Thursday, April 30, 2009

Portraits of a Princess

My new cousin-in-law (is that right?) emailed me the other day asking if I could describe Saylor's flower girl dress from their January wedding. She's getting stuff together for the newspaper write-up. Anyway, that got me to thinking. Gracious! I should dress Saylor up in it again (...before she grows out of it!) and get a few pictures of her. After all, she's only 4 1/2 once, and the likelihood of us ever owning a dress of this magnitude again are fairly slim, so...

Here we have a lovely young lady straight out of a fairy tale in this exquisite gown from Us Angels. The sleeveless bodice has a jeweled waistband atop ivory satin and is accentuated by a wispy organza sash.

The very full ballet-length skirt is ivory satin with a sheer organza overlay, and our model quite enjoys the swishy twirliness it promises as she walks.

Please don't miss the glimmery golden slippers by L'Amour on her delicate feet, for they are perhaps her favorite pair in the whole wide world.

They fit perfectly (as Cinderella's slippers always do) with a sweet little velvet bow tied across the top like a ballet slipper.
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice and everything nice

That's what little girls are made of.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

AI Review: This is Turning Into a Habit

Yeah, reviewing it here is a habit...unlike my watching the show...because...
I. could. totally. stop. at. ANY. time...

Kris - "The Way You Look Tonight." Ooooh, that's one of my all-time faves! Hmm. Interesting arrangement. I liked some of those notes he threw in there, in such pleasantly original ways. Truly, he has a gorgeous tone, but has anybody noticed how strangely he pronounces things sometimes?? Overall, thumbs up.

Allison - Wow, her hair looks SOOOOOO much better like this! Doesn't it? She seems a little uncomfortable on stage sometimes--mostly when she's talking. She sort of comes off silly and awkward (perhaps 'cause she's a BABY?). Anyway, on to the song "Someone to Watch Over Me." One of my all-time faves!! (again!) Seriously, I used to sing this number ALL the time at MacGrill. WOW. She did a great job. MUCH better than weeks past, I think.

Okay. Has anyone noticed that Paula is actually making a little more sense lately? What's up with that?! And Simon, why do you have to be so psychoanalytical? Good grief.

Matt - "My Funny Valentine" (Love it!) Well, Jamie Foxx, I thought you were doing a great job until this one. I think that key was much too low for Matt. Because he couldn't control those notes in the low register. The big notes were awesome, though. I saw LOTS of emotion!! (What is Kara talking about?) It's obvious he really loves this song! Overall, I say thumbs up. It may not be enough for him to stay, though. You know, I think this kid's got a nerves issue. He always sounds unbelievable when he's just fooling around on the piano at the Idol Mansion (or wherever they are), but then he gets ready to perform LIVE and he has pitch/control problems. Of course, I have to point out here that Carrie Underwood wasn't "spot on" consistent either when she was a contestant.

Danny - Golly gee. "I'm Gonna Love You." They just keep churning out the best of the best (songs), don't they? I was apparently born in the wrong era. Alrighty, here we go Danny. You're going to have to be out of this world tonight! ............... Oh---DEAR. Lovin' it!! Love his runs. Love his "yeah yeah's." Love his raspiness. Whoa! This is just getting better and better!! YOU GO, DANNY!!!! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!!! What! In! The! World!!! And...we have a winner, ladies and gentlemen!! What else can I say?

Adam - "It's a New Day." Oh, the drama. Lighting, stairs, freaky camera angles. Too, too much. And yeesh, that brass section has me picturing a drag show. Hmmm. I'd say Adam's a little pitchy tonight. Weird arrangement (I know--that's to be expected). Whoops--there's that tongue again. Okay. Look. He belongs right where he came from...the stage (in a theater, that is).

Yay, Old Standards!

Yay, Jamie Foxx!

Yay, Danny!!!

Yay, yay, yay!


I can definitely say this was one of my favorite episodes of American Idol ever! (Yeah, who am I kidding? I won't be quitting this habit anytime soon.)

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Measure of a Man

Have I ever told you how much I love this man?

Today (Sunday, that is) I was sort of reaching that point. You know what "point" I mean. The "boiling point" or the "point of no return" or the "point at which" the whole world caves in on top of you. I was right on the cusp, I'm tellin' ya. And this he knew.

I've just been dealing with a lot lately. There are things I still haven't learned to manage. Like how to "handle" it when suddenly and without reason, four children begin to make seven different noises all at the same time. Does anyone out there know how--at those moments--to keep from screaming "STOOOOOOP!!" and simply running from the room or even how to keep one's mind from totally spazzing out and becoming what amounts to a puddle of jello? Sometimes I just get so very overstimulated.

Know what he did? He hugged me, told me he loved me, asked me what I'd like to do today, and then helped me do it. He even encouraged me to press on when I was wearing down. We put away clothes (did you know we'd been to Conway twice in two weeks for days on end and never managed to fully unpack?) and did some general straightening. It wasn't a lot, but a little goes a long way sometimes. You know? Then he took the big kids to Home Depot and Kroger while the babies had their naps. He came home with groceries to make dinner, which HE did. Steak, salad, summer squash, fresh corn on the cob, plantains, and strawberries. Oh, I'm so glad to be coming out of winter and into my favorite "fruit and vegetable" season! And it was truly helpful, as I've been stuck to this computer for the past several days trying to repair damage caused by viruses.

Anyway, this man of mine never complains when he comes home to a messy kitchen and toy-strewn living room or even a bedroom with the same dirty clothes on the floor that were there that morning and a bed FULL of 3 piles of clean laundry still to be folded. He has every reason to!! I beat myself up about these things CONSTANTLY. Because he deserves so much better. I just struggle to keep up! It requires so very much energy. Man, back when we just had the ONE baby, you should have seen my house!! I was ultra-organized and I took Noah to the park and shopping with me and I made homemade crackers and other baby snacks (because I cringe at the very thought of Gerber baby puffs!) and I never got behind on laundry and my toilets were always scrubbed clean and there was no dust and my sheets got washed on a regular basis and dishes were never piled up in my sink--my sink SHONE! *big sigh*

Please don't get me wrong. I am so thankful I have three more sweet babies to love on, but the price tag to that is that there are more things to do and way less time in which to get them done. So God is teaching me (slowly--because I'm a slow learner) to be patient, to get over the chaos (because it's not as important as the hearts of my children), and to turn from my pride. He's putting people (and reading material) in my life to bestow Godly wisdom upon me so that I have some understanding of what parenting is really about and how to do it biblically. Thank you, Lord.

Lately, I've spent a lot of time trying to make things work. In my mind, it seems to me once we teach the kids what the words "honor" and "obey" mean that we should now SEE that play out on a regular basis. Uh...yep, I'm a dork. How could I forget that SANCTIFICATION takes time???!! After all, I'm 34 and still in the process!! Why can't I look at my children and see them as the little balls of clay that they truly are? And understand that they can't mold themselves? That it takes time to get them to look like the creatures God wants them to be. And that it's GOD who will make them that way. Not me. No matter how hard I try, I can't CREATE them. Instead, I get the benefit of being USED by God as he does His work in them. Now.......what that looks like on a daily basis is what I'm trying to figure out. I'm not exactly sure how (yet) to disconnect my emotions (anger, fear, frustration, worry, etc.) from my parenting so that I present a picture of Christ for my children.

I mentioned
here that I am reading The Prodigal God by Tim Kellar. It has been an eye-opener for me. I had no idea that I was trying so hard to do the things God wants from me (in my own strength) and therefore have been turning myself into (basically) a Pharisee. I've become more engrossed in my SELF-righteousness than in the very love and grace God has given ME which makes me righteous in His eyes. I've ignored the fact that I need G-R-A-C-E in each and every moment of life to do what I've been called to do. I mean, I started out okay, but it's pretty easy to sort of get into this pattern of behavior where you are a "moral" person for the sole purpose of fulfilling some inner determination you have to just be "good" and "kind" and "honest," etc. After a while, however, as life becomes harder, it is harder to keep it up because it's all been done in your own strength and for your own benefit (feeding your pride). And besides that, it KEEPS you from an intimate relationship with your Creator. That's not the life HE wants us to have.

Whew! So. Paul and I have been following this particular pastor for several years now. We catch him on YouTube all the time and have read some of his books. We think he's pretty awesome. We even considered moving to his town just so we could attend his church. Yeah, he's THAT good. (His ministry is also one of the ones listed in my LEFT sidebar.) So you can imagine our excitement when our own pastor (a co-host on FamilyLife Today) invited Paul (and his tag-along WIFE) to come hear him address the staff at FamilyLife and then maybe stay for the recording session for the radio broadcast, during which he would talk about his latest book (a great one, by the way). We were so excited. We were ushered in as our pastor's guests and seated on the second row right behind Dennis Rainey, co-founder of FamilyLife, and the man of the hour himself, Voddie Bauchum! Right. behind. him. WHAT!?? You better believe I whipped our book right out of my converted diaper bag and had that man sign it (well, okay, Paul did the asking).

It turns out the message he gave that morning was JUST the one I needed to hear. (Isn't God great that way??) In summary, he talked about how easy it is to get caught up in "Works Righteousness" and stop relying on the Lord for wisdom, grace, and strength for our everyday lives. Um, yeah. That even as true believers, our human nature preconditions us to TRY hard to be good, to live right, to obey His Word, and that if we do all those things (cross our "t's" and dot our "i's") then that somehow means we have a right to be blessed by God and avoid tragedy and heartache. Deep down, it's true. It's why when something bad happens to somebody, we all automatically sort of think ridiculous thoughts like "Why didn't I pray for that" or "He/She probably wasn't a believer" or some such nonsense. It's WRONG--natural, but wrong.

Instead, we ought to stop thinking of our selves so much and what we want/like/need/hope/feel/desire/plan/think/love and start worshipping the Lord in all our ways!! If we will just love and honor our God with every part of our being, the whole "living right" thing will just come out of us naturally (because of Christ in us)...and with way less effort (than I've been putting forth). And then when things go wrong (and they WILL, because we live in a FALLEN WORLD), we would never have reason to be angry with God, yet we would have a God we could talk to easily and feel His presence with us. Man, did I need that little kick in the pants! Seriously.

Part of Voddie's message is on video in two parts
here and here.

After the talk, Paul and I actually went and had lunch together...AT a restaurant!! How amazing is that?! Then we stopped back by the house so Paul could get my Coolpix, because he was going BACK for the radio session! (I, on the other hand, needed to get back to being a mommy.) Of course, he thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing, especially getting to chum around with Voddie (Ahem. Dr. Bauchum.) and snap a quick pic for proof of their fast friendship. I just love that my guy is so into awesome preachers who are not afraid to "bring it."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Frugal Friday

I linked up over at Shabby Nest to discuss ways in which I've been frugal when decorating our home. It's Frugal Friday! Woo hoo!! *smile*

First, we'll visit the playroom/schoolroom/guest bedroom located upstairs (right off the kitchen). I made these "drapes" from bandanas. These were originally used as napkins at a graduation party my friend and I threw for our husbands when they graduated from law school. I washed my half of the napkin pile and then sewed them together to form drapery panels. Perfect for the playroom. And purple to boot!!

A lady having a garage sale (where I bought the chair I'll be telling you about in a sec) GAVE me a bajillion throw pillows after she heard what I was wanting to do with the few she had for sale. (FREE!!!) I simply bought fabric from the remnant bins AND stuff on sale at Hancock's that matched the Pottery Barn duvet (yes, I said it...) I splurged on for upstairs. And then I simply made new covers for the pillows. I wanted enough to go down two sides of the bed, giving the effect of a "sectional" sofa. (This doubles as our movie-watching seating for the playroom and a comfy guest bed.)

It's a bit too much green right now (some of the solid colored pillows were a gift), so I'm going to cover several more. My favorites are the prints.

In the living room we have this table. It's fantastically hideous underneath. But I got it on freecycle, and free is free. Right? My mother-in-law let me have the leftover fabric (silk, no less) from the drapes she had made for her living room. So I made a tablecloth from it. Again. Free!! You can't beat that. Now I'd like a piece of glass to put on top (so I don't have to worry about spills/stains, etc.). I can get one for about $60, so...maybe in a couple of months.

I had the extra length all "tufted" at the bottom, but I've decided to hem it now. That's the reason for the pins...
Also in the living room, I got pretty much ALL of these crosses on sale (40-50% off) about this time of year (back when I was pregnant with Noah). And my friend Katie helped me arrange them at our old house. Mom and Dad helped me get it done HERE (because I was a major slacker on hanging things in this house).
This is the old house. *Sigh* I miss my mustard-yellow walls...(Ahem. Excuse me. "Apple Crisp.") One thing I now know for sure: This gal needs color.
Saylor has had roughly the same decor since she was born. I made her crib bedding and then when we moved and she got a big girl (full size) bed, I happened upon this quilt/sham set at Wal-Mart on clearance for $15!! You can't tell from this picture, but, I'm still looking for fabric to make her bed skirt (I'd like a cranberry velvet, crushed velvet, or taffeta...for cheap).

Saylor and our sweet little friend ("S") cuddling before bedtime
I got this chair for $25 at a neighborhood garage sale. My plan is to recover it myself (hopefully) with fabric from Saylor's old drapes.

I made this memory board from a standard board from Michaels--got it with a 50% off coupon for about $5. I then painted the wood frame and glued on strips of fabric from her crib bedding and my own (cranberry) ribbon right over the existing cream-colored ribbon.

I had a mosquito net canopy in Noah's nursery (for a very brief time, as he wouldn't leave it alone). The ceilings at our house (then) were a bit too low for using something like that, so I put it away in the attic. When we moved here, however, we finally had nice high ceilings, so I bought some RIT dye (brown) and dyed the netting for a fraction of the recommended time (so I'd end up with a beige, aged sort of color). Then I sewed ribbon and floral pieces (I already had) all around it and hung it like a princess canopy over her bed.

Moving on to Noah's room: This chair was bought on consignment for Noah's nursery. It was a rocker then, which I slip-covered. When I had Saylor we took the rocking mechanism off and put on feet. Then I recovered the chair with fabric from Hobby Lobby that was on clearance.

I had enough to make THESE drapes AND cover the chair, and all that fabric only cost me $30.
This is Noah's room in the old house
Noah and I found these ceramic stars at a garage sale last summer for $.25 each. They already had holes drilled in them, though one of them was sort of closed-up from the painting process. FYI if you ever just happen to need to make a hole in something ceramic, I figured out you can lay a sharp, metal object (like a meat thermometer) across a stove burner until it gets hot and then use it to poke through the already-scored hole. (It took me about 10 minutes, but it actually worked!)

Then there's the nursery. First, check out the bookshelves I made. I also spent next to nothing on their wall decor. A two-pack of foam board (maybe $5?) and some acrylic paint I already owned. And voila!

Oh, and I made the bedding in this room also. The designer fabric was on sale the weekend I bought it. Score! Plus, the crib ruffle and bumper ties are made from a single shower curtain from Wal-Mart.
In the master suite, I've not done much in the way of decorating. Our furniture and stuff fit very well in our old house...AND we had lavender walls! (What could be better?) But in this house, our things don't "work" very well. Anyway, probably the best (most frugal) thing in here is this framed photo. I took this picture (with a P&S) and then ordered an 11 x 14 enlargment from Sam's Photo Center. (It was mailed to me.) We took it to Michael's and had it dry-mounted and then bought an open-back frame when they were on sale for half off at Hobby Lobby. The whole thing maybe cost $20-30. Not bad, eh?
Noah and Saylor Summer '05

I have a number of unfinished wood items bought with a coupon at Michael's. We've purchased shelves, crates, hooks, and more, making them our own by simply painting them to match whatever room they were purchased for.
I also periodically check for (FREE) items and Craigslist or Ebay for any good deals to be had. I've saved a TON of money using these sites, but that's another post altogether.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fashion Conspiracy Theory

She's got it all figured out.


The Container Store

Noah had a soccer game Saturday morning at 9:00. So guess what time we woke up. 8:45! We are such teenagers. Unbelievable! So we commenced to scrambling around like crazy folks, and somehow he actually made it. The other children and I showed up, oh, I don't know, maybe FIVE minutes before it was over, which was a little depressing. AND the other team was apparently "really good." (boo hoo)

We promptly came right back home to have a little breakfast. And since we were all dressed and it was a while before nap time, we decided to go somewhere. You'll probably think I'm crazy, but I chose (of all places) to go check out The Container Store because I had never been, and I LOVE containers (and organizing and labels and lists)! Well, it was well worth it! If you've never been, you should definitely go.

It's pretty amazing, though I was most definitely overwhelmed. There was no way I could ever see it ALL--what with four kids, an antsy husband, and not much time before tummies started grumbling. But they DO have a website where they offer ALL their products, AND items purchased online can be picked up at the store, so no shipping charges! As an added bonus (and this is my favorite part!), I was told I can call ahead to let them know I'm coming and they will bring my order right out to my car! I won't even have to get out! Now THAT's customer service, people!

Here are some of the items that caught my eye:

We have an extra "grow-into" bike for Noah I'd really like to have out of our way for now.

Animal Grippers
Not sure what I'd do with these (I wouldn't make them pencil holders, as the picture suggests), but they ARE pretty cute.

Snack and Dip: I really like this idea.

Market Tote
Not that I have a free hand to carry one of these beauties.

This would solve our problem of finding a toothbrush holder that allows for those weird-shaped handles that almost never fit in the holes of standard toothbrush holders, while still separating the brushes so they don't touch one another.

Handy ladder hook so our hand-me-down ladder can be hung on the wall and NOT have to be kept under the house (where the spiders lurk).

These little containers have magnetic bottoms so they stick to that strip. Pretty cool.

Let's just say we are in DESPERATE need of something to store our outdoor toys. I'd take a gigantic deck box/bench, but they are TOO expensive.

Obviously, the purple clothes in this closet have me SOLD on the whole thing!

Ha! I know, I know..."caught my eye"...I guess SO! *grin* Hey, a mom can dream, can't she?
Online store at Tell 'em I sent ya! Ha!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

American Idol: Short and Sweet

Gotta love the DVR. We sped through tonight's performances. Well, not the performances themselves, just all the yada yada-ing and the still-hokey (in my humble opinion) theme song.'s my DVR-esque "review" of the AI Top 7.

Lil. I'm just so tired of her. When they talk about how they don't know what kind of "artist" she is, it's because she's not an "artist." She doesn't have the musical capabilities to take a song and do anything with it musically besides sing it like she's heard it. With a few extra notes thrown in. And usually sharp ones, at that. It's time, Lil. Sorry.

Danny. We all know I'm a fan. Tonight's effort wasn't astoundingly original or jaw-dropping in any specific way. It was consistently Danny. It sounded good. He hit some pretty impressive notes in some pretty impressive places. He looked like he had a good time ('cause you know that's such an important part of this competition that every one has to always interrupt the judges to let them know they DID indeed have FUN). Anyway, I enjoyed it. I always do. His voice is--shall I say?--"aaaaahh."

Kris. Whoa. I liked his version of "She Works Hard for the Money" WAY better than the original version. Very creative. And performed VERY well. I LOVED it!! This kid's really growing on me.

Allison. Interesting arrangement. Terrible song for a 16-year old. You "want some hot stuff?" What in the world?! She's a powerhouse vocalist, but she's starting to show her immaturity a bit, in my opinion, by not showing much vocal flexibility. She's in hard-singing, gruff-voice, rocker-girl mode ALL the time lately. I think it's high time for some softness, some musicality.

Adam. Never before have I been so "on the fence" about a contestant on this show as I am with him. I DO think he can sing; those notes he hits are off the charts! And I DO think he is original. Each and every week. I just can't bring myself to actually LIKE the kid. I detest his tongue. (I know that's weird.) And just because one CAN hit a particular note, doesn't necessarily mean one will sound lovely singing said note. It just isn't pleasant to me. Usually. Tonight, however, I thought he sounded great. I liked the song. I still didn't enjoy seeing his tongue make its Gene Simmons-like appearance when he was doing his trademark Adam screech.

Matt. Not a fan of his wardrobe, but that's neither here nor there, I suppose. I do think this kid can SANG, so I'm very glad he was "saved" last week. I thought he performed very well tonight. Maybe it wasn't the best arrangement or whatever, but he did pick a memorable song (that everyone loves), and then sang it well. I thought he played his cards right. After all, it's a popularity singing contest. Remember?

Anoop. Handsome kid. Very nice voice. Likable and all that jazz. Tonight's song choice was just BLEH. I'd never even HEARD of that song! And now that I HAVE, I am decidedly unimpressed. BORRRRRING.

Did I say this was going to be "short and sweet"?! Well, it's certainly shorter than OTHER posts. Right, Mom? At least this one wasn't a "novel." I suppose the better question is why am I taking the time to write down my thoughts on this topic anyhow? Truly, I've got bigger fish to fry.

For more reviews, visit BooMama.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Snips, Snails & Pretty Pigtails

Featuring Saylor:

There's something I forgot to tell y'all about Saylor back when it happened...About a month or so ago, Gabriel and Noah were too sick to go to church (and were sleeping in 'cause they needed to), and I was scheduled to sing, so Paul stayed home with the sickly ones, and I went to church with Saylor and Atticus. The Lord worked things out with Atticus and tailored both his napping schedule and his temperament that day to make things easier on me. Really. Thank you, Jesus!

We got there a few minutes early, and I got us seats on the front row so that the kids could be near me. Atticus had fallen asleep in the car, so he was snoozing away in his car seat on the floor right next to Saylor. I pointed out to her where I'd be standing and assured her I'd be back very soon. She was fine with that. She just loves church. She did great, of course: stood when everybody stood and sat when everybody sat. She even peeked under the blanket every so often to check on Atticus. I glanced at her only a couple of times during the song set, and she was singing along as usual.

After church had ended, while we were gathering up our things, our pastor came over and knelt down beside Saylor. He spoke directly to her and said that he and several of the other worship team members had been talking about her, and he wanted to come tell her what they had said. He said that 1) she looked so nice, 2) she sat so well, and 3) she visibly showed her love for God as she was worshipping through music. (She even raises her hands, y'all. No one set out to teach her that either. She's always done it, even when she was Gabe's age. She just FEELS it.) He said that he could tell that she loved the Lord. I tell you what. My eyes welled up with tears, and my heart got all achy, and I was so proud of her at that moment--so happy that God gave her a gift like that--just a natural propensity for worship.

And what reminded me about the story was something else that happened more recently. At Cousin B.T.'s birthday party, Saylor was seated next to B.T.'s OTHER grandfather. She asked him if he had a mommy. (The fact that she struck up a conversation with a grown man who is pretty unfamiliar to her is surprising enough, let me tell ya.) He replied that he did, but that she was in heaven now, and so was his daddy. She said, "Oh! I'm going to go to heaven someday, too! When I die." He said, "You are? I am, too. What do you think we're gonna do when we get there?" And Saylor said, "Worship God!" Yep, honey. That's exactly right.

Saylor Ballerina and a Friend

Monday, April 13, 2009

Just Give Me an "F"

Would you like an inspirational pep talk, a success story, or an "anyone can do it" tip on how to get into shape? Uh, yeah, me too. If you're coming HERE expecting any of those things, you will soon see that disappointment surely awaits you. My bloggy friend Linda (aka "Lidna") at 2nd Cup of Coffee recently held an event entitled "30 x 5." We "participants" committed to MOVING (in some form or fashion) at least 30 minutes for 5 days of the week for 2 weeks. Yeah. I know. Doable. No big deal. Right?

Well, I apparently either don't have 30 minutes to myself on any given day of the week...or I'm so exhausted and physically drained that "moving" is unthinkable even if I had a spare moment. Perhaps both. I'm still trying to figure it out. All I know is, I had good intentions. Really, I did. But I barely managed to eke out a collective 30 minutes TOTAL for those two weeks...and that was spent playing the Wii with my kids (and not even Wii Fit either--don't have that). I KNOW y'all are jealous of how toned, lean, and generally amazing I must look right now!! Forevermore... I truly DO want to get back in shape again, but at this very moment all I can think about is how I could really go for some dessert right about now!

Besides, I'm sort of in a pickle. I mean, I'm not going to get much "cardio" benefit from a stroll in the neighborhood with FOUR little ones to keep out of the road. I don't need to do any of those work-out videos because little eyes certainly don't need to see those women in their immodest outfits (not to mention see their mommy look like an idiot--ha!). And I pretty much shudder to think of taking my crew to a daycare facility at some gym (can you say G-E-R-M-S?!).

"F" = Failed...Flunked.........Fat!

If there's any one out there with one of THESE things I could, I might be able to do something about it. *sigh*

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What's Been Going On

Don't forget to PAUSE the Playlist at the bottom before watching the video.

Utter and complete exhaustion. Headaches. Emotional roller coaster. Constant company. Unending phone calls. Late, LATE nights. Details, details, details. And this for FOUR DAYS STRAIGHT!!!!! Finally, today it all came crashing down onto my body and basically CRUSHED me. I woke up this morning at 10:15 (what?!) and had a sore throat, swollen and tender lymph nodes, another headache, all-over body aches, and chills. I felt like I had taken a bottle of Benadryl before bed last night, but I had taken nothing at all. Bleh.

And Gabriel was feeling it, too. He had been awake off and on all night (with Paul) and was still asleep when I got up. So weird. I got on the couch with a cozy fleece blanket and promptly fell right back asleep. It was during this time that Gabriel awoke, but he felt so bad that Paul put him back down, and he was O-U-T until 3:30 p.m.!! He's a sick, little fella. I'm thinking we may have another ear infection on our hands after all (even though he checked out fine on Tuesday). Needless to say, our little family missed church. I hate that, especially on Resurrection Sunday.

Today was rainy and dreary and gray and achy and lonely and empty and still exhausting.

I wanted to share with you how everything turned out for Nana's memorial service. We spent all day Wednesday entertaining friends and family and then all that evening tearing her room apart trying to find SOMEthing--ANYthing--that would give us some indication of what she would have wanted done for her service. Poppy finally found something LATE that night that she had written not long after she had been diagnosed (in the summer of 2006). And just in time, too, because we had to meet with the funeral home at 1:00 the next day. Have y'all ever had to do such a thing? If not, let me tell you, it's hard, hard. There are SO very many decisions to be made, so much to think about and to consider, and it takes a lot longer than you would imagine. After spending all day there and then dropping by the flower shop to pick something out, we still had to get home and start to work on all the other details.

  • finding lyrics and music (chord charts) for the songs she wanted
  • sorting through and scanning photos
  • lining up child care
  • tying up loose ends (from our regular lives)
  • contacting people (pall bearers, speakers, pastor, funeral director, etc.)
  • determining the order of service
  • returning phone calls
  • and on and on

I was so overwhelmed! All I could think was that we needed about 5 more days to pull this thing off! Friday I had to go back to MY home and find some clothes (non-sweats) and get my china packed up for the tea I wrote about here. My dear friend Spring agreed to come get it and transport it to the event location for me, which helped me out tremendously! I can't even tell you! Visitation was that evening. My friend Krista and her husband came and stayed with our little ones at Nana and Poppy's house during visitation and THEN took Noah and Saylor home with them to spend the night. What a load off!! What amazing, wonderful friends they have been to us!!

Visitation itself was emotionally draining. Afterward, I just wanted to curl up in bed, but no, no, no! There was so much more still yet to do. Paul, Mert (our brother-in-law), and I stayed up until 5:00 a.m. working on a video. I didn't think we'd EVER get it finished the way we wanted it. Oh, technical problems have a way of sending people over the edge, don't they? Ugh. But we persevered. And kudos to Mert who kept trucking on with the most cheerful attitude!

Saturday (my little Noah's birthday) was the day we held the memorial service. Thankfully, since Krista was bringing our two oldest kiddos, I only had TWO little ones to get ready, which on THAT day was about all the craziness I could handle. (Gabriel had been BESIDE himself since arriving on Wednesday...because he didn't feel well...AND he always just senses when things are not right. Changing the routine on him always throws him for a loop.) Nana wanted me to sing, so of course, my throat started hurting when I woke up Saturday morning. Altoids to the rescue! I was a nervous wreck because I didn't know for SURE that our video was going to work on the church's system (Paul left early to go work that all out, but I hadn't heard from him). Krista and the kids got caught in bad traffic, so I was anxious about THEM getting there. Atticus didn't have any pants (seriously) because I hadn't had time to find any (for his Easter outfit), so my mom had to go to Kohl's that morning and find him something and then meet me in front of the church so we could get Atticus dressed. (good grief) I'm surprised I didn't look like a "Troll" doll by the time it was all said and done.

This all sounds so very whiny. I hate to do that. But I DO want to tell you exactly how it was, because truthfully, I had NO idea. I had NO clue it was this way for people. And the thing is, all any of us wanted to do was to sit and be still and think and FEEL and cry and talk and begin dealing with it. There was just no time! It's really pretty backwards how we handle this stuff in our country. ANY-way...all the company is gone now, our bodies (at least mine, Paul's and Gabe's) are reacting to the punishment they've endured over the past few days, and we're left with a new reality that we are all expected to figure out and accept as everyday normalcy. I'll never forget as we stood by the casket at the graveside and every one had already driven off in their cars, Poppy looked at us all and said, "Now what?" And no one knows. We're just sort of here, experiencing perhaps SOME of what it's like to be bipolar. Crazy laughing one moment, crazy crying the next, and really not fully grasping the fact that she's really NOT HERE anymore. What DO we do now?! My heart is just broken for Paul and Wendy (Paul's sister) because this is their MOM we're talking about, but she was so much more than even that. She was SOMEbody to SO many people. So..."Now what?"

My friend Janet died from cancer a year and a half ago. In a sense, her death sort of prepared me a little bit for what I would experience NOW. I sang at Janet's funeral, too, which was one of the hardest things I'd ever done, but looking back I think it helped me face this even harder challenge. Her memorial service was deeply moving and well-thought-out, and even then her life made me think of Nana. There were similarities there. They both had a strong faith in God, husbands who came to know the Lord much later in life, two children (a boy and a girl), cancer, an infectious smile and joy for living. Paul and I were both very impressed with the video someone had done set to one of my favorite songs. So, of course, we both immediately wanted to do the very same thing for Nana. Same idea, same song...because it was perfect.

One little thing I just had to point out...Paul got to the church to check the video, etc. and noticed that directly over the baptistry (which is where the overhead screen comes down) were the words "I AM." That gave me chills.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


We lost our Nana today. For those of you who don't know, Nana is Paul's mom. She's been on a long, painful cancer journey. None of us know how she was able to endure so much for so long. Only--yes we do. The Lord, the Lord, the Lord. Praise God she was His child! He sustained her and gave her deep joy and put a smile on her face and blessed her with a large family and comforted her (when distance or illness wouldn't let her be with her children and grandchildren) and was her Companion when she was alone and gifted her with many true, true friends (who quite literally took care of her) and gave her strength and proved Himself faithful.

I am drained to empty after this very long day. It is, in a word, I write this on HER computer in HER house with HER things all around me. I expect to hear her padding down the hallway in her houseshoes with her coffee cup--going for a refill. I expect to see her "propped up" (as she always said) in her bed, laughing at something the kids are doing or saying. I expect and WANT her to pat the bed next to her and tell me to climb up there beside her so we can talk. Things will never ever be the same.

Please pray for my children...and for Paul...and...for all of us.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


She said it so well.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...

Outside my window...a beautiful, but cool day. Aprils (along with every month) in Arkansas can be very confusing. Oh, and POSSIBLY--could it be?--maybe a few blooms on the azaleas I thought were dead. Still not totally sure they'll make it, but at least now I have some hope...

I am's a daily challenge for two babies to share a bedroom.

From the learning rooms...hopefully, Noah is reading something. Right now, I'm too busy dealing with the aforementioned "challenge" to know exactly what's going on in our "learning room."

I am thankful for...a plan for home energy savings. I'll fill you in as things come to fruition.

From the kitchen...hmm...probably should consider that, huh?

I am wearing...pajamas...sorry, but I am. Specifically, winter peppermint pajama pants and a tee shirt that doesn't match. Pretty yucky.

I am reading...The Prodigal God with my community group at church...and lots of blogs.

I am hoping...we can avoid the doctor's office for ear infections.

I am creating...a baby announcement for Atticus. Come back soon...I may let you VOTE for your favorite.

I am hearing...a lullaby CD and a baby fussing.

Around the house...Gabe's lunch dishes (because he's too young yet to clean up after himself), laundry to fold, and the usual variety of strewn toys and random objects Gabriel LOVES to drag out and carry to a new place. Sometimes we find things in the most surprising places!

One of my favorite shopping online, but it's a bit too late for Easter stuff. Boo hoo. I may actually have to GET OUT and find some deals. Not an easy task, my friends.

A few plans for the rest of the week...aha! A great place for a list, wouldn't you say?

  1. Prepare grocery list for Wednesday's shopping trip (thanks, Daddy)
  2. Get china out of the attic and wash it for the Global Women's High Tea event our church is sponsoring
  3. Finalize plans and begin food preparation for Noah's birthday party Saturday
  4. Drag out the Easter baskets and egg stuff from the attic (while I'm getting the china out)
  5. Fix a basket for Atticus
  6. Find Easter clothing for F-O-U-R children (preferably matching)
  7. Pick up a pair of Crocs for the three oldest kiddos (this and a couple of candy items is what I plan to fill their baskets with this year)
  8. Clean and straighten for the party (AND my parents are coming up to stay with us this weekend)
  9. Get Noah some cleats for his game on Saturday morning
  10. Dr. appointment for two on Tuesday (unless our home remedies work first)
  11. Soccer practice Tuesday
  12. Ballet and Awana Wednesday
  13. Take clean china to event location on Friday
  14. Switch auto insurance providers, send in state tax returns, a few more April bills, assess property taxes, and get busy on that energy savings plan I mentioned (fun, fun, fun)
Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

Noah's invitation
More to come about his party

To see more Simple Woman Daybooks, visit The Simple Woman.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

O, Baby

Once upon a blue moon...

I was this little. And had cool toys. And was an only child (for a few years anyway). And looked good in my chunky fat rolls. And played with a long strap, from the looks of things. {cHoKIng HaZarD!?!} And took a pretty cute picture.

May 17
7 lb. 11 oz. (one guess as to how I can remember that)

But then I grew up. .. And met the grown-up version of THIS little guy.

September baby
6 lb. ?? (what a lightweight!)
Notice this pic is scrapbooked and everything!!
(I'm not taking credit for it. Just pointing it out.)

And then we "married." (That's what Saylor would say. "This is when you married." And what that actually means (to her) is that I wore a "BEE-yoo-tiful" dress and danced with someone. Only 'ceptin' I didn't dance 'cause the church would have said "N-O," but that's another story.)

August 1999

Exactly TWO years later almost to the date we found out we would have a baby of our own. We had never been happier. After all, we had been trying and waiting for this baby for 9 long months. Isn't it hard to be patient?? Anyway, our first little miracle was born on April 11, 2002. (Yes! His birthday is coming up!!)

Noah Paul Davidson

Paul started law school 4 months later (going part-time at night while working full-time during the day). Thus began my adventures as a single mother. Paul was great, though. He was home when he COULD be. He often worked at home and studied at home. And I fell more and more in love with him as I watched him being a father. And saw how he adored our sweet little boy (even though he could carry on like you'd never believe).

Two and a half years later, our "bee-yoo-tiful" daughter was born.

Saylor Kathryn Davidson
October 5, 2004

And thus continued my adventures as a single mom. Paul was busier and busier as the end of school neared. It was downright crazy at times. There were semesters he had class 4 nights a week! And then he'd have to come home and study. I really wasn't sure it would ever really end. But then it did. That little "lightweight" I married finished 4 years of law school with honors (can you believe it?!) and still managed to support all of us so that I could stay home with my babies. And thus ended my adventures as a single mom. Oh, glorious day!!

Officially an Attorney
Summer 2006

A few months later I became pregnant with baby #3. And thus began our search for a bigger home. Ha!

Gabriel Isaiah Davidson
May 23, 2007

The bigger home was acquired 5 months after little Gabriel arrived. And not a moment too soon! Because a few months later we found out baby #4 was on the way. Whew!

Atticus Joseph Davidson
October 9, 2008

Oh, and this man was there for every single one of them. How special is that?

My sweet doc

Today's post topic brought to you by Rach at In His Hands.
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