dinner we began to pray for God’s direction for Monday and we really poured out our hearts with wanting God’s agenda to plan out this week... even though it started out with last minute changes that caused chaos. Our original plan for Monday was for us to go out and distribute surveys for how the water filtration system (previously distributed by the missionary couple we worked with) was working in the home, as well as some vitamins and food to the families. During our prayer time, God really feel in the room and His prescence was so strong...which really happened every night.

Rachel, who was the missionary, really felt that God gave her a vision of us washing people’s feet as a prophetic act. She felt that as we washed their feet they would in turn begin to wash each other’s feet, even thought they wouldn’t understand the spiritual meaning. It would still be an act of service and love for them to experience. She really didn’t know how this was going to happen, but believed this was what God had planned. (Before the team from our church arrived in Haiti, Rachel and her husband, James, had received a large donation of nail polishes.  They had been holding onto them for a while, wondering how to make use of them.)

Her husband then asked some Haitian people (who work with them) for their response to this idea from a cultural perspective. Their initial thought was that they did not think this was a good idea, because it could be taken as embarrassing or prideful for them to allow us to wash their feet.  They thought the people would definitely not wash each other’s feet because the were many in the community that did not like each other.

We serve a God who does miracles and goes beyond comprehension and understanding, though, and we really believed this was still God’s desire. We went forward with our plans.

We set up 3 washing bins, an area where we would lotion and massage their legs, and the final station we would paint their toes.

(While the women prepared the washing/pedicure stations, the men from the group went through the village distributing water filteration surveys, vitamins, and food as planned.  At each home, they invited the women and children to the missionary's home later in the afternoon for a pedicure.  News of the pedicures traveled fast!  The men said that everywhere they went, people were talking about the pedicures they were going to be given.  Many women and children even changed into their best clothes for the event.)

As the women and children began to come, you could see that they really were blessed. Smiles were evident (as a general rule, Haitians rarely smile...they are very somber people).

There were even several women and children who worked by washing and painting toes without being asked.  This was a miracle in itself!

(The team also gave each women a copy of the Gospel according to Saint Jean.  They showed those who could read the passage where Jesus washes the disciples feet.)

The town was all talking about the pedicures they were getting.  Even at the end of the week, there was still talk in Gelee beach about how they all got pedicures. It was a very humbling experience to realized how hard these women’s lives were. Each foot I touched was rough and scarred with cuts, some had open wounds and fungi. I really believe it served as a symbol of how their hearts and sprits are the same. But yet, God was able to allow us to minister to them even though they were unable to fully comprehend or understand why we would wash their feet."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Play, Play, Play

I am pretty much an expert at playing.  I mean, seriously, I'm really good at it. 

And since Mommy's about to head back to the workforce next week, we've been doing a whole lot of playing lately.  More specifically, we've been doing a whole lot of playdating lately.

At the beginning of the month, my new friends, Ava and Olivia, came over to play.  Ava is the sweetest ever 2 year old, and Olivia was the most chillaxed newborn I've met yet.  My Mommy has been friends with their mommy since middle school and their daddy since high school.  And my Auntie has been friends with their auntie since middle school.  We had a great time together!

Last Tuesday, Mommy took me out to the splash pad to do some splashing with our friends, Maddie and Ethan, who were in town from Colorado.  We were also joined by Ian and Preston.  All of our parents have been friends for a long time, too!

Last Wednesday and Thursday, I went over to Ian and Preston's house to play...but Mommy forgot to take pictures of those playdates.  I had a blast both times, though, and was sad when Mommy told me it was time to go home.

Monday I had a Chick-Fil-A playdate with Kelly and Cooper, as well as Lanetta (anther former teacher friend of Mommy's) and her boys, Josh, Joey, and John.  We sure did rock that playground!  Mr. Cooper impressed everyone with his walking skills, the J boys impressed everyone with their toddler-helping skills, and I impressed everyone with my no-fear-of-the-big-kids skills.

And today, Mommy and I met up with "Aunt" Michele and Leila at the Dallas Arboretum.  Mommy can't believe that it's taken us almost 5 months to set up a playdate with these two.  We'll have to make up for lost time during Mommy's teacher breaks throughout the school year.

I sure have been playing my heart out!  Mommy and I will miss these week day playdates in the months to come...but we'll make sure we fit a few in on the days Mommy doesn't have to work.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sunday Best

Can you believe this is the only decent picture Mommy managed to snap yesterday?  She thought she was being efficient by leaving the DSLR camera at home.  It only took a few minutes for her to remember why the point-and-shoot just doesn't it when there's a quick toddler around.

I was thrilled to see my Auntie when I woke up Sunday morning.  She came home from Haiti late Saturday night, but I don't think she minded my early morning entrance too much!  We sure did miss each other.

Auntie, Mimi, and Poppy all said that their week in Haiti was tiring, but fruitful.  They provided medical clinics, conducted follow up on water purification systems that had previously been given to the locals, and did lots and lots of praying. 

One evening, they even washed the feet of women in the village and gave them pedicures.  When Mommy first heard about these pedicures, she began mentally questioning the point of such frivolity in a country where there are so many immediate, pressing physical needs.  As she listened to Auntie tell the story of how God brought this act of service about, though, she lost her critical attitude.  Sadly, I'm going to have to leave you in the dark on that one for I think the story is good enough to warrant it's own post.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Who knew one tiny mosquito could do so much damage?

One tiny mosquito. One huge reaction.

I've had about 10 mosquito bites in my life and this is the third to swell up like this.  Actually, by the time I went to bed last night this bite looked even worse. 

Mommy talked to the nurse at my pediatrician's office yesterday, and she said that Benadryl is our only course of action unless the bite site begins weeping, I start running a fever, or my actual eye turns red.  Thankfully, though, none of those things have happened.

Mommy is no stranger to swelling when it comes to mosquito bites.  She's always been one of those "quick swellers", herself.  My swelling, however, goes above and beyond what Mommy is used to...which leaves both her and Daddy feeling very nervous.

So, to help put my Mommy and Daddy at ease, I decided to solicit advice from you.  Any one out there have experience with similar reactions to normally-innocent-bug bites?  If so, what remedies have worked for you?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cutie Caleb

I was finally able to meet my second cousin, Caleb, while my family and I were in Illinois. 

Doesn't he have the best cheeks?  If you were to only see his face, you might think he is a little chunk...but he's not a chunk at all!

Caleb and his mommy, Rebekah, were extra sweet to me on this trip.  They sent over Caleb's pack and play, along with some toys and books, to Nana and Papa's house for me to use each day. And they brought a little table for Caleb and me to sit at during our family reunion.

And they invited me over to their house for a playdate. 

Rebekah even went out of her way to get me to smile when I was less than photogenic at our professional photo shoot.

Talk about thoughtful!

Some of you may remember Caleb from November's post requesting prayer for him. Caleb was born with a handful of internal abnormalities, but as he grows (and undergoes procedure after procedure), his body is slowly beginning to operate more normally. My family is praying that Caleb's body will be completely healed one day!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pure Fabulousness

No family trip to Illinios is complete without a visit to Aunt Pat and Uncle Maurice's farm.  Their home was built in 1886 and it is pure fabulousness!  Two pieces of trivia that make this house unique are 1) Uncle Maurice was actually born here (he says his arrival held up the noon meal by two hours) and 2) it is located right on a county line...which means it belongs to two different counties!  How crazy is that?

The beauty of the house isn't the only reason my family likes to head their way, though.  Pat and Maurice are also beautiful people, and an evening with them is always full of thoughtful and laughful conversation!

Aunt Pat was a school teacher for many years.  Since Uncle Maurice doesn't like to do just one thing, he's been a teacher, pastor, and farmer.  At 80 years old, Maurice is still farming their land!  Their joint love, though, is probably antiques.  Not only is their house full of them (I'm talkin' really, really full), but they also sell them at a nearby antique mall.

Like Nana, Pat and Maurice can tell you the story behind every piece of furniture in their home.  Some pieces have been passed down from either side of their family, and some were aquired through Pat and Maurice's estate sale endeavors. 

Here's a little pictoral tour of their home:

Isn't this parlor gorgeous?

Here's a scene that's repeated often in this home.  Uncle Maurice just chuckled when Mommy asked if they've read all the books in their house.

This staircase has always been a favorite of my family.

This bedroom is furnished with beautiful antiques and old family photos.  My great-great grandma Harnish made the quilt on the bed.

Mommy was thrilled to be allowed entry into this bedroom for the first time ever. The picture's a little dark, but you can take my word for it when I say the furniture was marvelous.

On the other hand, Mommy was ashamed of herself when she realized that this was the first time she'd ever ventured out of the house to check out the other buildings on Pat and Maurice's land.  I'm glad she did, though, because one peek into this barn revealed a claw foot tub, old church pews, and an old park bench.
I told you their place was full of antiques!

And a few more of the beautiful buildings on their land.  Uncle Maurice says that you know you're in trouble when your grounds are in such a shape that artistic types (like my Daddy) want to photograph them.  I'm not so sure that he's right.

Mommy and Mimi decided that the next time they go to Illinois they'll take along a trailer.  Aunt Pat said if they do, they are welcome to go shopping in her garage...which is stocked from top to bottom with furntiture.  Guess Mommy had better start saving her pennies!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday Best (with a hint of Saturday & a prayer request thrown in for good measure)

Today was an extra special day for me because I got to worship in the nursery with Mommy and Cousin Micah!  Let me tell you, I need to take a lesson in nursery demeanor from Micah (or Mocah, as I like to call him).  He was the chillest toddler ever...especially considering that he was in a new place with new people.  Had our roles been reversed, I would have been screaming my head off!

Micah and I were able to be in the nursery together because Aunt Becky and Uncle Brian brought him into town this weekend for a little visit.  It was so nice to be able to spend time with all of the Moss clan...including the little Moss growing in Aunt Becky's tummy.  That's right, Micah is going to be a big brother this coming January!  We are all very excited for his family.

Yesterday morning, my family headed over to Gramma and Grampa's house for a scrum-diddly-umptious breakfast of homemade donuts, scrambled eggs, and mini sausages.

Didn't Grampa do a great job on the donuts? 
He is the official Moss donut maker.

Once the breakfast dishes were cleared, we all headed out to Uptown Center for a little splash pad time.
It was super hot out yesterday, but we were able to nab a great shaded spot to rest in.

Micah and I took this watery opportunity to break in the toddler towels Gramma made for us.  This towel came just in time for me, as I have most definitely outgrown the majority of my baby-sized hooded towels.
Thanks, Gramma!

On a completely unrelated note, I would really appreciate it if you kept Auntie, Mimi, and Poppy in your prayers this week.  They, along with 6 other people from our church, left yesterday morning for a (mostly) medical missions trip to Haiti.  It has been encouraging to observe how God has brought this trip together, and we are trusting that he will work through this team to bring help, hope, and healing to the Haitian community they will be serving.

Mimi and Poppy actually met in Haiti 35 years ago, so the current crisis in this country is especially near and dear to their hearts.  Here's a pic of each of them from their earlier time in Haiti.

As the week goes on, I'll be sure to fill you in on any details that come trickling in from the Haiti team!

Saturday, July 17, 2010


I'd like to start this post with a portion of one of Poppy's favorite songs, Generations by Sara Groves.

Remind me of this with every decision.
Generations will reap what I sow.
I can pass on a curse or a blessing to those I will never know.
Whether or not the above sentiment was in the conscious minds of my ancestors I will never know.  I do, however, know that their lives have passed on many, many blessings to me.  (And that goes for both sides of my family, even though this post is a direct reference to Mommy's side.)

One of the reasons Mommy loves Illinois trips is because walking on the same ground her great-great-great grandparents trod leaves her feeling connected to her past in a way the streets of Dallas never can. 

Illinois is home to the church Mommy's parents and grandparents were married in...

as well as the final resting place for Mommy's great-greatparents, great-great grandparents, and great-great-great grandparents. All in the same cemetery.

These pictures may seem a bit macabre, but they serve as a reminder that the decisions, character, and priorities characterizing our lives will live on long past the moment we breathe our last breath.

Mommy's great grandparents passed down the blessing of a strong work ethic.

Her great-great grandparents passed down the blessing of a strong financial foundation.

And her great-great-great grandparents passed down the blessing of a strong faith.

To all the Guth, Harnish, Schertz, Ulrich, Pierce, Smith, Moss, Parker, Epler, and Eyer family members who have passed on blessings to me:
Thank You