Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Polly Pocket Update

Last week I wrote a column about the evils of Polly Pocket. Well, I just got a call from The Baytown Sun, the paper I write for, and they have received a bunch of packages in my name from the Mattel Company. It seems that they read about my plight and sent me a bunch of Polly Pocket storage boxes. This, my friends, is known as a "perk."

So why haven't I heard from Target yet? Look at all that PR I gave them...and for FREE!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Girls Reflecting Glory

This past weekend, a group of us from church went to Girls Reflecting Glory at First Colony Church of Christ in Houston. Paige wrote about it here. This was our third year, and this was my favorite so far. The speakers and classes were great, and the organizers did an especially good job of making the girls feel really special. We took three 6th-grade girls, and it's always fun to see them so excited since they've never been able to go on these thing before. It was also wonderful that Michelle, one of our youth group grads, was able to come from Baton Rouge for the weekend. And I got to see Sarah, who was in our Kadesh group last summer, and fellow blogger Jenna, who has a beautiful name. Her parents must have been geniuses to pick that one out.

Anyway, it was a great weekend and one of the best spiritual boosts we get all year. I love the girls in (and who used to be in) our youth group and I don't always get to spend the time with them that I want to, being a mother of young children and all. So weekends like this are very special to me personally. I also got to connect more with the other adults who went.

Now it's Monday and I'm home with a healthy, active baby and a sickly, mopey 7-year-old. Back to real life!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Target revisited.

And revisited...and revisited...

Earlier this week, Chad discovered that I had made five purchases at Target in 48 hours. I think it's a record for me. And it's one that I'm proud of.

I was back there this morning. There were things I really did need but of course I got some other stuff, too. I got a late birthday present for Michelle since I'll be seeing her tomorrow. I got some lotion because I'm addicted to it. And I got a really cute pink and green paisley sash -- the kind you can wear as a scarf or a belt or whatever -- for ONE DOLLAR AND SEVENTY-FOUR CENTS.

I have added that last purchase to the most exciting purchases I have ever made at Target. Here are the others:

- Handel's Messiah in its entirety for a buck at The 1 Spot.
- Two Pilates DVDs, also for a buck each at The 1 Spot.
- The perfect sweater. It's a Merona with extra-long sleeves like Susan wears on Desperate Housewives. I liked it so much I bought two in different colors. $14.99 each.

I know someone who works at Target and today and she told me that when my newspaper column about my Target-a-holism came out, their HR person made a zillion copies and hung them up in the breakrooms, check-outs, etc. for all the employees to see. She also said all the employees know who I am and notice when I'm in there. I don't know if that's good or not...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


I know this is Wednesday and I'm supposed to post my weekly column. I'll get to that in a minute.

Last night, Chad and I were able to witness God pouring out his healing on a broken family. This situation has been heavy on our hearts for the last couple of months. It was one of those seemingly hopeless situations that I, in some ways, had given up on. But God came through and did what many thought was impossible. We worship a God of healing and of second (and third, and fourth, etc.) chances, and we got to be part of a family being put back together last night. We love you, H, L, and B!


And now for a meaningless rant about the evils of Polly Pocket:

Polly Pocket's taking over

By Deana Nall
Baytown Sun

Published January 25, 2006

Bob Eckert

Chairman and CEO,

Mattel, Inc.

Dear Mr. Eckert,

So you’re in charge of a huge toy company. Sounds like fun.

First, let me say that, most of the time, I love toys. One great thing about being a parent is having the excuse to play with toys again. Well into my thirties, I have been known to dress Barbies, build Ello houses and bake sugar cookies in an Easy Bake Oven — and not necessarily when my daughters are around.

But I must complain about one of your company’s products. It’s Polly Pocket. She’s taking over my house.

We started out with just one Polly Pocket — a cute little blond-ponytailed doll who lived in a plastic suitcase that opened up into a trendy dorm room-looking thing.

I’m not sure how this happened — maybe Ken escaped from the Barbie box — but Polly began reproducing. At an alarming rate. The Polly Pockets quickly outgrew the suitcase/dorm room and spread out all over my daughter’s bedroom.

Now there are colonies of them living in her toy box, under her bed and on the shelves in her closet. They have also moved down the hall into the bathroom. A few have even made it all the way through the house to my bathroom. I’ve noticed they are attracted to bathtubs.

If it were just the dolls, the problem would be bad enough. But each Polly Pocket comes with clothes. Lots of them. Some Polly Pockets even have little hangers for hanging the clothes up.

But the shoes are the worst.

I grew up with Barbies and I remember how tiny and annoying (and prone to getting sucked up in the vacuum cleaner) their little shoes were. But Polly Pocket dolls are about a tenth the size of Barbies, which means their shoes are nearly microscopic. In fact, I believe a person could inhale a Polly Pocket shoe and never even know it.

One day they’ll perform an autopsy on some poor old woman — a mother who raised a houseful of girls — and they’ll find her lungs to be full of Polly Pocket shoes and coordinating purses and hats. Then you’ll get sued. Just thought I should warn you.

Anyway, I don’t know what your company has done to the Polly Pockets to cause them to multiply in this manner, but I’m asking you to do something to stop it. I saw them convening in my daughter’s room the other day. It looked like they were trying to form some kind of government. So the sooner, the better.

In the meantime, I’m taking action. I’ve armed myself with about a dozen of those clear plastic storage boxes. Late one night, when my children are asleep, I’m going to go in and incarcerate every Polly Pocket I can find. Then I’ll stack their little Sterilite prisons high up in the closet.

And I’m going to keep Ken far, far away.

Thank you for your time,

Deana Nall

Baytown, TX

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

My not-so-PC daughter

So Julia asks me the other day:

"Hey, can I be Godzilla for Halloween next year? I could tape pictures of squashed Japanese people to the bottom of my shoes."

We have some work to do in the ethnic and cultural sensitivity department.

Friday, January 20, 2006

I Think, Therefore Deanaland

Need a slogan for your blog? This link will do it for you. I got this from Kyle.

Here are some slogans I got:

"Be Like Dad, Keep Deanaland."

"Deanaland Comes to Those Who Wait."

"A Smooth-Running Deanaland is a Relaxing Experience."

"The Deanaland is Mightier than the Sword."

"Cleans Your Floor Without Deanaland."

And my favorite:

"For That Deep Down Body Deanaland."

Thursday, January 19, 2006

My baby girl is SEVEN

So there I was, lying on the operating table at Abilene Regional Medical Center.

And I had a secret.

I had wanted a girl. So badly. For nine months. And I hadn't told a soul.

We had decided not to find out the sex of the baby. Really, I told everyone, I'll be happy with whatever we have. And I would have been.

But I really, really wanted a girl.

The pregnancy was not easy. In fact, I still don't like thinking about it. I had a devastating, debilitating condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum. I was deathly ill for 15 weeks. My illness was so severe that it has permanently changed the way I think about and vote on abortion issues.

So you can imagine, after having come through all that, and lying on the operating table, that I would have been happy to have any baby. And I would have been.

But, oh, how I wanted a girl.

The surgery was weird. It didn't hurt, but I could feel it. (You C-section vets will know what I mean.) There were hands and arms inside my abdominal cavity and it felt weird. I was done with this. I tried to get Chad's attention to tell him that I was about to have a complete panic attack, but his eyes were focused on what was going on at the other end of the table.

So I closed my eyes -- hoping that if I concentrated hard enough, that I could somehow float far, far away from this.

Then a doctor's voice broke through my darkness. "You have a little girl!"

My eyes popped open. Did he say what I thought he said? I looked at Chad, whose eyes were still fixed at the end of the table. I knew he could see the baby.

"Yep! It's a girl!"

Then I knew it was true. My head sank back down on the pillow and tears of joy and relief and disbelief -- but mostly joy -- silently poured out of my eyes.

Sometimes life's most joy-filled moments are celebrated in complete silence. That was one of them. God of wonders beyond our galaxy. He had given me a little girl.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Baytown's Target addict

By Deana Nall
Baytown Sun

Published January 18, 2006

My name is Deana, and I’m a Target-a-holic.

I love Target. I love it so much that last week, I got in trouble for going there so frequently.

“Do you realize you went to Target four times in six days?” My husband bellowed as he reviewed our bank account activity the other day.

Making a mental note to pay for future Target purchases in cash, I explained to him that last week was difficult for me. Take Tuesday, for instance. Our youngest child started Mothers’ Day Out, and I needed to sip on a Starbucks Cafe Mocha while walking around the baby section, crying into newborn outfits I’ll never need to buy again.

“Then how did you manage to spend $43?” he wanted to know.

Oh. That.

I really can’t help it. They have you as soon as you walk in through those big red doors. Immediately, you are in “the Target trap.” To your left is “The 1 Spot,” where everything costs a buck. To your right is Starbucks, where they sell heaven in a paper cup. And I’m supposed to just walk right past all that, go get the baby wipes I need, and then head straight for the checkout?

I don’t think so. Here’s my usual route: First Starbucks, then The 1 Spot. Then I look at clothes for me, jewelry, and clothes for my kids, toys and all the cool home decorating stuff. Oh, I also love the scrapbooking aisle. And I don’t scrapbook.

I’m not the only woman who has been hooked on Target. One of my favorite memories of my friend Jennifer Watson was the night we decided to “stop by” Super Target in Seabrook on the way home from Bunco. We wandered around for a while, thoroughly enjoying ourselves, before Jennifer checked her watch. It was midnight. We had been there for nearly three hours. Jennifer and I had reached the ultimate in Target shopping: We had achieved a Target nirvana.

One thing about us Target addicts is that we’re all in this together. Want to know if you’re one of us? Here’s a handy guide to determine whether you’re addicted to Target:

1) The first thing you look for in the Sunday newspaper is the Target flier.

2) You walk into the store and everyone yells your name like you’re Norm on Cheers.

3) The baby is five days away from needing more diapers and you justify that as a reason to go to Target today.

4) You fantasize about living in a Target fitting room.

5) When the Baytown Target replaced its old, faded shopping carts with the new, shiny red ones, you were deliriously excited but couldn’t tell anyone because you knew you would sound like a nut.

6) You miss a few days and Target’s manager calls, wondering where you’ve been.

7) Your blog is called “” (No, it’s not mine. But it’s cool!)

8) You named your children Merona, Mossimo and Isaac Mizrahi.

9) You keep adding to your registry at and you’re not getting married or having a baby.

10) You win a two-week vacation to anywhere in the world and you pick Target.

If any of these are true for you, I’ll see you at Target later today. And tomorrow. And Friday, Saturday, Sunday ...

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Shawna and Sundays

One of our former youth group members died under mysterious circumstances last summer. She was a sweet girl who fought more than her share of demons. Today's paper has a story about what her family believes was a botched investigation. You can read it here.


I hate Sundays like today. Here's what our day looked like:

9 a.m. Chad and I lead the high school class
10 a.m. Worship
11:30 a.m. Potluck lunch meeting for small group leaders (we lead the college group)
3:30 p.m. Meeting for youth group volunteers
5 p.m. Worship
6:30 p.m. Junior high kids at our house

A lot of times when we have Sundays like this, I don't have time to go to church because I'm so busy getting ready for the other stuff. We had Julia's birthday party yesterday (which was her most fun party ever, by the way), so I didn't have time to get anything ready for today's potluck. So I left church right after communion this morning to go to the store. Then I had to miss worship tonight to get ready for the jr. high kids. It's just really dumb to have a schedule like this. I usually enjoy all the things we did today -- as long as they're not all on the same day.

A couple of weeks ago, my parents spent a Sunday at Galveston and instead of popping into a church somewhere, had their own time with God on the beach at sunset. Now that's a real day of worship, if you ask me.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Silliness abounds at the Nall house...

"Daddy-Daughter-Daughter" time in Julia's room.


The sweetest little girls in the whole wide world!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Qualified Writers?

By Deana Nall
Baytown Sun

Published January 11, 2006

First it was Sarah Ferguson. Then Madonna. Now it’s Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Apparently, if you’re famous — no matter how you got that way — you are qualified to write children’s books.

And I’m getting little tired of it.

Take Madonna, for instance. She has several children’s books out right now. You can even buy box sets of them.

Here’s a fun parent-child activity for you and your 9-year-old. Go to and do a search for books by Madonna. You’ll find “The English Roses,” “Mr. Peabody’s Apples” and “The Adventures of Abdi.”

And right between those last two, you’ll also find “Sex.” That X-rated, black-and-white photo-laden atrocity that Madonna published when she was still trying to shock the tar out of everyone. To the left of the book’s title, where a picture of the book’s cover should be, are the words “NO IMAGE AVAILABLE.”

Hmm... I wonder why that is?

Hey, I know Madonna has found religion (she has a book about that, too) and she’s a different person than she used to be. I believe people can change.

But do you really want to snuggle up with your third-grader at night and read a book written by same person who penned these lyrics?

“Bad girl, drunk by six

Kissing someone else’s lips.

Smoked too many cigarettes today

I’m not happy when I act this way.”

Kind of a catchy rhyme, now that I think about it. Could be fun to jump rope to.

Personally, I’ve ignored Madonna’s book-writing attempts. But now here comes Sen. Ted Kennedy and his book about a dog named “Splash”. (Curious name choice, considering the circumstances of Chappaquiddick.) It’s called “My Senator and Me: A Dog’s-Eye View of Washington, D.C.”

According to Scholastic Inc., the book’s publisher, the book “not only takes readers through a full day in the Senator’s life, but also explains how a bill becomes a law.”

The bill becoming a law part doesn’t bother me. But a day in Ted Kennedy’s life? Now THAT’s scary.

Since there seem to be no restrictions on who can write for children, why stop at a controversial pop star and a politician with questionable personal choices? Here’s a list of books and their authors that I expect to see in the near future:

• “‘A’ is for #!$%: Teaching Kids the Alphabet, Four Letters at a Time” by Howard Stern

• “Your First Lemonade Stand: Business Know-How for Kids” by Ken Lay

• “How to Party Your Way Through Adulthood Without Going to College or Getting a Job” by Paris Hilton

• “The Little Marriage That Couldn’t” by Jessica Simpson

• “Food is for Losers: A Fitness Guide for Pre-Teens” co-authored by Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan

• “Ritalin Might Make You Wet the Bed: Alternative Healing for Little Scientologists” by Tom Cruise

As long as publishers keep churning out whatever celebrities write, this is what we have to look forward to.

Happy reading!

Free at Last

Today I took Jenna to Mothers Day Out for the first time. I was proud of myself for putting her in earlier than I did with Julia. (But I am enough of a weenie to only put her in one day a week. We'll probably both be ready for two by the fall.)

So I'm walking around Target today fighting back tears. I don't know why. She was so happy when I left her. Walking around, looking at toys. She'll be fine.

And for the first time in a long time, I have a day to myself. I have bathrooms that need cleaning and laundry to deal with. So what am I going to do today? What any other extraordinarily vain woman would do. I'm striping my hair.

I got a hair color kit where you dye it and then stripe it. I usually leave such adventurous appearance changes to the pros, but today I need something to distract me and keep both hands busy for a while. So striped hair, it is.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Balloon story

Here's a fun story I got to write for the Baytown Sun last week.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Single Mom No More

Chad came back from NCYM yesterday. I understand he and his roommates Mike Avery, Bryan Borden and Doug Page stayed up late into the night having very serious discussions on weighty theological matters.

Anyway, Chad was exhausted and slept in this morning. Then he got up and cleaned THE WHOLE ENTIRE KITCHEN. I mean, you could eat off the kitchen floor right now. (Jenna does that all the time, anyway.)

Julia has updated her blog and would like for you to see it.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Miner's Note

"Tell all I'll see them on the other side. It wasn't bad. I just went to sleep. I love you." - 51-year-old mine foreman Martin Toler Jr.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

‘King Kong’ chronicles

By Deana Nall
Baytown Sun

Published January 4, 2006

Here I am in a dark theater waiting for “King Kong” to start.

I don’t want to see this movie. But I’m married to a man who does. And he played his trump card: “How many chick flicks have you dragged me to?”

So here we sit. I know “King Kong” is a well-made movie with lots of special effects. It’s just that three-hour movies featuring overgrown primates are not my idea of fun. To help pass the time, I will chronicle my “King Kong” experience just for you.

4:19 p.m. After nearly 20 minutes of previews, “King Kong” begins.

4:40 p.m. Still no overgrown primate.

4:45 p.m. Now some people are on a ship. It looks like one of those cruise ships passengers keep getting sick on.

4:52 p.m. Hey! Dolphins!

4:57 p.m. Still no monkey. I’m heading to the snack bar.

5:13 p.m. I stood in line forever, but not long enough. Still no monkey.

5:17 p.m. The people on the ship have reached an island. It looks like the kind of place your senior class might have had to go to if your class officers spent all the senior trip money on prom.

5:28 p.m. Nothing good has happened to anyone so far. The island is inhabited by people in dire need of makeovers and social skills. A woman and her two young children in front of us just got up and left.

5:30 p.m. Where’s the dang monkey?!

5:31 p.m. Oh. There he is.

5:32 p.m. (WARNING! FEMINIST RANT TO FOLLOW) The girl faints! All the progress women have made and we’re still fainting in movies?

5:45 p.m. Note to self: If you’re ever being chased by a pack of dinosaurs, a machine gun won’t do you much good.

5:47 p.m. A dinosaur just ate somebody. I’m wondering what our children and their babysitter, the ever-fun Brittyn Thompson, are doing right now. Probably watching “Polar Express,” eating Cocoa Puffs out of the box and having a great time.

6:01 p.m. Really bad things are still happening to everyone. Not much dialogue here.

6:09 p.m. If you’ve been hankering for a lot of ape/dinosaur combat, this is the movie for you.

6:12 p.m. Isn’t that the guy from “Shallow Hal?”

6:15 p.m. Giant worms that suck people to death. Now this is entertainment!

6:24 p.m. Bathroom break.

6:41 p.m. I’ve just about had it with this movie.

7:06 p.m. I wonder what’s going on in “Cheaper by the Dozen 2” next door.

7:11 p.m. I have SO had it with this movie.

7:16 p.m. Monkey’s dead. Let’s go!

And now for some of Deana’s “King Kong” Facts:


RUNNING TIME: 187 minutes


COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY SUB-PLOT: The young stowaway and his mentor, who have apparently started a maritime Book-of-the-Month club, because the film keeps cutting away to their book discussions.

TYPO SIGHTING: A sign in the window of a vaudeville theater reads “Enquire Within.”

Do I recommend this movie? Sure. If you show up an hour-and-a-half late. You won’t miss a thing.

Now I’m off to the chick flick of my choice. I think I’ve earned it.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Fun with Babies and Cats

I'm afraid I've spent my last night at my parents' house with my children.

This has been a tradition since Julia was born. When Chad goes out of town, I'll spend a couple of days at my parents' house. They live an hour away -- on the other side of Houston.

We all came over here yesterday after taking Chad to the airport. We ordered pizza, watched movies and had a good time. Jenna went to bed around 8 and Julia and I stayed up until 11.

At 2:30 a.m., Jenna woke up screaming. At 3, she was still screaming. At 3:30, I woke my mom up to tell her that Jenna and I were leaving and that I'd be back to pick up Julia before she and my dad had to leave for work. We got back to Baytown at 4:30 a.m. Jenna went right to sleep in her bed, which I suspect is where she had wanted to be all along. I was in bed by 4:45. Then the cat woke me up. Twice. After the second time, I literally threw him out of the house. At 7:30 a.m., Jenna and I got up and came back to my parents' house. That's where we are now.

Oh, well. It was a fun seven years of sleepovers at Granny and Papa's. Now I've got to find another survival technique for when Chad's gone.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Pantyhose Mystery

OK. Remember a few weeks ago when my groceries were disappearing somewhere between the check-out and my kitchen? Now things are mysteriously appearing. This morning, I reached in my drawer to get a pair of black hose to wear to church. When I got them on, I realized they were not mine. The ones I thought I grabbed have a tiny fishnet pattern. The ones I had on had a herringbone pattern. They are my size, but I have no idea where they came from.

I assumed my mom had worn them to my house on Christmas Day and had changed clothes and the hose ended up in my laundry. But no, she said. She didn't change clothes at my house that day. And even if she had, the hose she wore that day were not black.

These mystery hose fit me and look nice, and they're something I would have picked out. But I don't know how they got into my house, let alone my stocking drawer.

Oh -- and the missing jar of jelly? It turned up in the pantry a week or so ago. I just stood there and stared at it with my mouth hanging open.

I think I'm losing my mind.