Monday, January 14, 2013

2012 New Year's Update!

December 2012
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! Here’s a brief synopsis of 2012 for us: BUSY!

OK, a few more details:
Almost, 17, Darla is itching to get her license. I can hardly believe that my baby girl is old enough to drive! She is having a wonderful Junior year and is quite focused on her academics as she looks forward to applying to colleges soon (I’ve been brainwashing the kids about Grove City for years, so we’ll see if my plan has worked…. I’ll let ya know in next year’s Christmas letter!) Darla has taken quite a course load at school this year with three AP classes in History, Language and Calculus! She is excited to be on the high school basketball team again and is really enjoying the season. Last spring, she had the privilege of receiving the Christian Character Award through basketball! In addition to athletics and academics, she continues to impress us with her accomplishments in music with her involvement in piano, band, choir and bells. She stays very involved at church with youth group, Bible study and summer missions.
Micah (14) began his high school career with a bang as a freshman at Plumstead Christian School! He was elected President of the 9th grade class, joined the debate team and participated in the high school production of Arsenic and Old Lace. At the same time he was involved in a community theatre production of Stage Door. (We are having a hard time keeping him from auditioning for every role that comes along!) He is involved in several musical pursuits: choir, ensemble, band and piano. He thoroughly enjoyed participating in County Band last spring and hopes to do that in high school as well. We were so proud of Micah’s achievements at 8th grade graduation in May, when he received the Christian Leadership Award (from PCS) and the Good Citizenship Award (from our state Senator.) Micah's also very involved in youth group and went on his first High School summer trip to World View Academy last summer.
Clara & Minnie Mouse
Little Miss Clara is now THREE! She is becoming quite the independent toddler. It’s amazing to see how much she has grown over the past year! Her vocabulary has exploded, she’s got a very creative imagination and, as her teachers have learned, she talks a lot! She has been really enjoying going to preschool this year and I think the teachers like to hear her stories because the rest of the class is so quiet! Clara and I love going to Kindermusik every week. It is so fun to see her participate more each time as she develops her love of music.

Phil & I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary this summer and enjoyed a couple of days to ourselves at a The Moon Shadow Inn near Hershey, PA! We both continue to be very involved in ministry at our church. Together we work with the young adults - I plan events and Phil teaches Sunday school. Phil is an Elder and also participates in the Men’s Fraternity. I have continued in my ministries as MOPS Coordinator, team teaching Ladies’ Bible Study and helping with Senior High Girl’s Bible Study. I also enjoy writing at, where you can read about our family during the year. Phil continues to be a contract engineer with Comcast though his company, Embedded Innovations.

As 2012 draws to a close, we are thankful to God for all His blessings and look forward to 2013! May God bless you abundantly in the New Year!


Phil, Denise, Darla, Micah and Clara Mooney

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Greetings 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone!

We have had a full year here in the Mooney household.  Never a dull moment with two teens and a tot!
Hope you enjoy our highlights of 2011:

Kids decorating Christmas tree this year

Phil and Denise

Phil started his own business this year by becoming an LLC.  His company of one is Embedded Innovations and he contracts himself out to different companies doing embedded software development.  Currently he is enjoying working on digital cable set-top boxes with Comcast Cable.  He has a long commute and takes advantage of his driving time to catch up on his "reading" books! Phil is an Elder at our church, teaches our young adult Sunday school, and helps out with the sound system as well as the church website.

We enjoyed a couple of trips to Ohio to visit Phil's folks.  Over the summer for Father's Day and most recently for Thanksgiving.  On our latest visit we were able to join friends in Ohio to celebrate with Phil's college buddy, Hans, as he became a Colonel in the United States Air Force!  This whirlwind Thanksgiving tour culminated in returning to PA just in time for Denise's 25th high school reunion.
Thanksgiving Day at Cracker Barrel
I now introduce myself as a non-stay-at-home-mom, because I am never home!  I enjoy volunteering at Plumstead Christian School whenever I can.  Last year I was one of the lunch ladies and got a real kick out of all the high school boys who enjoyed flirting with Clara who sat in her stroller, smiling and waving at all the students!

This year I haven't been able to be at PCS on a regular basis because of all the other responsibilities that have filled my schedule.  I continue to enjoy co-teaching the Ladies' Bible Study and Senior High Girls' Bible Study.  Clara and I started attending a Kindermusik class at the piano studio and she absolutely loves it!  Our church started a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) program and much of my time as Coordinator has been working with several of the young moms in our congregation to get that up and running in a matter of months!  It has been a blessing to see God's hand at work opening the doors to allow this ministry and I'm so thankful that Clara and I can continue to be active in MOPS.

Phil and I also work with the young adults at our church, which involves Sunday school, dinners at our house, movie nights, game nights, sports nights and 1/2 price appetizers at Applebee's after 9 p.m.  Let's just say they keep us feelin' young!

In addition to all this, I play Mom too.  This means, driving, driving and more driving - to school, to church, to play practice, to piano lessons, to music class, to basketball practice, etc.  The games, cheers, recitals, performances, applause, awards, hugs and kisses (these are usually from Clara!) are worth every mile in the car!

Target portrait for Mother's Day
When I get the chance to sit and relax I try to work on my blogs, My Mid Life Motherhood ( and Denitra's Den (  I have had a lot of fun opportunities and trips as a result of my blogging and am looking forward to doing more in the future.  You can keep up to date with our family throughout the year at each of those websites.


Winter Ball 2011
Darla will be 16 in a few weeks!  She is anxiously anticipating her Sweet Sixteen and is already looking forward to learning how to drive.  Darla is a very active young lady in school, church and community. She continues to grow musically playing piano, saxophone and hand bells. Last Spring she was awarded "Most Improved Musician" in the high school band. After only playing for a few weeks, she found herself performing with the band last November for Sarah Palin!

Darla enjoys being part of the youth group at church.  This summer the group went to West Virginia on a missions trip where they did construction work for needy families.  Currently the youth are working on some service projects for this Spring and Darla is very excited about the opportunity to help organize a fundraiser.


Darla & Micah in a friend's Quinceanera
This was quite an eventful summer for Darla and Micah.  MomMom and PopPop McNulty took all their grand kids, minus Clara, to Florida!  They visited family, Universal Studios with the new Harry Potter amusement park, and of course, Disney World - it was truly a trip of a lifetime for them all!

Disney World with the cousins
Darla and Micah also participated with Theatre and Kids Summer Camps, Micah as a camper and Darla as an apprentice.  Darla had great opportunities to learn, perform and tour NYC.  Micah had a lot of fun, especially enjoying learning to juggle - which he has not stopped doing every day since - it's his goal - juggle something every day!  This fall both of them were involved in the T & K performance of Jane Eyre.  Darla landed the role of Jane and performed beautifully!
Jane Eyre and St. John

Micah is 13 and has been having a great year in 8th grade.  This fall he was elected as President of Junior High!  He has been enjoying this new role in addition to his academics, band, choir, hand bells, and basketball.  Micah continues to grow musically as well, continuing piano and playing percussion.  He too was awarded the "Most Improved Musician" for the Junior High Band last Spring and was thrilled to perform for Sarah Palin.
As Court Juggler for Madrigals
Micah started playing basketball and tennis at school last year.  He is looking forward to continuing in those athletic endeavors.  He had fun doing a juggling act at school as a jester in their annual Madrigal dinner. He has a new love for debate (could be the teen years kicking in?!) and is interested in joining the debate club when he gets to high school.

Clara wearing one of Darla's ballet recital costumes
Clara turned 2 in August and we celebrated with a big birthday bash for her and PopPop who celebrated his 70th that same month.  It is hard to believe that last summer she was just beginning to walk and say a few words, because now it's hard to get her to stop running or talking!  She is a typical active toddler who loves to dance, climb, chase the cats, and play peek-a-boo.  Clara loves to read and watch Mickey Mouse Club House, which Mommy appreciates for much needed breaks to do laundry or dishes!  Clara especially loves going to music class weekly and cries when Darla and Micah go for their lessons, because it's not her turn!  Her favorite thing is dressing up as a princess.  Everyday she asks to put on her "pincess dess!"- of which we have many. Clara fills our day with lots of hugs, kisses and cuddles which is the perfect antidote to any teenage drama that may occur!

Well, those are just a few of the highlights of our year (like I said, we are a busy family!)  We hope that each of you have a wonderful Christmas and, despite the hustle and bustle of the season, can rest in the joy of salvation we celebrate through the birth of Jesus Christ!


Phil, Denise, Darla, Micah and Clara Mooney

Dusting Off Denitra's Den

It has been so long since I posted over here at Denitra's Den that I felt it was necessary to dust it off and keep you all up to date on our life (especially since my Christmas Card post never made it to cyber space...until today!)

I've been very busy trying to focus on My Mid-Life Motherhood, so unfortunately have neglected this blog, the laundry, dishes, and various sundry housework.  As I attempt to get things a little more balanced, I hope to touch base here a bit more often, otherwise Cupcake will go from tot to teen in a matter of posts.

I had started updating this blog, but didn't quite finish. I thought I would at least post what I did, so you could see a glimpse of Clara before she started running and speaking in sentences. Check back this week for the update on the rest of us over the past year. Yes, there is more to our life than our cute little Cupcake...although she's the sweetest part! Enjoy!

Looking at the previous post from Clara's birthday, I can't believe how little she looks! Check her out this past Spring:
My Little Bunny at her first Easter Egg Hunt!

Me & My Mini Me on Easter Sunday!

At this point, she was 20 1/2 months (or 1 1/2 years for those of us who have stopped counting our age in months and have moved on to decades instead!)  She is quite tall, although not as tall as Darla & Micah were, so she's actually the shortest one of the three.  Measuring 33" at 18 months, if doubled that puts her at 5'6" when she's grown!  Possible with Daddy's height, although we can't forget that my lack of height might hinder our kids just a bit.  I'm not sure Darla's headed for the predicted 5'8" either (at least she's surpassed me by about a 1/4 of an inch, currently standing tall shortly at 5' 2 1/4"!).  When we doubled Micah's height at 2 years old it came to 6' 4"... so we'll see if he lives up to that and passes Dad's 6' 2" stature (he should be passing me soon!)

Clara is just on the verge of the toddler talking explosion as she jibber jabbers away and attempts to mimic what you say.  I imagine she'll be speaking in sentences shortly!  Some of her favorite words that are quite clear are hi, by, and no (of course!).  Below are some of her other favorites that require a bit of translation:

boooon:  translation - baloon
baaaal: translation - ball (must be squealed with delight for accurate pronunciation!)
boo pee: translation - peek a boo
eetta: translation - eat
mmmm: translation - monkey (gestures with angry fists when she says this one!)
mow: translation for- meow (used to just say "ow" but has since added the m.)
dyeee: translation - Daddy (Finally started saying "MaMa" just the other week.  When I would say, "Mama", she would say, "DaDa", with an impish grin...I think I have a little comedian on my hands!)
I...u: translation - I love you!  (This is my favorite, followed by a big kiss!)

Clara is quite an active toddler! She is very friendly and sociable, which was quite obvious when her first word was "Hi!", accompanied with a very enthusiastic wave that has since morphed into a cute princess wave.  She loves toting her baby doll around, giving her hugs and kisses (when she gives kisses she makes a ma sound.)  She is an avid "reader" - she just loves to sit and look at books. Her stubborn streak comes out when we actually try to read the books to her, she likes to be in control of the pages!

Overall, Clara has really been an easygoing baby. She is content in her crib, highchair, carseat, and play yard and, if not, she calms down easily with the magic CD (Sounds Like Fun from Discovery Toys...worked for all the kids!). She goes down easily for naps and bedtime and usually doesn't mind being dropped off at the nursery for church or MOPS.   I'm enjoying immensely reliving toddlerhood with Clara and reminding Darla & Micah that they used to be just as cute.  As you'll see below, they are growing up!

Christmas "Card" 2010

(Hmmmm, never posted this last Christmas, but thought it was worth doing, before I finish this year's update!  Sorry, went ahead with only a couple pictures, just to get it posted!)

It's official. I've decided to go digital with our Christmas card and send out a Christmas post instead. It seems that once again, Christmas is around the corner and there are no more white spaces left on the calendar for me to find the time to get a Christmas picture done & printed, or to sit, write, address, stamp, stuff and lick the envelopes. So my procrastinatingly, hectic life, basketball mom, chauffeur, toddler time apologies to all of you who will be receiving my cyber space Christmas post. The boxes of Christmas cards sit on the table nearby, (they were nice too) and perhaps I'll get to send them out next year! (Ha! Who am I kidding?! It's only gonna get busier...but the busier the better because it is full of blessings!)
Family at GCC!

Here's what we've been up to in 2010:

We have been thoroughly enjoying life with baby! It has been fun to watch her accomplish all her "firsts" and reminisce about Darla and Micah when they were her age. They have both been wonderful siblings to Clara and it is a joy to see them interact with and care for her!

We took a few family trips over the year. Two to Virginia. The first, sadly, to attend the funeral of Dave, our Best Man. It was a blessing that we could go, catch up with old friends and be reminded of the impact others have in our lives. It was amazing to see and hear about the testimony Dave had and the lives he touched. We are glad to have had the privilege of knowing him and praise the Lord that he is now in glory!

Our second trip to Virginia, was our annual vacation with Phil's folks at his brother Steve's house in Virginia Beach. We enjoyed the yearly trek to the water park down the street, the beach, and even a sunset cruise on a tall ship! It was a great time relaxing with family and enjoying watching as Clara learned to push her little walker around. On our return trip home we made several stops to visit some old friends from college and seminary before a brief stay in N. Wildwood for July 4th!

The rest of the summer was put on hold when I fell with Clara and ended up in the hospital for 10 days and 3 casts for 4-6 weeks! That was a rough time. Thanks to my Mom, who basically lived with us for 5 weeks (and Dad who let her!), and our amazing church family who provided meals and more, we all came through unscathed survived! I've got a nice huge scar to show for it and a couple "football" injuries that now ache when it rains, but that is all much better than living in the dining room with a hospital bed in place of the table! It is hard to believe that it all happened, but I've got pictures to prove it:) Clara and I had a race to see who would walk first without assistance...she won...what an overachiever!

My fall has been busy with weeks and weeks of physical therapy while juggling naptime and the kid's schedules. In addition, I've continued to co-teach our Ladies' Bible Study and started helping out with the Senior High Girl's Bible study too. Phil and I have also started to work with the young adults in our church. We've been attending the Sunday school where we've been viewing Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace videos, which have been a timely study for us as well. In the evenings we've been organizing meals and activities with the group which has been a lot of fun!

The Kids


Darla will be 15 in less than a month! Wow?! It seems like yesterday when she looked like Clara...sniff...sniff...sniff.... This past year she graduated from 8th grade with high honors and an impressive amount of awards! We are so proud of her accomplishments, but even more so of the Christian character she has demonstrated in school, church and at home. Over the summer she was awarded for memorizing the Westminster Shorter Catechism and she went on her first mission trip on her own with the senior high youth group to Georgia. There she was challenged in many areas of construction as their team helped restore several homes for needy families.

This past year Darla said good-bye to braces (round two!) and hello to contacts before starting high school!  She is the type of person who looks quite different in glasses, so much so, that several people have not recognized her!  She is growing up to become quite a beautiful young lady and enjoyed her first semi-formal dance at school just this week.  She continues to play piano and was approached to play saxophone for the school band, which she has been enjoying.  It has been a busy year for her with her involvement in community theater, school activities, church events, academics and athletics.  We enjoyed a trip to Grove City College for my 20th reunion over homecoming and Darla expressed interest in attending - with her resume thus far, she should be good to go!


Micah has been having a great year of transition too as he started at a new school.  He graduated from Grace Christian school, which he loved immensely, and is now attending Plumstead too, which he seems to like just as much!  He has made immediate friends, helped start a ping-pong club, plays percussion in the band, and is looking forward to playing basketball and tennis - all in all a great 7th grade year!  He has been excelling academically, as well, which is good for him since he's having to follow in his sister's footsteps!

A highlight of Micah's year was performing as Edmund in the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe with Theater & Kids.  What a thrill to land a lead right out of the gate and he did a great job with the part, we are so proud of him!  He's been bitten by the acting bug and is now rehearsing for his role as the professor in Little Women at PCS.

At 16 months, Clara is quite an active toddler!  She is very friendly and sociable, which was quite obvious when her first word was "Hi!", accompanied with a very enthusiastic wave that has since morphed into a cute princess wave.  Her other favorite words are uh-oh, baby, ow (for meow), bye, baaallll, dada and when she gives kisses she makes a ma sound.  She loves toting her baby doll around, giving her hugs and kisses.  She is an avid "reader" - she just loves to sit and look at books.  Her stubborn streak comes out when we actually try to read the books to her, she likes to be in control of the pages!

Overall, Clara has really been an easygoing baby.  She is content in her crib, highchair, carseat, and play yard and she calms down easily with the magic CD (Sounds Like Fun from Discovery Toys...worked for all the kids!).    She goes down easily for naps and bedtime and usually doesn't mind being dropped off at the nursery for church or MOPS.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Cupcake!

It has been an amazing year watching Clara grow and develop into this little person on the verge of walking! She is pretty much in full control of her walker as she zooms around the house, making course corrections as needed to turn corners and avoid furniture. Her favorite activity is taking laps pushing her walker or holding tightly to one finger as someone strolls with her. When confined to her play yard, she holds on with her left hand as she walks the perimeter, climbing over the toys she has strewn on the floor like a little obstacle course.

Her personality is so sweet and adorable too! She's gone from those accidental smiles that amuse us to belly laughs of delight when we amuse her. She is gaining in confidence as she tries out new things with this body of hers: attempting to stand up without pulling up on anything, shaking her head to make her self dizzy, or trying to look through her legs without tumbling over! She is curious about herself and the world around her: discovering her belly button and then watching her belly move in and out, picking up my shirt to see what's underneath (as well as any unsuspecting person with a loose T-shirt that sits her on their lap!), or pulling at her ears and wondering why there isn't anything in them when she looks at her hands!

Naturally, Clara seemed to thoroughly enjoy her birthday. She just loved the attention throughout the day. She even got to go swimming in her birthday appropriate! It was her first time in our pool and, though she seemed a bit hesitant at first, after donning her cute swimsuit and sitting in her ladybug raft with a sun canopy, she seemed to enjoy the water.

Tradition in our family is to go out to dinner on one's birthday, so we took Clara to Applebee's on our way down to the shore. Clara is a real meat and potatoes kinda girl, so she really enjoyed some of my grilled chicken and veggies. At present time, she delighted in peeking in the gift bags, tearing up the tissue paper and pulling out her toys! She was not sure why all the strangers gathered around her to sing, but she gave them a little smile when they were done. We let her try a few tastes of dessert for her birthday. After she got a fist full of whip cream, she examined it before giving her fingers a lick and delicately putting her pointer finger back in the sundae for more. She was a bit shocked at first when she got a taste of the cold ice cream, but she must have enjoyed all the new tastes and sensations since she cried when it was all done!

Our little cupcake is no longer a baby, but a toddler full of personality, adventure, independence and curiosity. We look forward to another year of growth and development as she learns and discovers new things each day!


On Saturday, the day after her birthday, while playing with all the cousins, she decided it was time to officially start walking. Within minutes, she went from taking a couple of steps to toddling clear across the room! Her siblings and cousins enjoyed tiring her out by seeing who she would walk to, how many steps she would take and having her toddle to each of them to give a cuddle! Later, she enjoyed her first taste of fish (yum!) and birthday cake (double yum!) This time 'round she throughly enjoyed our rendition of Happy Birthday!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Clara's One Year Portrait

Today we went to Target to have Clara's one year portrait done. For each child's 1st birthday we have gotten a special picture of them sitting in my Grandmother's antique rocker. My Great-Great-Grandfather made the rocker when he worked at Van Sciver's Furniture Co. in Camden, NJ in the late 1800's. In the mid 1900's Grandmom re-covered it with her needlepoint. Below are some of our favoites from todays sitting. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Star Wars Movie Party

This past Saturday our family got decked out in our Star Wars regalia to attend Micah's 12th birthday party! We had rented an old, 1924, beautifully refurbished theater about 20 minutes away. The Grand Theater was the perfect spot to have a gathering of many Jedi, Sith, Padme, Clones, Darth Vader, Captain Rex, Han Solo, Princess Leahs and even an ear muff coiffed MomMom!
With light saber in hand Micah greeted his guests dressed in his tan Snuggie, which should of won an Oscar for its portrayal of a Jedi robe. I must say he looked the part and lived up to his Star Wars Jedi name, Moomi. One of the other mothers thought her son had spelled Mooney wrong when he corrected her by informing his mom that Moomi was Micah's Jedi name!

Goes to show ya that this was the perfect year to pull off a party like this. I was skeptical that 11, 12 and 13 year old boys would be interested in coming in costume, but they proved me wrong as they paraded around the theater, some in full costume and face paint!

The theater was quite accommodating to a party of nutty Star Wars fans, a frazzled mom and baby Clara who refused to nap because she was so intent on watching the movie! If you live in the area I would highly recommend such an event. We hardly filled a few rows, so it would be a great venue for a fundraiser or bigger showing. Check out The Grand Theater for your next party! The prices are so much nicer than the huge complexes. When's the last time you paid $2.75 for a reasonably sized bucket of popcorn?! Their regular showings, which are usually a bit behind the complexes, run $3 for matinees and $5 for the evening shows! I do believe we will be returning in the future:)

As many of you may know, every year I attempt some sort of themed birthday cake. Last year we had a Star Wars: The Clone Wars game party, so I combined two of Micah's loves for the cake: Star Wars & Monopoly. I made a cake that looked like a pair of dice and set it in the middle of our Star Wars Monopoly game board.

This year, Micah requested the Millennium Falcon. Uh, I don't think so! I knew that, with the baby, my fingers and back would not hold up to that task. When I mentioned that the Millennium Falcon might be out of my league this year, Micah readily offered his next idea: crossed light sabers. Now we're talkin' - that I could do! Apparently, so could he as you can see Micah's handiwork on the birthday cupcakes below.

Naturally, things couldn't go that easily! When big sis heard that I was only making cupcakes, she was shocked that I wasn't making a cake for her brother's 12th birthday. Feeling slightly guilty for not living up to traditional birthday expectations, I attempted to determine where Micah stood on the issue. He tried to make me feel okay with the cupcake decision (what a sweet boy!), but I could tell he would have rather had a more special dessert.

Having purchased everything I needed to do the cupcakes and running out of time before the event to come up with a replacement cake, I decided to be a little adventurous with what I had. Micah helped create the light sabers, while I worked on R2-D2!

This little guy was worth the effort when Micah gave me a huge hug and exclaimed how cool R2 looked. He was so excited about the outcome, that I was thrilled I had taken a little more time to make something for which he was so proud and thankful. Hey, I'm no Cake Boss, and given more time and the correct supplies, I could have done a much better job, but I sure felt like I had created the ultimate masterpiece for Micah!

Micah was so excited about R2 that he wanted to save him for a special treat after the party. He was quite downhearted when I had to break the news to him that R2-D2 had survived many battles in Star Wars, but he had not survived the trek home from the party.

Poor R2

Micah was a good sport and enjoyed eating R2 just the same!

(What a good actor - he really looks sad!)

Although the loss of R2-D2 was hard to . . . swallow, this ranks as one of our family's favorite birthday events!